LA Times: Military officials said a lack of troops has made it impossible to secure Highway 8. Insurgents and criminals openly set up checkpoints along the corridor, attacking mostly Westerners and those who work with them.How many times do we have to hear it? How many places recede into anarchy because of poor administration planning?
Among those attacked were seven Spanish intelligence agents ambushed in December, two CNN staffers gunned down in January and two Japanese journalists killed in May. Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi escaped an assassination attempt on the road last month.
In mid-October, the head of a major political party was killed on the road and nine Iraqi police recruits were shot as they returned from training. A day after the policemen were killed, Baher, the national guard commander, narrowly escaped an ambush in front of his compound.
U.S. officials say the attacks are chiefly designed to scare away outside forces that might attempt to interfere with the locals' criminal enterprises.
Update, 10/28/04, 7:29 PM EST: Highway 8 runs through the center of the "triangle of death," according to the LAT article above:
Though closer to the capital than well-known insurgent strongholds such as Fallouja and Ramadi, this area of northern Babil province has been largely overlooked by U.S. forces in the last year. In the absence of any real authority, the area — dubbed the Death Triangle by locals — has become one of Iraq's murkiest, most dangerous and least understood hot zones.This region is in the hands of the Brits, following their redeployment.
The Boston Globe ran a must read story on the region three weeks ago.