“I’ll go if you go.” Famous words from a really good colleague and friend. It was my first trip to Irbil, in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region of Iraq. I mean, it’s not like it was Baghdad and the Green Zone. So, to support a request by one of my local representatives (to whom I had introduced my buddy), I said yes. That’s the NAFOD (No Apparent Fear of Death) working again. Except Irbil was really not that dangerous … their airport is newly reconditioned, and I was there to sell surveillance equipment. My partner was there to sell explosive detection devices. Beautiful, comfortable city with extensive security where we were staying – my companion was nervous when they collected the luggage for extra screening. We were only accompanied by a single car, and weapons were there but not obvious. After Yemen, it seemed like a paradise walk. There was even a low-key nightlife.
My buddy won the business … I merely had to accompany him another time for training (he was also a great instructor with other cultures). My division was less successful – we later performed an outstanding demonstration – but as it was in the middle of the Kurd/Daesh fight, there were no funds to buy the equipment. Irbil has an impressive old town – a world heritage site but in need of rehabilitation. They are working on it, but with almost all the population out to war, the progress is slow. Hopefully with the recent collapse of Daesh, progress will resume.
Moral: Offsets should be willing to help all parts of the corporation. You never know when the favor will be returned.