Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How To Make Friends And Influence People

There was a facinating piece on the wires today:

Bodyguard of Iraqi minister killed by Australian guards in Baghdad

Australian security guards mistakenly opened fire at the bodyguards of Iraqi Trade Minister Abdul Falah al-Sudani in western Baghdad on Wednesday, killing one of them and wounding two others, an Interior Ministry source said.

An Australian official delegation was leaving a meeting held in an office of al-Sudani in Baghdad's Mansur neighborhood when Australian guards mistakenly killed one of al-Sudani's bodyguards, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

He said that the incident occurred when the Australian security guards were suspicious of armed men outside al-Sudani's office in the restive area.


Al-Sudani is a power within the dominant Shi'ite bloc. As trade minister he's responsible amongst other things for overseeing the importation of much of the basic foodstuffs such as wheat that in a country with 60% unemployment and a shattered distribution network the population rely upon for survival. Like most Iraqi politicians he was less than impressed when a large cargo Australian wheat contaminated with Iron ore arrived in Iraq back in May 2005. Subsequent contracts went to other suppliers.

I find myself wondering how friendly an eye he'll cast over the next bid from AWB.* On balance I'd say this sort of thing probably isn't the best way to regain access to a market that you've been a major player in for 57 years.


Note 1: *Australian Wheat Board, this isn't the only problem for AWB they're also embroiled in bribery allegations. - mfi.

Update 1: Updated 1:00AM local time. Update = fixed link in note 1 above - mfi

Update 2: Very much less than impressed. As of 7:55AM my local time Minister Al-Sudani is now demanding the cessation of all trade links with Australia. The Australians have issued a statement "regretting" the killing. It doesn't seem to have occurred to the that Iraqis are well aware of the difference between "We regret" and "We apologise." I'll write more on this this evening. - mfi

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