End Game in Iraq

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In May 2010, we issued an extensive report, Tragedy on the Horizon, in which we surveyed the history of withdrawal, paying particular attention to the fate of those who aided the departing power.  It is not a pretty history.

That report triggered Congressional hearings and legislation, which instructed the Obama Administration to conduct contingency planning in order to ensure that, as America withdrew from Iraq, we do not repeat the bloody mistakes of the past and abandon the thousands of Iraqis who are still working for us.  Many thousands more are stuck in a labyrinthine bureaucratic process which has only gotten worse since we issued our report.

But despite our best efforts, the Executive Branch ignored our calls for contingency planning, adopting a policy of wishful thinking.

Since the war ended, Iraqi employees of the U.S. Government have been hunted and murdered.  The process by which an Iraqi ally applies for a visa has slowed down to such an extent that it can take two years before they receive an invitation for an initial interview.  Nearly every day, we receive worrying news from U.S.-affiliated Iraqis.

Update: Please see this incredible website assembled by This American Life, using the emails supplied by the List Project between “Omar,” an Iraqi forklift operator who worked for the U.S. Army, and the State Department.

They were able to powerfully demonstrate how robotic and unthinking the process is: Omar was beheaded in the summer of 2012, after a desperate year of appeals to our government for a lifeline.  His story and the emails are also featured in To Be a Friend is Fatal.

We have decided to start making this intelligence public – all while protecting the identity of those who have shared it with us, of course, since many of them are in hiding as a result of their service to America.

We will update this as frequently as we’re able.  Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter (TLPHQ) for more updates.

