Nine years after his first visit to Baghdad, Al Jazeera reporter Sebastian Walker returns to Iraq to find out what future lies ahead for the country after the departure of U.S. troops. The United States is moving on, but where is Iraq headed?
Across his journey from Basra to Baghdad, Walker finds a mourning country. Tens of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives during eight years of war. 1.3 million people remain displaced. Half a million people in Baghdad live in refugee camps. Neighborhoods are separated by thick cement blast walls. "Everyday our tears still flow," says Ali, who lost his brother during the war.
According to Al Jazeera, one in 10 women in the country is a widow. Hanna Naif's husband was killed by American forces right after she had learned that she was pregnant with their second child. The children kept her going, but Naif never stopped thinking of her late husband. She wishes she could avenge his death. "I wish that I had some authority. I wish I knew how to blow myself up among them." Naif said. "I really don't care if I lose my life. I just want to see them hurt," she added.
At the end of 2011, U.S. president Barack Obama lived up to his campaign promise to bring an end to the American war in Iraq. The last U.S. troops left the country at the end of 2011. Nearly 4,500 American soldiers lost their lives in the conflict. No official death count for Iraqi fighters and civilians has been released.