When Baghdad’s Green Zone, as the International Zone is commonly known, reopened to the public after 16 years, the city’s taxi drivers quipped that this may be the first and the last pledge kept by the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. Then they started complaining, only half in jest, just how much of this one kept promise proved to be a challenge for drivers.
The opening of the Green Zone, as well as feeder roads, checkpoints and roadblocks, signals a fresh start for Baghdad. While this is a positive indication of the city’s improved security, the sudden opening originally presented a challenge for taxi drivers. Ali Jasim, who has driven a taxi in Baghdad for the last three years, told Al-Monitor, “The opening happened overnight. In fact, when I first tried to enter I notified the guards with the news on my phone so they would let me in.”