Security preparations complete for Baghdad summit

Police inspect cars at a checkpoint in Baghdad. [Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud/Reuters]

Police inspect cars at a checkpoint in Baghdad. [Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud/Reuters]

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Security preparations have been completed for the 23rd Arab League summit that will convene in Baghdad on March 29th, Iraqi officials announced Wednesday (March 14th).

A joint committee -- comprised of representatives from the Iraqi ministries of Defence and Interior and the Iraqi National Intelligence Service -- prepared four different security plans to monitor the capital during the summit, according to Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Asaadi.

The four plans, he said, include securing the airspace around the capital to prevent any missile or rocket attacks, securing the surrounding areas around the Green Zone, protecting Arab leaders as they travel from Baghdad Airport to the Republican Palace and their hotels, and ensuring the safety of the delegations accompanying the leaders, such as journalists, diplomats and staff.

He said 98,000 members of the army, the police, and the National Intelligence Service will be deployed across Baghdad.

"These forces will ensure that no terrorist attacks will take place in the capital or its periphery during the period of the Arab summit meeting," he said.

The deployment of the forces "will be tactical, smart, and non-chaotic, nor explicit or disturbing to citizens; nor will it cause traffic jams or restrictions on the movement of citizens because the plans were worked out with extraordinary care," al-Asaadi said.

On Wednesday, Baghdad Operations Command imposed a curfew on motorcycles, bicycles and carts "starting next Saturday and until further notice" as part of preparations.

Al-Asaadi said the curfew will not be imposed across the entire capital. Also, some of the traffic near the Green Zone and the Republican Palace will be diverted to other streets to facilitate the movement of official delegations, motorcades and journalists.

He added that Baghdad International Airport will be closed to all commercial flights from March 26-30th.

Dozens of suspected al-Qaeda members arrested

"Iraqi forces are still occasionally reviewing the drafted plans, although the present plans are ideal," said Maj. Gen. Mohammad al-Askeri, spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Defence.

In the past few days, he said the Iraqi army has arrested 46 suspected al-Qaeda members.

Al-Askeri said among the detainees is a suspected leader in the organisation, Najeeb Ali, "who confessed to planning to launch attacks inside the capital during the first hour of the Arab summit meeting".

"Al-Qaeda may try to carry out horrific terrorist operations while the Arab leaders are in Baghdad to claim that it is forcefully present, and to embarrass the Iraqi leaders before their Arab counterparts," analyst Abdullah al-Falluji said.

Meanwhile, on Monday Iraqi President Jalal Talabani announced the completion of non-security-related preparations for the Arab summit.

Ali al-Dabbagh, chairperson of the committee overseeing the preparations, told Mawtani the Babel, Ishtar, Palestine, al-Mansour, and Baghdad hotels are ready to receive the delegates accompanying the Arab leaders. The Arab leaders will be staying at various presidential palaces in the capital, he said.




    الاعلامي حيدر سمير


    We hope all the best of the convening of Arab Summit in Baghdad - the capital of Arabism and return of Iraq to its natural place as an influential country in decision-making – let the summit be a proof of the size of the change that took place in our country after getting rid of - dictatorship - for building the homeland, well-being and stability of our people - the journalist Haider Samir.

  • محمود هادي الجواري


    The Iraqi nation will be always the Arab Summit, God save us from the evil fever that comes to us from our feet... Improving the conditions of the Iraqi nation is much better than the Arab Summit... we should learn from the mistakes done earlier in history, the buried tyrant of Iraq put both his hands in hungry mouths of the Arabs and Arabism, but they are who supported him, kept him and helped him, and they themselves who killed him... No harm in helping the Arabs if we have reached a higher degree of sophistication, and the Iraqi could feel security and well-being as experienced by desert nomads non-Arab brothers.

  • سليم فاروق


    We wish that Iraq could return strong as it was before; we wish it could rebuild as a protective arm again for itself and for all the Arab countries. We wish that the Iraqi economy could return to the way it was; we wish that Iraq could enjoy a new Iraq, away from the internal conflicts among the several sects, away from the wars and their tragedy, and away from everything that is pushing the Iraqis to be backward again.

