Grobes downsizing in der gigantischen us-botschaft im irak und die frage, was die amerikaner im irak erreicht haben
The other day in iraq, baghdad, embassy of the usa: the chicken wings supply does not work anymore and the wings were rationed to six per person and that for the chicken wings night! The buffet was quickly empty and is never really full again, coffee had to be drunk unsubstituted, without sugar or substitute.
Since the withdrawal of u.S. Troops, the food supply for the 750 million american embassy in baghdad has faltered. The convoys from kuwait no longer have troop escorts and are getting late, because they are now experiencing that arab border traffic operates in rough style what has become a life-style magic word in this country: deceleration. They were asked to submit a lot of papers, quite different from what they are used to. The result: frustration over iraqi "obstructionism", as can be read in the new times.
There, one learns the bigger story about the rooster wing shortage – the downfall of a crude symbol of aloof neocon power dreams: the staff of the huge embassy is being reduced, significantly, about half of them are to leave the once prestigious building: "a sharp sign of declining american influence in the country", writes the newspaper. It should not be forgotten that the number of embassy occupants is considerable, "bigger than life" so to speak: on 16.000 is said to have swollen in the meantime. For comparison: turkey, iraq’s most important trading partner, maintains 55 people in its representation, and the number of diplomats is said to be in the single digits.
The world’s crudest message
At the american embassy, it should be about 2.000 diplomats; the rest are "private contractors". What exactly the private and state embassy employees in iraq are doing is not mentioned in the report, only that they are all facing a considerable downsizing, as embassy spokesman michael w. Mcclellan announced in a statement:
Over the last year and continuing this year the department of state and the embassy in baghdad have been considering ways to appropriately reduce the size of the u.S. Mission in iraq, primarily by decreasing the number of contractors needed to support the embassy’s operations.
About half of the population of business contractors will be eliminated, and the diplomatic corps will also be subject to appropriate regulation, according to the newspaper report. Last year, however, there were still "built" and now the change of direction. To put the dismantling in a broader context, one can briefly recall what happened at this site in 2006 for the construction of the embassy "the world’s biggest message" (the mega-message in enemy territory):
The u.S. Government had earmarked 1.3 billion u.S. Dollars for the construction of the new embassy in iraq. This was too much even for the u.S. Congress, which allocated the funds for the largest and, above all, the most secure u.S. Embassy building in the world "only" 592 million dollars was still to be added up. Nonetheless, the mega-message – whether intentionally or not – will be used in addition to the crude permanent military staging posts (…) become a symbolic monument to the war in iraq, the subsequent occupation, and the domino theory of the middle east.
Built since mid-2004, the world’s roughest embassy is located in baghdad’s high-security green zone, on the tigris river. It will be built on 42 hectares of land, six times the size of the un buildings in new york.
Interessant ist der abzug grober teile der botschaftsbewohner nicht nur, weil sich daran, wie der zeitungsbericht anhand von beispielen dokumentiert, zeigt, wie souveranitatsanspruche auf irakischer seite mit amerikanischen anspruchen kollidieren, die aus einer gewohnheit heraus als selbstverstandlich empfunden werden. That one is spared about the paperwork and does not need a permit.
How many americans can move freely and without fear in baghdad??
What is more interesting is another phenomenon that comes up in the process, which over the years is also somehow taken as self-evident for the situation of the americans in iraq, but is actually a phenomenon of an unmasking symbolic power. It is in this sentence of the new york times report:
The americans have been frustrated by what they see as iraqi obstructionism and are now largely confined to the embassy because of security concerns, unable to interact enough with ordinary iraqis to justify the $6 billion annual price tag.
The embassy residents are sealed off, they are more or less inmates of a guardian enclave who have only the barest of dealings with ordinary iraqis, fearing for their security. Nine years after iraq’s liberation from tyranny, members of the liberating nation must continue to fear when they venture into the open:
Americans are also still being shot at regularly in iraq.
The following sentence in the report explains why this is the case in individual cases:
At the kirkuk airport, an office of security cooperation, which handles weapons sales to the iraqis and where a number of diplomats work, is frequently attacked by rockets fired by, officials believe, members of men of the army of al naqshbandi order, a sunni insurgent group.
To conclude from this case that all embassy officials are involved in shady dealings and wire fraud would probably be exaggerated. But there is some distrust in this – how many americans can move freely and without fear in baghdad??
A new sanctuary for the mujahedeen e-khalq
That the distrust of american activities in their enclaves can be well-founded is shown, by the way, in a completely different case. So now the camp liberty military base is opened to members of the people’s mujahedeen e-khalq (mek).
The group is designated by iran as an anti-state terrorist group and is a courted "tool" the neocons in the cold war against iran. The iraqi government, anxious for a good relationship with iran and under quite a bit of prere, has been trying for years to expel the group from camp ashraf and get them out of the country, but the americans take them in, on iraqi territory.