Break the Silence
By Cpl. Matthew
An Nasiriyah, IRAQ–Without the use of interpreters
in this Arabic speaking country, American Forces would find it
extremely hard to gather information from the local residents.
The Free Iraqi Forces (FIF) is a close-knit group of individuals,
many of who left Iraq after the Gulf War to live in the United
In support of Task Force Tarawa these Iraqis are
serving as interpreters and liaisons between the Marines and local
Iraqi residents. Their role is a crucial one and aids in the accomplishment
of the Task Force’s mission.
“The FIF are strictly interpreters, and
that’s it,” said Capt.
Peter Tabash, civil affairs officer, 4th civil
affairs group (CAG). “They are not (intelligence) collectors.”
“They work closely with civil affairs as
they do not have interpreters with them. Almost all of their work
involves dealing with the local civilian populace,” said
The program began in the United States when the
U.S. Army recruited some Iraqi freedom fighters to work in conjunction
with the U.S. military.
“They were then sent to Fort Bliss, Texas,
for training and from there they went to Hungary for a month of
specialized training in civil affairs and there, were also taught
how the (U.S.) military operates,” said Tabash.
They were taught other subjects during the training.
“We were trained in communication, politics
and computers,” said Mousa al Mousa, an interpreter with
the FIF that has been working closely with the 4th CAG.
The FIF’s role has been instrumental in
dealing with the local populations.
“They have been a great help, especially
with the translation of the general speech, interpreting and also
with a lot of the documents that have been confiscated. Plus they
know the populace very well and the people aren’t reluctant
to open up to them,” he said.
The role of the FIF has been crucial to the success
of the military here.
great about what I am doing,” said Mousa. “It is what
I have been trained to do and what I have wanted for a long time.”