(ZEROHEDGE) – Pope Francis' upcoming trip to Iraq is being widely considered a security nightmare as both his own Vatican protection service and local police and military officials scramble to ensure nothing goes wrong. The visit scheduled for March 5-8 will mark the first time a Roman Pontiff will visit Iraq.
Most foreign dignitaries who arrive in Baghdad do so under secrecy, with their official visits published typically only upon arrival or after, and with meetings with officials going on behind the safety of the high-secure 'Green Zone'. Needless to say terrorism is the prime concern given his international status, and also as a high profile Christian figure in a Muslim majority land that's been racked with sectarian strife.
However, the Pope's itinerary has already been published, which will include "a four-day journey that will have him criss-cross the country and reinforce the historic and natural place of Christians in Iraq and the Arab world," according to one Mideast media source cited in FOX. The Vatican has also described it as a "bridge building effort" to the Muslim world at a time the entire region is reeling from ISIS and prior US regime change and occupation in Iraq.