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It takes a tribe

In 2004, the one political system still functioning in Iraq was the tribes

By Hassan M Fattah   July 2004

Legend has it than when Sheikh Ghazi Ajil al-Yawar – Iraq’s new president – sat down with several tribal sheikhs at the height of the Falluja crisis in April, he got straight to the point. “I know who you are and where you come from,” al-Yawar, a leader of the giant Shamar tribe, is said to have announced. “I know what you’re about. Don’t give me this religion talk. This is your chance to find a solution or to be obliterated.”

Almost all the versions of the story surrounding the negotiations breaking the siege of Falluja underscore the most important…

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