Thursday, September 13, 2007

Anbar Aflame

Just days ago, the White House made much hay out of an alliance with the shadiest sheik of them all, Abu Risha, who could not even conceal his contempt for the vacuous moron for the cameras.

Today, Abu Risha is dead, killed by a powerful IED that destroyed his armored SUV as he left his compound. Four body guards were also killed by the blast. No group has yet laid claim to the attack.

Before the keening and wailing starts, Abu Risha was a thug and a highway bandit, and a list of people who would have wanted him dead would not be a short one. He was unpopular even among other Sunnis, having a reputation for corruption and pettiness that was near unrivaled (making him an ideal ally for aWol, when one thinks about it that way...) He was building a militia that was loyal not to the government, but to him. Reliance on people like him is why the so-called "Anbar Awakening" is pure unadulterated bullshit.

In President George W. Bush's trip last week to Iraq, he visited Anbar rather than Baghdad and forcefully directed attention at the security gains the growing alliance between American and tribal forces had brought. Sheik Abdul Sattar was among the tribal leaders who met with him Sept. 3 at Al Asad Air Base in Anbar, the AP reported. He was the latest and most significant of sheiks leading that effort to be killed, and his death comes as Bush prepares to discuss his Iraq strategy in a nationwide address this evening.

Recently the council had begun to reach out to other tribes to bring them into working with the American and Iraqi government, and had met recently with southern Shia tribes.

His death could be a significant setback for American efforts to work more closely with local tribes against Al Qaeda.

The authorities imposed a state of emergency in Anbar Province following his assassination, police officials said. At least one other person escorting him was also killed in the explosion.

"This action makes a crack and makes it a mess for all those who wanted to be aligned with him," Salim al-Jubori, a spokesman for the largest Sunni Arab block in the Iraqi Parliament, said. "I believe there are other leaders who will take this on, but this is not easy."

Word of the attack comes just hours before the Resident addresses the nation tonight, in a last-ditch effort to gain support for his failed Iraqi adventure, that has thus far cost nearly a trillion dollars and is closing in on 3800 American lives.