Life in Baghdad: Residents voice concerns about troop exit


US President Barack Obama has confirmed the end of all combat operations in Iraq by 31 August.

Despite the announcement earlier this week, some 50,000 of 65,000 US troops currently in Iraq will remain in the country until the end of 2011 to advise Iraqi forces and protect US interests.

Here two residents of Baghdad talk about their experience of life in Iraq's capital city and their concerns for the future after the troops leave.

Lubna Naji, Baghdad

For me as an ordinary Baghdad citizen the importance of Mr Obama's announcement is merely symbolic, as it marks the beginning of the end of the American occupation of my Iraq.

But I do not believe this decision is going to be that significant.

Americans have been occupying Iraq for over seven years now, and many terrorist attacks targeting innocent Iraqi civilians have taken place. The Americans didn't stop the attacks from happening did they?

The only people that I was expecting some action from are our politicians, and unfortunately they all turned out to be a huge disappointment. I mean if your own fellow citizens aren't willing to help you out then what should you expect from a foreign occupier?

What we really need is a powerful and functioning government and parliament that can fight insurgency as well as providing people with what they need in order to live a dignified and prosperous life.

As for life in Baghdad, I'd say that it is barely tolerable generally speaking.

Security wise things are a bit better than they used to be, but every other aspect of life here is still bad if not worse.

Basic services including electricity and water supplies are worse, we get electricity from the government for three or four hours a day, and in this incredibly hot Iraqi summer is that acceptable?

Ahmed Jabbar Mutar, Baghdad

Iraq is a country of misery, we live in fear. Nothing is beautiful, there is no electricity, no healthy environment, it is a hot summer but the government is not able to solve the problem of electricity.

As I walk in the street I expect my death at any moment. I leave my wife and three kids and I go to work expecting I will not be back again, we have lived this way since 2003.

People in my neighbourhood and other places in Baghdad are afraid like me, no one trusts the government or politicians. People believe most of them are following an agenda from outside Iraq.

As Iraq's enemies heard about the US withdrawal, militia from Sunni or Shia came back to kill and do bad deeds again. They can hit any time they would like, al-Qaeda can do the same, it means security is not good.

Yes, it is not like before in 2005 or 2006 or 2007, but there are indications that they will be back.

There is no hope for a better life with corrupt officials in government.

This is a small description of our life in Baghdad, but I've not talked about poverty, or that a lot of people are starving to death and are dying due to lack of services and medicine.

The US withdrawal will allow Iraq's enemies to come back again despite the great efforts exerted in the last two years.

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