Wednesday, November 28, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

From November's By The Rivers of Babylon column in Prospect:
'Asia cup settles tribal dispute

Two tribes near Najaf, the Fatla and the al-Ghazalat, have been feuding
over land for decades, leaving dozens dead. All past attempts at brokering a
truce have failed, but when Najaf's governor asked Iraq's Soccer Federation to
brandish the Asia Cup - won this summer by the Iraqi national team - in the face of
the stubborn sheikhs to shame them into reconciliation, peace finally prevailed.
It had been the custom for tribes to settle conflict by swearing upon the Koran,
but Iraq has a new national totem, lending credence to the quip that Islam is
Iraq's second religion - behind football.'
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