IRAQ—TOUR OF THE 4 BLOCKS AROUND

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					IRAQ—TOUR OF THE 4 BLOCKS AROUND THE HOSPTIAL IN THE GREEN ZONE

   The Green Zone, now to be called the International Zone is a 4 square mile radius of city
along the Tigress river.




                                                                                                 PM’s Little
                                                                                                 Italy




                                                                                                 86th CSH




                                                                                               The
                                                                                               PALACE



There are many of the ministries of the government are in the green zone. The prime ministers
housing area is about 1 block away from the CSH in a lush area along the Tigress called little
Italy.
    We walked to the Palace one day, and these are the site we saw along the way a 4 block
radius down Haifa Street from the CSH to the Palace. We are allowed to walk in the Green zone
and even have bicycles you can ride. There has been rare shelling and rare lock down. Do not
need to wear body armor at present time. There are concrete T walls lining every nuk and
cranny. There are duck and covers a concrete bunker to run into if any alarms or bombs go off.




1 Walking out the CSH along Haifa street south to the Palace. T walls everywhere.
2 Past ambulance entrance to the CSH, guarded by New Zealanders, ferocious.




3 Checkpoint sign--they are serious—someone else took this photo, if you are caught taking photos
they confiscate your camera.
4 A well fortified duck and cover. Some in the GRD complex have additional layering of sandbags
and a phone inside.

There are blimps overhead to sound alarms if any incoming mortars. There are milvans
everywhere used as offices or housing. Just outside the hospital is a DC ‘esque concrete pillared
building that is contracting, manages all in country contractors with a Green Bean coffee bar—a
favorite stop instead of the chow hall. There is a gym in a a double wide—feel kind of vulnerable
in there with headphones on, and thin metal walls, can’t hear any incoming. No Kevlar roof. The
Army Corp os Engineers is in the complex across the street too. Laundry drop off and pick up
across the street.
     If you walk kiddie corner left from the hospital guard gate, down a T walled lane road, or cut
through the contracting complex, there is the Liberty Pool – a officer/MWR rec center with pool
that has a large circus tent covering it. Diving pool and a baby pool. There are people hanging
around on the decks in chairs, and should be drinking margaritas. But they are not. Otherside of
this complex is the USAID complex, 17 acres of housing, very small single bedroom apts and
their offices.
5 Liberty Pool left, put the tent over it as it would get too hot in the summer. No BIKINIS allowed,
have to wear gym short/tshirt or one piece.




6 Liberty pool right, gym behind. Exercise equipment is poolside as well.

 If you go right on Haifa street out of the hospital pass some interesting things. First tanks,
humvees that are fortified are everywhere. T Walls again.
7 Looking backwards, north back to the CSH on HAIFA street, apts are now filled with contractors,
or local Iraqi workers. Humvess and rouge cars on streets, lots of fortified SUVs with bullet proof
glass.




8 Lot next to hospital which was blown up by suicide bomber, there was a hadji market and green
zone café here.


There is an arc de triumphe like arc you walk under. Check points every 50 yds. The New
Zealanders guard our ER entrance and take no crap. Told that have killed several that do not
stop to be inspected at the gate.
9 Arc just south of hospital outside Baath HQ and on the way to the palace. The old decimated US
embassy is across the street to the left.




10 Common scene of hum vees and contractor in flak vest on bike.

 Then there is the decimated US embassy.
11 Bombed out old US embassy.




12 Side road off Haifa street lined with T walls. One of CRNA’s crossing the street which means
sometimes taking your life in your hands.
13 Bus stop outside Baath HQ that picks up Iraqi army soldiers that have arrived on mopeds, and
take them training.

Just across from that is the Baath headquarters, with huge cratered in blue dome on the top.
There are milvans in the grass surrounding it. There is a huge metal chandelier in the entrance
that is hanging lopsided.




14 Front gate of BAATH HQ building, now has fortified with guards, as Iraqi army is guarding it
and are not allowed to take photos.
15 Roof of the Baath HQ building, blown up.




16Side of BAATH HQ building.
17 Back of Baath HQ

   Further down the road becomes more fortified as get closer to the PALACE, which use to be
the Republican Palace headquarters, Sadam Hussein’s palace. It is now the seat of the multi-
coalition forces headquarters, US embassy, USAID, etc.




18 Getting closer to the palace.




 It is heavily fortified with T walls and manned gates, metal detectors. They basically lock you
through, in one door, locked in middle space. Then out the other door. Military just walk through
with weapon thru metal detector beeping. Rob says if you walk with purpose, no one stops you
or questions you and can go anywhere.
19 The Palace from the observation tower. Tigress behind. Sadr City across the Tigress. The
Palace use to have 4 large heads of Sadam on the two white pillars each side.




