A man from our area has personal ties to Iraq.

The unrest has him on edge as he keeps a close eye on the conflict.

Anthony Squiers is an assistant professor in Iraq.

He teaches politics and international relations.

He's originally from Dowagiac and is there now visiting family.

He says most of the violence in Iraq is happening less than 30 miles from where he lives and works.

Squiers graduated from Dowagiac Union High in 1997.

This past  February he moved to Iraq to work at a university in a city called Erbil.

It's in the Kurdistan region in the northern part of Iraq near Iran and Turkey.

He says the crisis is starting to stabilize but he's still concerned.

He says, "My students are there. My colleagues and friends are there. A lot of people I've developed relationships with are there."

He checks websites online several times a day to keep up with the latest news in Iraq.

Squiers says this isn't the first time the Kurdish people have dealt with violence.

He says they share a lot of the same values as Americans like democracy and freedom.   

He adds, "They really feel as if Americans are their friends and they want to work with Americans. They want to help themselves and help America fight terrorism."

In the near future he will be heading back to work in Iraq.

It's something his mother Bernadette Buszek isn't too thrilled about but she says he's smart and knows the area well so they support him.

Anthony's twin brother served in the army in Iraq so Bernadette says between her two sons she's learned a lot about the region.

She says, "Basically they want the same things Americans want. They want to raise a family. They want to educate their children. They want to feel safe in their homes and I'm just really happy that the United States as well as other countries are giving some humanitarian aid to them."

Anthony's mom says he was able to get back to Dowagiac before most of the violence erupted and that he had a plan on how to evacuate if necessary.

Anthony has been busy putting together lesson plans and is looking forward to going back because he says he gets to help educate the next generation of Kurdish people.