Iraqi Embassy in U.S.
On August 14, 2003, the Washington Times reported that the "new government in Iraq ... plans to send new diplomats to the United States and six other countries in the first step toward restoring diplomatic relations after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein
"The Iraqi Embassy at 1801 P St. NW will reopen as a 'liaison office' for the new interim government in Baghdad, according to Ghassan Hussein, chairman of a steering committee formed to revamp the Foreign Ministry.
"The embassy operated as an interests section under the protection of the Algerian Embassy from 1991 until the overthrow of Saddam in April.
"Mr. Hussein told Agence France-Presse in Baghdad that the Iraqi government also will reopen diplomatic offices in Bahrain, Britain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Iraq plans to have liaison offices in 38 countries by the end of the year.
"'All the ambassadors and charges d'affaires [appointed by Saddam] have been changed, and we will send in their place new heads of liaison offices,' Mr. Hussein said.
"Baghdad first severed diplomatic relations with Washington in 1967 when Iraq joined other Arab countries in attacking Israel in the Six-Day War. The Ronald Reagan administration restored relations in 1984."
President George Herbert Walker Bush "ordered the expulsion of all but four Iraqi diplomats in 1991 at the start of the Persian Gulf war to liberate Kuwait, which was invaded by Iraq.
"Three diplomats remained at the embassy when the Iraqi mission closed with the downfall of Saddam."
The Iraqi Embassy in the United States was "closed 13 years ago during the Gulf crisis of 1990-91." Rend Rahim Francke, the Iraqi-American woman who is Executive Director of the Iraq Foundation, was selected in November 2003 by the Iraqi Governing Council to re-establish the embassy in Washington, D.C.:
"The mission, which will temporarily work out of the Bahraini embassy, will try to build bridges with about 400,000 Iraqi expatriates in the United States. Many were exiles who avoided all contact under the former regime, Ms Rahim said. Iraq has also agreed with neighbouring Iran and Turkey to send ambassadors to Tehran and Ankara ... All diplomatic appointments will be subject to review once a sovereign Iraqi government is in place in June and the US occupation ends."
"After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the orange-brick building of the Iraqi Embassy near Dupont Circle (photo) in Washington was taken over by the Algerian Embassy. A group of Iraqi diplomats remained in the building, operating under Algerian auspices in the Iraqi interests section.
"During the 1990s, the entrance hall of the sparsely furnished building was dominated by two huge portraits of Saddam: one in military uniform, the other in a blue suit.
"The ambassador's residence, a vintage brick mansion in the upscale Cleveland Park neighborhood, was taken over by the U.S. government in 1990 and has remained empty since. Recently, the State Department made extensive repairs on the building after its roof began to leak."
"...the large house which is situated in one of Washington luxurious quarters has been empty since 1991 when diplomatic relations between Iraq and the USA were severed.
"According to international agreements, repair and maintenance of the headquarters fall at the expense of the US Department of State.
"However, the renovation and repair process which will be paid for from the Iraqi assets frozen in the USA, is being made while Washington is threatening to launch a war against Iraq under allegations that Iraq has mass destruction weapons."
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Embassyworld web site lists only two embassies for Iraq: "The Iraq Foundation in Washington, United States of America" and "Permanent Delegation of Iraq to the UNESCO in Paris, France."
- Iraqi Embassy Workers Await New Orders, AP, April 10, 2003.
- Eric Pfeiffer, The Haunted Embassy. The strange and delightful story of Achmed Alkaissy, the last remaining employee of Iraq's American embassy, The Weekly Standard, November 24, 2003.