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IPFS News Link • Iraq

A Sense of Despair Is Sweeping Through Iraq.


I used to have a driver called Omar in Baghdad at the height of the Sunni-Shia slaughter between 2004 and 2010. He was a Sunni Arab and, at the peak of the sectarian bloodshed, he fled with his family to Damascus where they stayed for a year.

On his return, he found that his house, on which he had spent all his money and was in a religiously mixed district in west Baghdad, had been seized by Shia militiamen. When he briefly visited it, his neighbours warned him to go away as quickly as he could or he would be killed.

He sold his wife's jewellery, borrowed some money and paid an Iraqi in Sweden a considerable sum to get him there. It was always a doomed idea because he spoke only Arabic and had no skills other than those of a driver. He flew first to Kuala Lumpur, then to Phnom Penh and finally by bus to Ho Chi Minh City where he tried to get a flight to Lithuania using a Lithuanian passport he had purchased.