Welcome to the story of an Iraqi soldier turned Iraqi refugee living in America, who fled Iraq in 2006 at the height of the sectarian violence but visited only 9 months ago. I had the opportunity to interview him about his life in Iraq before and after the US invasion:
Q: What did you think of Saddam Hussein living under his rule in Iraq?
A: “Saddam Hussein he did not identify if the people are Sunni or Shiite, he said everyone was Iraqi, that’s what he said always.”
Q: How did the changes in the economy affect you personally while you were living in Baghdad?
A: “I tried to apply for a job in the security force sometime, they will ask me, what tribe do you come from? And according to the tribe they can recognize if I am Sunni or Shiite. If you are Shiite, you have to apply for a job in the military or the ministry for the Shiite, and that will be better for you. If you are Sunni you have to go to the Sunni part and ask their ministers to give you a job”
“As example, I was a soldier during the Saddam Hussein regime. I was a soldier with the Iraqi army, and I make about 6,000 dinar. At that time, it was about $3 per month. Now the soldier make about $700 per month.”
Q: Tell me, why sectarianism in Iraq, and why now?