Thursday, September 22, 2005

Five Stars in the Green Zone

The Hotel Rasheed, in Baghdad's Green Zone, is a five-star dump, pocked with holes left by rocket fire on one side, vulnerable to snipers on the other. The best hotels outside the Green Zone are mostly worse -- and even easier targets. (See reviews.) But the Iraqi press reports that help is on the way for those who want luxury in the middle of a war zone: the Ministry of Housing and Construction is planning a 23-story hotel with all the amenities. This will make life easier for visiting contractors and Congressional delegations, no doubt. What it will do for the hearts and minds of Iraq's people, hundreds of whom have been killed and maimed while waiting in line at the various entrances to the Green Zone, is less certain.

Last year the technocrat mayor of Baghdad, Alaa al-Tamimi, wanted to open up the Green Zone and revitalize the heart of the city. He was overruled by the terrorists and by the Americans, and finally deposed in what amounted to a coup by the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which now rules the Baghdad badlands outside the Green Zone, with the help of U.S. troops. - CD

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