• Cross-Cultural Competencies Practical Exercise
Mission: Your team was recently sent to a village named Dukan in Kurdistan to train Iraqi intelligence officers. All you know about the village is that the villagers belong to three (stratified) tribes from the region and are further organized into smaller sub-tribes or clans according to their lineage. Typically, older men or patriarchs from the tribes who are considered wise and honorable are tribal leaders.
The morning after you arrived, an IED detonates in the village, killing 4 villagers and injuring 15. Your tasks now are to work with the Iraqi Intel Officers you will train to find out information about who made and planted the IED and detain suspects. The Intel Officers you are to train are not from this region and can only help you by translating and giving you basic advice on Iraqi norms. The only way to get information on those involved in the bombing is by talking to people from the village. Because of the tight social network in the area, some of the villagers very likely know who was involved.
The villagers are reluctant to talk to you and give you information. They are cautious to talk to outsiders and fear there will be a backlash from the villagers if they speak out and give information. One of the Iraqi soldiers tells you that the only way Iraqis in these villages will talk to outsiders is if leaders allow them or encourage them. Your team realizes that they need to quickly identify the leaders in the village and help get their support in the investigation.
1. How are power and authority established in this village?
2. How does this political structure differ from that of the US?
3. How might this affect the mission?
4. What strategies can you use to lessen this affect?
5. Using what you know about the political structure of this village, what would be the best plan of action for obtaining information about the incident?