Azhar Al-Rubaie is a freelance journalist and a vet from Iraq. He started his journalism career in 2014. Initially working locally, he quickly processed to writing for pan-Arab and international media outlets, including The Arab Weekly, Al-Jazeera, and several other outlets. A year after Al-Rubaie graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Basra in 2016, he opened and ran a small veterinary clinic in Basra city.
Al-Rubaie continued working as a freelance journalist alongside his veterinary practice. Mainly published in English-language international media outlets, such as VICE, Al Jazeera, and Middle East Eye, The National, Azhar’s articles focus on a wide range of issues, from conflict, politics, health, and corruption, to press freedom, and wider human rights issues in Iraq. He covered the uprising in Basra in 2018, and the mass public protests in Iraq in 2019. Azhar works with think tanks and research institutions, such as The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, providing political analysis, and the London School of Economics (LSE), working on water and climate change issues in Iraq and regional expertise.
Azhar Al-Rubaie has been facing pressure throughout his journalism career due to his work in covering public unrest, and human rights issues, as well as his volunteer and activist work. The pressure intensified after the 2018 demonstrations in Basra, forcing Al-Rubaie to temporarily flee Iraq for a year and work from exile. Upon his return to Iraq in 2020, Azhar continued reporting on controversial issues of politics, and human rights violations. As Al-Rubaie is one of a handful of Iraqi journalists bold enough to challenge religious and social conservatism in Iraq, he continued facing a pattern of threats, harassment, and interrogations. Despite living under constant pressure, Azhar persisted his work, investigating and reporting on Iraq and the region.
In February 2023, Azhar Al-Rubaie arrived in Malmö, Sweden, and became the city’s ninth ICORN resident. During his ICORN residency, Azhar continues to work as a journalist and is planning on undertaking further studies to develop his media skills.