Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 13, 2007

The End of the Anbar Model

Abu Risha, the  U.S. collaborator and show puppy for The Anbar Model, has been killed by an IED near his home.

Bush and his poodles in uniform claim that Al Qaida is responsible for this. They never heard of a genuine national resistance anyway.

But this wasn't a suicide attack, the hallmark of Al Qaida. So who else could be responsible?

Two days ago Marc Lynch, Abu Aardvark, posted on: People and Power: Al-Anbar

For now I just wanted to recommend this program by Rick Rowley and David Enders which aired on al-Jazeera English two days ago in two parts, which examines the American Sunni strategy in Anbar Province.
Enders interviews the famous Sattar Abu Risha in Amman (he claims to be the leader of all Iraq's Sunni tribes, and makes some rather grand promises), and also presents harsh criticism of Abu Risha from his rival Ali Hatem (who denounces Abu Risha as a con man and fraud, as he has repeatedly to various American journalists).  Abu Risha dramatically says to the camera that the terrorists should know that he would be returning to Ramadi in five days and was ready for them, but he didn't turn up. 

Hatem sniped that Abu Risha can't be found in Ramadi because he isn't welcome there anymore, while the US military spokesman acknowledged that Abu Risha had left the country, attributing it vaguely to squabbles over money, but expected the alliance to hold together.

Hatem and the Shia head of Maliki's reconciliation office both warn that the Americans are pouring weapons into the hands of people who will still have those weapons once the immediate AQI problem is gone. [...] When Abu Risha told Enders (on camera) that "we are on our way to Mosul and Kirkuk, God willing", one wonders whether that should be seen as a promise or a threat (it also lends plausibility to the story making the rounds in the Iraqi press yesterday that during the meeting with Bush Abu Risha offered to extend the services of his tribesmen into the center and south of the country if the US would provide more money and guns.. exactly what many Shia fear).

Then there was some story in June about Abu Risha skimming off $75 million from the U.S. but not paying his own fighters. The "British secret weapon in Basra" reminds us of some important Sunni groups who also disliked Abu Risha.

So who had possible motives to kill Abu Risha?

  1. one Sunni competitor, Hatem
  2. various Sunni resistance groups
  3. the Kurds, as Abu Risha threatened to go to Kirkuk
  4. the Iraqi government
  5. the various Shia groups, as he also threatened to take the fight down south
  6. some of his own folks demanding their money

I left out Al Qaida in the above because we do not have any evidence that they really disliked him. With $75 million on the table - who knows - maybe they got their share.

We don't know who killed him, but the collaborator guy had some powerful enemies and few friends. He died for a stack of cash, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayers, and a photo-op with a grinning Bush.

Some bad business model - people will learn from this and avoid getting entangled in bad deals with the U.S. military. This is the end of the Anbar salvation model.

Other Sheiks are smarter. Lynch:

The best moment in the program, though, comes when one of the tribal shaykhs is asked how many of the tribes currently cooperating with the US used to be fighting the US. His response: "Your time is up. It's $100 for an extra minute." A fitting epitaph.

Posted by b on September 13, 2007 at 17:43 UTC | Permalink


wow, you're hot b

Posted by: annie | Sep 13 2007 18:19 utc | 1

7. US interests
8. ME neighbors
9. Two or more of the above.
10. Sheik is in hiding or captive.

Then Amb Lodge was photographed with Pres Diem of Vietnam, just days before the coup, to which Lodge had already given the nod.

Posted by: small coke | Sep 13 2007 18:35 utc | 2

the destiny of abu rishu has always been the destiny of vassals, puppets, compradors since the beginning of empires & with particular emphasis - the u s empire

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 13 2007 18:42 utc | 3

My bet is that he used a double and is currently thumbing through real estate listings.

Posted by: biklett | Sep 13 2007 19:16 utc | 4

Lynch on>Sunni World. This guy is on top of the Anbar story.

Posted by: anna missed | Sep 13 2007 20:06 utc | 5

You'd think by now these guys would have figured out that 'enemy of my enemy' thingy, but I guess not.

Posted by: mikefromtexas | Sep 13 2007 23:24 utc | 6

the Baathists probably never saw Abu Risha as more than a well-dressed clown.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Sep 14 2007 3:42 utc | 7

please don't label anyone who has just been murdered, especially at the start of the holy month of ramadan, a "show puppy". it demeans, labels are unnecessary. he's dead. you won. go home.

Posted by: Goa Sucks | Sep 14 2007 4:48 utc | 8

All I can say, is I would never shake hands with Bush -- its the kiss of death. I'd worry even more if he expressed confidence in me, "Brownie, you're doing good."

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 14 2007 7:23 utc | 9

Krugman ($): A Surge, and Then a Stab

Last month the provincial government in Kurdistan, defying the central government, passed its own oil law; last week a Kurdish Web site announced that the provincial government had signed a production-sharing deal with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas, and that seems to have been the last straw.
what’s interesting about this deal is the fact that Mr. Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be. By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad’s disapproval, he’s essentially betting that the Iraqi government — which hasn’t met a single one of the major benchmarks Mr. Bush laid out in January — won’t get its act together. Indeed, he’s effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation in any meaningful sense of the term.

The smart money, then, knows that the surge has failed, that the war is lost, and that Iraq is going the way of Yugoslavia. And I suspect that most people in the Bush administration — maybe even Mr. Bush himself — know this, too.
Here’s how I see it: At this point, Mr. Bush is looking forward to replaying the political aftermath of Vietnam, in which the right wing eventually achieved a rewriting of history that would have made George Orwell proud, convincing millions of Americans that our soldiers had victory in their grasp but were stabbed in the back by the peaceniks back home.

