The Department of State continues to strongly warn U.S. citizens against travel to Iraq, which remains very dangerous. Remnants of the former Ba'ath regime, transnational terrorists, criminal elements and numerous insurgent groups remain active. Attacks against military and civilian targets throughout Iraq continue, including in the International (or "Green") Zone. Targets include convoys en-route to venues, hotels, restaurants, police stations, checkpoints, foreign diplomatic missions, 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 and opportunistic criminals for kidnapping and murder. Military operations continue. There are daily attacks against Multinational Forces - Iraq (MNF-I), Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi Police 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 and flying to other major cities in Iraq 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 or travel within 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 entering and departing Iraq due to concerns about security of civilian aircraft servicing Iraq. U.S. government personnel are only authorized to travel commercially on Royal Jordanian Airlines and AirServe. Personnel are prohibited from flying on all other commercial airlines due to safety and security concerns.
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; travel between the International Zone and Baghdad International Airport; and travel from Baghdad to Mosul is particularly dangerous.
Occasionally, U.S. Government personnel are prohibited from traveling to certain areas depending on prevailing security conditions. There continues to be heavy use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), (especially new-type Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFP), and/or mines on roads, concealed in plastic bags, boxes, soda cans, dead animals, and in other ways to blend with the road. 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.
Not a word about all the schools being built! Why does the State Department hate America?
Thanks to Zay Smith of the Chicago Sun-Times for the idea.