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Iraqi refugee says ISIS wouldn't have existed under Saddam's rule

Saif Al-Azzawi, an Iraqi refugee who lives in Los Angeles, has an interesting opinion about ISIS: The group wouldn't have existed under Saddam Hussein's rule.

Al-Azzawi, who grew up in Baghdad and came to America as a refugee in 2009, explains his opinion in an op-ed for Zocalo Public Square. He argues that while ISIS having support in Iraq is his "worst nightmare," he believes that "the aftermath of the U.S. invasions has brought us to this point," because Hussein wouldn't have allowed ISIS to exist:

I despised Saddam, but I don't think an extremist group like the Islamic State would exist under his rule. Even if Saddam had gone crazy and killed a bunch of people, it wouldn't be anywhere near the number who have died since he was overthrown. I see a civil war coming, and an Iraq divided into states... The Iraq I loved and was proud of — the country I lived in before 1990 — doesn't exist anymore. And I don't see that changing in my lifetime. [Zocalo Public Square]

Al-Azzawi offers a moving, personal experience of the contrast between Iraq past and present, discussing how America's intervention affected daily life in the country. Read Al-Azzawi's full take on what he calls "a continuation of the failure of democracy" in Iraq over at Zocalo Public Square.