BAGHDADâ€”Almost one hour since the polls opened here, I’ve only heard one faint boom, and it was far away. So far, so good, knock on wood.
I thought I’d have time to work up some more stuff on Iraqi politics, but an embed I’ve been wanting to get in on has just come through, and it looks like I’m leaving for it tomorrow. I expect to be gone a week and it’s unlikely I’ll be blogging while away…. But when I come back, I hope to have some good stuff to put up.
I have returned to Baghdad as of Monday. The city is as chaotic and choked as ever, but the level of violence in the last few days has been less than I expected. I’ve only heard two explosions near my house in eastern Baghdad, and they were far away. I get the impression that the Green Zone is not attacked as much. Perhaps I was wrong to pooh-pooh the Fallujah offensive… Or perhaps the insurgency has just gone to ground for a while.
BEIRUT — Among the Palestinian refugees packed into the 13 camps scattered around Lebanon, the mood in the days before their leader’s death was one of anxious waiting. They were waiting for word of the death of khatiab — The Old Man — as Yasser Arafat was affectionately known among his people.
He turned out of the front gate, took the first right — as most of us do — and a car stopped in front of him and a tailing car pulled in behind him. Four men with pistols jumped out and three of them managed to force their way into the car, putting guns to the heads of John, his driver and his translator…. We’re not sure what all happened during his captivity, but he was able to persuade his captors that he was an Australian and a friend to the resistance and not to the Americans.