Category Archives: Iraq

U.S. ends mission in Iraq

An Iraqi army soldier poses for a picture with his weapon during a mission in Mahmudiyah, Iraq, March 30, 2008. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Richard Del Vecchio) (www.army.mil)

The deadline for the exit of all U.S. combat troops from Iraq is set for the end of the year. Sporadic and devastating violence continues. Last month saw more than 350 violent incidents and has seen the deaths of many more than 100,000 civilians since 2003. In Baghdad on Wednesday there were three attacks: a suicide bombing, a bomb under a car, and an assassination. From The Guardian:

Maliki said on Wednesday night that Iraq now had an army, one that was capable and able to “respond to any threat”. “It doesn’t mean it is going to be easy. But we are going to train, we are going to work. And we will protect Iraq.”

The next few months will be a crossroads for Iraq. The nation faces both near and long-term challenges to its stability. There are weak political institutions and a weaker economy, constitutional ambiguity, lingering sectarian tensions and persistent security threats. America Abroad zeros in on a couple of pieces of the complex puzzle that is Iraq today. Listen to Iraq, the Next Act.

Life in Erbil, Iraq: Female Drivers

This report on the rights of female drivers was created by Savina Dawood, a 21-year old reporter living in Erbil.

AAM is pleased to partner with The Tiziano Project over the next three months in an effort to bring the work of young journalists in Erbil, Iraq before a larger audience. The Tiziano Project provides community members in conflict, post-conflict and underreported regions with the equipment, training and affiliations necessary to report their stories and improve their lives.

Life in Erbil, Iraq: Street Children

This report on the lives of street children was created by Rebin Fazil, a 24-year old reporter living in Erbil.

AAM is pleased to partner with The Tiziano Project over the next three months in an effort to bring the work of young journalists in Erbil, Iraq before a larger audience. The Tiziano Project provides community members in conflict, post-conflict and underreported regions with the equipment, training and affiliations necessary to report their stories and improve their lives.

Life in Erbil, Iraq: An Iranian Musician

This report on a young Iranian musician living in Iraqi Kurdistan was created by Karokh Nuraddin, a 22-year old reporter living in Erbil.

AAM is pleased to partner with The Tiziano Project over the next two months in an effort to bring the work of young journalists in Erbil, Iraq before a larger audience. The Tiziano Project provides community members in conflict, post-conflict and underreported regions with the equipment, training and affiliations necessary to report their stories and improve their lives.

Life in Erbil, Iraq: A Kurdish Nomad

This report on a nomadic Kurdish family living near the Iranian border was created by Shivan Sito, a 27-year old reporter living in Erbil.

AAM is pleased to partner with The Tiziano Project over the next three months in an effort to bring the work of young journalists in Erbil, Iraq before a larger audience. The Tiziano Project provides community members in conflict, post-conflict and underreported regions with the equipment, training and affiliations necessary to report their stories and improve their lives.

Operation Iraqi Freedom becomes Operation New Dawn

A suicide bomber targeting Iraqi army recruits blew himself up in Bagdhad killing 61 and wounding at least 125 people. This attack comes on the heels of another suicide attack on July 18th targeting a government-backed Sunni militia, killing 39 and wounding 41. Iraqi citizens are concerned that a new wave of insurgent attacks may target ordinary citizens and are wondering if the Iraqi security forces are up to the challenge.

All but 50,000 Americans will leave the country by September 1st leaving the majority of security challenges to the Iraqis themselves. As the US forces change the nature of US engagement in Iraq from combat counter-insurgency operations to stability operations, the remaining force will focus on training, not fighting.

In an event hosted by the Center for a New American Security, Michael Corbin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq, and Dr. Colin Kahl, Deputy Assistent Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, discussed the roles the State and Defense Departments will play in the following months.

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Life in Erbil, Iraq: The journey of an Iraqi businessman

This story was written by Sahar Alani, a 24-year old reporter living in Erbil.

