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Omar Dewachi

The Toxicity of Everyday Survival in Iraq

[Relatives wait with the coffin of a girl who died of cancer, outside Saddam Medical City in central Baghdad, 17 April 2003. AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis.]

For more than two decades, Iraq has been the subject of a large-scale toxic warfare experiment. Operation Desert Storm, fought in 1991, was the first time in military history that depleted uranium (DU)—a nuclear waste by-product—was systematically employed against both military and civilian targets. US forces used DU on a much larger scale during the war and occupation that started in 2003. The effects of this toxic and biological experiment go beyond body counts and the ...

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Omar Dewachi

 Omar Dewachi is an assistant professor of medical anthropology and public health at the American University of Beirut (AUB). He trained as a medical doctor in Iraq during the 1990s and received his PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard University in 2008. He teaches a variety of courses on social medicine, global health and medical anthropology. His research interests include biopolitics, war, colonialism, global health, and the Iraqi state. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork on the exodus of Iraqi doctors to Britain and across the Middle East. Currently, he is conducting research on Iraqi patients seeking medical care in Beirut for cancer and war-related injuries. He is finishing a book manuscript titled Ungovernable Life: War and Mandatory Medicine in Iraq. He leads the War and Global Health Working Group at AUB and is one of the contributors to the Costs of War Project at Brown University.