The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq given the security situation. Travel within Iraq remains dangerous.
This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated January 19, 2012, to update information on security incidents and to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns for U.S. citizens in Iraq, including kidnapping and terrorist violence.
The United States completed its withdrawal of military forces from Iraq as of December 31, 2011. The ability of the Embassy to respond to situations where U.S. citizens face difficulty, including arrests, is extremely limited.
Some regions within Iraq have experienced fewer violent incidents than others in recent years, in particular the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR). Although violence and threats against U.S. citizens persist, reported instances have lessened in the past six months.
U.S. citizens in Iraq also remain at risk for kidnapping. Methods of attack have, in the past, included roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including explosively formed penetrators (EFPs); magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles; human and vehicle-borne IEDs, mines placed on or concealed near roads; mortars and rockets, and shootings using various direct fire weapons.
Numerous insurgent groups, including Al Qaida in Iraq, remain active throughout Iraq. Although Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) operations against these groups continue, terrorist activity persists in many areas of the country. While terrorist violence occurs at levels lower than in previous years, it occurs frequently, particularly in the provinces of Baghdad, Ninewa, Salah ad Din, Anbar, and Diyala.