About 200 Iraqi youth have attended Global Youth Village since 2008.  Last week, the last remaining American troops left Iraq. How will their departure affect the situation in Iraq? What are things like on the ground now? Read letters from our  2011 Iraqi alums for some answers; they  reflect personal opinions from various parts of the country and the writers’ names have been withheld.

Young man from Baghdad:

” For the past two years, we haven’t been seeing American soldiers  in the streets.  The average Iraqi citizen in the street will not notice that the soldiers have left.  Security is generally in the hands of the Iraqi forces these days so I don’t think that there will be a lot of changes in security. Compared to three years ago, things in general are better. The recent bomb blasts are creepy.  Every time a bomb goes off we race to the phone to call our family members and make sure that everyone is OK.”

Young woman from Basra:

“I don’t have strong feelings about the troops leaving or staying.  The future of Iraq doesn’t depend on their presence or departure.  Iraq’s issues stem from our messed up government.”

A man from Anbar:

“I’m partially happy that the troops are leaving  because we are going to have our freedom back and our army will have a chance to take responsibility.  However, our army may not yet be to handle security.  I am afraid that the country will be divided or it will be controlled by Iran. The P.M. of Iraq is merely a toy in the hands of the Iranian government. The security situation is deteriorating.  Last week we had some kidnappings and assassinations along with explosions and bombings.  Around  250 people have been killed. My cousin decide to leave his school in Baghdad because three of his friends were kidnapped on Thursday because they are Sunni. Nobody knows where they are.   A professor from Baghdad university/ college of law was murdered last week too so it looks like we’re headed into a civil war.  This time, we will have no US troops to protect the civilians and to take  weapons away from the militias.

Young woman from Hilla:

“I have mixed feelings about the situation in Iraq.  I’m happy for the American troops because they will go back to their families; they have suffered a lot. I’m sad because I don’t think that my  country can protect itself and our future is probably better with the American troops here. The security situation will become worse because our soldiers don’t honor their profession and if they receive bribes they will not pay attention to the country’s security.  In general, the  Americans soldiers carry out their duties loyally and faithfully compared to the Iraqi ones.”

Young man from Baghdad:

“I  feel very bad because the American soldiers were protecting us and their departure was premature.  We don’t have a strong army yet.  Iraq’s future would have been  brighter and better with American troops because of our army is not ready to protect  us and defeat the terrorists from other countries. I plead with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to work harder and process our papers. We are waiting for our U.S. visas and are receiving threats.”

Young man from Kurdistan (Northern Iraq):

“Currently our country is on the brink of a civil war – the Vice President has fled to the North (to Kurdistan where I am living) because he’s been accused of leading terrorist operations. A wave of bombings was targeted at Baghdad, the capital, along with the other southern cities right after the U.S troops left. Iran is also making things worse by interfering in our politics. The Iranian government, which is composed of the Shiites, supports Nuri Maliki who is now seen by the Sunnis as a dictator.  To sum it all up up: things do not look good. I am just hoping that things get better – especially in the South, where so many are dying due to lack of security.”

Young Iraqis and Americans at GYV

Young Iraqis and Americans build strong ties of friendship