American fighters in Iraq take Pokemon contest to the front lines
Stars and Stripes | .
published: August 08, 2016
IRBIL, Iraq — Once feared by Saddam Hussein as a Zionist plot, Pokemon are now popping up in Iraq again. U.S. troops and veterans, among others, have joined in the hunt to “catch ’em all,” even on the front lines of the fight against the Islamic State group.
The popular Japanese children’s cartoon about pocket monsters and their human trainers was suspected by Hussein and his security service to be a tool of international Zionism. Iraqi intelligence thought the name “Pokemon” meant “I’m Jewish,” according to a 2001 memo U.S. troops captured.
Now, a new wave of cartoon monsters is invading the country thanks to the immensely popular “Pokemon Go” smartphone app, a virtual scavenger hunt in which users try to catch the creatures.
“I’ve seen a lot of Zubats,” said Louis Park, a Marine veteran, volunteering with Dwehk Nawsha, a Christian militia fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq. He was referring to a poisonous, flying Pokemon.