Approximate DatePerpetratorDescription of eventCityProvince
08/01/13UnknownIraqi who had worked for 5 years on USAID projects returned home to find gunmen waiting. His wife, 5-y-o son, and infant daughter were herded into a bathroom while he was forced to his knees. The militants issued their final warning to him. His case has been pending with the U.S. Government for nearly 4 years.BaghdadBaghdad
2/13/13Hizb Allah in IraqIraqi receives death threat letter, which includes an AK-47 round.N/AN/A
12/23/12UnknownFormer USAID employee tailed by car filled with militants, who pulled up alongside and drew a weapon. He managed to escape but is concerned for his safety.BaghdadBaghdad
6/20/2012N/AFormer interpreter is gunned down and murdered in his home by militants.Kirkuk
6/2012N/A Iraqi who worked with the U.S. is kidnapped and beheaded. Brother of the slain victim receives a phone call shortly after saying "you will be next." N/A N/A
5/2012N/AIraqi Interpreter who worked with U.S. forces is kidnapped. Two weeks later, after a long search, his family learns that he has been tortured and murdered. At the time of his death, he had been desperately waiting for a visa to resettle in the U.S.N/AN/A
3/10/2012Asaib ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous)An Iraqi reports from Baghdad that he received a threat letter from Asaib ahl al-haq. The letter came with a syringe and a bottle of concentrated sulfuric acid, and read "to the [American] client (i.e traitor)....examine this, we will wash your faces and bodies in it." BaghdadBaghdad
2/16/2012Iraqi Government ; Ministry of InteriorMinistry of Interior press release calls for a campaign to eliminate so called "emo" youth. "Emo" is used loosely in Iraq, encompassing many different strata of those perceived to be subversives. Although the press release did not call for killing, it essentially gave tacit approval to extremist groups to persecute these Iraqis. Many young Iraqis were indeed targeted and killed in the following month, in a number of brutal attacks.
These attacks have highlighted the still very real stigma of any perceived western or U.S. influence in Iraq, and many Iraqis who worked with the U.S. that are still in the country are under increased pressure to keep their whereabouts unknown.
2/7/2012Sunni Insurgent group websiteA site affiliated with sunni insurgents begins to post names and pictures of those who worked with the United States during the war. The lists are a means to find and hunt these Iraqis down.N/AN/A
1/27/2012Islamic State of Iraq | "Sheikh" Abu Muhammad al-AdnaniISI releases an audio statement, reaffirming its will to fight and drive out foreign influence, both American and Iranian. Included in the statement is a threat to our Iraqi allies : "[Iraq is] a shame upon the history of America! It has been defeated and no longer has the ability for direct confrontation since it signed the withdrawal agreement and fled from the cities to the military bases, to escape the trap of attrition it suffered for many years, and it is now returning to the proxy war. Our fight is still with their agents and their apostate followers, and the rejectionists (referring to Iraqi Shia and Iran, who he conflates here to make them seem like disloyal Iraqis)." N/AN/A
1/25/2012Jaysh Al-Mahdi | Muqtada Al-SadrIraqi on the List contacts us to report an attempted assassination. He has since fled his home and gone into hiding.Baghdad (Al-Mansour)Baghdad
1/24/2012Jaysh Al-Mahdi | Muqtada Al-SadrIraqi contacts TLP to report that JAM attacked a U.S.-affiliated Iraqi who is waiting on a visa, along with his son. The Iraqi police declined to get involved, stating it was a tribal matter.Baghdad (Mustansiriya)Baghdad
1/22/2012N/ATLP Netroots volunteers report the assassination of a U.S.-affiliated Iraqi, while recovering in the hospital from a bomb attack.N/AN/A
1/17/2012Islamic State of Iraq A U.S. affiliated Iraqi emails TLP, notifying us that he came home to find a live pistol round at the door of his home, a telltale sign of threats by militants who wish to kill those affiliated with the U.S.Baghdad(A'zamiyah)Baghdad
1/13/2012N/AIraqi contact relays that while leaving the International Zone (Green Zone) in Baghdad an unmarked sedan pulled up beside the car he and a colleague were riding in and three young men motioned with pistols for them to stop. After a high speed chase, they were able to reach a security checkpoint and escaped any harm. Baghdad (International Zone)Baghdad
12/15/2011N/AIraqi contacts TLP, explaining that he was advised by a relative in Iraqi Army Intelligence that because Iraqi Government info on Iraqis working with U.S. may be given or fall into the wrong hands, that he should be very careful in months ahead.N/AN/A
12/12/2011Jaysh Al-Mahdi | Muqtada Al-SadrIraqi source in Baghdad tells us of info he received from a high level Iraqi government source, telling him that Sadrists at Al-Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad are seeking to bar any U.S. affiliated Iraqi Interpreters and their family members, deeming them collaborators. Those who perpetrated the threat are remnants of the feared "League of Students" a group of Shia fundamentalist students who in the past have conducted violent campaigns on the campus, raping and killing a number of students and professors in a reign of terror that forced the University to temporarily close its doors in 2009. Some say the group still controls the security at the University and is looking to bar select studentsBaghdadBaghdad
11/24/2011Iraqi PoliceIraqi who worked with the U.S. contacts TLP, explaining that he had been threatened outside his home by an Iraqi policeman, who told him that he would be beheaded because he was a disloyal traitor and an American puppet. BaghdadBaghdad
11/21/2011Jaysh Al-Mahdi | Muqtada Al-SadrList Project applicant notifies us that her husband was released from his work with the U.S. at the air base in Ramadi, as the Army prepares to hand over the base to Iraqi armed forces. Her husband is now hiding from elements of the Mahdi army, which he says are hunting down U.S. affiliated Iraqis in the area.RamadiAl-Anbar
11/20/2011N/AIraqi Newspaper Sabah al-Jadeed (New Morning) reports from Baquba that Iraqi personnel who have worked with Americans, from government officials to translators, are currently disposing of any photographs or documents that associate them with Americans. This is being done out of fear of retribution from extremists. BaqubaDiyala
11/16/2011Jaysh Al-Mahdi | Muqtada Al-SadrMore Iraqis contact TLP in desperation regarding rumors that that Jaysh Al-Mahdi will target in force Iraqis who worked with the United States after withdrawal. Allegedly, because of the their ties to the government, they have access to all identification databases for Iraqi workers in the International Zone in Baghdad, allowing them to obtain personal information such as addresses, pictures and phone numbers.BaghdadBaghdad
11/11/2011N/AAswat al Iraq reports that 4000 Iraqis working with the United States Army through subcontractors KBR and GLS were released from their jobs on Friday November 11th. The article also noted that the companies did not work to help those seeking to get to the U.S. because of threats, and also released them without a termination bonus.NasiriyahDhi Qar
11/11/2011Jaysh Al-Mahdi | Muqtada Al-SadrPress release from Muqtada al-Sadr, in response to a question regarding whether he will work toward the Islamization of society. He vows he will, and also adds that he will not differentiate from Sunni, Shia, Christian, etc, and then made these further qualifying remarks: "I call on everyone to transcend their differences and build a new Iraq, free from the "destructor" (Saddam) and his men, from terrorism and its agents, militias, troops and of the occupation and its clients."BaghdadBaghdad
11/03/2011Grand Ayatollah and Marja Mahmoud Hassani SorkhiOn October 28th, Grand Ayatollah Mahmoud Hassani Sorkhi released a statement in conjunction with a celebration for Mohammed Sadiq al Sadr, (murdered by Saddam in 1999, and Moqtada's Father) which following the Islamic calender, would be the 13th anniversary of his death. Sorkhi praises Sadr, calls out the U.S. occupation and the corruption it has ushered in. He also tells followers to "Reject the occupation, the invaders and the collaborators, and those who prepared for their arrival and are satisfied with their work. A clear victory to reject the occupation and its presence." Link: Source BaghdadBaghdad
10/31/2011Jaysh Al-Mahdi | Muqtada Al-SadrState Department representative informs Iraqi USAID contractor staff that Muqtada al-Sadr has announced a war on U.S.-affiliated Iraqis and has given them an ultimatum to leave with U.S. by the end of the year.

