Thursday, July 12, 2007

Perspective: Iraq lakeside resort a sad reminder of happier days

HABBANIYAH - It still looks like an oasis in the desert, but Baghdad's smart set does not drive out to play beside the pristine lake at Habbaniyah any more.

The luxury holiday chalets of Iraq's former top tourist resort are now home to an unhappy community of Sunni Arab refugees, driven from the capital by the death threats of Shi'ite militias.

For Zayed Hameed, who spent his honeymoon here 20 years ago, the memory is a bitter reminder of the life that he has lost.

"I went to Europe more than once, but Habbaniyah was just as good, except cheaper and only a short drive away," said the 45-year-old civil servant, who has remained in Baghdad.

Read the rest at the Washington Post