When I met Major Sajjad al-Hour, he and his men were preparing a large fish dinner.
Masgouf, as it’s called in Iraq, is a whole carp, grilled until black, covered with lemons and doused in spices. The carp had been pulled hours earlier from the Tigris River. But on the outskirts of Mosul, approaching the river can mean risking your life to incoming sniper fire. So how did the major fish out these carp?
“We throw grenades in the river and then pick them with a net,” Sajjad said with a smirk.
This technique isn’t out of the ordinary for many Iraqis; it’s just part of life. War has become a near constant since the 1980s. Many of the soldiers there have lived in a state of war since the day they were born.