Sunday, May 07, 2006

Party on at Saddam's palace

BAGHDAD - Tuesday night is karaoke night at Saddam Hussein's former Republican Palace in central Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

To the beat of the music, Iraq's latest conquerors triumphantly take to a stage that dominates the inner courtyard of what is today the temporary US Embassy in Baghdad and bawl out old rock 'n' roll and blues anthems to their heart's content.

A few meters away, soldiers take off their shirts to play volleyball, State Department contractors have a party on the lawn, and bikini-clad embassy workers splash in the swimming pool. All an awe-struck British journalist gazing over the scene for the first time can do is absent-mindedly mumble, "It's Saigon all over again."

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