Iraqi social media star who appealed to Biden grabs attention of top politicians
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – After a passionate video in which he furiously described his country’s lack of services, an Iraqi teenager who appealed to the US president for help has become the center of attention for politicians in both Iraq and the US.
Ali Adil – also called Ali Iraqi, Aloush, or Ali Biden – is a 17-year-old social media star whose videos focus on suffering in Iraq due to a lack of basic services, an issue that has renewed importance as the country grapples with electricity shortages.
Last week Adil posted a video of himself on the roof of his home in Babylon province in the scorching summer heat. Amidst the sound of gunshots in the background, Adil appealed in a mix of Arabic and English for US President Joe Biden to get him out of Iraq.
“Biden if you don’t help me, I will jump,” Adil said both in English and Arabic.
“I’m not joking with you, I’m on the rooftop, if you don’t help me, I will die, can you hear the fire in the background? This is normal in Iraq,” the young man continued.
Joey Hood, acting assistant secretary of the US State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, later responded to Adil, pleading with him not to jump.
“We in America love you,” Hood said, encouraging the young Iraqi to vote in elections to change the country’s future.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi hosted Adil at his office in Baghdad on Wednesday, stressing that he told the young man he had “complete freedom” to criticize the government.
Adil previously posted a short video clip in December 2020 after Biden’s election, asking for an invitation to Washington.
His popularity in Iraq has skyrocketed and Adil, still a student, has given interviews to various international media outlets, including the Arabic versions of France 24, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and Sky News.
In an interview with Kurdistan 24 on Tuesday, Adil shed more light on his social media activism and the motives behind his videos.
The young man has more than 94,000 followers on Instagram and said he has been making videos for five years.
“I want to convey the voice of Iraqi people for the lack of electricity and services,” Adil said.
He explained that he begins recording when he gets especially angry following power outages during the summer heat. He told Kurdistan 24 that he envied the public services the Kurdistan Region enjoys compared to Iraq’s provinces.
Adil told Kurdistan 24 that he has only three basic demands: better internet connectivity, uninterrupted electricity, and good roads.