• US Still Sovereign in Iraq: Correspondent Annia Ciezadlo called Salama al-Khafahi, a former Iraqi Governing Council member for today's story about the council's ongoing influence (page 1). Dr. Khafahi sent a "fancy" car for Annia and a colleague. "The idea was that it would be safer and quicker. Normally, a visit to the Baghdad Green Zone would require us to stand outside for half and hour at checkpoints that are prime targets for car bombers," says Annia.
The car passed easily through three of four checkpoints. Arriving at the fourth, at 4 p.m., they were ordered out of the car and told to wait in a guard shack. "We waited about 10 minutes while the Iraqi guards checked other people's IDs. Then, they called the Iraqi Governing Council security office. The guard hung up and triumphantly informed us that visiting hours ended at 4 p.m. We called Khafahi's office. Her chief of staff and head of the governing council security came to apologize to us. The US officer in charge had overruled them. They joked, 'Maybe when the transfer of power happens [on June 30] we can make our own decisions about who gets to visit.' "
Annia left, and did the interview the next day, outside the Green Zone.
• Avoiding an Ambush: Staff writer Scott Baldauf learned first hand about Pashtun tribal influences (page 1) when he was on a trip to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2001. Kandahar had just fallen to US forces. Scott joined a group of Pakistani journalists preparing to cross into Afghanistan. "A young Afghan was going to guide us. We spent the night on Paki side. As we settled in, a mysterious visitor from another tribe arrived. He stayed for an hour, drinking tea," he says. "When he left, our host insisted we take a longer route the next day because he suspected the visitor would lay an ambush for us in order to dishonor our host and his tribe."
David Clark Scott