March 14, 2005

The good news from Iraq.

Arthur Chrenkoff in the WSJ rounds up the good news from Iraq, including the amazing story of a man who'd been working as a dentist in England for 20 years, made a trip to Iraq to check up on some relatives, and ended up as the governor in one of the insurgent-ridden provinces.
Abdallah Al Jibouri ... had originally planned merely to check up on his elderly mother when he visited his home town of Muqtadiyah, 60 miles north of Baghdad, shortly after Saddam Hussein's fall. His Mancunian-accented English, however, ensured that he was pressed into service as unofficial negotiator between American troops and Iraqis, who elected him mayor.

Much to his astonishment--and, he says, to the dismay of his British wife, Sharon--he also became governor of the province of Diyala, whose population is 1.8 million.

Local insurgents have paid his leadership the ultimate backhanded compliment: they have tried to kill him 14 times, and have put a $10,000 bounty on his head. "I came for a visit two weeks after the liberation because I have got my mum and other family here," said Mr Al Jibouri. "I just wanted to make sure that they were all right. But I found the whole place was really a mess, with weapons everywhere, even little kids with machine guns.

"I began talking to the local sheiks and the US army and we hired some police. I thought I'd go home then but they said, 'No, you've got to stay and help us.' Of course it's dangerous, and the wife back in Manchester worries, but there are a lot of good people out here and they are worth it."
Many more stories at the WSJ link.

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