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New ‘Green Zone’ emerging in Baghdad

By Ali Shitab

Azzaman, October 9, 2010

The appellation 'Green Zone’ is in fact a euphemism the U.S. coined to escape being accused of pursuing former leader Saddam Hussien’s oppressive tactics.

The U.S.’s Green Zone in Baghdad is exactly the site where Saddam had his fabulous palaces, prisons, security organs, the intelligence apparatus and the headquarters of his feared Special and Republican Forces.

Very little has changed since U.S. invasion troops removed Saddam Hussein. His palaces and security and army headquarters, which were no-go and highly protected areas, were turned into new bastions for U.S. military and civilian administration.

It is indeed a 'war zone’ rather than a 'green zone’. It is in this zone where U.S. attacks on Iraqi cities are planned and where rules and regulations are drafted which have allowed U.S. marines and their security guards to kill civilian Iraqis with total impunity.

The zone is so notorious that it has turned into a joke in Iraq. One of the anecdotes in Iraq describes the zone as "the place where the dogs of the general (U.S.) carry the rank of a general."

At least under Saddam Hussein the residential areas close to his presidential complex (Green Zone for the U.S.) felt secure if they obeyed orders.

Today, most families have left these neighborhoods as the zone is the scene of repeated attacks by rebels.

But it seems the occupiers are very fond of 'green zones’.

Baghdad now has another 'green zone’ in the densely populated neighborhood of Karrada; but this one is for U.S. security guards, the fearsome, and trigger-happy mercenaries hired to protect U.S. officials and interests and kill Iraqis with impunity.

A company recruiting these mercenaries – they are hired to fight for a salary that brushes $25,000 a month – has turned a string of hotels behind the National Theater in Karrada into a no-go area.

The company has blocked streets leading to these hotels and no Iraqi is allowed to enter the area including high ranking government officials without special U.S. permits.

The residents and shop and business owners in the area are bearing the brunt from the establishment of this new 'Green Zone’.

Many residents in the area have lost their jobs as they can no longer open their shops. The area is known for its clubs but owners say the new zone prevents them from operating.

Many families are seriously considering fleeing the area as they fear the zone to be a fresh target for rocket attacks by rebels.

The residents and shop owners who spoke to the newspaper all refused to be named.

They said they have written a petition to the Interior Ministry to remove the zone.

But the question is whether the Interior Minister himself has the right to enter the area without a special U.S. permit?

:: Article nr. 70596 sent on 09-oct-2010 21:06 ECT


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