Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone is home to high-powered foreigners running the interim government ... and to hundreds of ordinary Iraqis too. Their views on life could not be more different. The Iraqis live in 600 apartments and several houses - places they have always called home but which they now find cordoned off from the rest of the capital. The American military has given Iraqis who live inside the zone ID cards to ease their movement through the perimeter checkpoints, but still, they often endure long waits. 'We are happy today, the line is not long. Some days we wait six hours,' said one woman as she and her husband waited to return home. Residents of the area say they don't generally mind the US military presence and that it has made their neighbourhood free from the crime that has been rampant in other parts of the city. Then again, their new neighbours are targets for attack. Hanaa Kareem, who lives inside the Green Zone, said: 'We feel very afraid. It is hard to sleep at night, we fear something will happen.' Ms Kareem leaves the zone every day to go shopping. 'All of the stores inside have raised their prices,' she said. 'If it costs 1,000 [dinars] out there, it will cost 2,000 in here.' Life is very different for the thousands of foreign employees of the US-led occupation authority who live inside one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces in the zone and who refer to the outside as 'the Red Zone'. Contractors and employees of the Coalition Provisional Authority are not allowed outside the zone without armed escorts. Most foreigners inside the Green Zone live in mobile homes on the grounds of the palace, whose buildings were heavily bombed in last year's invasion. Many of the civilians wear flak jackets -the area is shelled often, though the attackers rarely hit anything. It is not uncommon to find foreigners working inside the Green Zone who have not left it once in their time in Iraq, and the place has developed a culture unto itself. The PX store has Miller Lite beer and hawks T-shirts advertising 'Hard Rock Cafe - Baghdad' or sporting slogans like 'See Iraq from an A-10 Warthog'. The A10 is an anti-tank aircraft. The zone is mostly dark at night to prevent guerillas targeting buildings, yet it is one of the few places in Baghdad with a viable night-life scene. There are Thursday night pool parties at the palace and there is a disco at the Al-Rashid Hotel (where the mosaic of George Bush senior that once graced the floor of the lobby - one was forced to tread on his face to enter - has been removed). On a weekend night, all manner of civilian contractors can be seen having a drink and watching the dance floor, perhaps hoping it will suddenly be flooded by beautiful women. Alas, that never seems to happen - the female to male ratio on the inside appears to be somewhere around 1 to 20. What is happening outside does occasionally affect those in the zone. During a recent lunch at the palace, I noticed there was no Coke. 'You can thank the insurgents for that. They've disrupted the supply lines,' said a public affairs officer.