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Iraqi interpreter picks exile over certain death after 'working for enemy'

When Iraqi Ahmed Alrais joined the US army as an interpreter, he thought the benefits of establishing good relations with the occupying army would outweigh the risks of being seen as a traitor. Exile soon became his only way out.


Ten years after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the human cost of the war remains difficult to measure, even after numerous studies. Besides the casualties – both civilian and military – tens of thousands of people have been permanently disabled and emotionally scarred, while millions of Iraqis have been forced into exile. As many as 80,000 Iraqi refugees fled to the US in the wake of the war.


“My Beloved Enemy” is a web documentary series that focuses on real people, both Iraqi and American, whose lives have been forever changed by the conflict.

A few months into the war, Ahmed Alrais gave up his job as a chef to join the US army as an interpreter.

In the beginning, his neighbors reacted badly at what they saw as treason. But the community eventually realized the benefits of having one of them work in close contact with the occupying force, for a while.

Alrais left Iraq in 2006. He now lives in the Chicago area with his family


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