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Iraq Travel Warning from USA

 Iraq Travel Warning 
June 28, 2005 

This Travel Warning reiterates the dangers of the use of civilian aircraft and road travel within Iraq. This supersedes the Travel Warning of October 20, 2004.  The Department of State continues to strongly warn U.S. citizens against travel to Iraq, which remains very dangerous. Remnants of the former Baath regime, transnational terrorists, and criminal elements remain active. Attacks against military and civilian targets throughout Iraq continue, including in the International (or "Green") Zone. Targets include hotels, restaurants, police stations, checkpoints, foreign diplomatic missions, and international organizations and other locations with expatriate personnel. These attacks have resulted in deaths and injuries of American citizens, including those doing humanitarian work. In addition, there have been planned and random killings, as well as extortions and kidnappings. U.S. citizens have been kidnapped and several were subsequently murdered by terrorists in Iraq. U.S. citizens and other foreigners continue to be targeted by insurgent groups for kidnapping and murder. Military operations continue. There are daily attacks against Multinational Forces – Iraq (MNF-I) throughout the country.  There is credible information that terrorists are targeting civil aviation. Civilian and military aircraft arriving in and departing from Baghdad International Airport have been subjected to small arms and missiles. Civilian aircraft do not generally possess systems, such as those found on military aircraft, capable of defeating man-portable, surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS). Anyone choosing to utilize civilian aircraft to enter or depart Iraq should be aware of this potential threat, as well as the extremely high risk to road transportation described below. Official U.S. Government (USG) personnel are strongly encouraged to use U.S. military or other USG aircraft when entering and departing Iraq due to concerns about security of civilian aircraft servicing Iraq. Due to safety and security concerns, U.S. government personnel are not authorized to travel commercially on Iraqi Airways. Currently, U.S. government personnel are only authorized to travel commercially on Royal Jordanian Airlines.  All vehicular travel in Iraq is extremely dangerous. There have been numerous attacks on civilian vehicles, as well as military convoys. Attacks occur throughout the day, but travel at night is exceptionally dangerous. Travel in or through Ramadi and Fallujah, travel between al-Hillah and Baghdad, and travel between the International Zone and Baghdad International Airport is particularly dangerous. Occasionally, U.S. Government personnel are prohibited from traveling to select areas depending on prevailing security conditions. There continues to be heavy use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and/or mines on roads, particularly in plastic bags, soda cans, and dead animals. Grenades and explosives have been thrown into vehicles from overpasses, particularly in crowded areas. Overland travel should be undertaken only when absolutely necessary and with the appropriate security.  The U.S. Embassy is located in the International Zone. The Embassy can provide only limited emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq. At present travel to and from the International Zone is extremely limited. The U.S. Embassy does not provide visa services to the general public. American citizens who choose to visit or reside in Iraq despite this Travel Warning are urged to pay close attention to their personal security, avoid crowds, especially rallies or demonstrations and to inform the U.S. Embassy of their presence in Iraq. All Americans in Baghdad are strongly encouraged to register with the Embassy at the following website: https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/home.asp.  American citizens may obtain the latest security information or other information about iraq by calling the u.s. embassy, located in the international zone, at: 1-240-553-0584 x5340 or x5635, or iraqna cellular phones – 7901-732-134 and 07901-168-383 or by e-mail: usconsulbaghdad@state.gov or via the u.s. embassy’s website: http//iraq.usembassy.gov. Their after-hours number in case of extreme emergency is 1-914-822-5493.  Updated information on travel and security in Iraq may be obtained from the Department of state by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. For further information, please consult the Consular Information Sheet for Iraq, the current Worldwide Caution and the Middle East and North Africa Public Announcements, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov.

by [a former member] at 2005-06-29 14:10:23 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Damn, that sounds like a f****d-up place

by [former member] | 29 Jun 2005 14:06 | Mosul, Iraq | | Report spam→
reviews of airlines i’ve been on in and out of Baghdad:

Royal Jordanian from Amman: this is actually a South African operation sub-contracted to RJ. Almost all passengers are western contractors, men. Cute South African stewardesses flirt and joke with you a bit. Very odd. The plane is an executive type jet (a Fokker I think, maybe I’m wrong on the make) that holds around 40 or 50 passengers. $450 one way ticket.

Iraqi Airways to and from Basra: they have two planes, a Boeing 727 and a 737. It’s actually a full route Amman-Baghdad-Basra. absolutely wonderful, reminiscent of the 1960s or 70s, the romance of the golden age of aviation. stewardesses in green uniforms. basra segment at this point almost empty, so you have lots of room. see story and slideshow I did on this with Ed Wong for NY Times.

Jupiter Airline to Dubai: i took this today, $300 one-way but they hit me for another $100 for excess baggage. Plane is a new-ish Boeing 737 with pilot named “sergei” (russian? ukranian?) and steward looked asian (thai? kazak?) and stewardesses vaguely slavic. Plane was not labelled Jupiter but rather “Phoenix.” Food good, lamb stew with rice and green beans. Interestingly, luggage claim tickets say on them, “This is NOT a luggage claim ticket as described by the Warsaw Convention on Air Travel.” Well, what is it, then?

by [former member] | 29 Jun 2005 15:06 | Dubai, United Arab Emirates | | Report spam→
Alan, what are you doing in an online forum having just escaped the mean streets of Baghdad?!?? Get your ass out and drink some more – NOW!!!!

by [former member] | 29 Jun 2005 15:06 | Mosul, Iraq | | Report spam→
hey Alan, I’m not sure if Dubai totally qualifies, but welcome back to the world.

by teru kuwayama | 29 Jun 2005 19:06 | brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
oh, and while you’re on your aviation trip, you should go check out “The Bar”, on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency in Deira. It’s staffed by three beautiful girls from Casablanca — They met at the airline hostess academy in Morocco, and they’re stuck making mojitos in Dubai for a couple of years while they wait for jobs at Emirates. You can start your next post like this:

“Dear Lightstalkers, some of your readers may find this story hard to believe, but I recently had an experience with three aspiring airline hostesses from Morocco which I feel compelled to share…”

by teru kuwayama | 29 Jun 2005 19:06 | brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→

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