Boom Went the Backroom Politics

Although we don’t typically get into the nitty-gritty of Iraq bombings, we thought this was pertinent since we just posted a disparaging article about BushCo’s Sunni strategy and the fellow who was targeted yesterday.

An assassination that blows apart Bush’s hopes of pacifying Iraq
By Patrick Cockburn, Friday, September 14, 2007

Last week George Bush flew into Iraq to meet Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, leader of Anbar province. This week General David Petraeus told the US Congress how Anbar was a model for Iraq. Yesterday Abu Risha was assassinated by bombers in Anbar

Ten days after President George Bush clasped his hand as a symbol of America’s hopes in Iraq, the man who led the US-supported revolt of Sunni sheikhs against al-Qa’ida in Iraq was assassinated.

Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha and two of his bodyguards were killed either by a roadside bomb or by explosives placed in his car by a guard, near to his home in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, the Iraqi province held up by the American political and military leadership as a model for the rest of Iraq.

His killing is a serious blow to President Bush and the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, who have both portrayed the US success in Anbar, once the heart of the Sunni rebellion against US forces, as a sign that victory was attainable across Iraq.

On Monday General Petraeus told the US Congress that Anbar province was “a model of what happens when local leaders and citizens decide to oppose al-Qa’ida and reject its Taliban-like ideology”.

But yesterday’s assassination underlines that Iraqis in Anbar and elsewhere who closely ally themselves with the US are in danger of being killed. “It shows al-Qa’ida in Iraq remains a very dangerous and barbaric enemy,” General Petraeus said in reaction to the killing. But Abu Risha might equally have been killed by the many non al-Qa’ida insurgent groups in Anbar who saw him as betraying them.

The assassination comes at a particularly embarrassing juncture for President Bush, who was scheduled to address the American people on television last night to sell the claim made by General Petraeus that the military “surge” was proving successful in Iraq and citing the improved security situation in Anbar to prove it.

Abu Risha, 37, usually stayed inside a heavily fortified compound containing several houses where he lived with his extended family. A US tank guards the entrance to the compound, which is opposite the largest US base in Ramadi.

He spent yesterday morning meeting tribal sheikhs to discuss the future of Anbar. He also received long lines of petitioners as he drank small glasses of sweet tea and chain-smoked. He carried a pistol stuck in a holster strapped to his waist and dressed in dark flowing robes.

Surprisingly, he is said to have recently reduced the number of his bodyguards because of improved security situation in Anbar, although he ought to have known that as leader of the anti al-Qai’da Anbar Salvation Council he was bound to be a target for assassins.

Read it here.

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