Baghdad's Green Zone, a Barometer of War and Peace by Bassem Mroue – Associated Press
BAGHDAD — Baghdad's Green Zone has been a barometer for tension and conflict in Iraq for nearly two decades.
The 4-square mile (10-square kilometer) heavily guarded strip on the banks of the Tigris River was known as "Little America" following the 2003 U.S. invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. It then became a hated symbol of the country's inequality, fueling the perception among Iraqis that their government is out of touch.
The sealed-off area, with its palm trees and monuments, is home to the gigantic U.S. Embassy in Iraq, one of the largest diplomatic missions in the world. It has also been home to successive Iraqi governments and is off limits to most Iraqis.
Various attempts and promises by the Iraqi government to open the area to traffic over the past years have failed to materialize, because of persistent security concerns.
Here's a look at the Green Zone, past and present...