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Mail to troops in Iraq flows again after dispute

Post by Scott Fontaine on May 27, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
May 27, 2009 3:11 pm

Troops with the 81st Brigade Combat Team serving in Ramadi, Iraq, didn’t get their mail this week after a disagreement between Baghdad and third-party carriers that ferry some mail into the country grounded flights in Bahrain.

The backlog, though, should be completely cleared up, said Yvonne Yoerger, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Postal Service. The disruption didn’t seem to affect any one particular region of the country.

At the center of the dispute was a surcharge on commercial cargo flown by non-Iraqi airlines. Some airplanes remained grounded in Bahrain while the contractors negotiated with the Baghdad government.

“(The Iraqi government) made no distinction for what the cargo was,” Yoerger after contacted by The News Tribune, which inquired after soldiers from the Washington National Guard brigade e-mailed the paper saying they weren’t receiving letters from home.

The mail shipments were freed up after U.S. Central Command discussed the matter with the Iraqi government, Yoerger said. The amount of mail delayed couldn’t be determined, she said, and all pieces have since been delivered.

The U.S. Postal Service flies its mail bound for the Middle East from the United States to Bahrain, where it’s sorted. A majority of the mail that reaches troops in Iraq arrives at the bases via military air, but the postal service also uses contractors to fly the mail into the country.

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