Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
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IRAQ: The sheik's request

February 27, 2008 |  6:32 pm

The relationship between the Marines and the Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province is delicate. Each side wants something from the other.

The Marines want the sheiks to continue their fight against insurgents and to follow the rule of law rather than tribal vengeance. When a sheik hosts the Marines for lunch or dinner, he usually has a list of wants: a gun permit, a government job for a relative, a passport, help getting a construction contract, etc.

One sheik had something more personal in mind. After a sumptuous feast, he asked the Marines if they could help him get Viagra.

Sorry, sheik. U.S. foreign aid is not quite that generous.

Tony Perry in Anbar

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