US Warns on Travel to Iraq

Posted on 24 January 2012.

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq given the dangerous security situation. Civilian air and road travel within Iraq remains dangerous. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated September 13, 2011, to update information regarding the Government of Iraq’s strict enforcement of immigration and customs regulations and to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns for U.S. citizens in Iraq, including kidnapping and terrorist violence. The United States completed its withdrawal of military forces from Iraq as of December 31, 2011. The ability of the Embassy to respond to situations in which U.S. citizens face difficulty, including arrests, is extremely limited.
Some regions within Iraq have experienced fewer violent incidents than others in recent years, in particular the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR). However, violence and threats against U.S. citizens persist and no region should be considered safe from dangerous conditions. Threats of attack against U.S. citizen targets throughout Iraq continue, including in the International (or “Green”) Zone (IZ) of Baghdad. Methods of attack available to groups targeting U.S. interests have included roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs); magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles; human and vehicle-borne IEDs, mines placed on or concealed near roads; mortars and rockets, and shootings using various direct fire
weapons. Numerous insurgent groups remain active throughout Iraq. Although Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) operations against these groups continue, attacks against U.S. citizens persist in many areas of the country. U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at a high risk for kidnapping. While sectarian and terrorist violence occurs at levels lower than in previous years, it occurs often, particularly in the provinces of Baghdad, Ninewa, Salah ad Din, Anbar, and Diyala.