I've written a lot about the President of Iran, Mahmoud Admadinejad's visit. He told the media Iraqis don't like Americans and Americans should leave. It was expected and he's right, many Iraqis don't like Americans.
Of course he didn't mention that Iraqis have very similar feelings towards Iran. Both nations are generally seen as imperialists here. Many Iraqis fear the rise of Persian rule and many feel that most Shiite and Kurdish officials are more loyal to Iran than Iraq.
But this is not what I want to write about. What I want to explain to you is the inconvenience of his trip. To have Ahmadinejad safely cruise around Baghdad, the capital shut down.
I walked into the office on Sunday and our newsroom was empty, nearly our entire staff didn’t make it to work. Hussein, one of our Iraqi reporters, tried to take a taxi. Halfway through the trip he was stopped by security forces. No vehicle traffic was allowed on the roads to secure Ahmadinejad's path to President Jalal Talabani's compound.
So, poor Hussein walked nearly a mile. But when he reached a central Baghdad bridge close to Talabani's compound he was turned away. No one was allowed to walk on the roads ahead to ensure the safety of the Iranian President.
So he waited for two hours under the bridge before giving up and going home. He spent the day sleeping off the exhausting walk.
I asked a visiting reporter to postpone her trip, worried that we wouldn't make it to the airport. I couldn't go to the grocery store to stock my refrigerator.
It may sound trivial, but this is the reality of life here.
To secure visiting dignitaries and show them the improvement in the capital, roads are blocked and life comes to a halt for a while. When Ahmadinejad was whisked to the airport, our staff applauded. No more road closures.
Ahmadinejad did not experience the violence in the capital during his two-day visit. But as he wrapped up his trip at least 16 Iraqis died in two car bombs. Fifty six more were injured.