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He works for the US military in Iraq: "More afraid today"


For seven years, Hussein al-Kaabi has worked for the US forces in Iraq. A job he keeps secret for his neighbors. SVT's Middle East team has met one of the Iraqis who takes great risks by working for the US military in the country.

Just over a week ago, Hussein al-Kaabi was at his workplace at the Ain al-Asad base in Iraq when the sirens began to howl. Iran had fired missiles at the base - and Hussein ran for his life to the shelter.

- I was terribly scared. The base is very large and everyone didn't get to the shelter. But even inside, the floor shook beneath us, the explosions were very powerful, he says.

"Would not hesitate to kill me"

Hussein al-Kaabi is an electrician and is really called something else. But he does not want to go out with his real name in fear of being the target of attacks.

"There are militias here in Iraq who would not hesitate to kill me if they knew I was working for the Americans," he says.

Iran's missile attack on US targets in Iraq on January 8 was carried out as a revenge for the US killing Iranian general Qassem Suleimani a few days earlier. Iran had warned in advance of the attacks targeting Ain al-Asad base in western Iraq and against a base in Kurdish Erbil in the north. No person was killed, but four Iraqi and eleven American soldiers were injured.

Concern about escalation

In Iraq, the year has started to shock. Following the storming of the US embassy in Baghdad and the US drone attack that killed Iranian top general Qassem Soleimani, fears have risen that the Iran-US power struggle will lead to more escalation.

Iraq is in an extremely difficult position. 5,000 US soldiers are stationed here while the US arch-enemy Iran has great influence in the country. Following the US attack on Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, the Iraqi parliament has voted for US forces to leave the country. US President Donald Trump threatens Iraq with financial sanctions if the demand is implemented.

"Today I'm much more afraid"

Hussein al-Kaabi says that the Iran-backed militia, which has about 140,000 men in arms in Iraq and which is a cornerstone of the Iraqi arm, is increasingly influential in Iraq today.

- I was careful to tell about my work even before they killed Soleimani. But today I am much more afraid, he says.

Source: svt

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