Permanent Military Bases in Iraq




One Building That's Been Built on Time and on Budget in Iraq: America's Fortress Embassy (May 21, 2020)
While the US has made little progress on most of the reconstruction projects in Iraq, the building of the Baghdad embassy complex is on schedule and will likely be finished by September 2007. The mammoth embassy will be the biggest and most expensive on earth and will accommodate 615 staff behind bomb-proof walls. However, the construction site has already suffered attacks from insurgents as it is seen by many Iraqis as a symbol of the occupation. According to Iraqi experts, the embassy “will become an enormous, heavily targeted white elephant.” (Guardian)

In Iraq, the Tough Go Shopping at Military Malls (April 1, 2021)
This Washington Post article reveals that while Iraqis face innumerable hazards in Baghdad and have no access to basic necessities, the US military live in a completely different reality. Inside the Green Zone, the troops spend most of their free time shopping in the new military malls, which sell fancy imported products like motorcycles, jewelry and plasma televisions. Further, the Bush administration constructed food courts with foreign restaurants like Burger King in an attempt to recreate life in the US. However, this alienates US soldiers from the local reality and deepens the gap between them and Iraqis.


“Enduring” U.S. Bases in Iraq (19 March 2021)

It is difficult to believe that with the U.S. establishment having all but conceded defeat in Iraq, and with the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group having signaled that the United States needs the help of its rivals Iran and Syria – as well as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other influential Middle Eastern nations – to contain the Iraqi civil war, the U.S. is still pursuing the war and building permanent military bases in the disintegrating nation. Yet, this is precisely what the Pentagon is doing.


How Much Embassy Is Too Much? (March 2, 2007)
This Washington Post article points out that the US is building a huge embassy complex in Baghdad and that the US mission in Iraq is one of the largest foreign missions the US State Department has ever operated, with a staff of 1,000 employees. Some former State Department officials claim the mega-embassy is hindering reconstruction efforts. This huge complex is counterproductive as it has become a key target for violence. Further, many Iraqis see it as an arrogant enterprise, which aims to show US “superiority.”


Mission Imperial (February 19, 2021)
While most of Iraqis struggle to survive in chaotic Baghdad, US military personnel and private contractors living in the city face a completely different reality. Isolated within the borders of the Green Zone, they live in luxurious villas and have access to modern facilities, such as restaurants, movie theaters, bars, clubs, a swimming-pool and gymnasiums. The Coalition Provisional Authority tried to construct an “American way of life” inside the Green Zone, importing US products and outsourcing services to US companies like Halliburton. This has further distanced US staff from the local reality and deepened the differences between them and Iraqis. (Guardian)

Report on Iraq: Long-Term Bases and the Mammoth Embassy (January 2007)
The United States has been building enormous long-term military bases in Iraq as well as a mammoth embassy complex in the heart of Baghdad. Though Washington denies that the bases are “permanent” or that the vast new embassy has a hegemonic purpose, the elaborate multi-billion dollar construction projects suggest strategic investment for long-term operational use. Surrounded by elaborate perimeter security systems, provided with their own water and electricity, and fitted out with restaurants, swimming pools and movie theaters, these islands of US power in the heart of the country have come to symbolize the occupation. (Global Policy Forum and partners)

Iraqi MPs Condemn Talabani for Welcoming American Military Bases (September 26, 2020)
This Al Hayat piece analyzes Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s recent calls for more permanent US military bases in Iraq. Critics of Talabani claim that his statements deliberately aim to undermine Iraqi sovereignty and divide Iraq’s government. Iraqi MPs say the demands are an attempt to worsen the security situation and therefore prolong US presence in their country. As the author points out, the Iraqi president has no authority over the establishment of permanent US military bases, and that Iraq’s elected parliament should decide on such matters, as mandated in the Iraqi constitution.

