An article from the Washington Post by the great journalist and author Anthony Shadid on Iraqi elections and tribes.
How sad it is to know that nothing has changed in the Arab world, as the article clearly illustrates, when it comes to political participation and elections:
Here, the new Iraq looks like the old one, imbued with politics that might be familiar to Gertrude Bell, the British diplomat and adventurer who drew the country’s borders after World War I.
There is a saying heard these days in Anbar: “Everyone claims they have the love of Laila, but Laila loves none of them.” In other words, Laila gets to choose. The same might be said of the tribes, whose mantle everyone claims and which often demand a tidy sum for their support. Coddled and cultivated, the tribes are kingmakers.
“The center of power in Anbar,” Hais called them as he sat in the guesthouse, decorated with purple, red and yellow plastic flowers, with 25 tribal leaders gathered over a sprawling, artery-clogging dish of chicken, lamb and a slab of fat, mixed with rice.