In Iraq, Abid Shamdeen assisted the American military as a translator and cultural counselor. He received the chance to move to the US and enroll at the University of Nebraska.
On American bases located around the region, Yazidis worked as technicians, cooks, cleaners, and security personnel. Radical groups there targeted Yazidis who had assisted the Americans by serving in the U.S. military. When ISIS started a genocide against the Yazidi minority in 2014, the combination of the weaker security left by the U.S. intervention and years of targeted discrimination by the Iraqi government left the population open to annihilation.