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Open Patriarch’s Heart

Posted November. 07, 2003 22:59,   


Ramadi, northwest of Baghdad, is located in the Sunni Triangle, where there are attacks against the U.S. forces on a daily basis. Unprecedented peace has continued in this area for a week as the U.S. forces stationed in Iraq concluded a sort of “peace deal” with a patriarch.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the First Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, the Florida National Guards unit stationed in Ramadi arrested a brother of the local leader, Sheikh Hamed, after the army secured evidence that the leader’s brother was carrying out attacks against the U.S. troops. The local leader told Lt. Hector Mirabile of the battalion that he would not attack if his brother was released, and the commander accepted it. The U.S. troop has not been attacked for a week since.

“Nothing has been changed since Lawrence of Arabia in the 1990s. If there has been any change, it’s that people ride a car now instead of a camel,” said Lt. Mirabile. He was talking about the characteristic of the Arab society where the tradition of the patriarchy is still cherished. The Wall Street Journal said the U.S. troops released the accused believing the patriarch because the troops understood the situation in which the patriarch is more powerful than the law. Other troops are also following the suit of the peace deal, said the Wall Street Journal.

Local Middle East experts pointed out that it was urgent to collect information on influential figures such as patriarchs and to become acquainted with them by using legation and intelligence agents in Iraq.

“It is more important for dispatched troops to learn about and understand the Iranian culture in advance than to learn the Iranian language,” said Prof. Yoo Dal-seung of the Iranian language department at Hankook University of Foreign Languages.

Jung-Ahn Kim credo@donga.com