In a recent Slate article How Do You Pronounce "Abu Ghraib"? - Hint: It doesn't rhyme with "babe.", Sam Schechner offers up something close to - but not quite like - Ahboo Grah-eeb as the proper pronunciation.
The first word is easy: "ah-BOO." The trouble is the second word, which begins with a phlegmy, guttural "gh" sound uncommon in American English—the sound is peculiar to the Arabic letter "ghayn." The "r" is easy, but the "ai" is a bit confusing: The word doesn't share the diphthong vowel sound of "grave" or "grape" as many newscasters seem to think; instead, the vowel is closer to that in "ebb," but is slightly more extended. So the proper pronunciation sounds something like a French person using a rolling "r" to render "grehhb."
Charless Apple of The American Press Institute offers some help to the confused with How do you pronounce all those names, anyway?, which acts as a linguistic guidebook of sorts, for the Middle East "interveners."
Even if the name-game isn't completely solved, it is comforting to know that I am not alone .