The new embassy is one of the few major projects the Bush administration has undertaken in Iraq that is on schedule and within budget. But the entire project came under attack when new details emerged of its cost and scale.

The compound will cost $592m and will cover 104 acres of land, about the size of the Vatican, making it the biggest and most expensive U.S. embassy on earth. It will include 27 separate buildings and house about 615 Americans behind bomb-proof walls. The U.S. ambassador will live in a high-security home on the compound reported to fill 16,000 square feet. His deputy will live in a more modest 9,500 sq ft. They will have a pool, gym and communal living areas, and the embassy will have its own power and water supplies.