Preface and acknowledgements
On 10 March 2011, a meeting took place between Nassar al-Rubaiee, acting Iraq’s Minister of Planning, Dr Sami Mati Polous, Deputy Minister for Technical Affairs, Gert Meinecke, the Danish Ambassador to Iraq, and myself. The meeting was extremely cordial. The metaphor in some of the Minister’s prose was not easy to unpack. On 11 March 2011, a Royal Jordanian aircraft took off from Baghdad International Airport heading to Amman, and as the airplane ascended, I looked at the landscape. Somehow Baghdad’s hinterland looked barren, sandy/light brown with a scattering of green spots. Three hours before the take-off, I had said goodbye to the Danish Ambassador, following a brief chat, in the grounds of the British Embassy about the prospects of Denmark’s assistance building peace in and the reconstruction of Iraq. I suggested that perhaps a better understanding of the social fabric and dynamics at play in Iraq might further enhance the outcomes of the donors’ contributions. The Ambassador raised his eyebrows; I shook his hand and wished him well, then headed to the armoured vehicle waiting to take me to the airport.
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