Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Insurgents Control the Roads

How about a little cross-posting?

Earlier today I mentioned that the British Embassy in Iraq has ordered its staff not to travel on the main highway connecting Baghdad with the Baghdad International Airport (as well as banning embassy staff from taking any commercial flight out of Iraq).

Now we find in this account by a reporter who has driven the hair-raising airport highway that it is actually the safest route out of the country.

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.

If you read the entire article you will learn that Iraq Survey Group leader Charles Duelfer nearly took a dirt nap on "RPG Alley" on November 8, surviving an attack that claimed the lives of two of his body guards.

You don't have to be friggin' Erwin Rommel to understand that the U. S. military situation in Iraq is, how do they say, "tenuous".