DIYARBAKIR — I’m reading reports that the U.S. assault is taking a week’s pause to toughen up the supply lines to the front units as they prepare to hit Baghdad. Also, everything is bogged down thanks to problems with the Fedayeen militia and other harassing Iraqi units, that Iraqi resistance is tougher than Rumsfeld & Co. expected. Maybe these reports are true, maybe they’re disinformation from the Americans in preparation of a lightning assault.
I do know this, however. In Diyarbakir, the IV Press Corps has ground to a halt.
This place is crawling with journos, all looking for the same thing: A way in. Until that can be procured, Diyarbakir has turned into a press town in a wartime economy. Tempers are flaring. An italian camera-woman berated the poor desk clerk at my hotel yesterday morning because something (I’m not sure what) wasn’t cleaned in the morning.
“And I asked for it to be cleaned this morning and it wasn’t!” she snapped, jabbing her finger at the clerk like it was a stiletto.
But luckily, J. and I caught up with Beth and Rita again, and this time, the conversation was much more pleasant. I also discovered that since it looks like we may be here for a few days, I need to get a Diyarbakir press credential. I had to do this last year, but the region was still under special military rule. This time, I wasn’t planning on staying more than a day and I wasn’t going to be working, so I didn’t feel there was a need. Au contraire! If we want to travel around the region south of here, which, aside from the northern half of Kuwait, may be one of the most militarized places on the planet, we need those cards. So now, I’m waiting on a letter to be faxed from a U.S. Embassy to my hotel so I can present it along with my other bona fides. Bother.
Thus, this will be but a short update. We’ll be wandering around the Old City today, although not taking pictures. Without the press cred, there’s a good chance a cop will see us and make trouble for us. While it may seem cowardly, I don’t want to risk that. It would be pretty stupid to have the Back to Iraq mission end early for a reason like that. Once the credentials are secured, however, we should be OK. Unfortunately, the waiting is the hardest part.