Stay Safe in Iraq
The political situation is very unpredictable after the conflict was proclaimed formally ended in December 2011. A series of fatal explosions and shootings occurred in May 2013. Conflicts erupted in Anbar in December 2013. In January 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Sunni anti-government tribal groups were fighting for control of Fallujah.
Iraq is plagued by a slew of issues that make travel dangerous and difficult. The security situation is dangerous in almost every part of the nation, and it is only becoming worse as terrorist strikes continue. Street warfare, bombs, and other acts of armed violence are everyday occurrences due to resistance to the military occupation, US and UK troops, and Iraqi military, police, or anybody connected with the Iraqi government, as well as growing factional and sectarian strife.
The country’s middle third is the most hazardous; the southern ports are less risky, but only in comparison. Northern Iraq, or Kurdistan, on the other hand, is secure and has seen relatively little violence since 2003. Political upheavals, kidnappings, and other underground activities thrive in major cities, including Baghdad, so proceed carefully. The Kurdish peshmerga (military) number over 100,000, and checkpoints may be found on every route, town, city, and even hamlet. All non-Kurds are carefully inspected, and the internal secret police are sometimes followed. But have no fear: this is why terrorism in the North is virtually impossible. The cops are kind, and everyone enjoys meeting visitors, particularly Americans.
Traveling alone makes you an obvious target for kidnappers and should be avoided if at all possible; instead, go with a translator/guard. There are many private and government security services available for your personal protection; you should seriously consider using these alternatives for your own safety. If you work in Iraq, talk to your boss about how to manage your personal safety. If no protection is supplied by the client, you should strongly consider not going to Iraq; if you must go, you should hire armed security and get thorough training in suitable protective gear, survival, and weaponry.
Stay Healthy in Iraq
Drinking the water anyplace in Iraq is unsafe for short-term tourists. Always consume bottled water, ideally from a Western or Jordanian manufacturer. It will most likely be offered by vendors and big retailers, and it will be simple to locate. Water is pumped straight from the Tigris or Euphrates rivers in Iraq, treated with ozone, and then filtered into bottles by the majority of Iraqi water businesses. It has a bad taste and should not be consumed by people with sensitive systems. Many street sellers may sell beverages like lemon-infused water, which should be avoided by international tourists.
When buying beverages, those with prior experience in Iraq should exercise caution and rely on their previous experience.
Drinking the native tea (chai), which is heated to a boil before serving, may be safe for certain individuals, but if in doubt, insist on bottled water. Boiling of water has little effect on many types of water-borne illness, pollution, or infectious agents, and they are still present in the water after boiling.
Cuisine preparation standards in Iraq are not the same as in Western nations, as a stroll past an Iraqi butcher shop would show, and eating local food may make a tourist sick. Make an effort to bring your own. Uncooked meals should be avoided since tap water is usually unfit for consumption.
If your body begins to reject food and drink as a result of anything you shouldn’t have consumed, locate someone who knows Arabic and send them to a local pharmacy, where they may request a medication called “InterStop” (similar to co-phenotrope/Lomotil). This is more effective than any of the well-known western brands.