This reporter made several attempts to request an update on the current status of former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan’s citizenship, however, after multiple attempts to contact the Iraqi government I didn’t receive an answer.
Since Idan testified before the United Nations Human Right’s Council in Geneva, Switzerland in July, against Iraq’s anti-Israel rhetoric, members of the government have openly threatened to revoke her citizenship status. Her life has been turned upside down and she could no longer visit her family because of threats to her life.
It all started with a show of peace. Idan took an Instagram selfie with Miss Israel in 2017 during the Miss Universe Pageant.
Idan, who lives in the United States and has dual citizenship, said her immediate family was threatened. They lived in Bagdad at the time and have since left the country.
Last week, in an interview on “The Sara Carter Show” Idan shared that she didn’t know the status of her Iraqi citizenship. We still don’t.
Idan told Carter of the difficulties she faced living in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and said it felt like she was “living in a bubble,” she said, “We had everything controlled by Saddam including the media, no access to the internet, so we had no idea what was going on outside of Iraq you know in the world.” Moreover, consuming the state-sanctioned media made her believe the U.S. and Israel were “evil.”
“When I saw the soldiers, the U.S. soldiers, the first time how they came and how they talked to us they gave us candy and flowers and they were like just one of the nicest people,” Idan told Carter.
It was a formative moment for Idan, who went on to be a translator for U.S. troops in the region. Now, living in the U.S., Idan told Carter she finally feels “at home” and never felt that in Iraq.
The Current Landscape in Iraq
Iraq has been and is a hotbed for extremism and terrorist groups. According to a recently released Pentagon’s Inspector General report, ISIS “solidified insurgent capabilities in Iraq” between April 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019. The report highlights the group’s shift from territorial advantage to an insurgent advantage. On March 23, 2019, the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS declared “the final liberation of all territories once held by Daesh/ISIS in Iraq and Syria” while recognizing an existing idealogical threat.
President Trump declared ISIS’s defeat in December and pulled all non-essential U.S. diplomats from the region in May, which the Combined Joint Task Force–OIR (CJTF-OIR) said “decreased the support available to partner forces at a time when they needed training and equipping to respond to ISIS resurgent cells,” according to the report.