'Fallujah' Created Among Region 8 Cotton Fields

FEBRUARY 20, 2006 - Posted at 7:43 a.m. CST

MARION, AR - That's not really downtown Fallujah, Iraq, out there amid the cotton fields of east Arkansas.  It just looks like it, and it's supposed to look that way.

Nine blocks modeled on the war-ravaged city are being built among cotton, rice and soybean fields in Crittenden County.  Olive Group, a British firm that supplies personnel and combat training for armies and corporations, plans to open three blocks this summer.

A similar urban-combat operation, run by Direct Action Resource Center, has a mock Mogadishu in North Little Rock.  Direct Action opened the 740-acre center in 1996 and gets nearly all its business from the military and other federal agencies.

The International Peace Operations Association at Washington says about 100 companies provide support to the military in Iraq and those companies combined make about $20 billion a year.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)