Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

If they were involved then AQI just made a costly mistake.

Lately the AQI guys haven't been thinking too smartly. Yesterday, Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, the Sunni sheik responsible for the Anbar awakening was killed by a roadside bomb.

Today, the AP reports that his death has spurned on those who followed the sheik's lead:

Mourners vowed revenge and perseverance Friday at the funeral of the leader of the Sunni Arab revolt against al-Qaida militants who was assassinated just 10 days after meeting with President Bush in Iraq's Anbar province. ...

... More than 1,500 mourners marched along the highway near the home of Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, who was killed along with two bodyguards and a driver Thursday by a bomb hidden near his house, just west of Ramadi.

Scores of Iraqi police and U.S. military vehicles lined the route to protect the procession as it followed the black SUV carrying the sheik's Iraqi-flag draped coffin.

"We will take our revenge," the mourners chanted along the 10 kilometer (6 mile) route to Risha's family cemetery, many of them crying. "We will continue the march of Abu Risha."

Abu Risha was buried one year after the goateed, charismatic, chain-smoking young sheik organized 25 Sunni Arab clans under the umbrella of the Anbar Awakening Council, an alliance against al-Qaida in Iraq, to drive terrorists from sanctuaries where they had flourished after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

No group claimed responsibility for the assassination, but it was widely assumed to have been carried out by al-Qaida, which already had killed four of Abu Risha's brothers and six other relatives for working with the U.S. military.

U.S. officials credit Abu Risha and allied sheiks with a dramatic improvement in security in such Anbar flashpoints as Fallujah and Ramadi after years of American failure to subdue the extremists. U.S. officials now talk of using the Anbar model to organize tribal fighters elsewhere in Iraq.

The last thing AQ could afford was to have a martyr on their hands. By being instrumental in the death of Abu Risha, they will have created such a person. But not all of the evidence points in AQI's direction. Some of the suspicion is being directed towards other Sunni leaders who might have been a bit upset with, or envious of, Abu Risha. Allah points out in the former link (above) that a sheik named Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman, who accused Abu Risha of corruption, and stated the tribal council was starting to fall apart.

The flip side to this is the fact that his followers want revenge, which could either lead to a purge of any Sunnis that might have been involved (the bombing does appear to be an inside job and a definite assassination), or this could spark a new wave of sectarian violence. This will have to play out a bit further before things really start to take shape.

Publius II


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