– 18 Hours Ago
BAGHDAD – The Green Zone, which has long been the symbol of Saddam Hussein’s regime, has become a symbol of US occupation and has become the preserve of government officials to open its doors to all Iraqis, most of whom have been denied passage in the heart of Baghdad.
The public has not been able to enter the Green Zone for 16 years, until a few months ago the authorities issued a resolution allowing passage through its streets for limited hours each day. However, this area, which stretches much of it on the banks of the Tigris, returned from Tuesday, the first day of Eid al-Fitr to receive everyone and allowed to pass through its streets day and night.
“With the start of the Eid, the Green Zone will open 24 hours and additional gates will be opened, including the gate leading to the Ministry of Defense,” Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told a news conference on Sunday.
The Muslims of Iraq, like other Muslim countries, celebrate Eid al-Fitr from Tuesday.
Abu Majid, a 49-year-old taxi driver, speaking from his car amid a gorge over the Republican Bridge (center), welcomed the opening of the Green Zone, saying “the traffic will be better and the traffic will be better” on the streets.
“This is the joy of people,” said the man, who has not set foot in the Green Zone for years with a smile, saying “because the crowds will be down in the streets of Baghdad.”
Cultural complexes and complexes
This spot, which is divided by wide streets, does not know the hustle and spread on its sides beautiful green trees, many symbols for the Iraqis, especially for the vast capital Baghdad and inhabited by nearly eight million people.
In addition to alleviating the suffering of people from traffic jams, especially during the hot summer season, which lasts several months, the Green Zone has great meanings for this city, which was the capital of the Abbasid state and an important cultural center for years, before being hijacked by sectarian violence in the years following the invasion of Iraq.
Until the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, this 10-square-kilometer area, located in the heart of Baghdad, was the site of presidential palaces, the House of Representatives and other important headquarters.
Prior to the invasion, most of the Green Zone’s homes were reserved for prominent officials and members of the Baath Party, which ruled the country for decades, with statues and stone arches similar to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. However, its streets were not forbidden to Iraqis.
However, after the entry of the occupation tanks to Baghdad in April 2003, this spot, which was taken from a holy shrine on one side, turned into a green area, unlike the rest of the city of Baghdad, which became a red zone due to deteriorating security and escalating violence.
It is not known what is going on in this fortress isolated completely because of the placement of cement barriers and barbed wire even on the Tigris River, after it was receiving Iraqi families, especially on the weekend to visit the beautiful monuments and cultural complexes.
Over the past few years, only a few Iraqis have been able to enter the region after undergoing a series of stringent security measures, including obtaining special cards.
Break the transcendental feeling
In the past years, the region has not been populated by government officials, politicians, political parties, Americans, Britons and foreigners. Their embassy is located in this highly-favored area, while the rest of Baghdad lives in the opposite reality.
Political analyst Ghaleb Shabandar said that the reopening of the streets of the Green Zone carries many meanings.
For his part, believes security analyst Fadel Abu Ragheef, saying that the re-opening of the Green Zone “bear local returns to win the people and break the psychological barriers caused by the presence of the Green Zone,” adding, “At the international level is a confirmation that the security situation has become reassuring and investment companies can work In Iraq, and that Iraq has become a whole green area. ”
“Is the Green Zone a miracle?” Said Abu Sadiq, 40, a day laborer in an electrical appliances shop in central Baghdad. “We have had 15 years (since the fall of Saddam Hussein) and they have not given us anything.” “People need to address unemployment and improve services such as electricity, water, health and others,” he said.