Local Iraqi reacts to his country’s crisis

Posted By: Camila Orti

Unrest continues in Iraq as radical militants take over major cities and force tens of thousands of people from their homes.

An Iraqi living here in Lincoln has had to watch violence in his country first-hand during the Iraq war. Ziyad Smoqi helped the U.S. Army as a translator for six years, and currently works as an educator at the People’s City Mission. He says the crisis in Iraq now will continue to get worse unless other countries step in to help.

Islamic militants belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, have the goal of creating a strict Islamic state.

“For my relatives over there, their situation is bad,” Smoqi said.

Smoqi has lived in Lincoln for the past four years. He says he’s worried about his relatives, who live in the northern part of the country.

“The past few days we have not slept well,” Smoqi said.

They’re protected, but trapped in one of the areas surrounded by ISIS fighters.

“If they got access to these areas, they’d kill everyone they see,” Smoqi said.

President Barack Obama addressed the situation in a news conference Friday morning. He says the U.S. won’t be sending in ground troops, but is considering other options to assist Iraq security forces.

“Iraq needs the help of the U.S. right now,” Smoqi said.

He just wants the killing to stop.