Iraqi Refugee Turned US Marine Joins The Fight Against ISIS

news
Ali J. Mohammed was 16 years old when he came to the United States as a refugee.
Marine Corps photo

In 2009, Ali J. Mohammed’s sister was working as translator for the U.S. military in Baghdad, Iraq. He was just 16 when his family began receiving threats from extremists, forcing them to flee their home and seek asylum in the United States.


Four years later, he graduated from high school and enlisted in the Marine Corps, inspired by the work of his sister.

“Seeing her work so closely with these Americans, how much she trusted them and seeing how much they wanted to help us made me idealize them as a child,” Mohammed told the Marine Corps. “It is part of the reason I decided to join.”

Now, 23, he has returned to Iraq, this time as a corporal deployed in the fight against the Islamic State. Though his MOS is in supply, he primarily serves as an Arabic translator.

“America is my home, but Iraq is my homeland,” Mohammed added. “My biggest motivation right now is to help drive these extremist groups out of my home land, and being able to do that as a United States Marine is the most rewarding thing I could have asked for.”

The Marine Corps published his story just as President Donald Trump moved forward with a ban on visas issued to people living in a number of countries with Muslim citizens, including Mohammed’s native Iraq. Some news outlets, as a result, are speculating that the Pentagon meant this as a jab at Trump’s decision.

“The fact that the Department of Defense decided to highlight the story of Cpl. Ali Mohammed hours after reports that President Trump is expected to ink a temporary ban on most refugees did not go without notice,” NBC reported.

Task & Purpose reached out to the public affairs office at 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines to ascertain Mohammed's citizen status but an officer was unavailable for comment.

According to Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis. there are roughly 5,000 non-U.S. citizens who enlist annually, with an average of 18,700 serving on active duty. It’s unclear how many are from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen — the seven countries affected by Trump's ban.

CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article’s headline implied Ali J. Mohammed may be unable to re-enter the country at the end of his deployment. The headline was changed because the details of his immigration status are unknown as well as how the executive order would impact him. (Updated Jan. 30, 2017 at 4:39 p.m. EST)

Boyfriends can sometimes do some really weird shit. Much of it is well-meaning: A boy I liked in high school once sang me a screamo song that he wrote over the phone. He thought it would be sweet, and while I appreciated that he wanted to share it with me, I also had no idea what he was saying. Ah, young love.

Sure, this sounds cringeworthy. But then there's 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker, who appears to be, dare I say, the best boyfriend?

Read More Show Less

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.

Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.

The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.

The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.

"Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.

The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras al Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.

Read More Show Less

The Colt Model 1911 .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol that John Browning dreamed up more than a century ago remains on of the most beloved sidearms in U.S. military history. Hell, there's a reason why Army Gen. Scott Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, still rocks an M1911A1 on his hip despite the fact that the Army no longer issues them to soldiers.

But if scoring one of the Army's remaining M1911s through the Civilian Marksmanship Program isn't enough to satisfy your adoration for the classic sidearm, then Colt has something right up your alley: the Colt Model 1911 'Black Army' pistol.

Read More Show Less
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney takes questions during a news briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2019. (Reuters/Leah Millis)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's withholding of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into a claim — debunked as a conspiracy theory — about the 2016 U.S. election, a senior presidential aide said on Thursday, the first time the White House acknowledged such a connection.

Trump and administration officials had denied for weeks that they had demanded a "quid pro quo" - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for delivering the U.S. aid, a key part of a controversy that has triggered an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives against the Republican president.

But Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that the U.S. aid — already approved by Congress — was held up partly over Trump's concerns about a Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server alleged to be in Ukraine.

"I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy," Mulvaney said.

Read More Show Less

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis decided to take on President Donald Trump's reported assertion that he is "overrated" at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York City on Thursday.

"I'm not just an overrated general, I am the greatest — the world's most — overrated," Mattis said at the event, which raises money for charity.

"I'm honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress," Mattis said. "So I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals ... and frankly that sounds pretty good to me. And you do have to admit that between me and Meryl, at least we've had some victories."

Read More Show Less