In a country still wracked by daily terror attacks, you might think that technological wizardry would be the least of Iraq's concerns.
Not so, however, according to a growing number of influential policymakers including none other than Iraqi president Jalal Talabani. Today, he sat down to discuss how social media could help end his country’s conflict.
Under the auspices of the US State Department, the ambitious meeting saw senior executives from Twitter, Google and YouTube flown into Baghdad for a tête-à-tête with Iraq’s most senior politicians.
The undoubted star of the show was Jack Dorsey, founder of micro-blogging service Twitter, who true-to-form kept his followers abreast of developments via a barrage of unremitting tweets.
“Met the President of Iraq at his house this morn,” he tweeted hours into the visit. Another communiqué read: “Passing a group of Iraqi kids laying in the shade under a tree. They were all texting and smiling.”
Whereas just one in twenty Iraqis currently has broadband access at home, an estimated 85 per cent own and regularly use a mobile phone.
Because electrical outages remain a daily occurrence, the appeal of wireless social media solutions is greater than in almost any other country. Iraqis have an unquenchable thirst for mobile telecommunications – and this makes Twitter an ideal candidate for social revolution.
Precisely how these new communication lines can help Iraq overcome its bloody troubles remains to be seen. But a press release put out by the US State Department today offered some thought-provoking clues.
“They will provide conceptual input as well as ideas on how new technologies can be used to … foster greater transparency and accountability; build upon anti-corruption efforts; promote critical thinking in the classroom; scale-up civil society; and further empower local entities,” it read.
In other words, Twitter is the new free press. The new, ever-more outspoken, ever-less submissive voice of the empowered masses – still shackled by cultural propriety, yet also adrift on a virtual plain, where voices resonate freely.
It all sounds rather fanciful, and sceptics will doubtless prefer to focus on proven military solutions like the Sunni Awakening Movements that have been widely credited with reducing violence since 2006.
But when Mr Dorsey puts this in the context of the recent US presidential election, where “change” was irrefutably nudged along by Barack Obama’s obsession with social technology, one can’t help but ponder.
“The thing we saw in the US election was the transparency it brought to government - I have never felt closer to what was going on,” the Twitter founder recalled. “A lot of Iraqis are interested in government - whether good or bad - so I'd like to see the same happen here.”
Of course all this unfolded on a day that a suicide bomber blew up five worshippers in Baghdad, while elsewhere in the capital insurgents killed a US soldier. Reality, as ever, leaves a stronger taste than idealism.
What it boils down to, though, seems inescapably logical. Democracy hinges on public voices, and who has more verbal diarrhoea than the Twitterati?