The last thing Iraq needs is official encouragement for social structures which help to divide people from each other. So this report on Maliki's Government seeking to stimulate and use tribal structures within Iraq, is highly disturbing. It follows the methods used by British controllers from the 1920s and by Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War.
It is bodies which came out of earlier industrialisation and urbanisation which should be turned to in order to link together divided people. These include trade unions, civic groupings, secular political parties and student and women's organisations. In pursuing their interests, they unite people who are otherwise divided by ethnic loyalties, tribal links, religious sects and gender.
If this sounds as if I am advocating the advance of class interests to counter those of tribal interests, then I would point out that in Iraq the depressed overwhelmingly form what Saint-Simon called "the class of the most numerous."