A Tale of Two Springs

Facilitating peace, development and banking in Mosul, Iraq

Archive for February 2010

Red Afternoon

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About ten minutes after walking into my office from the midday sun, Faris poked his head in my office: “You see it outside?”
— Nope.
— It’s red.
— Red?

So I followed him out. Dust storm. It was beautiful, actually. The world had literally turned red.

A normal day at the office

A normal day

Today at the office



Written by treadingupthetigris

February 22, 2010 at 11:55 pm

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Three Day Weekends in Mosul

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Yes, we celebrate Washington and Lincoln in Iraq. No, it is not exactly a three day weekend.

The National Holiday Act of 1971 moved all holidays worth anything to Monday and enshrined in law the three day weekend. I am still trying to figure out how that should apply to us.

We work every day but Friday here. On Friday many of our Iraqi counterparts go to the mosque, so we do not work. In Baghdad, they do not work on Friday or Saturday. So the Embassy has applied the spirit of the three day weekend law and moved all Monday US holidays to Sunday here. So on Sunday Americans across Iraq paused to celebrate George Washington and Abe Lincoln.

So here in Mosul we took Friday off, worked Saturday and then had Sunday off. Out of respect for the spirit of Washington and Lincoln, however, with elections approaching and the hope for societal divisions bridged, I think everyone on our post here in Mosul put in a few hours at the office.

Written by treadingupthetigris

February 15, 2010 at 10:22 am

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A Day With Hazziz

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I have spent my first few weeks here meeting with local officials, public and private. In the meetings we discuss politics and family and economics, with a mild focus on the banking system and understanding how we can best facilitate its role as a spark of job creation and economic growth. Money is a weapons system here.

I sat across from the provincial governor, confident and emboldened by a recent excursion to Kurdish lands in which he had previously been denied entry. The governor, with a smile, whispered to me that I not do to his province whatever I did to Wall Street. While there, an aide to the mayor of Mosul advised me to go see a man we will call Hazziz. Hazziz runs an operation that finds employment for tens of thousands of Iraqis. And Hazziz faces a lack of funding and the impending job losses that will follow. Coupled with the stress of approaching elections, the mayor’s office fears a spike in violence. A few days later, thanks to an American colleague who has a good working relationship with Hazziz, I rode through the streets of Mosul to Hazziz’s office. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by treadingupthetigris

February 14, 2010 at 1:31 am

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