Sunday, March 09, 2008

'Nice White Land Cruiser'

The third of three posts here at the Missing Man looking at vehicles:

1. Kirk von Ackermann's Nissan Patrol SUV
2. Ryan Manelick's Hyundai Galloper
3. The 'nice white Land Cruiser' driven by Manelick's assailants

Photo of a 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser for sale in the Middle East.

Death of Contractor
By Dan Halpern, Rolling Stone, March 8, 2007
Excerpt from 'Tale of the Emails' page 74 of the print edition
From: John Dawkins
To: Greg Manelick
Sent: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 14:35:53
Subject: Ryan - Please Read Urgently

This is the worst news I can give you. Ryan was killed today. He was driving along the main highway when allegedly a nice white Land Cruiser drove up next to his Hyundai Galloper and opened fire.....Obviously, you may call me. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. I am at your service.

Love, John
About the Toyota Land Cruiser

Photo of a 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser (Diesel) for sale to the Middle East.

First built in 1951, the Land Cruiser is Toyota's flagship four-wheel drive vehicle. Introduced in 1984, the 70 Series still remains the workhorse utility vehicle of choice for use as ambulances, fire trucks, security and military vehicles in regions with rough roads through out the world. The 90 Series was developed in 1996 to compete with the Mitsubishi Pajero.

Toyota Land Cruisers are common in Iraq. While not as popular as the Nissan Patrol, the Toyota Land Cruiser is also used by the UN around the world.

Perhaps the most infamous incident involving a Land Cruiser and Iraq was a plot discovered and foiled by Kuwaiti security forces back in 1993. The vehicle was laden with explosives and was intended to assassinate then President George HW Bush. The Iraqi government, then under Saddam Hussein, was believed to be behind the plot. (ref)

A New Day Dawns in Kurdistan
By Joshua Kucera, Time, April 9, 2003
Under the city's ancient citadel men danced to Kurdish pop music accompanying an impromptu parade of taxis, buses with a dozen boys on top, and shiny Toyota Land Cruisers with government officials inside.
In Love With A Car Called Monica
by Andrew Lee Butters, The Middle East - Time Blog, June 10, 2007
The Land Cruiser became known as the Monica [Lewinsky] in Kurdistan apparently because Kurds like their cars like they like their women: big and beautiful. I've heard less polite explanations for why the nickname stuck, something to do with treating their cars like they treat their women. Anyway, you're no one in Erbil if you're not at the wheel of a white Monica.
For U.S. workers in Iraq, a new sense of foreboding
By Susan Taylor Martin, St. Petersburg Times, April 7, 2004

The increased violence against Americans has also fostered two schools of thought about security. Many employees of Kellogg Brown & Root and other major contractors still feel safer traveling in big SUVs with heavily-armed guards. Other contractors think Americans present less of a target if they are less conspicuous.

Among the latter is Larry Underwood, an American businessman who lives in Paris but has been in Iraq since May helping supply the country's new army.

When he first arrived, Underwood had a driver and an expensive Toyota Land Cruiser. Then his driver was robbed of $5,000, and Underwood was forced off the road by would-be bandits.

Now Underwood drives himself around Baghdad, in an older-model Mercedes like those used by many Iraqis.

Soldier Killed, Weapons Caches Found, Terror Suspects Arrested
December 6, 2005
Elsewhere, a joint raid by Iraqi and coalition forces resulted in two suspects detained and several military vehicles recovered Dec. 5 a few miles southwest of Dujayl.

Soldiers with the 4th Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division, and coalition troops conducted the early morning raid. Troops also recovered five Toyota Land Cruisers used by the former regime. They also confiscated a large water truck and two assault rifles.

Additional Reading:

History of the Toyota Land Cruiser
Toyota Website

Photos of Toyota Landcruisers in Northern Iraq
Includes some photos of Kirkuk

Ministry of Interior receives new armored SUVs through Foreign Military
Press Release, Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq Public Affairs Office, February 10, 2008

Armored SUVs in Iraq
David Crane, Review at

Related Posts:

Ryan Manelick's Hyundai Galloper March 9, 2008
Kirk von Ackermann's Nissan Patrol SUV March 5, 2008
Safa Shukir & the Phone Call December 9, 2007
Kirk's Car December 4, 2007

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