Yakub Najmaldeen, 31, faced the same challenges as many Iraqis did when he was a child. He was poor. He had a big family to take care of. At the age of 9, during the Iran-Iraq War, Yakub made just a few dinar each day by carrying stacks of bread loaves on his head and selling them to people on the street. He pressed himself against the walls of stores and cried when sirens alerted the city that Iranian bombers were nearby.

Yakub didn’t accept his conditions. He decided to throw everything he had into improving his and his family’s life. In two decades, Yakub went from a peddler in the streets to a vastly wealthy businessman.

His father was sick and his family needed money for medicine, food and a roof over their heads.

“I helped myself and all my family, by myself,” Yakub said.

As a child, he wandered the streets of Erbil from 6 in the morning to 9 at night, offering people bread and cigarettes.

In 1989, at age 10, his father lent him 650 dinar to start a money exchange business. “I remember I earned 750 dinar during the first 15 days, which was really great,” he said.

In 1991, Iraq freely traded with Turkey and Iran. So, at the age of 12, Yakub decided to travel to Haji Omran to sell cigarettes to traders, who crossed through the border town every day. He began to watch how they conducted their sales. Read more »

Life in Erbil, Iraq: A tour through the bazaar

This slideshow was created by Shivan Sito, a 27-year old reporter living in Erbil.



AAM is pleased to partner with The Tiziano Project over the next three months in an effort to bring the work of young journalists in Erbil, Iraq before a larger audience. The Tiziano Project provides community members in conflict, post-conflict and underreported regions with the equipment, training and affiliations necessary to report their stories and improve their lives.

Life in Erbil, Iraq: Learning to be a Kurd

“Remembering” is part of an ongoing series, with young Iraqi reporters asking members of their community to reflect on important moments in their lives. This story was written by Ashna Shareff, a 21-year old reporter living in Erbil.

The day Bero Abdullah left Erbil she was sure she wouldn’t come back. The city was almost empty. Everyone had fled to surrounding villages because they feared an attack by the Iraqi Army.

The residents of Erbil – known in Kurdish as Hawler – remember the start of the second Iraq invasion in April 2003 because of their constant fear that Saddam Hussein would carry out attacks with chemical weapons as he had done in the town of Halabja in 1988.

“I was coming back home and, on the way, my friends and I were writing memories for each other because we were sure that we wouldn’t see each other again,” Bero said.

Bero, 21, is from Rawandz but now lives with her family in Erbil and attends Salahaddin University.

Just before the second Iraq war started, Bero’s family shared a house, food and even clothing among 11 people. There were five from her family and six people from her uncle’s family all living together. At the time, Bero was 15 years old.

She came home one day and all the family’s things were packed. Her father insisted that they go to their hometown of Rawandz.

“He was sure that Rawandz was the best place to keep us safe from Saddam’s threat,” Bero said.

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Swimming in Baghdad?

BAGHDAD, Iraq

As I look out from the balcony of my hotel room, I can’t help but see the swimming pool down below as a metaphor for much of Baghdad and Iraq. Right now, the pool is empty and coated with a heavy dusting of sand and dirt, the grass around the pool half dead. The buildings and kids play areas rundown and long past their prime.

At the same time, it’s easy to see what it once was and could be. Sitting on the west bank of the Tigris, the pool and grounds could easily be a lush and luxurious oasis on a hot summer day. And, it really wouldn’t take much money or work to restore the pool to full glory, but it probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

For that matter, you should see my hotel room. I’m sure it hasn’t been updated since the hotel opened – which I’m guessing was in the 70s when it was probably a top-notch establishment. Certainly the bathroom tile screams 1975, and the peeling wallpaper looks about 35 years old. None of the cabinets or drawers close properly, you can see the raw ceiling through the various vents and cracks in the interior ceiling. Oh, and then there’s the fact that the door was kicked in at some point, and they simply glued the wood back together rather than replacing it.

And that’s what things feel like in general in this country. It’s easy to see the signs of past and potential future glory. The infrastructure is basically there. Roads, bridges, buildings, parks, monuments, museums… it’s all there – it’s just all dirty, chipped, rutted, neglected, or cordoned off behind massive slabs of T-Wall.

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