Thursday, September 13, 2007

A True Iraqi Patriot and Ally of the U.S. Martyred as the Holy Month of Ramadan Begins

By Patrick Baz, AFP/Getty Images
The tribal leader greets U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, in Ramadi, in March.

Bomb kills top Sunni ally working with U.S. in Iraq
BAGHDAD (AP) — The most prominent figure in a U.S.-backed revolt of Sunni sheiks against al-Qaeda in Iraq was killed Thursday by a bomb planted near his home in Anbar province, 10 days after he met with President Bush, police and tribal leaders said.

Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha was leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, also known as the Anbar Awakening — an alliance of clans backing the Iraqi government and U.S. forces.

The death of the charismatic young sheik dealt a blow to American efforts to recruit tribal leaders to fight the terror network.

This is definitely a huge blow. Eli Lake described Sheik Abdul Sattar Al-Rishawi as "Iraq's Most Important Man":
As he [Rishawi] told the AP's Todd Pittman on March 25, "I was always against these terrorists . . . They brainwashed people into thinking Americans were against them. They said foreigners wanted to occupy our land and destroy our mosques. They told us, ‘We'll wage a jihad. We'll help you defeat them.'"
Bill Roggio described him thus:
"Sheikh Sattar is authentic to his culture, supports the tribal system in the confines of democracy, and despises al Qaeda in Iraq," said Colonel John A. Koenig (USMC), the head of the II Marine Expeditionary Force G-5 (Governance and Economics), in a recent interview. Sheikh Sattar is also described as both a nationalist and a friend of America. "In Sattar's office, there are two flags - one is Iraqi, the other American." Sattar, according to Col Koenig and other sources in the military and intelligence establishment, wants to build a nationalist, non secular party.

I think Steve Schippert's article is when I first began paying attention to the name "Sheik Abdul Sattar Al-Rishawi" and also when I began hearing about the Anbar Province Awakening:
The most significant local ally of Coalition and Iraqi government in Anbar province — and surely in all of Iraq — is Sheikh Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, or, more properly, Sheikh Abd al-Sattar, where “Abd” translates into “slave” or “totally subordinated” (to God, of course). Sheikh Abdul Sattar is instrumental in fighting and defeating al Qaeda; the incredibly influential Ramadi man sees al Qaeda as terrorists who seek to destroy his country and who are exploiting and murdering his people, Sunni and Shia alike. Al Qaeda wants him dead more than any other man in Iraq, and they have tried numerous times to kill him.

Sattar said recently, “The time for dictatorship is gone, and we are welcoming the new dawn of democracy and freedom here.” He is a powerful Sunni from Anbar province, and, on Iraqi national television, he has pledged his allegiance to Prime Minister al-Maliki — a Shia — and to the democratically elected Iraqi government. In an overt (and televised) gesture of his determination and solidarity with the Iraqi government, Sheikh Abdul Sattar sliced the palm of his hand with a knife and proceeded to pound the blade into the table before him.

The Implications of Sattar
Most Americans are unaware of this. Many of those who are aware fail to understand the profound significance it holds, even amid their own proclamations about the brutal sectarian violence and civil war in Iraq. Senators Reid and Schumer are almost certainly among those Americans. They seem oblivious to the importance of Sheikh Abdul Sattar’s indigenous leadership in counterterrorism.

The perceived civil war in Iraq is in many ways more a product of foreign Iranian and al Qaeda instigation than internal Iraqi hatred. Had al Qaeda not bombed the Shia al-Askari Mosque and had Iran not provided arms and funds to both sides of the ensuing sectarian killings, there is no telling where Iraq would be right now. It certainly was not in civil war then. Both Iran and al Qaeda require chaos and instability in order to achieve their aims in Iraq. Sattar’s mission is to foil their plans.

The Sheikh’s Movement

Some may think Sheikh Abdul Sattar’s graphic televised display of slicing open his palm merely the action of yet another barbaric man in a violent land. Those same would be quite surprised to learn that Sattar is currently digesting early American and other Western political writings, as well as Greek philosophy, with vigor, interest, and intelligent questions. The 35-year-old sheikh was only five when Saddam Hussein seized power. And like the rest of Iraqis, particularly those in Sunni Anbar province, he was steeped in an iron-fisted Baathist socialism dictated by a man whose political idol was Joseph Stalin. Suddenly, in various American and Western political writings, he has discovered a quite different way, perhaps foreign and unfamiliar, but intriguing, inviting, and appealing. This is counterterrorism.
Sheikh Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi is a true martyr. He knew full well that he was a marked man by al-Qaeda. Yet he is said to have been unafraid.

What is the cost of fighting al-Qaeda?

And what are the costs of appeasement and surrender to those who are driven to extreme acts of barbarism and savagery, by embracing a ruthless and violent ideology of intolerance and hatred?

Also blogging:
Bill Roggio
Matt Sanchez
Mike's America
Serving the People of Iraq

UPDATE 2007/09/17 One assassin captured by American forces

Matt Sanchez interviewed the sheikh at the beginning of this month.

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Blogger Mike's America said...

A further sad reminder that we're not in this fight alone and that Muslims continue to bear most of the cost in human lives.

Peace be upon you Sheikh Sattar!

Thursday, September 13, 2007 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger Goat said...

Arabs know what freedom is, I pray they find it once again. I forget if it was at Yon's or Totten's site. an Arab commented about Arabs not liking to follow rules. It is a fascinating culture for sure, one I would prefer to have as a proud friend, not an imbittered abandonded enemy as the Democrats seemingly want. That move will help AQ in the negative.

Friday, September 14, 2007 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

This is terrible news, Wordsmith. We know that al-Quaeda hopes that his death will make it harder to recruit tribal leaders to fight against them, but it may work in reverse. It's possible that his death will anger many and have the opposite affect. At least I'd like to think so!

Friday, September 14, 2007 5:59:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Of course it will have the opposite effect, gayle! It's already happening:

Sunni Arab tribesmen have vowed revenge for the killing of a leader who had become a focal point for opposition to al-Qaeda in Iraq.

More than 1,500 mourners attended the funeral of Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, who was killed in a bomb attack in the city of Ramadi, Anbar province, on Thursday.

Iraq’s national security adviser, interior minister and defence minister all attended the funeral in Ramadi, along with the second-in-command of US forces in Iraq, Lt-Gen Raymond Odierno.

Mourners chanted “We will take our revenge” and “There is no God but Allah and al-Qaeda is the enemy of Allah” as the procession continued to the family cemetery.

He told the Reuters news agency: “All the tribes agreed to fight al-Qaeda until the last child in Anbar.”

The Sunni tribes turned on al-Qaeda to begin with, because they were ruthlessly killing sheikhs, among other things horrendous.

Friday, September 14, 2007 7:12:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Btw, Eli Lake of the NY Sun left a comment at FA, linking to his article and their editorial today.

Friday, September 14, 2007 9:29:00 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AQ may reach a point of diminishing returns, internally, similar in reaction to the bombings in Jordan. But the middle east is so remarkably difficult to prognosticate.


Friday, September 14, 2007 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Yay! I'm always gratified to be right about something, but in this case even moreso than usual! :)

Saturday, September 15, 2007 5:51:00 AM  
Blogger Cajun Tiger said...

That was definitely a huge strategic mistake on their part but of course no one has ever accused them of being very strategic as opposed to just cold blooded killers. This is and will continue to backfire against them.

Saturday, September 15, 2007 11:25:00 PM  

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