North Iraq Not Too Safe

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North Iraq Not Too Safe

Postby daniel » Fri Nov 12, 2004 4:11 am

There had been some posting lately about North Iraq, and whether it was a safe place to travel. Many parts are getting increasingly worse, and haven't been great for a while, particularly Mosul. Before my last two times going through there this year, I kept a watch on civilian foreigner deaths, and it was surprisingly high, even as far back as April.
Iraqis from the area I'm in contact with have told me the same thing.
For anyone who's interested, or was busy packing suntan lotion and a bathing suit, read this article. It's among a bunch of others I've seen, and gives a general idea of the situation.
-Daniel

New insurgency confronts US: Mosul Kurds under attack as rebels run
rampage
Guardian
Rory McCarthy in Baghdad and Michael Howard in Sulaymaniyah
November 12, 2004

US troops were drawn into a new offensive in the northern Iraqi city of
Mosul yesterday to tackle a tide of insurgency unchecked by the
military
assault on Falluja.

In Baghdad at least 17 Iraqis were killed in a suicide car bombing as
gunmen set up checkpoints on roads in the west of the capital and
fought
battles with US troops.

The violence suggests the four-day operation in Falluja may have
cleared
out the most important insurgent stronghold in Iraq, but has done
little to
curb the burgeoning militant movement.

For two days insurgents have defied a curfew to run rampage through
Mosul,
attacking or setting fire to at least seven police stations as well as
government buildings.

Masked gunmen stole bullet-proof jackets and Kalashnikov rifles from
police
stations and were roaming the city centre yesterday setting fire to
police
cars and taking control of bridges. The five bridges over the Tigris
were
later closed to civilian traffic.

At one stage a group tried to storm an office of the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan, one of the two major Kurdish parties, and fought gunbattles
with
Kurdish guards. Mosul's television channel went off air for an hour and
the
US military admitted the Iraqi police were unable to handle the crisis.
At
least five Iraqi national guardsmen and a civilian have been killed and
a
dozen injured.

By 1pm a brigade of soldiers from the US 25th Infantry Division and a
team
of Iraqi national guardsmen were called in to launch "offensive
operations"
in south-east and south-west Mosul against "known concentrations of
insurgents".

A senior Kurdish official in Mosul said he believed the gunmen were
militants loyal to the wanted Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and former
Ba'athists. He said the men had arrived three days ago from Falluja and
Samarra, another troubled Sunni town.

The official, who declined to be named, said: "They are working
together
and know what they are doing. They have had a lot of notice about the
Falluja assault, and were prepared to move the fight."

Residents said there had been explosions and heavy gunfire from assault
rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

"I have been inside my house for 24 hours and am too frightened to go
out,"
said Shereen Hawleri, a Kurdish resident. "I think they could turn on
the
Kurds next."

Since the start of the Falluja offensive on Sunday night, attacks have
taken place across Sunni areas in central and northern Iraq in towns
such
as Samarra, Baiji, Baquba, Tikrit, Ramadi, Hawija and now Mosul. The
violence in Mosul has been the worst since the invasion began and a
sign of
the growing influence of Sunni militants.

"The [insurgent] activities have now spread to the borders with the
Kurdish
self-rule area, and are threatening Kurdish and other minorities in the
region," said the official.

The Kurdish governor of Kirkuk, a disputed city to the north-east,
survived
an assas sination attempt yesterday when a car bomb exploded as his
convoy
passed.

Abdulrahman Mustafa was not hurt, but six members of his personal
security
detail and eight civilians were hurt, according to Arif Qurbany, the
director of a local TV station.

"The situation in the city is very tense," he said. "The Kurds here
believe
that Arab militants are deliberately targeting them just for being
Kurds."

Last night Kurdish leaders in Arbil and Sulaymaniya, inside the Kurdish
self-rule region, said they were preparing Kurdish troops in the
national
guard to restore order in Mosul and Kirkuk in coordination with the US
military.

"We cannot stand by and let minorities be attacked, as they were under
Saddam," said a military commander in Sulaymaniya. But the deployment
of
Kurdish fighters in Kirkuk would be sensitive.
daniel
 
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fasten your seat belts it's a bumpy ride.

Postby seektravelinfo » Fri Nov 12, 2004 10:34 pm

Daniel, take heed w/your own fine self.
Do not, do not, do not, go to Iraq in January.
There, I said it, I feel better
now go and do
what you want.
"I wish the women would hurry up and take over." (Leonard Cohen)
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Postby patriot » Fri Nov 12, 2004 10:40 pm

How long do you plan on staying in Iraq Daniel?
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Postby DawnC71 » Sat Nov 13, 2004 1:48 am

Daniel,
I like you alot and enjoy your posts tremendously here on the BFC...Please heed the advice seek gave to you, but of course, go if you know your heart is telling you to go...
But just so you know many of us here will be incredibly concerned about you while you are over there! Stay safe whatever you decide to do and please keep us updated as to yuor status. You are a great asset to this board and we all want you to come back safe to us!!!!
Now as seek said, go do whatever you feel you should do!
Aloha to you and you will be in my thoughts while you are gone,
Dawn
Passion is necessity. It is not diligence, or simply being committed to a goal. Passion consumes you while you chase down your goal. Passion should always be your natural state of mind for it is what sparks momentum and sets the pace.
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Postby daniel » Sat Nov 13, 2004 5:44 am

Thanks very much, folks. At this point, the heart's still saying "Go" but I'll keep my eyes and ears open as the time gets closer. I'll also be talking to lots of people on the ground as I approach the border, and after I cross it. Patriot, I should be there about two and a half weeks. Dawn and "Seek", I'll keep you posted.
Take good care, -Daniel
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