Where the best weapon against war in Iraq is a waistcoat

Erbil Letter: A gentleman’s club believes style affords an identity beyond politics and faith

Namo, the barber at Mr Erbil’s club for young gents. Photograph: Lorraine Mallinder

Namo, the barber at Mr Erbil’s club for young gents. Photograph: Lorraine Mallinder

In the heart of Erbil, capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, Rawa Ali and Ahmed Nauzad are discussing good grooming and gentlemanly deportment. The cappuccinos are smooth, the setting less so.

Less than three hours’ drive away, Syria’s eight-year civil war has just acquired a few more layers of devilish complexity. In Iraq’s southern cities, the death toll soars as security forces mount a violent crackdown on anti-corruption protesters. And the threat of Islamic State sleeper cells plotting a stealth comeback is ever-present.

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