From Peter Van Buren's book: "We Meant Well: How I helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People" (2011), pp. 156-157 (footnotes not cited in this entry):
At one point the official [US Badghad Embassy] Web site featured photos of young Iraqis receiving a donation of Major League Baseball equipment on the turf. The event was a special program the Ambassador was personally involved with, because he believed in “sports diplomacy.” Once he invited Iraq’s only baseball team to his residence for some drills. He wore a replica of a Japanese-born Major League star’s jersey, making the point that baseball, although invented in America, was an international sport (which is why the World The Embassy Lawn, Where the Grass Is Always Greener Series includes only American teams and potentially a Canadian one). “Baseball is like democracy,” he liked to say, “you cannot impose it. People should learn it and accept it." A previous sports diplomacy program donated hundreds of soccer balls to Iraq, each colorfully decorated with flags of the world. No one would play with the balls, because they included the flag of Saudi Arabia, which has a Koranic verse on it, and you cannot put your foot to a Koranic verse. Luckily, the balls were made in China, where they already knew not to include the Israeli flag, as it would have been awkward if we’d had to ask.