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Iraq Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Jul 20, 2001

In light of Iraq's continuing challenges to the U.S./Coalition enforcement of the no-fly zones, and the potential for retaliatory action by the Government of Iraq against U.S. citizens, the U.S. Government urges all U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Iraq, and those in Iraq should depart. Iraq continues to engage in a persistent pattern of challenges to the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq. These challenges include firing on the aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones, illuminating them with surface-to-air missile radar, and placing bounties on coalition aircrews. Coalition aircraft respond in self-defense to Iraqi threats by striking Iraq's air-defense system. Injuries to civilians have resulted from Iraqi anti-aircraft ordnance returning to earth in populated areas. Conditions throughout Iraq remain unsettled and dangerous. Foreigners present in Iraq have in the past been used as "human shields" by the regime during periods of confrontation with the international community. With the exception of the passports of American professional reporters or journalists on assignment in Iraq, and Americans residing in Iraq as of February 8, 1991, U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in or through Iraq, unless they are validated by the Department of State. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iraq, and there is no U.S. Embassy in Iraq. While our interests in Iraq are represented by the Embassy of Poland in Baghdad, that Embassy's ability to obtain consular access to detained u.s. citizens and to perform other emergency services is severely constrained by Iraq's unwillingness to cooperate. In addition, the United Nations and the United States have imposed sanctions which restrict financial and economic activities with Iraq, including travel-related transactions. For further information about travel to Iraq, please consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information Sheet for Iraq, which may be found on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. This replaces the Department of State's Travel Warning for Iraq of September 1, 1999 to include information about injuries to civilians resulting from Iraqi anti-aircraft ordnance.

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