June 21st, 2004


Iraqi tribalism -- now conveniently color-coded!

If you're just getting your news from the mainstream media, you're missing out. Especially when that news is coming from Iraq. I keep an eye on the newswires, sure, but when I want detailed information on what's happening on the ground I go to weblogs by people who are there -- our troops, and Iraqis.

One of the best Iraqi blogs is Healing Iraq, by an Iraqi dentist named Zeyad. It's a fascinating site -- between accounts of his day, original "man-on-the-street" reporting, and mullings over the future of his country, Zeyad finds time to do pieces giving background on the history and culture of Iraq. Recently, he's been putting out an absolutely amazing series on tribalism in Iraq: who the tribes are, how they interact, all that stuff. He wound it up Friday with a very rough map of where various tribes are located in Iraq today. You won't see this map anywhere else. That's because Zeyad made it. If you're planning to pay any attention to Iraqi politics in the months ahead, print it out and tape it to your refrigerator. Because in the Arab world, tribes matter.

Map and legend reproduced here behind the cut, to save Zeyad a little on bandwidth.

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