May 27, 2005 – Some 40,000 Iraqi soldiers will erect a security cordon consisting of hundreds of checkpoints around the city of Baghdad starting next week, according to the countryâ€™s new defense minister, Saadoun Al-Duleimi.
"Next week, we will have a strong and safe cordon around Baghdad like a bracelet that surrounds the hand," Al-Duleimi said.
Iraqâ€™s interior minister, Bayan Jabr, said forces will establish 675 fixed checkpoints in addition to mobile security station that will patrol parts of Baghdad where car bombings have been most frequent. All citizens entering or leaving the capital will be required to pass through checkpoints.
"You will witness unprecedented security measures and none familiar to you," Jabr said. "We have to work together, government and people, because security is for all the citizens, not just the government."
The ministers said Iraqi troops would divide Baghdad into two sectors and 15 districts where police and emergency personnel would operate 24 hours a day, but they did not give details about the rules of engagement that Iraqi forces patrolling the cordon would be expected to follow.
Occupation checkpoints have been particularly dangerous for Iraqi civilians and foreigners traveling through the country. Reports of indiscriminate shootings of unarmed civilians by checkpoint guards are commonplace.