Birds take flight over a river flowing south from the Kurdistan mountains toward the Mesopotamian plains.
A refurbished castle along the road between Salahadin and Erbil.
View from the lobby of the very well-guarded Khan Zan Hotel overlooking the front range of the Kurdistan mountains. Security guards damn near took the car apart before letting me get anywhere near it. Two guests are shown logging on to the wi-fi connection on their laptops.
Looking out the window from the hotel.
Mountains on the outskirts of the city of Suleimaniya as seen from the parking lot of the Kurd-Sat TV station. Kurd-Sat broadcasts to Kurds inside and outside Iraq on the Hotbird satellite.
Suleimaniya is surrounded by mountains on all sides, some which are partly covered in evergreen trees.
On the road to Halabja, the city where Saddam Hussein massacred thousands of people in one day with chemical weapons. The countryside is mostly empty of people. 5,000 villages were completely destroyed by the Baath during the genocidal Anfal campaign. There is no evidence that some of the villages ever even existed.
Above the clouds on the road to Biara, one of the villages occupied by Al Qaeda (Ansar Al Islam) before the U.S. invasion in 2003.
Looking into Iran on the road to Biara.
Biara is exactly, precisely, on the border between Iraq and Iran. If you walk twenty feet beyond the last house you’ll be outside Iraq. I took this photo, facing into Iran, from the center of the village.