All posts tagged: Iraq

An Appointment in Samarra

By ANNA BADKHEN

 

In the early morning, when pink Oklahoma dawn crept over the sturdy single-family bungalows and strip malls, Abu Khaled al Shimeri wrapped his left arm around the taut belly of his pregnant wife, Fatima, and had a troubled dream.

A dimly lit maze of unpaved streets ended in front of a tall limestone wall. The sky above the wall was luminescent blue, but no sunshine reached the crepuscular base where he was standing barefoot. Behind the wall were the sacred streets of al Quds. Abu Khaled knew that the gilded dome of al Aqsa Mosque was only a few hundred paces away. He could hear a busy market on the other side, peddlers hawking live chickens and honey, women bargaining over the price of lamb. But no matter how hard he looked, he could not see a gate, not even a crack in the wall through which he could squeeze his wilting, middle-aged body.

“God!” he pleaded. “Please let me into the blessed city!”

An Appointment in Samarra
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Convoy Etiquette

By ELIZABETH ABBOTT

“Debris, left.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I answered, clicking my turret around. The truck swung wide right. On the side of the road, the debris was nothing more than a pile of rocks and broken up concrete. Two years earlier, two hundred miles away, that might have warranted a bit of anxiety. The headphones pressed to my ears were silent as the convoy waited for an answer. I flipped the switch down to announce my verdict. “Clear, left.”

Convoy Etiquette
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