US denies plan for giant trench around Baghdad
16 September 2006
BAGHDAD - The US military denied reports on Saturday that Iraq plans to dig a giant ring of trenches around the city of Baghdad.
Iraqs Interior Ministry announced earlier this week that it plans to set up 28 checkpoints that would allow controlled access to the city, while closing off other roads as part of a security crackdown.
The New York Times quoted an Interior Ministry spokesman on Saturday as saying the Iraqis would also dig a giant trench around the city of seven million people.
Were going to build a trench around Baghdad so we can control the exits and entrances so people will be searched properly, Brigadier General Abdul Karim Khalaf told the newspaper. He said the trench would run across farmland and other open areas.
But Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson said the description sounded like an exaggeration of a plan that mostly would rely on existing terrain features to ensure that traffic moved through the 28 checkpoints.
No doubt there will be some trenches involved in this, but to say there is going to be a moat around the city is a bit of a stretch, Johnson said.
Theyve called it a trench around Baghdad. Really what this is, is theres a series of obstacles that the Iraqi government are planning, and were working with them, to ensure movement through checkpoints, to keep terrorists and extremists and criminals from using those (other) routes, Johnson said.