20 Outside palace from ground level, surrounded by T walls and razor wire and heavily guarded
entrances.
In the gardens which were probably very opulent at one time are no longer cared for with signs
saying stay off the grass and there is NO grass, just sand. You walk in the palace and it is all
marble floor and walls. Civilian and military everywhere. In the middle of this beautiful reception
hall is now a chow hall with a panini bar, and entrée line. Then under a big dome with scuds
heading towards the west, and quotes from Sadam Hussin engraved in green Arabic letters, is
table to dine at and big screen TV. It is bizarre. There are all these plywood office cubicles in
these huge reception halls. Very opulent marbled bathroom with soaring ceilings with crystal
chandliers, complete with bidets!




21 Front entrance to the palace inside the T walls.

You walk out the back of the palace, under very intricately carved ceilings, and into another
DFAC at the back. Right next to Sadam Hussein’s private swimming pool with military swimming
in it, girls clad in bikinis sunning with all these diplomats and military walking around. The roof is
covered with snipers, and with radio towers.




22 Palace entrance.
23 CLose up of the ornate doors, there are intricate ceiling carvings throughout the palace.




24 Chandeliers everywhere, in stairwells, bathrooms, etc.
25Sadams throne, many photos of him in this chair.




26 Back of palace veranda that probably looked over beautiful gardens to the tigress, now it over
looks t walls and sand bags and a milvan /trailer park with scattered palm trees. Dave Longenecker
and I on Thanksgiving day.
To the side of the palace in a gated yard, lies the 4 metal work heads of Sadam Hussein that use
to be equi-spaced on the front of the palace, you can see them in old photos of the palace.


There is also a milvan park reinforced with 6 foot high sandbags at the back of the palace for
housing. Note there are signs all over in the Green Zone that photos are not allowed for
operational security. If you get a letter from your commander that states you are allowed to take
pictures, that is the only way you can. So many of my photos are borrowed from prior photo
takers who had permissions.




27 Behind the palace Sand bagged in milvan park that houses military and civilian Dept of STate
employess. The post office is also here!




28 Trailer park behind the embassy for housing.
29 Another section of trailer housing for VIPs and Dept of state.




30 Booker King, Burn Surgeon and I, at the pool with sign, no drinking with a weapon, there is no
alcohol to be found in theater here.
31 Pool behind the Palace




32 High dives at the pool. Outdoor movie theater stage back right, and building to left is MWR
building for salsa, country dancing, Arabian nite with belly dancers, etc.
33 Crazy people tanning on thanksgiving morning, Pavillon in background with pool table and fooz
ball tables.




34 See the Kevlar roof over the dining hall just behind the blue tent.
  Across from the palace is the Military PX with Harleys for sale 30% off and no shipping fees.
There is burger king, and a Hadji Bazaar (locals selling trinkets and carpets). Small PX with
necessary items. Right next to the PX is the Blackwater/Washington LZ. Behind the hospital is
the Chow hall, and several low level houses for staff. Then one side of the hospital complex has
the finance building for the whole military operation in the Green Zone. And other side is the New
Zealand embassy. Other side of the Chow hall is the UK British Embassy complex.




35 Washington LZ near the Palace for Blackwater, Military, Marines
  There are two other camps close by with limited facilities ie a DFAC to vary it up. They are
Camp Hope and Camp Prosperity. Yet to see those.

   Off into the distance you can see the crossed swords parade field. Whenever large groups go
out on Chinooks they are taken there for pick up. You can see various turrets of mosques on the
horizon, the ministry buildings, defense buildings. There is always a hazy dust in the air if any
wind. There are sporadic palm trees jutting up between buildings.




36 Tomb of unknown soldier. Over by the cross swords. Large mosque being built in the
background.

At 5 pm, there is prayer chanting that is heard city wide to call people to prayer. Very eery
sounding. The side walk was once very nice like the red road outside Buckingham palace, it was
once nice red curvy paved stones comprising the side walks.
 This was probably once a very beautiful, exotic, elegant part of the city with buildings of state,
many were burned down and destroyed and looted during the onset of the war. But it feels even
odder now with all the fortified vehicles, Bullet proof glassed SUVs, civilian security, helicopters
flying overhead, and all the t wall barriers, destroyed green spaces, and duck and covers. Even
odder to see the military and westerners here (which has to total millions), milling around with
weapons and briefcases like a bunch of ants swarming to a picnic. We have really invaded and
occupied this part of this city and I feel almost embarrassed for what we have done to the many
beautiful buildings and spaces in this area. And much of the damage was also done by the
insurgents as well. It does not feel right to be occupying this space/land as we have done. The
whole occupation is well described in a book called the Imperial Life in the Emerald City.
37 IRaqi girls with some goodies.




38 School supplies for kids.

				
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posted:4/3/2010
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