« | »

US Gives Iraqis Control Of ‘Green Zone’

We almost missed this report discreetly buried by the Associated Press:

Brigadier General Imad Yassin (L), commander of Baghdad’s brigade shakes hands with colonel Steven Ferrari, 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander during the hand over ceremony of the Green Zone in Baghdad January 1, 2009.

U.S. gives control of Green Zone to Iraq

By Jim Heintz – The Associated Press
Thursday Jan 1, 2009

BAGHDAD — The U.S. formally transferred control of the Green Zone to Iraqi authorities Thursday in a pair of ceremonies that also handed back Saddam Hussein’s former palace. Iraq’s prime minister said he will propose making Jan. 1 a holiday marking the restoration of sovereignty.

Under the new security agreement between Washington and Baghdad to replace a U.N. mandate for foreign troops in Iraq, the Iraqi government also now has control of American troops’ actions and of the country’s airspace

He called for making Jan. 1 a national holiday called “Sovereignty Day.” Iraq already officially observes New Year’s Day as a holiday…

Asked whether insurgents could resume attacks now that the area is under Iraqi control, Ferrari said, “Common sense says they’ll probably test the Green Zone.”

The walls and the seemingly endless series of checkpoints inside have been worrisomely porous. A suicide bomber attacked the parliament’s dining hall in 2007, killing one person. Suicide vests wired with explosives have been found on the grounds.

Although Baghdad is calmer now, the Green Zone is full of unsettling reminders of war. Duck-and-cover bunkers dot sidewalks under lush date palms. Walls bear signs warning drivers not to stop for any reason and frequent speed bumps force vehicles to a near crawl.

Even before U.S. troops took control of the area in 2003 and put up the walls, the neighborhood had an air of intimidation. Saddam and his sons had lavish residences there and motorists who drove through understood they shouldn’t stop.

Now, Iraqi officials have their eyes on making the area accessible, inspiring and educational, even though it’s not yet clear when they will feel confident enough to take down the walls.

“It depends. There are many steps to take,” Iraqi Security Minister Sherwan al-Waili said when asked about prospects for opening the zone.

In July, the National Investment Commission approved plans to build a $100 million luxury hotel in the zone.

And in the next couple of months, the Iraqi High Tribunal plans to open a museum in the zone detailing the brutality of Saddam’s regime. It will include a replica of the hole-in-the-ground hideout where Saddam was captured in 2004, two years before he was executed, tribunal head Arif Abdul-Razzak Al-Shaheen told the newspaper Asharq al-Awsat last month…

Somehow we are reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s famous response to a question at the close of the Constitutional Convention:

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

We congratulate our brave troops for making this miracle happen.

A US soldier shakes hands with an Iraqi boy during a patrol in Ghazaliyah on the outskirts of Baghdad.

The Iraqis and indeed the rest of the world owes these great men and women a tremendous debt of gratitude, which of course will never be paid or even mentioned.

God bless them all.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, January 2nd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “US Gives Iraqis Control Of ‘Green Zone’”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    I hope this nation never goes back to that side of the “Sand Box” again. I have lost 2 really good friends and 1 family member to this fight. I wish I could be more upbeat about this but I served in Vietnam in the closing year(’72) and found that they really didn’t want to fight for what WE were providing for them. Alas, this might be this samey-same here. I hope I’m wrong but as long as we provide the boots in their fight, they seem to wanna fight. The U.S. of A. moving on may prove to be another thing….time will tell. Still……..I am proud of ALL our Armed Forces!! You all are #1 !!
    Taliban better dig deeper holes…….there is a heap of hurt comin’ your way!!

  2. proreason says:

    We should throw every member of Congress into jail and replace them with randomly picked Servicemen and women. The country would turn around in a flash.

  3. cjokry says:

    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our servicemen and -women. A lot of people feel this didn’t have to be our fight, but sometimes we forget that if an idea like democracy isn’t spreading, then it’s going to start contracting. Since our European “allies” have fairly limited interest in spreading democracy, (in fact, the Muslim hoards are immigrating to the street levels of these welfare states) then the U.S. is basically in charge of deciding where democracy is most needed and bringing it there, before the Muslims and communists bring their ideas to our doorstep. Iraq was a valid choice for a military campaign in this and other respects, so I will not apologize to Bush’s detractors when I say “Job Well Done” to the men and women in uniform. They have truly done this country a vital service, weather the people understand it’s value or not.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »