Precious little traffic heads out of Kuwait City on Route 80 – the Basra road. Civilian access to the north, to the demilitarised zone between Kuwait and Iraq is strictly controlled by soldiers manning a checkpoint on the crest of the Mutla Ridge. Several times a week busloads of Palestinians and stateless Arabs are allowed to pass through, but theirs is a one-way journey ending in permanent expulsion. Western visitors who attempt to follow in their wake are politely discouraged. ‘It is dangerous,’ explain the Kuwaiti soldiers.