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Anna Badkhen
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Anna Badkhen writes about people in extremis. She is a journalist and the author of Peace Meals: Candy-Wrapped Kalashnikovs and Other War Stories and Waiting for the Taliban. Most recently, she has… Read more

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Many Iraqis struggle every day to find work, but a shortage of jobs, superimposed on a tradition of using personal connections to do business, has led to what Iraqis complain is an explosion in corruption and graft among their nation's officials.

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Walls have become ubiquitous in Baghdad, a place where barricades keep militias from one another and hungry shoppers from the nearest kebab. As Iraqis struggle with sovereignty, the barriers are a constant reminder of the American military occupation.

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The war is over for now in Sahar al-Jawari's Baghdad neighborhood, but life is still a struggle. An American soldier encourages her not to be pessimistic, but it's hard to look on the bright side while supporting a family by selling off your jewelry.

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Sectarian violence has driven millions of Iraqis from their homes. Now that the violence has abated in one formerly upscale Baghdad neighborhood, residents are returning to find squatters who refuse to leave and a government and occupying army unwilling to kick them out.

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Bio

Anna Badkhen writes about people in extremis. She is a journalist and the author of Peace Meals: Candy-Wrapped Kalashnikovs and Other War Stories and Waiting for the Taliban. Most recently, she has authored the books Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah and The World Is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village. She has covered wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Israel, West Bank and Gaza, Chechnya, and Kashmir, among others. Her wartime journalism won the 2007 Joel R. Seldin Award for reporting on civilians in war zones.
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