By Army 1st Lt. Dan Rullo
Special to American Forces Press Service
Sept. 9, 2008 - News of the grand reopening of Aden Street on the Suk Shelal Market in the Shaab neighborhood here was greeted with great enthusiasm from the public. Many shop owners said the increase in vehicular traffic will be good for their stores, since many more individuals will see the marketplace. As a result, there is a renewed sense of vigor and excitement as store owners build new advertising signage to attract people driving through the area. Local merchants said the opening of the road will make commercial travel and transportation of goods and services easier throughout the northern Baghdad neighborhood.
Amil Duragi, a store owner in the Suk Shelal Market, said he was excited at the prospect of potentially thousands of passersby seeing his storefront for the first time in several years.
During the past few years, two separate car bombings took place along the market. One was on the north side of the market, along the produce section. The second occurred on the south side, adjacent to the police station, which is eight doors down from Duragi's store.
Initially, the memory of those incidents brought a bit of hesitation in his voice, but then he said he sees differences in today's climate and that the security that exists across Baghdad and Shaab is greatly improved as compared to the way it was as recently as 2007.
Although some local shop owners and residents said they believe the Iraqi police still are working on how to run operations on their own, they have seen vast improvements in how they operate.
Many said that when the Iraqi and coalition forces work together, as they do in Shaab, great things can be accomplished as they strive to achieve a thriving, yet secure, outdoor market such as the Suk Shelal Market.
"The reopening of Aden Street in the Shulal Market will send a message to the people of Baghdad that the government of Iraq and the coalition forces have faith in the current security situation and the effectiveness of the Iraqi police," said Army 1st Lt. Matthew George, a Los Angeles native who serves as a patrol leader in Multinational Division Baghdad for the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
(Army 1st Lt. Dan Rullo serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 4th Infantry Division's Company C, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.)