Thursday, August 30

Wimmin: can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em

"Be here now." That's what I tell people who can't wait for the US to quit Iraq. Everything is in Iraq. How the 21st century deals with the most intractable development problems and tragedies such as child soldiers and forced marriages -- it's all in Iraq, compressed into the terse language of war. We face it all there, or we keep trying to evade.

Ever wonder how things first blew up between al Qaeda and Sunni tribesmen who are now fighting them in Iraq? Read the amazing story at Small Wars Journal. (Hat tip: Dave Schuler at The Glittering Eye). David Kilcullen writes:
[...]Some tribal leaders told me that the split started over women. This is not as odd as it sounds. One of AQ’s standard techniques, which I have seen them apply in places as diverse as Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Indonesia, is to marry leaders and key operatives to women from prominent tribal families. The strategy works by creating a bond with the community, exploiting kinship-based alliances, and so “embedding” the AQ network into the society.
But Qaeda decided to ignore Iraqi marriage customs:
Marrying women to strangers, let alone foreigners, is just not done. AQ, with their hyper-reductionist version of “Islam” stripped of cultural content, discounted the tribes’ view as ignorant, stupid and sinful. This led to violence, as these things do. [...]

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