The years following the US-led invasion became the most violent in Iraq's modern history. A protracted insurgency targeted occupying forces and an interim Iraqi government. Sectarian infighting, long dormant, was unleashed among militias. Kidnappings and killings became common. Shiite and Sunni divisions deepened.
It was far from the promise of American democracy and rule of law that many anticipated would accompany the fall of Saddam’s statue on April 9, 2003.
"I thought the situation would be better, there would be jobs, the country would be free and democratic. But almost immediately after that day I witnessed too many things that hurt me," said Ghilan.