By Sgt. Omar Estrada, 3rd AAB PAO, 1st Cav. Div. September 16, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq -- Tribal Leaders from the surrounding areas of Contingency Operating Base Adder came to pay a visit to the GREYWOLF commander. Four sheikhs and a government official had a long and pleasant meeting with the 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Brigade Commander, Col. Douglas C. Crissman.
Walking in to the conference room wearing traditional Iraqi clothing consisting of a white dishdash or thobe which is an ankle-length loose fitting shirt-like garment, a checkered or white kaffiyeh over their heads which is scarf folded into a triangle being held by an agal that's a circular black rope to hold the kaffiyeh in place, and sandals, the four sheikhs were greeted by several United States Army officials.
The visiting sheikhs were: Sheikh Hizam Al-Jorani the tribal leader for the Al-Joareen tribe, and his two brothers; Sheikh Fahad Al-Jorani and Sheikh Ali Al-Jorani. Accompanying them was Sheikh Ghazi Al-Husseinawi the tribal leader of the Al-Husseinat tribe, and Haji Munadhil Al-Jorani the town council president for Sefwan.
Col. Crissman had a long conversation with Sheikh Hizam Al-Jorani, whom acted as the spokesman for his tribe and the voice of Iraq as well. He encouraged the United States Forces-Iraq to stay past the allotted time and made several comments on how much a USF-I presence was needed in Iraq from both political and socio-economic perspectives.
One of the requests that were given by Sheikh Hizam Al-Jorani was to allow sheikhs to impose order in their tribe, since they already knew who had established roots in that tribe and who was a new comer.
"The true strength and power of Iraq is through the tribal leaders," said Sheikh Hizam Al-Jorani. "We need to work from the bottom up, instead of top to bottom, why I say this is because we need to change the way of thinking of our country and make us self sufficient." he said.
"We fully believe that this country is ready to stand on its own," said Crissman. "We pay you to provide a service to us and in return you are giving us far more; knowledge and connection with the population that we wouldn't be able to reach on our own." he added.
Another comment made was the fear of an invasion by the country of Iran once the USF-I leaves Iraq.
"We don't believe the Army needs to leave Iraq yet, we are not prepared in case Iran decides to move in after the Army leaves." said Sheikh Hizam Al-Jorani.
Crissman assured the country of Iraq not to fear, saying that the Iraqi government, and most of all, the Iraqi Army was fully prepared and trained by the U.S. Army. Crissman followed by giving a thumbs-up and lead everyone in the meeting to the dinning table.
Eyes of amazed Soldiers were wide open when they noticed the vast amount of food that there was to eat and choose from.
The dining table was fully decorated with food: hummus bread which looks like a big tortilla wrap, grilled kebab made from ground meat, dates, bamia or okra stew and quzi as the main dish consisting of two silver bowls with rice and topped with grilled half lamb on each.
The Americans and Iraqis gathered at the table where food and smiles were being passed around. For some Soldiers, it was their first time feasting on this type of meal, but with their smiles after having the first bite; it tells that it won't be their last.
Sheikh Hizam Al-Jorani showed Crissman the different ways to eat, mix and grab the food; he also prepared some portions out of his own hand for Col. Crissman to try.
The meeting between Crissman and the sheikhs ended with an agreement to continue this kind of meeting, a handshake and a Salam Aleikum.