  • lسعد غانم


    My expectation about the outcome of the summit of Baghdad was the same as my expectation of what it was before the Arab summit in the previous meetings, and it was: nothing. Every time the summit has been held in one of the Arab countries, no progress resulted from them or any decisions with a benefit or feasibility for the Arabic countries which are in dire need of quick and decisive decisions in the political position such as Syria, currently, except some of the decisions of the assistance that do not work or benefit. If ever they have been received at all by the people who desired to help, the Arab summit is just to improve the face of the Arab countries in front of the world as if they are giving attention to the events that are happening. The evidence for that is we have not found any interference or participation from the Arab summit regarding what happened to Libya during the revolution with any military aid or any other. The sides that helped Libya to be free from their tyrant Gaddafi were the foreign countries (NATO). We all know that these countries do not help without any benefit for them. The Arab summit allowed one of the Arab countries to be assisted by the outside instead of helping it themselves. Unfortunately, Libya has only one choice and that is to turn to NATO. No Arab country participated except Qatar in that military assistance. This is what resulted from the continuous convening of the Arab summit. Its meeting ends every time with nothing, as usual. What is the difference between this meeting and the one at that time? Nothing has changed at all.

  • وسام علاء الدين


    This summit will make things perfectly clear through the decisions that will be taken during the sessions of the Arab ministries of the foreign affairs and the meetings of the Arab presidents. They aim to put plans to help Iraq in all matters that will strengthen its infrastructure and preserve its security and stability at this stage. Iraq is in need to be embraced by the Arab region which would lessen the foreign pressures practiced against it to disunite and divide it to be able to steal its fortunes and ruin its future among world countries.

  • كامل عيسى


    Iraq is a country with political, economic and social importance; it only needs some movement and motivation to return to its natural status. Holding the Arab Summit in the Iraqi capital has political, economic and social dimensions insuring that Iraq is still a part of the Arab system. It is an inseparable part of the Arab nation despite the greed of some neighboring countries which seek to swallow Iraq and dissociate it from its Arabic and national depth.

  • سلام علي


    The Arab Summit that will be held in Iraq at the end of March is a good gesture for the Iraqi people and the Arab nation. The decisions of this summit will have a great impact on taking Iraq out of the crisis from which it is still suffering. The most important to be discussed is freeing Iraq from the Chapter VII of the UN Security Council. That chapter led to weakening the Iraqi economy and limiting its freedom in managing Iraq's funds which need to be spent on strengthening the infrastructure and achieving the wellbeing of the Iraqi people. In addition, there will be effective contribution from the Arab countries to rebuild Iraq through opening channels of mutual collaboration to speed up the process of regaining the leading role of Iraq in the Arab World.

  • محسن وجدي


    Hosting the Arab summit in Iraq at this sensitive time represents something important in Iraq and the Arab states in general. Iraq had suffered a great deal before it managed to host the Arab summit on its land, as we all know that the security situation in Iraq is not good. Hence, we can say that, since the Gulf War, Iraq has been fighting, so to speak, with the Arab states, especially Egypt, to host an Arab summit. Iraq’s hosting of an Arab summit will reflect positively on the investment environment in Iraq, as well as the security status and the general attitude towards this security status. In addition, by hosting the Arab summit, Iraq will send a message to the world that security has started spreading across Iraq, which will encourage investment and change the view of the working companies in all fields and the whole world about Iraq. It is no secret that Iraq suffered much until it succeeded in hosting the Arab summit in particular, and it exerted serious efforts to convince the Arab states and their delegates to participate in the activities of this summit, especially Egypt. Iraq also agreed to pay all its debts to Egypt, which had been suspended since the Gulf War. The amount of these debts was about $40,637,000, and they will be distributed to 675,000 Egyptian workers, who were working in Iraq during the Gulf War. This was a quick settlement, at this time in particular, and the mentioned amount was transferred quickly. This is meaningful explicitly and implicitly, in my opinion.

