All of this has caused Anbar locals to send many complaints to their local representatives. It is clear that Baghdad needs to keep out extremists carrying car bombs; but the situation has become untenable and is impacting too much on local people’s lives, especially if they’re originally from Anbar, they say. There have been several delegations of politicians visiting the checkpoint in person and they often leave after extracting promises and proposals to ease the queues. But the situation never changes and in fact, some locals say, it is getting worse.
“Every time I go to Baghdad I have to carry so many papers to verify I am not a wanted criminal nor am I the relative of any wanted criminals,” complains Abdul Rahman al-Jumaili, an elderly man who lives in Fallujah but who must journey to Baghdad’s hospitals regularly.
What made al-Jumaili particularly angry one day happened after he entered into conversation with one of the security staffers, telling him that surely it would be better to help people cross at the checkpoint and thus win the sympathy of locals, rather than aggravating them.
“Then I was surprised to be informed that today I would not be allowed to enter Baghdad because the road was closed and only locals and those with jobs in the city were allowed to enter,” al-Jumaili says.