May 18, 2010
Baghdad is to resort to one of the oldest forms of defence by building a massive wall around the capital to keep out insurgents, The Times has learnt.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
A series of recent suicide bombings has driven the governor of the Iraqi capital to propose the concrete barrier, which will be 15ft (4.5m) high and 70 miles (112km) long. Every man, beast and vehicle entering will be searched at one of only eight gates along the main highways.
Baghdad, roughly the same size as London and with approximately five million inhabitants, will face severe disruption as a result. Freedom of movement will be limited and workers and visitors alike will probably have to wait for at least an hour to enter. Once inside, though, it is hoped they will be much safer. Shatha al-Obeidi, an aide to Salah Abdul Razzaq, the governor, said: “We want to stop the terrorist from sneaking in. With the wall it will be much easier.”
Building work is expected to take about a year. Once the wall is completed, officials plan to remove most of the 1,500 checkpoints and many miles of cement blast barriers that have sprung up inside Baghdad over the past few years. “We have become a city filled with concrete,” said Ms al-Obeidi. “That will change.”