If there's one thing I've learn from reporting in the Middle East it's the power of patience.
I wanted to go to Yusufiyah. This is a town of dirt roads and mud-brick buildings about 25 miles southwest of Baghdad. On Jan. 3, one of the worst suicide bombing in months had occurred. US forces were pulling out. I wanted to see how they were coping with Al Qaeda and other threats.
The day before I left the Monitor's Baghdad office, my security team spent the day in Yusufiyah evaluating potential threats and getting permission from local authorities to report in the town. But it was a case of best laid plans of mice and men.
When the team and I arrived the next day, we discovered that the Iraqi military official who'd granted them access had left on an unexpected vacation.
We practically had to start all over again. At first the Iraqi Army was resolute that they wouldn't allow me to report in Yusufiyah at all. But this is the Middle East. So, to be hospitable about the refusual, they served us a round of tea.
After a second round and a long chat, the Iraqi officer in charge not only eased up, but he offered to take us around the town himself. As an added bonus, he provided us with a small security detail.
I've found that often in Iraq that patience pays. You just have to wait a situation out.