Client:Mother Jones
Date:January 16, 2013

The Sheikh Down

In early 2009, I embeded with Sheikh Eifan al-Issawi in Falluja, a beneficiary of what some American personnel call the “make-a-sheikh” program, a semiofficial, little discussed policy that since late 2006 has bankrolled Sunni sheikhs who are, in theory, committed to defending American interests in Iraq. By funneling them billions of taxpayer dollars through inflated construction contracts, the US reinstituted a strategy started by Saddam Hussein, who picked out tribal leaders he could manipulate through patronage schemes. The piece was published in Mother Jones Magazine.

Above illustration by Jack Unruh, Mother Jones.