Left Behind: Iraqis Who Helped US Occupation Forces Fear Revenge Attacks

'Special' Visa Backlog Keeps Many Stuck in Iraq

The impact of nine years of occupation cannot be understated, and America has made a number of enemies in Iraq over that time, destroying cities and ruining lives. But with US troops gone, will the attention turn toward those who facilitated the occupation?

That’s the concern of many of the more than 140,000 Iraqis who worked for the occupation forces in one capacity or another, and there was even a special measure passed in 2008 to recognize this possibility, creating the “Special Immigrant Visa” program for Iraqi collaborators.

Yet the applicants are finding the effort to secure residence in the US particularly slow moving, as tens of thousands of applicants have been waiting for years “pending a decision,” as the Obama Administration demands lengthy background checks.

Their work wasn’t exactly a secret, and some are reporting threatening phone calls already. For many in Iraq the former employees of the US are seen as traitors, and with little chance of a sudden rush to accept them into the US, they will likely remain to face revenge attacks.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.