Bridge Reopens Linking Baghdad Districts
June 9, 2008
One thing that will help to ensure that Iraqi’s are able to rebuild their country, is the ability to travel between different areas of the country freely, to conduct business, visit family and friends and to just get away from the everyday things in their lives. Here in the United States that’s pretty easily accomplished, because we have a system of roadways across the country that will take us wherever we wish to go, we have the ability of public transportation and things such as airlines and trains. In Iraq, many of the roads between different areas of the country are not in such good shape. Bridges across waterways are collapsed and some roadways are not able to be traveled due to IEDs that the insurgents plant.
Recently in Baghdad, another bit of evidence of the promise of a more prosperous future was seen when the Sarafiyah Bridge that links Baghdad’s Fusafa and Karkh districts was reopened on May 27th after being rebuilt. According to US Army Major Frank Garcia, the public affairs officer for the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, the reopening of this bridge is very important, not only because it has been rebuilt, but because the Iraqi government took the initiative to conduct the construction.
“We didn’t have a direct role in this,” he said. “It was Iraqi led, Iraqi designed and there were very few coalition members there.”
This is a great step for the Iraqis and it shows the Iraqi citizens that their government is willing to do what it takes to ensure that their country returns to normal. The bridge will allow for very tangible economic gains to the community, allowing businesses to be able to more easily more their wares from one area of Baghdad to another. The bridge also has a much more symbolic meaning to the citizens.
“One side is Shiia and the other side is Sunni, and there were very good relationships between them,” said Muhammed Asadi, a Baghdad native who works as a media advisor for the brigade. “The terrorists tried to send a message: ‘We would like to cut the communication lines between these two main groups in Iraq.’ But luckily they didn’t manage to do that. And the local people sent the message back: ‘Here we are and we’re together.’”
The Sarafiyah Bridge was one of several bridges in Baghdad that cross the Tigris River that were destroyed in April 2007. It was destroyed in a vehicle bomb attack that killed 10 Iraqis and injured over 26 others. The reopening of the bridge sends a clear message to the terrorists that the Iraqi people will not idly stand by and watch them destroy their country, that they’re willing to do what is needed to rebuild their country.