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U.S. Embassy in Iraq raises questions

July 24, 2007 at 2:39 PM

BAGHDAD, July 24 (UPI) -- U.S. planners say the controversial new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad may not be adequately secure for a heightened civil war in Iraq.

The $600-million compound, which has a capacity of more than 1,000 people, has been targeted by rockets and mortars fired by militants, despite its position in the fortified Green Zone, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

"Having the 'heavily fortified Green Zone' doesn't matter one iota" when it comes to rocket and mortar attacks, one senior U.S. military officer said.

Experts say the embassy was conceived three years ago on the assumption that Iraq would be stabilized by the time of its use and it would not require a heavy military presence for long.

"It really is sort of betwixt and between," said Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations and adviser to the U.S. Defense Department. "It's bigger than it should be if you really expect Iraq to stabilize. It's not as big as it needs to be to be the nerve center of an ongoing war effort."

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