message is clear. Indeed, it's gigantic for all Iraqis and the entire
world to see: a 100-acre compound -- ten times the size of the typical US
embassy, the size of 80 football fields, six times larger than the UN, the
size of Vatican City. The US Embassy Compound, in the middle of Baghdad --
the center for US domination of the Middle East and its resources.
The compound towers above the Tigris River
like a modern fortress. It will have its own sources of power and water,
and will sit in the heart of Baghdad. If there is any thought that the
U.S. is planning on leaving Iraq, the new embassy should make it clear
The growing skyline of the US embassy in Baghdad is only the most recent
indication that the U.S. has no intention of leaving. President Bush has
already told us we're their until the end of his tenure. More important
than words, building “permanent” military bases in Iraq reinforces the
message of the huge embassy.
The DoD does not like to use the word “permanent” even for our bases in
Germany and Korea. Euphemisms like “enduring bases” or “contingency
operating bases” are used. They're less likely to cause further
anti-American unrest in Iraq than “permanent”.
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy chief of operations for the coalition in
told the Chicago Tribune in March 2004: “This is a
blueprint for how we could operate in the Middle East.” Zoltan Grossman, a
geographer at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, told the
Christian Science Monitor that since the fall of the Berlin
Wall in 1989 the US has established a string of 35 new bases between
Poland and Pakistan, not including the Iraqi bases. He maintains the US is
establishing a “sphere of influence” in that region. The Monitor
also reports that Joseph Gerson, author of
The Sun Never Sets: Confronting the Network of Foreign U.S. Military Bases,
says the war and bases aim at maintaining US control over the Middle East
with its massive oil resources.
The plan entails construction of long-lasting facilities in Iraq. The
bases will include barracks and offices built of concrete blocks, rather
than metal trailers and tents. The buildings are designed to withstand
direct mortar strikes. Initial funding was provided in the $82 billion
supplemental appropriations bill approved by Congress in May 2005.
Permanent Military Bases Planned for Iraq
Christian Science Monitor reported in April 2006, “the Pentagon
would prefer to keep its bases in Iraq. It has already spent $1 billion or
more on them, outfitting some with underground bunkers and other
characteristics of long-term bases. Some US bases in Iraq are huge, e.g.
Camp Anaconda, north of Baghdad, occupies 15 square miles, boasts two
swimming pools, a gym, a miniature-golf course, and a first-run movie
theater. The $67.6 billion emergency bill to cover Iraq and Afghanistan
military costs includes $348 million for further base construction.”
According to Global Security Watch, on March 23, 2004 “it was reported
that 'U.S. engineers are focusing on constructing 14 enduring bases,'
long-term encampments for the thousands of American troops expected to
serve in Iraq for at least two years. The US plans to operate from former
Iraqi bases in Baghdad, Mosul, Taji, Balad, Kirkuk and in areas near
Nasiriyah, near Tikrit, near Fallujah and between Irbil and Kirkuk...
enhance airfields in Baghdad and Mosul...'”
Long lasting military bases in Iraq will be an expensive budget item even
if the US decides to reduce its forces to 50,000, less than half the
current troop level. The annual cost would run between $5 billion to $7
billion a year,
estimates Gordon Adams, director of Security Policy Studies at
George Washington University in Washington, DC. Recently, the House voted,
by a voice vote, to oppose a permanent military presence in Iraq. Future
on-the-record votes for appropriations will show whether this was a
symbolic election year vote, or something the House is serious about.
Description of the 14 Long-Term
Bases in Iraq
As of mid-2005, the U.S. military had
106 forward operating bases in Iraq, including what the Pentagon
calls 14 “enduring” bases -- all of which are to be consolidated
into four mega-bases.
1) Green Zone
The Green Zone in central Baghdad
includes the main palaces of former President Saddam Hussein. The
area at one time housed the Coalition Provisional Authority; it
still houses the offices of major U.S. consulting companies and the
temporary U.S. embassy facilities.
2) Camp Anaconda (Balad
Camp Anaconda is a large U.S.
logistical base near Balad. The camp is spread over 15 square miles
and is being constructed to accommodate 20,000 soldiers.
3) Camp Taji (Taji)
Camp Taji, former Iraqi Republican
Guard “military city,“ is now a huge U.S. base equipped with
a Subway, Burger King and Pizza Hut on the premises.