  • اكرم نسيم


    Iraq has sent the most effective and positive message to the whole world; to declare that no matter how hard circumstances get,and enemies try to undermine this country, Iraq will remain standfast and not be affected. In fact, the events of the Arab Summit in Baghdad will start at the end of this month to show the entire world that Iraq is able to challenge the crises and overcome trouble. Indeed, we can deduce a lot of indicators from holding the Arab Summit in Iraq. Notably, one of them is the ability of this country to challenge the long-term security crisis. All of us have followed the preparations of Iraq to hold this event. Thus, we have noticed that Iraq has restored much confidence in its abilities in ensuring the security of such an important event. On the other hand, holding the Arab Summit in Iraq is a clear indicator that cannot be overlooked: reactivating the Arab role of Iraq, a role that has been absent from the scene for a long time, even before the overthrowing of the Baathist regime. As a matter of fact, Iraq is returning heavily to the scene with its new look: a new and peaceful Iraq that is based on democracy and dialogue and whose foreign relationships have been based on cooperation and common interests. We are hopeful that confidence will be restored between the new post-dictatorship Iraq and all the Arab countries. We also hope to achieve a quantum leap towards greater understanding, keeping pace closely with the events and cooperating for the well-being of the Arab people.

  • سعيد طلال


    It seems that there is still a lot of time for the relations between Iraq and Kuwait to improve. Despite the signs that have emerged on the Iraqi and Kuwaiti sides over the past few years since the departure of the unjust regime, both are moving slowly and very cautiously. The political scene is now witnessing an unusual movement towards the improvement of relations between the two countries, especially after it was clear that both Iraq and Kuwait need to strengthen bilateral cooperation in many areas. Also, everyone is aware of the Kuwait concern over the painful past, which basically represents the main reason behind the slow movement in promoting bilateral relations between the two countries. However, it has become clear that the need for cooperation, particularly security cooperation, is among the necessities that may allow some taboos. After years of estrangement, exchanging accusations and refusing cooperation, a string of light has emerged, to lead the future of relations between the two countries to a path that is almost clear.

  • صالح


    What will change after the summit? We lack the most basic services which were allotted money, and they were not implemented, only little things. And the people are not satisfied with the government because of the deterioration of services and the lack of planning. Thanks to anyone who wants end the suffering of the poor, especially the disadvantaged and the poor!

  • ابو علي


    May God protect you in the name of the messenger's household, peace be upon them!

  • حسين


    May God protect the patient Iraqi people! I have a question to ask: Is the summit that is going to be held in Iraq considered a carnival for the poor, patient Iraqi people?

  • ساري المحمداوي


    Peace be upon you! All that has been said about preparations and not bothering the citizens is all nonsense. They do nothing but cut the roads and abuse the citizens. I ask God not to make any of the Arabs our ruler.

  • وهاب محمد


    This important conference is considered the biggest international event organized by Iraq since 2003. Iraq prepared the topics that will be suggested and discussed in the Arab Summit. One of the most important of those topics is about Iraq and its relations with the Arab countries or the countries of the region in general. They will work together to make decisions and positive results to serve the political, economic and social progress in the Arab World after discussing all the preparations for that by the Arab foreign ministers. They did so to include these very important topics in the conference. I expect that the summit will achieve great success. Through this summit, all the pending problems between Iraq and the Arab region will be solved. This will increase the interaction between the Arab countries and Iraq, which will have a great impact on developing relations between the Arab countries.

  • حمزة علي


    The Arab Summit conference is to be held this month in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in a few days. This is considered to be one of the important political developments in the Arabic political scene. The message of holding the Arab Summit in Iraq indicates to the whole world that Iraq is still included in the Arabic incubation (metaphor of being part of the Arab World). Iraq did not leave it as some might claim. Iraq is greatly committed to the Arab surroundings as it is an inseparable part of it. In this new political stage, Iraq is retaking its leading role in the Arab frame because it is a founding member of the Arab League. It has political and economic weight in the Arab World and the whole world. It is worth mentioning that Iraq fulfilled all the requirements to hold the Arab Summit in Iraq; the most important of them is providing security which is a priority in the programs of Iraq to prepare for the next conference. This is achieved by forming high security committees with full powers in Baghdad and all the Iraqi governorates to secure and insure the greatest amount of security possible in the country. In addition, the other preparations are in full swing in Baghdad at the moment to provide the proper and distinguished atmosphere to receive the Arab kings and presidents who will be the guests of the Iraqi people at the summit.