US Embassy to Arab states: Remember: Iraq is Arab! Come join us under the rocket fire
Meanwhile, in another area where news reports have become very sketchy lately, shelling of the Green Zone intensified yesterday (Thursday April 17), apparently taking advantage of the sandstorm, which hindered US aerial surveillance. An AP reporter said:
Apparently taking advantage of the reduced aerial activity, militants from eastern Baghdad repeatedly shelled the Green Zone, which houses diplomatic missions and much of the Iraqi government.And the New York Times reports that the US forces have started building what it calls "a massive concrete wall that will partition Sadr City."
Explosions were heard across the city as salvos of rockets or mortar shells were fired into the high-security district. The U.S. Embassy confirmed the attacks but said no casualties were reported.
Meanwhile, a US embassy spokesman told AlHayat that the Green Zone is under daily attack, but he said this in connection with an interview in which he said Arab states should upgrade their diplomatic representation in the Green Zone. The story starts like this:
The official responsible for public relations at the American Embassy in Baghdad Philip Ricker, admitted that "rockets are raining down daily" on the Green Zone, but he invited the Arab states to strengthen their diplomatic presence in Iraq, because they have the ability to deal with security at their missions, as the security situation in Iraq improves, in his words.Ricker said the continuing presence and activities of the US embassy is proof that the security problems can be dealt with, and he pointed out that there are European and Asian countries that also have active diplomatic representation in Iraq. Ricker continued:
"Also the Iranian ambassador and his embassy are very active, but those who are lacking are the Arab diplomats. This has nothing to do with granting legitimacy to Iraq. Rather, it has to do with the interests of those [Arab] countries in playing a role in this country." He stressed: "Iraq is a founding member of the Arab League, it has a strong Arab identity, and it has been part of the Arab world for centuries. And he emphasized that Iraqis "feel this lack, and they expect the Arab world, and they are saying 'Where are they?'"