How the US invasion affected sectarianism in Iraq

From Doctor to Displaced: The Story of an Iraqi Refugee

Iraqi refugees fleeing the area after the US invasion

I spoke to a Iraqi doctor Khalid who once worked in Iraq before becoming a reguee in 2006. He now works as a doctor in the US.

Q: Describe what it means to be an Iraqi before and after the US invasion.

A: “Before the US invasion Iraq was geographically different than Iraq after the US invasion…After the US invasion we started to think about specific areas. Where you were standing you thought that’s what Iraq is, because you lost the meaning of Iraq. Socially…[after the US invasion] people who lived in Iraq and carried the Iraqi citizenship they were more Iraqi than others. People started seeing themselves as more or less Iraqi based on where you were from or what you believed. Before the US invasion an Iraqi was an Iraqi everywhere, even Iraqis outside of Iraq”

Q: Describe the security situation in Iraq before and after the US invasion.

A: “The rate of violence increased so much in Iraq…Yeah there was some violence when Saddam Hussein was in power but nothing compared to after Saddam Hussein. We didn’t want to leave the country when Saddam Hussein ruled. And the people who wanted to leave the country they didn’t want to leave the country to be safe. They wanted to leave to have more financial resources or to be more free to live their life. Nobody left because it was not safe, unless they had a political opinion against Saddam Hussein, and against his regime. After the US occupation even if you weren’t involved in…anything you might get attacked by somebody because they create the violence in the area”

Q: How did the disbanding of the Iraqi army affect Iraq?

A: “When a country has an army and you destroy the army, then you are destroying the country!…and the people say

no to this. Though there are people who are greedy who want to make a lot of money from the violence. And they are business people, they don’t care for morals and beliefs”

Q: How did the rights of women change after the US invasion?

A:“What I saw was that…women are protected by law in most societies but in Iraq  [after the invasion]could not do anything because law was being broken by everybody”

“The only thing that could be applied in Iraq after the invasion was force, and they [women] do not have force”

Q: What is the future of Iraq?

“Iraq right now will never ever eversay we want to be united and create one country and protect our resources for the next generation…each

From “Baghdad: Truth Lies Within”
Iraqi refugees

sector right now wants to destroy the next generation of the other sector, and the resources no one cares about, but thy care if there will be no Shiite or no Sunni”

Q: Do you identify yourself as a Sunni or a Shiite, or what religion would you identify yourself as?

“…Muslim…I don’t believe that divisions belong to Islam, Islam is one unity and what happened to Iraq is just because of political purposes. Even divisions within a religion never divided the people, but the people divided because of their own benefit”

For more information on Iraqi refugees, refer to this data collected in March 2007 by the Brookings Institute.

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