Cost of Iraq's 'new era'

Under the new US strategy in Iraq, some 2,500 diplomats will replace leaving forces.

    The US government has called the change of military strategy in Iraq a "new era" for the country.

    Operation Iraqi Freedom will become Operation New Dawn from Wednesday. The change means fewer soldiers in the country, but more diplomats who will be living in the world's biggest embassy in Baghdad.

    The embassy stretches across 2km and 104 acres of land - six times the size of the UN headquarters and bigger than the Vatican.

    Along with four new regional offices, it will house nearly 2,500 diplomats, protected by as many as 7,000 private security guards.

    For travel anywhere outside of the embassy, the diplomats have a new fleet of armoured cars, trucks and special aircraft.

    All of this will cost the US $2.5bn next year, over and above the costs of maintaining a military force of 50,000 American soldiers.

    Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna reports.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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