4) Camp Falcon-Al-Sarq
In late September 2003, the 439th
Engineering Battalion delivered over 100,000 tons of gravel and is
assisting with building roads, walls, guard towers, and buildings
for Camp Falcon. Camp Falcon is planned to house 5,000 soldiers.
5) Post Freedom
Saddam Hussein's former palace in
Mosul is currently home to the 101st Airborne Division.
6) Camp Victory- Al
Nasr (Baghdad Airfield)
Camp Victory is a U.S. Army base
situated on airport grounds about 5 kilometers from Baghdad
International Airport. The base can house up to 14,000 troops. Al
Faw Palace on Camp Victory is surrounded by a man-made lake and
serves as an unofficial conference center for the Army.
7) Camp Marez (Mosul
Located at an airfield southwest of
Mosul, Camp Marez has a tent dining capacity for 500. In December
2004, a suicide bomber killed himself and 13 U.S. soldiers at the
base’s dining tent.
8) Camp Renegade (Kirkuk)
Strategically located near the Kirkuk
oil fields and the Kirkuk refinery and petrochemical plant, Camp
Renegade has a dormitory that houses up to 1,664 airmen in 13
buildings with six to eight people to a room.
9) Camp Speicher
Named after F/A-18 pilot Michael
"Scott" Speicher who was shot down during the first Gulf War in
1991, Camp Speicher is located near Tikrit in northern Iraq,
approximately 170 kilometers north of Baghdad.
10) Camp Fallujuh
The exact whereabouts and name of this
base is unknown. Analysts believe that the U.S. is building an
“enduring base” in Fallujah, a large town forty miles west of
Baghdad. Fallujah has proved to be the most violence prone area in
Iraq. Between early April 2004, when Marines halted their first
offensive against the city, and November 2004, when the city was
“re-taken” from insurgents, Fallujuh was a no-go area with numerous
murders and bombings.
11) Unknown name (Nasiriyah)
The exact whereabouts and name of this
base is unknown. Analysts believe that the U.S. is building an
“enduring base” near Nasiriyah, a provincial capital of South-East
Iraq on the Euphrates River.
12) Unknown name
(between Irbil and Kirkuk)
President Bush claims the US only intends to stay “as long as necessary
and not one day more.” And Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld has
testified on February 17, 2005 in Congress: “I can assure you that we have
no intention at the present time of putting permanent bases in Iraq.”
These claims are hard to believe when Congress voted for the first funds
for long-term bases in May of 2005, and construction is now underway.
Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group said: “One
of the reasons they invaded, as far as I can tell, is because they needed
to shift their military operation from Saudi Arabia and Iraq was probably
the easiest one in terms of a big country to support their presence in the
Gulf.” Also, the idea that the US wanted to swap Iraq for Saudi Arabia was
acknowledged by then-deputy secretary of defense
Paul Wolfowitz in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2003
saying: “we can now remove almost all of our forces from Saudi Arabia.
Their presence there over the last 12 years has been a source of enormous
difficulty for a friendly government. It's been a huge recruiting device
for al Qaeda.”
On April 20, 2003, The New York Times reported “the U.S. is
planning a long-term military relationship with the emerging government of
Iraq, one that would grant the Pentagon access to military bases and
project American influence into the heart of the unsettled region.”
In May 2005 the Washington Post reported that plans called for
consolidating American troops in Iraq into four large air bases: Tallil in
the south, Al Asad in the west, Balad in the center and either Irbil or
Qayyarah in the north. Each base would support a combat brigade team,
along with aviation and other support personnel.
In January 2005 it was reported that the Pentagon was building a permanent
military communications system in Iraq. The new Central Iraq Microwave
System is to consist of up to 12 communications towers throughout Iraq,
along with fiber-optic cables connecting Camp Victory to other coalition
bases in the country. The US also has plans to renovate and enhance
airfields in Baghdad and Mosul, and rebuild 70 miles of road on the main
route for U.S. troops headed north.
The infrastructure is being put in place for a long-term military presence
in Iraq. Unless Americans get tired of footing the growing and expensive
bill for occupying Iraq -- now at nearly
$10 billion per month -- or the Iraqis are able to force the
United States to leave, it looks like Baghdad will be the center of
operations for the US presence in the Middle East. The US will be sitting
on top of the Earth's vast, but shrinking, oil resources.
* MAPS of US bases can be seen at:
is Director of
Democracy Rising and a candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland (www.KevinZeese.com).
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