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Name: Nashaat Abas Hassan

Age: 21

Job: Member of the Sawa or the “awakening” militias created by the Americans as a way to bring Sunnis to the side of the Iraqi government and away from extremist groups. These groups continue to function under the Iraqi government.

Injury: Partial right foot amputation

Q: How were you injured?

A: “During a clearing operation I was with American soldiers. I volunteered to help search a house suspected of housing militants. When I entered the building a mine exploded and wounded him. The American military took me away on a helicopter to an American medical hospital.”

Q: What is the training you obtained from the American and the Iraqi armies?

A: “We received good training from the American army. They trained us on fighting and weapons. After that, the American forces gave us the authority to shoot at or arrest armed persons we see. Compared to this, the Iraqi forces took away our weapons and gave every four persons one gun. That’s why when we saw armed persons we weren’t able to shoot them except with an order from the Iraqi forces.”

A: Do you believe this is a suitable and good time for the Americans to leave Iraq?

Q: “It is not a good time for the American forces to withdraw. It is not a good time for the American forces to withdraw because sectarianism would return. The militias also still exist and operate. It would be dangerous. It is preferable for them to stay until the government is formed and the militias are over.”

A: Do you trust the American army or the new Iraqi army?

Q: “I trust the American forces through their promises and what they say to us. They fulfilled their promises to us. As for the Iraqi forces, they haven’t done anything. They broke the promises they made to us.”

Q: You, of course, now have a permanent injury from the time you fought with the Americans? Are you proud of this thing, of having done this thing or do you regret it?

A: “I regret this thing that I’ve done. But I am proud that I wasn’t martyred because that would make Al-Qaeda happy, if we are killed, I mean. That’s why I have now returned to my work.”

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