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  1. ITV Report

Voices from Iraq : How life has changed 10 years on since the start of the war

Five people talk about their impressions of the Iraq War and how it has changed their lives.

Rand Khalid: A 21-year-old engineering student in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan

Rand Khali says he envisions a "better future" for Kurds. Credit: ITV News

"The Iraq war was a turning point in my life - before the war I always felt like I was in a big prison. I couldn't travel out of the country, there was no recognition for Iraq, let alone Kurds in Iraq.

"So the biggest change was the international recognition. The doors opened for us, we could travel, get educated in a Western style and we could achieve our dreams and goals.

"I think at least 90 to 95% of Kurds have a better life than 10 years ago.

"For Kurds, I envision a better future. We create our future, we can unlock our potential - if we work hard, we can achieve it. However I think we have a better road ahead than Iraqis in the south unfortunately.

"We definitely have a more secure and better future than the rest of Iraq".

Adel Karim Najiem: An Iraqi businessman based in Baghdad.

Adel Karim Najiem says that he is extremely depressed by the situation Iraq Credit: ITV News

"From an economic perspective, the situation is better. Iraq was under sanctions for 13 years before the war started and the economic situation under the regime was very bad.

"The working class has now begun to get real opportunities, even if this has happened in a very chaotic and unstable way. There is a new injection of funds and some oil money trickling through."

However, the security situation has deteriorated in a very bad way. Before the war we were living under sanctions yes, but we had security. We didn’t feel this kind of fear before.

"Before the war there was a unified fear of the regime but society was stable and secure. Now after the war, the sectarian issue has become our biggest problem. Before the war we had a social society that worked, our suffering was spread out equally between all Iraqis but now our society has crumbled.

"Sectarianism in this country is painful, really painful. For all Iraqi's, whether Sunni, Shia or Kurdish. We are all suffering from this heightened sectarianism and the only people who are benefiting are the politicians.

"I am extremely depressed by the situation Iraq is in now and I'm afraid of what the future will bring to be honest".

Alaa Mousawi: A 31-year-old photographer from Basra

Alaa Mousawi says despite the hardships "we still have hope".

"At the time when the American, British and Danish troops entered Iraq the overall feeling in Basra was joyous, because the Saddam regime was no easy regime to live under.

"The injustice, torture, the hunger and hardships we had to endure meant that people did feel they were in a sort of prison, so when the foreign troops entered they felt that freedom had arrived - this was heaven.

"The new found sense of freedom became a drug. The newly formed governments couldn't control civilians; there was no order especially because the American forces dissolved the Iraqi army and security forces. We had to start from scratch.

"After Maliki came into power the situation got better things seemed a bit more stable for a while.

"But the political parties kept fighting for power and between each other and they forgot about what Iraqi civilians needed - this was basic amenities which we lost during the war like good running water, electricity and public services which were all present during Saddam’s era.

"Public amenities and services are what the politicians should have focused on from the beginning to help the country get back on its feet.

"Foreign companies have started coming back to Iraq and many people are starting to work for these companies. Yes, there are still dangers and some instability but not like the before - people are determined to carry on and build a better Iraq. We still have hope and lots of it."

There have been problems with water supply shortages in large parts of Iraq. Credit: Reuters/Kareem Raheem

Sajedeh Abdel Hussein: A 28-year-old journalist in Basra (Photograph not provided)

"In the past few years as democracy has grown and developed in Iraq so has the voice of the Iraqi woman.

"Iraqi women have become more active in politics, parliament and society. Iraqi women have taken on more roles and responsibilities as head of business and departments.

"Many women who were illiterate went to school and began to read and write because they want better futures for themselves and their children.

"Security and safety in Basra is better than the past few years. Before we wouldn't travel to the capital, no one would go to Baghdad, but now people come and go - there is more travel abroad and around the country. At one point women wouldn't travel on their own because of safety fears - now however women travel on their own and come and go.

"Before, I would be afraid to say I was a journalist and now I say it loud and proud - I regularly publish articles and I can see my future. We have had enough of wars and blood and we refuse to have any more - the future generations deserve peace, love and stability in Iraq".

Iraqi policewomen salute as the Iraqi national anthem is played during a ceremony celebrate International Women's Day in Baghdad in 2009 Credit: Reuters/Thaier al-Sudani

Samia Aziz Mohammed Khasro : A human rights activist and former minister based in Baghdad. (Photograph not provided)

"I left Iraq in 1980 and I didn’t come back until 26 April 2003 when the international coalition troops entered Iraq.

"The first day I came back there was still chaos in the streets and lots of fighting going on because Saddam hadn't fully been toppled at that point.

"When the regime fell and I heard the Americans had landed to free the country from the brutal dictatorship we were very optimistic about peace and we were enthusiastic about the future.

"The situation in these early stages was getting progressively better until around 2006 when the terrorists really started to carry out attacks that took many lives.

"In my opinion as bad as the situation is now, these days are still a million times better than the situation before the fall of the regime. Before there was no media - killings and murder were in secret, dark places. Today the killings are in the light in clear for everyone to see.

"Iraq has now become part of the world stage and all its problems are open and clear for the world to see…not like before".

Interviews by Fadah Jassem

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