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  1. Llewellyn Werner admits he is facing obstacles most amusement park developers never have to deal with – insurgent attacks and looting. When you are building an amusement park in downtown Baghdad, those risks come with the territory. Mr Werner, chairman of C3, a Los Angeles-based holding company for private equity firms, is pouring millions of dollars into developing the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience, a massive American-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum. It is being designed by the firm that developed Disneyland. “The people need this kind of positive influence. It’s going to have a huge psychological impact,” Mr Werner said. The 50-acre (20 hectare) swath of land sits adjacent to the Green Zone and encompasses Baghdad’s existing zoo, which was looted, left without power and abandoned after the American-led invasion in 2003. Only 35 of 700 animals survived – some starved, some were stolen and some were killed by Iraqis fearing food shortages. In the years that followed, the zoo and the surrounding al-Zawra park became an occasional target for insurgent attacks. But in recent months, families have begun to return cautiously for weekend picnics. Renovations have already begun on the zoo, with cages being repainted and new animals arriving, including ostriches, bears and a lion. Mr Werner, who has been sold a 50-year lease on the site by the Mayor of Baghdad for an undisclosed sum, says that the time is ripe for the amusement park. “I think people will embrace it. They’ll see it as an opportunity for their children regardless if they’re Shia or Sunni. They’ll say their kids deserve a place to play and they’ll leave it alone.” Ali al-Dabbagh, a spokesman for the Government, is equally optimistic: “There is a shortage of entertainment in the city. Cinemas can’t open. Playgrounds can’t open. The fun park is badly needed for Baghdad. Children don’t have any opportunities to enjoy their childhood.” Mr al-Dabbagh added that entry to the park would be strictly controlled. The project will cost $500 million (£250 million) and will be managed by Iraqis. Under the terms of the lease, Mr Werner will retain exclusive rights to housing and hotel developments, which he says will be both culturally sensitive and enormously profitable. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t making money,” he said. “I also have this wonderful sense that we’re doing the right thing – we’re going to employ thousands of Iraqis. But mostly everything here is for profit.” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3802051.ece
  2. Here are some great pictures of Zawraa Theme Park in the middle of Baghdad. Zawraa Park 7 Zawraa Park 6 Zawraa Park 5 Zawraa Park 4 Zawraa Park 3 Zawraa Park 2 Zawraa Park 1
  3. A nice video that is very much worth watching http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=805_1175727867
  4. Sadr City Mayor al-Darraji who got the US to go along with the theme park was seriously wounded yesterday by gunmen from a break away faction of the Medhi Army loyal to Iran. http://wkbt.com/Global/story.asp?S=6234946
  5. Guess what the US government has decided to build the Sadr City Theme Park. The Sadr City mayor has agreed to provide matching funds for the amusment. Overall the park will cost about 5 million.
  6. Well you have to subtract the fact most Americans and Europeans won't go to a country that they fear been suicide bombed like Egypt or other Middle Eastern countries.
  7. My Egyptian housmate said one of the problems with Middle Eastern Theme Parks is that there is no liability whatsoever. If a rail on a roller coaster gets bent and 30 people on the ride fly off to their deaths in Iraq, Syria, Iran, or other Middle Eastern countries the only thing that happens is that the theme park has to bend the rail back into place. They don't have to worry about being sued or punished for these deaths. If this stuff happened in a US theme park the park would be sued out of buisness along with everyone who owned the park and many might be put in jail. In the Middle East the Theme Parks really don't care if there rides are death traps or not.
  8. I asked my friend to send me some pictures of the worst theme park in Egypt when he gets back home this summer. The park is about 15 miles from his house. He said the only way he could describe the park is that it is one giant death trap. But, he also said he has heard there are theme parks in Iraq that are just as bad.
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