Bush 'Palace' Shielded from Iraqi Storm (August 26, 2020)
While construction begins on the new US$600 million US embassy in Baghdad, local residents await basic services such as electricity and running water which still do not function in their city. As Paul McGeough reveals, the inequalities in rebuilding Iraq are evident in the extravagance of the embassy building and the neglect of vital infrastructure for Baghdad’s citizens. (Age)

In The Chaos of Iraq, One Project Is on Target: A Giant US Embassy (May 3, 2020)
This article from the Times, London reports that while Iraqis are deprived of electricity and running water, the US is building the biggest embassy of the world in Baghdad. This huge complex, which covers an area bigger than the Vatican City, will have an Olympic-size swimming pool, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, tennis courts, a cinema and restaurants and will cost US$592 million. The scale of the project suggests the US has long-term ambitions in Iraq and it is the actual ruling power in the country.

US Building Massive Embassy in Baghdad (April 14, 2020)
The US embassy complex in Baghdad will be the largest in the world when its construction is complete, totaling 21 buildings on 104 acres. Rivaling the Vatican City in size, the US embassy will host its own defense force, water supply, and electricity plant. The massive complex, which is being built in the Green Zone near Iraqi government buildings, presents a clear indication “of who actually exercises power” in Iraq. (Associated Press)

Iraqis Think US in their Nation to Stay (March 20, 2021)
The US military has been constructing several large bases the size of small towns with restaurants, car dealerships, and traffic regulations. Despite building new barracks, runways, and air-traffic control systems, US officials have avoided the term “permanent bases” when discussing the status of these facilities. Whether the bases are “long-term,” “enduring” or permanent, however, the US continues to pour concrete and spend millions of dollars on construction, leading many to believe the US has no intention of completely withdrawing from Iraq. (Associated Press)

Abizaid Says US May Want to Keep Bases in Iraq (March 15, 2021)
US General John Abizaid announced that Washington may seek to maintain a long-term military presence in Iraq. Along with security concerns, Abizaid referenced Iraqi oil as a justification for permanent bases, noting that “the prosperity of [the US] and everybody else in the world depend[s]” on the “free flow of goods and resources” from Iraq. (Reuters)

A Permanent Basis for Withdrawal? (February 14, 2006)
Aside from token troop reductions, the US has not made any specific commitments to withdrawing from Iraq. Nonetheless, a complicit US media constantly talks about “hints” and “signs” of a US withdrawal. As this article from Tom Dispatch points out, the US media seems blind to the alarming signs of a permanent US occupation in Iraq, including ongoing construction of four highly sophisticated and expansive US military bases, complete with golf courses, football fields, movie theaters, and fast-food restaurant chains.

Revealed: Secret Plan to Keep UK Troops Permanently in Iraq (February 5, 2021)
Senior UK Defense Ministry officials have indicated that the UK seeks to maintain a long-term presence in Iraq. Despite plans to begin withdrawing troops in 2006, Defense officials have acknowledged plans to relocate troops to a “non-urban location” in southern Iraq near Basra where British troops are stationed. According to one official, a “training facility” would be retained to house hundreds of British troops. (Scotsman)

A South Korean Withdrawal (January 26, 2006)
The US occupation of Iraq has been compared to past US military campaigns in Vietnam and Japan. According to Sawsan Assaf of Baghdad University, South Korea provides a more appropriate parallel. As was the case in South Korea, Iraq has become politically and militarily dependent, allowing the US to operate and retain large military bases as part of its long-term geo-strategic interests, while advancing an “illusory” strategy of withdrawal. (

An Elephant in Two Rooms (January 18, 2006)
In both Baghdad and Washington, the meaning of withdrawal is “the elephant in the room.” Most Iraqis, and a growing segment of the US public, want US forces to end the occupation and withdraw from Iraq. As Gordon Robison of Mideast Analysis points out, this discussion rarely addresses US plans to establish permanent bases, which the Bush administration refuses to rule out. In addition, President Jalal Talabani and the Kurdish faction have voiced support for permanent US bases, while their Shiite and Sunni counterparts strongly oppose Washington’s furtive plans.

