Iraq: Waiting for Salvation Day

By Laith Hammoudi.

This article was originally published by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, iwpr.net, and it is reproduced by Iraq Business News with permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

Mohammed Abid is waiting for an email from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) that will tell him when he and his family can leave Iraq.

He has spent four years awaiting what he calls the “day of salvation”. Meanwhile, he and his family live in daily fear that one of them will be killed in the random bomb explosions that go off all across the capital Baghdad.

“Leaving Iraq will be like a new birthday for me and all my family,” Mohammed Abid said. “I am not prepared to lose a family member to an explosion, and I live with this fear permanently.”

Three of his workmates have already left for the United State. He is hoping he will be able to follow them soon, taking all his family except his parents, who will move to southern Iraq where they can live close to relatives.

Mohammed Abid is one of thousands of Iraqis who have applied to emigrate under IOM procedures. The prospect of a better life and a better future is one motive for leaving, but the main one is just staying alive.

Eleven years after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein’s goverment, Iraqis like Mohammad Abid are still enduring an never-ending cycle of violence. Car bombs, suicide bombings and other forms of violence are now part of the fabric of daily life.

The bloodshed peaked in 2007-08. Many analysts cite the 2006 attack on the Shia shrine at Samarra as a start-date for this wave of violence. Thousands of people were killed and “disappeared” during this period, while tens of thousands counted themselves lucky just to have lost money and property rather than their lives.

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