Saturday, October 30, 2004


CIA Waasta

Waasta [Literally: means] In Iraq, nepotism, favoritism and lobbying are all usually lumped into this word which generally indicates using some means to obtain preferential treatment.

I was told of this incident by a friend who owns a tannery on the outskirts of Baghdad. A few days ago, they were raided by a party of American soldiers who told them that they were looking for insurgents. All those present were ordered to lie, face down on the floor in a single room while the soldiers searched the premises. Nothing was found.

The owner noticed the disappearance of money in a plastic carrier bag from a cabinet in his office. Through an interpreter, he told the officer in charge, mentioning that it was pay day and he needed the money to pay his staff. The officer went to have a word with the soldiers and came back to tell the man that there was no such thing. The soldiers had denied any knowledge of it.

So the man told the soldier that he lived next door to a CIA station in Baghdad, and that he was on good terms with them! The officer thought about it for a moment and asked him to sketch a street plan of the location of his home. The man duly did.

The officer went out again. After some time, one of the soldiers came into the office, placed the carrier bag with the money in it on a desk… and left without saying a word.

This is a true waasta by the CIA for the tannery man… unwittingly of course!

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