More questions …
IRAQI HIGHWAY 2 TO KIRKUK, Iraq — While en route to take another stab at Tikrit, I thought I’d answer a couple of questions.
Syria may or may not be the next target, I don’t know. No one here knows anything as that decision will be made in Washington. I’ll ask around, however, but I doubt anyone will be able to tell me about it.
Someone in the comments asked about an action photo. I’m not fond of having my picture taken, but I’ll see if J. can whip something up.
Opie asked when I was coming back. My return ticket was for April 24, but that’s scotched at the moment for two reason. One, Swiss Air has gone out of business. Two, I can’t go back through Turkey, since I’ve heard from a buddy in the Newsweek bureau in Istanbul that B2I has come to the attention of the authorities. And since I smuggled myself across the border and I have no exit stamp on my Turkish visa, I would be arrested when I come back. Probably I’d be fined and released after a few hours. Maybe not, however. I don’t feel like chancing it, so I’m looking for an alternative exit strategy. Jordan or Kuwait, perhaps. Besides, I’ve never been to either country. And in my more optimistic moments, I think, “There’s always Baghdad International.”
Also, I just had another $3000 wired. A guy here in Arbil has a dollar account in Turkey. It’s a bank-to-bank transfer, and he keeps 5% of the money and release the rest to me in cash. He’s a human ATM machine. Deals like this is how cash gets into Iraqi Kurdistan. The upside is that since my return plans are now a bit up in the air, the money will allow me to stay a little longer, perhaps if I choose.
Lastly, there needs to be an exit strategy for B2I itself. I’m undecided on what to do, other than take a break after this war — I’ve been doing the site solo for about 10 months now on an almost daily basis. I need a vacation. But after that? Personally, I’m going to have to go back to work and/or find another job. I’ll definitely spin some of the stories on B2I into freelance articles or syndicate some of them. I’ve had some nibbles on book deals and I’ll look into that, too.
But what happens to the site? I think we can declare this experiment in independent, reader-funded journalism a success. But where do we go from here? I’m open to suggestions, so please leave them in the comments section on this entry.
On to Tikrit.