A few tid-bits from a reporter’s account of his experiences traveling on the highway that connects Baghdad with the Baghdad International Airport:
The situation on the airport road has become a metaphor for the entire Iraq mission. More than 18 months after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the world’s most powerful military cannot guarantee the safety of Iraqis, foreigners and its own troops who use one of the country’s most important routes.
A near miss…
On Nov. 8, the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that two SUVs were caught in an explosion as a convoy traveled through the Amiriyah district on the airport road. U.S. officials released no details of the attack.
The next day, however, CBS and NBC reported that one of those in the convoy was Charles Duelfer, who conducted the fruitless search of Iraq for weapons of mass destruction. Duelfer escaped injury but both networks reported that two of his bodyguards were killed.
Oh, and by the way… there is no safe route out of Iraq anymore.
The main highways west to Jordan and Syria are even more dangerous – especially for foreigners – because of armed insurgents around Ramadi and Fallujah who have kidnapped and beheaded both Iraqi and foreign hostages.
The road south toward Karbala and Najaf passes through a string of insurgent-controlled towns and cities dubbed “the triangle of death” because of the large number of foreigners and Iraqi Shiite Muslims waylaid over the last year.
Another road to the southwest through Kut and on to Basra is considered safer – but only relatively. As the route approaches Amarah it passes through an area notorious for carjackings.
The highway north toward Mosul, known to the U.S. military as Highway One, passes through such insurgency-plagued cities as Samarra, Tikrit and Beiji. And the U.S. military describes the situation in Mosul as “tenuous.”
That leaves the airport as the “safest” way out of Baghdad.