Reporters on the Job

Streets of Baghdad: Most drivers around the world sit up and take notice when a police car passes by. Am I driving too fast? Do I have my seat belt on? But in Baghdad, it's US military convoys that get drivers' attention.

"People are well aware that these convoys are daily targets of roadside bombs and other attacks, so when a convoy comes along, the normally chaotic Baghdad roads become the picture of decorum," says staff writer Howard LaFranchi. "People politely let them by, and then everyone reduces speed and hangs back. Suddenly it's like being in a parade. No one wants to get too close to the guys up ahead."

Howard also notices that more and more police checkpoints are found on Baghdad streets, as police step up searches for explosives and other weapons (this page). "But the police seem to have a growing fear of the public they're searching. More of them are wearing bandannas and scarves to cover their faces - so their ID as a police officer won't become widely known."

No and Yes: Avi Farhan, an Israeli settler being faced with his second dislocation (this page), proved an elusive but then enthusiastic interview, says correspondent Ben Lynfield. "When I first called he suggested I take the information from a television interview he had given. Then, he agreed I could visit him at the Elei Sinai settlement at 2 p.m," says Ben. When I called to say I was getting close, he suggested I go eat lunch at a nearby kibbutz. After eating, I arrived at his house around 2:30. But he couldn't speak to me because he needed to clean up his house and watch a television program showing the mayor of Elei Sinai arguing against Sharon's disengagement plan. When Avi finally got to it though, he seemed to enjoy the chance to recount his role in historic events and spoke to me for more than an hour, showing pictures of his struggle against the Sinai withdrawal in 1982."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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