Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Spending Spree

Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, gets to have a multi-million budget for ‘presidential expenses.’ He needs to spend that sum by mid-December, because beyond that date he may or may not be out of a job. And if he stays put as president, he will be assigned a new budget anyway. So for now, Talabani is re-inventing himself as a philanthropist: awarding $30,000 to a hard-up Algerian poet who was contemplating selling a kidney, and $100,000 to refurbish the Abdel-Qader Gailani shrine in Baghdad, which is a point of pilgrimage for millions of Sufis from around the world. Gailani is the originator of the Qaderi Sufi order, which is partially led in Iraqi Kurdistan by the Talabani clan.

If in need of cash, say, for a much-needed vacation or a car payment, get in touch with Talabani at questions@iraqipresidency.net and he'll sort you out. Being in charge of an oil-producing country is fun, ain't it?

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