Mobile blackout in Baghdad

The Government of Iraq has declared one week public holiday in Baghdad for security reason in view of the Arab summit being held here. However, as all other branches outside Baghdad are open and are working normally, so they need support for IT and system applications. We are therefore having a small team for supporting Banking system and another for IT. I am also going to office for oversight of support.

Normally, I get up around 6.00 am on the weekdays. I also call my wife Jaya every morning. Today, as usual, when I picked up my phone having Zain Sim, I was surprised as there was no network. Then I checked the other one with Asiacell Sim. It was indicating very weak signals. Thank God, I could manage to talk to her.

This network outage was unannounced. So, I first doubted my phone. I opened it and checked the Sim, put the battery. But, the result was same. Slowly, the Asiacell was also showing no network coverage!

I went to the office in the morning and asked Mustafa whether his mobile was getting mobile network. He checked and confirmed that there was no network coverage. I put this on my Twitter and Facebook. After sometime, I found my friends in Baghdad were also facing the same problem. So, the mobile networks have deliberately been shut down for security reasons in view of the Arab summit.

This is quite a problem for people like me, who are staying away from their families and need to be in touch with them several times a day. However, this is a price to be paid to ensure safety and security during the summit as many country heads and important dignitaries have come to attend the summit. Nevertheless, it is also a matter of image building for the incumbent government by organising the summit without any terror attack in the city. After all, it is being held in Baghdad after more than 20 years, the last one was held in 1990.

Luckily, the Internet service is available and so I am managing to contact Jaya and Babai and talking to them using WhatsApp, Skype and Google. Also, I am able to publish this post on my blog.