Last week, the media reported that the United States is planning to build a massive embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.
According to the Miami Herald, “the plan calls for the rapid construction of a $111 million new office annex to accommodate 330 workers; $197 million to build 156 permanent and 80 temporary housing units; and a $405 million replacement of the main embassy building.” This project is in addition to the reconstruction of the consular buildings in Lahore and Peshawar. Jonathan Blyth, director of external affairs at the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations in Washington, said in his comment about the project, “For the strong commitment the U.S. is making in the country of Pakistan, we need the necessary platform to fulfil our diplomatic mission. The embassy is in need of upgrading and expansion to meet our future mission requirements.” Khurshid Ahmad, a member of Pakistan’s upper house of parliament for Jamaat-e-Islami said, “This is a replay of Baghdad. This [Islamabad embassy] is more [space] than they should need. It’s for the micro and macro management of Pakistan, and using Pakistan for pushing the American agenda in Central Asia.”
Khurshid was referring to the gigantic US embassy in Iraq that opened in January of this year. According to FoxNews, the embassy is 104 acres which is approximately the size of 80 football fields! Like a small city in the United States, it includes a cinema, retail and shopping areas, restaurants, schools, a fire station, power and water treatment plants, telecommunications and wastewater treatment facilities and houses 1,000 employees in 6 apartment blocks. The International Crisis Group said about the embassy, “The presence of a massive U.S. embassy – by far the largest in the world – co-located in the Green Zone with the Iraqi government is seen by Iraqis as an indication of who actually exercises power in their country.”
The Muslim lands are littered with foreign embassies. While on the surface, these embassies may appear to be simple buildings upon which diplomats are housed, they are more often than not, used as a tool for foreign powers to gain access to the region, gather intelligence, spread secular-Capitalist values and exert political influence.