End this Evasion on Permanent Army Bases in Iraq (January 4, 2021)
The establishment of permanent US bases in Iraq remains an ominous reality. Despite increasing calls for a US withdrawal from Iraq, President George Bush refuses to offer any sort of timetable or the guarantee that the US occupation will ever fully end. According to former US Senator Gary Hart, the “neoconservative magicians” have not run out of tricks, and they will continue to evade questions about permanent US bases in Iraq. (Huffington Post)

Permanent Occupation (September 29, 2020)
US Representative Barbara Lee calls on fellow Congress members to support legislation that would prohibit any form of permanent US military presence in Iraq. Despite what Bush administration officials may say, activities on the ground suggest plans for the construction of permanent US bases. Of the $805 million allocated for military construction in Iraq, the majority - $597 million - has come in 2005. (In These Times)

Big Guns for Iraq? Not So Fast. (August 28, 2020)
The US faces a military dilemma in Iraq. It does not want to provide the Iraqi army with military hardware such as tanks, aircraft, and armored vehicles, for fear that insurgents will use them against US troops. However, the reluctance to supply Iraqis with these weapons means that the US will maintain a presence in the country well into the future, supposedly as a “bulwark against chaos.” Also, the military is currently building four “semi-permanent” bases in Iraq, which adds to speculation that troops will remain in Iraq for many years. (New York Times)

Permanent US Bases in Iraq? Experts See a Political Minefield (August 15, 2020)
Larry Diamond, a former advisor to the US Coalition Provisional Authority, says the US government should publicly state that it does not plan to build permanent military bases on Iraqi soil. Opposition to a permanent US military presence in Iraq, he believes, is driving the insurgency. Another analyst says that Washington almost certainly plans to keep troops in the country long-term, since it has made no efforts to provide Iraq with the military hardware essential for self-defense. (Los Angeles Times)

Operation: Enduring Presence (July 28, 2020)
Despite denials from the Bush administration, the US continues to build permanent military bases in Iraq, according to foreign policy experts. In May 2005, the US Congress passed an appropriations bill that provides money to the army for construction of “permanent facilities” in the country, but few media outlets have examined the issue, and Democratic lawmakers are virtually silent on the matter in the House and Senate. (AlterNet)

Commanders Plan Eventual Consolidation of US Bases in Iraq (May 22, 2020)
US military officials intend to build bases in Iraq, using concrete and other materials that will lend the facilities a “permanent character.” At the same time, they deny that the US intends to establish a permanent military presence there. Nevertheless, “the consolidation plan appears to reflect a judgment by US military commanders that American forces are likely to be in Iraq for some years,” though commanders refuse to predict how long the deployment will last. (Washington Post)

'Enduring Bases' in Iraq: US Presence for Decades (October 1, 2004)
Military experts in Washington assume that the new Iraqi government will need US support and therefore permanent bases in Iraq to avoid civil war between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq. The plans for “enduring bases” reinforce suspicions that the US is only interested in oil in Iraq and wants to keep a puppet government in place in Baghdad. (Iraq News Net)

14 “Enduring Bases” Set in Iraq (March 23, 2021)
US military engineers in Iraq are constructing “an enhanced system” of military bases throughout Iraq designed to last for many years. Deputy Chief of Operation for the coalition Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt believes that the US government’s future policy will require maintaining a significant military presence in the Middle East based in Iraq, and that military engineers are preparing “for an eventuality.” (Chicago Tribune)

US to Keep Bases in Iraq (April 21, 2003)
The Pentagon intends to retain four military bases in Iraq after the invasion force withdraws and the US will maintain a long-term military presence there, according to a report in the Guardian.


Read also Sarah Meyer researches:

* US Bases in Iraq: Part I: Baghdad (updated recently)
US/UK Bases in Iraq, Part II. The South (updated recently)

* Iraq: US Permanent Bases - Intentional Obfuscation (cont.)
* Iraq's US/UK Permanent Bases : Intentional Obfuscation