US Will Halve Vast Iraq Embassy
Officials cite Iraqi obstructionism, mutual suspicion for thwarting mission
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2012 7:03 AM CST
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses representatives of Iraqi civil society and members of the press at the US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, April 25, 2009.   (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

(Newser) – The United States' hulking $750 million Baghdad embassy is home to 16,000 staff and carries a $6 billion price tag annually—and it's about to get slashed in half in the wake of US troops' departure, reports the New York Times. It's quite the about-face for the State Department, which recently spent a year planning a buildup that has given it a diplomatic presence larger than any in the world. But it apparently neglected to clear its plan with Iraq: Embassy officials now blame Iraqi obstructionism for everything from delayed food supplies to hefty waits for American visas, and say that security concerns have left them largely cloistered within their four walls.

Iraq, the Times notes, never sought such a large diplomatic presence, and views the Americans with suspicion even as it flexes its own nascent governmental muscle. “The US had something on their mind when they made it so big," says one Iraqi lawmaker. "Perhaps they want to run the Middle East from Iraq, and their embassy will be a base for them here." To make the cuts, an embassy spokesman says the US is scaling back "the number of contractors needed to support the embassy's operations," and "hiring Iraqi staff and sourcing more goods and services to the local economy."

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Feb 9, 2012 6:29 AM CST
Lets just close the sucker, and burn it down.
Feb 8, 2012 9:23 PM CST
Dick, Rummy and the boys....the gift that keeps on taking. The embassy in Iraq is the largest most expensive embassy ever built. The Chaney crew knew how to rip off the American taxpayer like no one else. Three/four times through the Whitehouse was good training for how to cash out. I guess they thought we would never catch on to the fact that we would replace soldiers with contractors which cost a whole lot more and have no accountability. Just what we need, another Blackwater. The ironic part is we built it on the grounds of Saddam's compound. Meet the new boss...same as the old boss.
Feb 8, 2012 11:39 AM CST
The American Empire's last gasp. The idea that we ever needed a 16,000 person embassy in Baghdad is Pentagon, CIA and Sate Department insanity. We should close the US embassy and never give these creeps another dime or bit of support. Their world will explode on its own.