Cleric’s Ascent to Local Strongman Illustrates Shift Underway
THULUYAH, Iraq — Nadhim Khalil wears the clothes of the cleric he is. He bears the scars of the insurgent he was. And in a country where business these days is power, he talks the speech of the merchant he has become, plying his trade in a contest for authority.
Imbued with the swagger of youth, lording over this oasis-like town on a bend of the Tigris River, Khalil has power, the fruits of a singularly Iraqi odyssey that has taken this scion of a religious family from the leadership of the local branch of al-Qaeda in Iraq, responsible for a reign that saw residents executed in the streets, into the generous arms of the American military and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his erstwhile foes.
Khalil’s analysis is blunt: He used to be on the losing side.
January 13, 2009. Read the full article >From The 2010 Pulitzer Prize Winners for International Reporting