Monday, May 5, 2008

NEWS FROM THE COLONIES: LUXURY HOTELS & CONDOS IN THE GREEN ZONE

AP - Luxury hotels, a shopping center and even condos in the heart of Baghdad. That's all part of a five-year development "dream list" - or what some dub an improbable fantasy - to transform the U.S.-protected Green Zone from a walled fortress into a centerpiece for Baghdad's future. But the $5 billion plan has the backing of the Pentagon and apparently the interest of some deep pockets in the world of international hotels and development, the lead military liaison for the project told The Associated Press.

For Washington, the driving motivation is to create a "zone of influence" around the new $700 million U.S. Embassy to serve as a kind of high-end buffer for the compound, whose total price tag will reach about $1 billion after all the workers and offices are relocated over the next year. . .

One diplomat, who asked not to be named because of no authorization to speak to the media, said they did not think Iraqis would want Washington to "turn this area into downtown Kansas City."

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