The Green Zone, which houses Iraqi government offices and the sprawling US embassy, will be open for 14 hours every day from 5 a.m., Major General Jassim Yahya told The Associated Press. During that period, Yahya said, “the entire Green Zone will be open to the public.”
The 10 square kilometer zone with its palm trees and monuments has been largely off limits to the public since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq to overthrow President Saddam Hussein. It first opened in 2019, then closed and opened several times since then.
“The Green Zone has been opened to make it easy for people to get to work on time,” says traffic police Brig. General Muhammad Mahmoud. He added that the opening of the area had been ordered by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.
In the past, only Iraqis with special security badges were allowed to enter the area.
The walled area surrounded by cement walls became a hated symbol of the country’s inequality, fueling the perception among Iraqis that their government is out of touch.
“We have been waiting for a long time for the Green Zone to fully open,” said Usama Hassan, a Baghdad resident who works at the University of Baghdad. “This will make our lives easier.”