Watching From Afar: DFW Iraqis React to Conflict

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EULESS — For AJ Kadhim, the conflict in Iraq is personal. He says 183-members of his extended family were executed by Saddam Hussein, including two of his brothers. Kadhim possesses a list of their names, he claims was signed by Saddam Hussein.

“In one day, they never received the bodies,” he recalled.

Even with its history of deadly violence, Kadhim believes the current conflict in Iraq is worse. “Right now, the situation is very nasty,” he said. “I will never get used to seeing civilians carrying bazookas and machine guns, walking in the streets to defend their home.”

He still has family in Iraq. They are safe, but only because they live under extremely tight security. Kadhim says he’s pleased the U.S. launched airstrikes against ISIS, but he wishes President Obama responded sooner.

“We should have started it earlier,” he said. “The day ISIS came into that country, we know they are bad people, everybody knows they are bad people.”

Kadhim says he has not been back to Iraq since his last living brother, Dr. Issam Al-Dujaily, was assassinated after joining post-Saddam government.

“As soon as he got back to Iraq, they assassinated him,” Kadhim explained. “Then, the defense ministry collapsed.”

His greatest fear though, is that his homeland will end up divided. “If it breaks up, it will only get worse; they will keep fighting.”

“I really don’t want to see that happen because it will hurt me internally.”