“Yesterday’s attacks”:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/25/international/middleeast/25IRAQ.html may or may not have been the start of a larger uprising. I’m hearing — from several sources — that the next five to seven days will be the most dangerous. Westerners are targeted and in Baqouba, journalists are particularly targeted. These reports of a massive offensive by Iraqi insurgents come from the military, NGOs working for hostage releases and even from inside the insurgency itself. Last night, after I returned from a fairly uneventful one-day embed with a unit from the 1st Cavalry division, the people at TIME told me to lay low and stock up on food and water for a few days until this all dies down. My trip to Tikrit was cancelled. Reporters were advised to not leave their hotel and many took the warning seriously.
Last night, there were several huge explosions in the city. It’s hard to say where they were or how close, because of echoes off the buildings. More choppers than normal were up in the air and the sound of AK-47 and larger caliber guns was a constant background noise for hours last night. That was unusual. On other Thursday nights, I would dismiss it as celebratory wedding fire, but last night’s gunfire included a number of heavier guns, as I mentioned.
And yet, things seem quiet here today in Baghdad… At least in my neighborhood. I can’t get any news from the English-language channels and even Al Jazeera channels are showing old footage of Reagan and Menachem Begin at the moment. So I’m afraid I don’t have much to report. On the one hand, the stuff I heard yesterday from multiple sources was sufficiently convincing to make me warn several of my friends here and make plans to lay low. But there seems to be nothing going on.