A Tale of Two Springs

Facilitating peace, development and banking in Mosul, Iraq

Archive for January 2011

Conflict and Hospitality in Iraq’s Hinterlands

leave a comment »

One thing I wish all Americans knew is the extraordinary degree of warmth and hospitality that Iraqis extend to visitors. Following a business meeting in a rural area, to humor myself and colleagues, I mentioned to a neighborhood teenager I liked his shades. So he offered them to me to try. He then refused to take them back. Visitors in Iraq should be careful. If you compliment the hosts on their clothes, their dishes, their furniture or their photos, the object of your admiration will become yours.

A minor verbal fracas ensued, and I ultimately left his shades on a window sill and ran away.

Written by treadingupthetigris

January 12, 2011 at 9:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Rapid Development Without a Private Market?

leave a comment »

Can Iraq have a modern economy without embracing free market principles? Every few weeks over the last year, I have sat down with bankers in Mosul, where it is reported the last vestiges of the Saddamist insurgency remain. Concrete T-walls still line many parts of the city, the capital of a region known just one decade ago for providing grain to the entire nation of Iraq. What do bankers say? What do they want? What do they think of us? What do they believe is the way forward?

In my first meeting, I asked the bankers what I, new to the Mosul business community, needed to know about banks in the region. How could we help them grow and thrive? What capacities could we help build? The first banker spoke. “You should know,” he explained to me, “the first banks in the world were here, in temples, thousands of years ago.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by treadingupthetigris

January 11, 2011 at 10:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized