It’s no more dangerous than Philadelphia.
RAMADI, Iraq — In rugged western Iraq, once the bastion of the insurgency against the American occupation and now a freewheeling arena of electoral politics steeped in payola, the conversation in the tribal guesthouse in Anbar province was the equivalent of a stump speech.
“If anything happens to any of our candidates, even a scratch on one of their bodies, we will kill all of their candidates!” bellowed Hamid al-Hais, a tribal leader and party boss whose voice was like his build — husky, coarse and forceful.
“That’s right,” shouted another sheik, who had suggested — in jest, inshallah — that a friend resolve a dispute by strapping on explosives and blowing himself up.
“Of course!” yelled another, who had accused the governor of urinating on Anbar.
“We’ll break all the ballot boxes on their heads!” Hais declared, wagging a finger.
It’s just like a Democratic primary race in the city of Brotherly Love.