Friday, June 08, 2007

Perspective: Baghdad's Green Zone Is a Haven Under Siege

Above: A swimming pool inside the 'green zone'.

Rusty Barber was sitting at his desk in a comfortable if spartan office inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone when the first explosion sounded, close enough to rattle the building and his nerves. He got up from his chair, directly in front of a window, and hurried to the building's more protected central corridor. Then the second mortar shell struck.

The round decapitated a palm tree just outside Barber's office, spraying shrapnel across the side of the building, splintering Barber's window and peppering the room with bullet-size pieces of razor-sharp metal. One traveled through a wooden closet and destroyed a porcelain sink; one embedded itself in the small refrigerator; one ricocheted off his desk; another struck his computer monitor.

"It was a sobering event," said Barber, 42, head of the local office of the U.S. Institute of Peace. In all, about 10 mortar rounds struck different parts of the Green Zone that day in mid-May, killing two Iraqis and wounding 10 people. Ten cars were damaged or destroyed in the barrage at Barber's complex, a short walk from the U.S. Embassy.

Read the rest at the Washington Post