Department of State representative suggests that Iraqi staff take extra security precautions from now on.
9/01/2011N/AIraqi on the List alleges that many assassinations are being carried out in Nasiriyah, and that U.S. affiliated Iraqis are among the main targets.NasiriyahDhi Qar
9/01/2011N/AIraqi on the List relates a story that he heard about militias having a list of names of Iraqis who have worked for the United States, and that they have been trying to find and kill those Iraqis. Aswat al Iraq reports in October that a security source in Diwaniyah confirmed that there was a list of persons of influence that militants were seeking to assassinate. The article also added that nine people had been assassinated within the timeframe of one month DiwaniyahAl-Qadisiyyah
09/01/2011Jaysh Al-Mahdi | Muqtada Al-SadrThreat against USAID contractor causes them to inform their Iraqi staff that they will move their compound to a more secure location.BaghdadBaghdad
12/8/2011Iraqi ArmyIraqi newspaper al-aalam reports that 12 Iraqi U.S. Army interpreters were allegedly arrested by the Iraqi Army during a recent base transfer ceremony in the province of Diyala. The List Project has not been able to verify that this event took place.N/ADiyala
6/30/2011Association of Muslim Scholars | Harith Al-DhariHarith Al-Dhari, leader of Iraq's Association of Muslim Scholars, and known as a spiritual leader among Iraq's Sunni Insurgency, released a statement to his followers on June 30th, the 91st anniversary of the 1920 Iraqi revolt against the British occupation. In it he praised the resistance to the U.S. and expressed the following: "Do not fall into the temptation of the invaders, the invaders and their agents who prefer money over law. They betrayed the interests of Iraq and its people."N/AN/A
06/23/2011Jaysh Al-Mahdi | Muqtada Al-SadrAttack on U.S. convoy headed to Mustansiriyah University, killing one American and injuring another.

As a result, one prominent security contractor forbids trips to any areas controlled by Sadrists

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