Best Regards from Baghdad

My One Year in Iraq

Introduction

If you're reading this, it's because you know Mike or me or you know someone who knows Mike or me, or you've attended the FACT training or whatever.  I started this website before I headed out to Baghdad for a year's tour at the American Embassy.  Many of my friends and family asked me questions about my reasons for going, what it will be like, etc. and so many people  asked me to keep in touch, send them pictures, and let them know what it's really like, that when a close friend suggested that I set up a website, I decided it was a great idea!  So, here it is - a year's worth of notes and random thoughts about life at the American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, along with contributions from my friend Mike, who arrived in Baghdad in August 2008 and has taken up the work of sharing his thoughts.

I spent a year in Baghdad - from July 2006 until July 2007.  This website is a chronicle of how the year progressed.  I used it to keep my friends and family posted on my life in Baghdad, and friends recommended it to more friends and it took on a life of its own.  By the time I left post, people who would come into my office would say "Are you Baghdad Anne?" and I had to admit that yes, I supposed so.  While this website reflects the reality of life in Baghdad from summer 2006 until summer 2007, things have changed  dramatically since my departure.  The New Embassy Compound is finished and people are living and working there.  But feel free to check out what life was like for my colleagues and me during the "bad old days."  Mike has provided me with updates, so you can check on the latest and get another perspective.

Caveat:  I must explain to non-State Department people that I was a Foreign Service Officer - a diplomat.  I lived and worked in the International (Green) Zone (the "IZ").  I cannot begin to explain what it's like out in the "Red" Zone where the Iraqi citizens live, facing danger and terrorism on a daily basis.  Nor can I explain what it's like to be out in the countryside.  If you have a loved one in the military, I can't describe what those brave men and women are going through - unless they are assigned to the IZ.  But you may still enjoy hearing about my life in Baghdad.  I have since retired and now work in the private sector - after 23 years as a Foreign Service Officer.  One of my most rewarding experiences was my year in Baghdad.  I have absolutely no regrets.

Please sign my guestbook so I know you're been here.  I thoroughly enjoy reading everyone's comments.  And, if you've been to Baghdad and would like to contribute some tips/comments, please feel free to post them to the Guestbook, or write to me at: baghdadanne@yahoo.com.  We all learn something new every day.

Special note to Foreign Service Personnel: If you're thinking of bidding on Iraq, please be sure to read my message just for you:  http://www.baghdadanne.com/messageforfspersonnel.htm.  If you decide you're interested, let your CDO know.

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In Arabic, that would be (more or less - I keep resetting it.  Sometimes these numbers are off by one or two, but you get the idea):