• Safe Streets in Baghdad: Staff writer Scott Peterson applied to the US military to get an "embed" assignment with forces on Haifa Street in Baghdad. His assignment was approved. But a safety issue arose: How to get from the Monitor's Baghdad office to the US base.
At first, Scott was told that the base was in the Adhamiya neighborhood - a Sunni area where the insurgency and criminal gangs were known to operate. Reporters in Iraq rely heavily on the expertise of their Iraqi staff. When Scott asked his driver about going to the base, the reply in broken English was: "Impossible, Mr. Scott. 100 percent kidnap."
Scott decided to wait for a military ride, which took four more days to arrange. Upon arrival at Camp Independence, though, it was clear that the base was not in Adhamiya after all, but in a safer area not far from one of Saddam Hussein's huge mosque building projects.
When he finished the embed Thursday, Scott walked to the front gate of the base, and his driver was there waiting. His commute back to the Monitor office took just 30 minutes.
• Go Suck a Lemon : Correspondent Nick Blanford had heard that Saad Hariri had tried to persuade his father, Rafik, the prime minister of Lebanon to quit politics two years before he was assassinated. "His father had problems with Syrians in April 2003. The Syrians imposed a change of government and a lot of Hariri's people were pushed out. It was rumored he was quite depressed," says Nick. When Nick sat down for an interview Thursday with Saad (page 1), he asked him if it was true. "He told me that the family was worried about Rafik and tried to persuade him to leave politics," says Nick. "I asked Saad, 'What did your father say?' Saad told me: 'He told us to go suck a lemon. He wouldn't quit.' "
David Clark Scott