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The U.S. has tried to create its little oasis called The Green Zone in Iraq, which has been corraled off from the random, wonton violence occurring outside of it. Apparently it’s not so safe anymore. (Christian Science Monitor):

Site of Saddam Hussein’s most sumptuous Baghdad palaces and now headquarters for both US officials and the Iraqi interim government, the Green Zone – as opposed to what the military calls the “Red Zone,” anything outside the vast compound’s 12-foot concrete walls – is experiencing a case of the jitters.

…Other reasons for the heightened anxiety include the ever-bolder attacks on Baghdad streets just a short drive from the zone, and the recent spike in kidnappings and killings of foreigners in Baghdad.

Then there are the almost daily mortar attacks against the zone – most of which cause little or no damage or injury, but which do rattle nerves.

So even though the Green Zone operates like an island in the Baghdad storm, it is not the picture of tranquility.

On various visits to the Green Zone over the past few weeks, this reporter has noticed few signs that security is being taken for granted. The perimeter walls and tire wells of official vehicles parked in guarded lots are checked for explosives. Even some restaurants inside the supposedly high-security sector are now off limits to a growing number of diplomats and other officials.

“They should be worried,” says one American technology contractor here who has refused – despite the recent kidnapping and beheading of two US contractors who lived in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood – to relocate to the Green Zone. “I still feel safer where I am than living in there,” the contractor says. requesting anonymity. “The place never has been what I’d call secure, but it’s gotten worse. If they think the mortars and rockets going in there now are something, they aren’t going to know what hit them.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding