It feels strange to be stepping out of the climate-controlled cabin of an aeroplane into the fierce heat of an early afternoon in Baghdad.  Particularly because after British troops left in 2009, I thought I'd never be here again. But here I am, back to mark the tenth anniversary of the start of the war.

    Foreign jobs are always a bit of a challenge.  Making sure you have the right kit to broadcast - recording device, satellite dish, laptop, smartphone - is a top priority.  Then there's the issue of the visa, broadcasting permits and risk assessment.

    If you're trying to get to Iraq you need to take those challenges and double them - at least.  In the two days before we travelled our senior producer Helen battled through thickets of bureaucracy to get the visas for myself and our field producer Liam Hanley.

    The biggest issue of all is, of course, safety.  The BBC takes it pretty seriously, which means we have to go into a lot of detail about what we're planning to do and the measures we're taking to stay safe.  At the moment, we're trying to figure out whether it will be safe to travel by road from Baghdad to Basra.  Is there a terrorist threat? Will there be police checkpoints?

    In truth, preparations have to be thorough and they have been (thanks to Helen), but you only really know what's possible when you speak to the BBC's high risk advisers on the ground.  They will tell us if there've been kidnappings, bomb threats or violent demonstrations.

    Perhaps the closest call I ever had - and to be honest it probably wasn't that close - was when I was part of a 5 live team that arrived in Basra in southern Iraq on the day Saddam Hussein was captured.  People were celebrating by firing their guns in the air and I was out in the street recording the gunfire.  Suddenly there was the sound of a hard metal impact.  We realised that a spent bullet had fallen out of the sky and hit an oil tank close to where I was standing.  It was one of those moments when you have to pause and collect your thoughts.

    I haven't brought the bullet with me, but I have got a photo of it on my phone.  To remind me that in a country where thousands have died and millions been affected by war, safety still can't be taken for granted.

    5 live reporter James Shaw has tracked the progress of British troops and the Iraqi people over the last decade, visiting the country several times. He returns to take stock of how Iraq has changed. From Monday 18th March on 5 live.

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    • Comment number 5. Posted by Muhanad

      on 19 Mar 2013 10:12

      I met you today in Baghdad, it was a nice oppurtunity to recall some of the invasion memories..i agree with you that any job in iraq is risky and will never be that easy because as an iraqi citizen i feel the danger in every step at my owen city.. wish u all 2 be safe

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    • Comment number 4. Posted by Iain McMenemy

      on 18 Mar 2013 11:20

      I remember crossing over the border into Iraq on the first day of the conflict. It will be interesting to hear James' view now that 10 years have passed.

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    • Comment number 3. Posted by stirling

      on 17 Mar 2013 19:42

      #1 Tony Blair - I remember the air of optimsim and hope when this fresh faced youg man took office. Little did we know then what a disappointment he would turn out to be. He seemed to do the exact opposite of everything I thought we voted for, including taking us into this disastrous war.

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    • Comment number 2. Posted by CyrilTheWasp

      on 17 Mar 2013 14:52

      Strange isn't that for all the thousands of lives lost and the £20 billion it cost ( with UK money we never even had to spend on such escapades ) Iraq is a much more violent and unstable country than before the invasion but guess what ? No one who took this insane decision has ever been held accountable or prosecuted.I can only echo Carrie's fine words.

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    • Comment number 1. Posted by carrie

      on 17 Mar 2013 09:57

      Rest in peace those who died fighting an illegal war on behalf of Blair and Bush.

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