What all this means is that the next president, even as he or she tries to extricate us from Iraq — and prevent the country’s breakup from turning into a regional war — will have to deal with constant sniping from the people who lied us into an unnecessary war, then lost the war they started, but will never, ever, take responsibility for their failures.

Posted by: b | Sep 14 2007 7:49 utc | 10

please don't label anyone who has just been murdered, especially at the start of the holy month of ramadan, a "show puppy". it demeans, labels are unnecessary. he's dead. you won. go home.

Hmm - I didn't win at all - it's not my fight anyway.

Posted by: b | Sep 14 2007 9:41 utc | 11

The "British secret weapon" is a man-eating badger, who knew (apart from omniscient b)?

Makes about as much sense as the fucking surge.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Sep 14 2007 14:06 utc | 12

Poll: Civilian death toll in Iraq may top 1 million

According to the ORB poll, a survey of 1,461 adults suggested that the total number slain during more than four years of war was more than 1.2 million.

ORB said it drew its conclusion from responses to the question about those living under one roof: "How many members of your household, if any, have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq since 2003?"

Based on Iraq's estimated number of households -- 4,050,597 -- it said the 1.2 million figure was reasonable.
ORB said its poll had a margin of error of 2.4%. According to its findings, nearly one in two households in Baghdad had lost at least one member to war- related violence, and 22% of households nationwide had suffered at least one death. It said 48% of the victims were shot to death and 20% died as a result of car bombs, with other explosions and military bombardments blamed for most of the other fatalities.

The survey was conducted last month.

Posted by: b | Sep 14 2007 15:38 utc | 13

Damnit, B, I was coming here to link to that latest study.
We guessed it already since some time, but it's always bad to see it confirmed this way.

Bush can be proud, he actually killed more Iraqis than Saddam, and is coming closer to the Mongols' death toll.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Sep 14 2007 15:44 utc | 14

Sunni Group Says Its 'Holy Operation' Killed Tribal Leader

The Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq asserted responsibility Friday for planting the bomb that killed a prominent tribal leader Thursday, calling the assassination a "holy operation" that targeted Abdul Sattar Abu Risha for his alliance with U.S. forces.

A statement posted on the Web site of the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group believed to have been formed by al-Qaeda in Iraq, celebrated the killing of Abu Risha, whom it described as President Bush's "dog."

Hmm - not sure I'd believe that ...

Some very interesting background on Abu Risha by a reader of Just World News. Note how long the historic view of these people are (even a bit longer than my family ...). And the U.S. with its five minute attention span wants to rule these people?

By the way, if you're interested, the Abu Rishas are famous in history. This is what I wrote about them 20 years ago. Sorry if it is a rather long quote, but you will not find this on the internet.

"Abu Risha was the hereditary name of the shaikhs of the Mawali. The family had been founded by the legendary Hamad Abu Nu`air in the 15th century. The Mawali, who traced their descent back to an Umayyad prince, at that time were one of the most powerful tribes. The Abu Rishas founded a state which stretched from Qal`at Ja`bar as far as Haditha, with their capital at `Ana. European travellers from Cesare Frederici (1563) and Tavernier (1638) knew of Abu Risha, Amir of Ana, who called himself King of the Arabs.

`Ana was then the meeting point of roads from Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, to Aleppo, Tripoli and Homs. The Abu Rishas maintained a customs station at `Ana. According to Teixeira (1604), the customs charge in `Ana was 5 ducats per camel load for high-value goods such as spices or cloth, and 1 ducat per load for goods of lesser value such as dates. A small proportion of this was paid to the Turks. John Eldred (1583) gives the toll as #40 Sterling for a camel load.

The Ottomans appointed the Abu Risha as Bey of the Sanjaqs of Dair and Rahba (modern-day Deir ez-Zor), Salamiyya, `Ana and Haditha.

In return the Mawali provided military assistance. For the Georgian campaign of 1578, the Serasker obtained 3-4000 camels, forage for horses and other provisions from the Mawali. The reconquest of Baghdad by the Safavids in 1623 led to the installation of a Persian garrison at `Ana, but within two years it had been expelled by the Abu Risha shaikh, Mutlaq. Philip the Carmelite in 1629 saw the town half-ruined as a result. The Ottoman attempt to retake Baghdad in 1629-30 was supported by Abu Risha, but shortly afterwards Mutlaq changed sides, was removed from his position by Khusrau Pasha of Mosul, and replaced by another Abu Risha, Sa`d b. Fayyad. In the final recapture of Baghdad by the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV in 1048/1638-9, Abu Risha sent Bedouin cavalry and a supply train of 10,000 camels.

The inscription on the early Ottoman mausoleum at Jami` al-Mashhad contains a reference to Abu Risha, and has been identified as a mausoleum of the dynasty. The Ottoman period of the Islamic palace at Qal`at `Ana, excavated by the State Organisation for Antiquities and Heritage, may also be their work.

In the second half of the 17th century the Ottomans set up and deposed Abu Risha amirs frequently. When the long-distance trade declined, the Mawali became a robber tribe. In 1720 the Pasha of Raqqa, with help from Karaman and Aleppo, and at the same time the Pasha of Baghdad with support from Diyarbekir, Mosul and Shahrizor, planned to attack the Mawali; but this attack was not undertaken, perhaps because of the Persian war which began in 1723.

The power of the Mawali was broken by the `Anaza in the second half of the 18th century. A delegation of `Anaza were murdered while guests of the Mawali. It was said, Bait al-Mawali bait al-`aib - "The house of the Mawali is the house of shame". As a result the Mawali were pushed away from `Ana, and moved into northern Syria, where they are to be found today."

Posted by: b | Sep 15 2007 8:22 utc | 15

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