Posted by: Jim | September 13, 2007

The Sunni Leader Who Met with Bush


General Petraeus gave his assessment of the “surge” yesterday. The speech seemed as if it were tailored by an expert, and Petraues was merely the dressmaker’s dummy.

“The change in the security situation in Anbar province has, of course, been particularly dramatic.

As this chart shows, monthly attack levels in Anbar have declined from some 1,350 in October 2006, to a bit over 200 in August of this year. This dramatic decrease reflects the significance of the local rejection of al Qaeda and the newfound willingness of local Anbaris to volunteer to serve in the Iraqi army and Iraqi police service.”

As part of the PR effort, Bush took a secret trip to Iraq last week, where he met with Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, a key Sunni leader in the Anbar province.  The conversation apparently yielded an allocation of US$70 million to Anbar’s budget, US$50 million in compensations for people whose homes were destroyed in the last four years of war. It was a wise diplomatic choice for Bush to meet with Abu Risha. The Sunni leader was once aligned with Hussein’s regime, but has since rejected Al Qaeda and joined the coalition.  The man’s gravitas clearly yielded a victory for his province and for peace.

It all added up to what could be slated as “good news” for the surge, and a good report for the Iraq War.

Today, Abu Risha was killed by a roadside bomb, in the Western Anbar province. A huge blow to US efforts, and a potential harbinger of violence in the Anbar province.

This is further evidence of exactly who is in control in Iraq; it is not the US. They are in a civil war, and the US cannot stop it. We should stop trying to create peace in a country that wants war.  


  1. “Keep your Sunni side up, and don’t take Shiite from anyone.”

    — Muhammed Ch’eez San-W’ich

  2. LOL Bri. But Jim, I don’t think that simply leaving alone a country that insists upon a warlike existence is good for those citizens who actually wish for a peaceful existence. Aren’t we then abandoning them? And who is to say that that warlike nation will not spill their war into neighboring countries, and even across oceans? Iraq is not the only country like this, there are numerous others, and 9/11 is a good example. Shrugging our shoulders and saying, “Well, that’s just how they are” is only back-burnering a problem which will grow into a larger issue down the road. During the Iraq war, all the media really focuses on are the militants, but there are millions of people in Iraq who are damn glad to see American troops standing up for them.

  3. Should stay in Iraq by continuously changing the reasons we are in Iraq?

    We went to protect US interests, ostensibly. Because Saddam was involved in 911 (which he wasn’t) and because we thought they had WMDs (which they didn’t). Then we were staying in Iraq simply in order for Iraq to become a self-sustaining country once again. Now are we staying in Iraq to prevent millenia-long rivalries from escalating into civil war? If we had wanted to avoid that, we never should have gone to Iraq and messed with the balance in the first place.

    Should we stay because it would be mean to leave? Mean to whom? Your facts are not correct; eight out of ten Iraqis want the U.S. to commit to a timetable for withdrawal. They want us OUT because they understand that we are merely escalating the violence there. Should we stay to prevent civil war? We’re not preventing it!

    You say the media is only focusing on the militants. But Dude … there are 200 bombings A MONTH in just one region of Iraq. If there were 200 bombings a month in the state of Colorado, would you want the media to focus on the Pikes Peak Race?

  4. I am in agreement with Jim. The shifting rationales for being in Iraq underscore the problem. It is clear that the surge was a piece of PR puffery, as, the moment the surge is at full strength, up pops Bush and starts announcing a troop reduction. It was all designed to push things back further and further towards the 08 elections.

    The argument that the US can’t abandon Iraq is the same as a murderer insisting on accompanying the bereaved through grief counselling. It might make sense if the US was an impartial presence, but the US is warping this situation through the occupation.

    As for the ‘successes’, they are nothing. Of course there can be a success happening somewhere, but what does it mean, that there are some successes within the overall scheme of a disaster. It is easy to make some progress by displacing problems from one place to another through extra troop numbers, or by bribing people to come onside, but with regards to the big picture, surely there is only one measure of true success and that is when US forces withdraw from Iraq.

    It ain’t gonna happen though, this is a corporate grab for Iraq’s Oil and nothing will stop it now. Kurds have just signed an oil deal with a guy called Hunt who is a two-time appointee to the Bush admin and a Texas oilman. Oil just topped 80$ a barrel and if it can get up to a $100 then it will.

    I have maintained all along that the only way to stop this war is to reduce its profitability. There should have been legislation to claim profits from all the war contractors and the oil corporations. As it is,

    “NEW YORK ( — ExxonMobil, navigating declining oil prices and higher production costs industry-wide, managed to post the second highest quarterly profit of all time, dazzling investors and sending the stock to a record high.

    Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company and its biggest corporation by revenue, said it made $10.5 billion in the third quarter, or $1.77 per share on revenue of $99.6 billion. It was a 26 percent increase in earnings for the company, excluding a big gain last year related to restructuring in a Dutch natural gas business.”

    From CNN Money, OCT 26,2006

  5. Without a lengthy diatribe, what do you Libs think about partition? Like they had before the Brits drew the lines in the early 20th century? I’m all for it.


  6. I would be all for partitioning if we could figure out a way to make it work. The hardest part is that there are Sunni areas in the Kurdish Region, Shiite areas in the Sunni Region, and Sunni areas in the Shiite region. We would either spell doom for the people who don’t move, or force a bunch of people to leave the area that they’ve called home since Esau at his red bean soup.

    I would favor partitioning over the current paradigm, which is basically where Iraq is waiting for us to leave so they can all kill each other in peace.

  7. Partitioning is a moot point with the US constructing permanent bases and building that biggest foreign embassy ever. Not going to happen. I don’t see the Dems saying anything about ending these construction projects. It is what Stan Goff calls the ‘bipartisan ship of state’ – the US is staying and that’s that.

    As I say, the only way to end the war is to end the war profiteering of Bush’s associates. Actually, perhaps partitioning would be possible, but each ‘country’ could bear the name of an oil corporation. Exonistan, Huntistan, Mobilistan.

    For the record, I am not a Liberal.

    It is actually an impossible situation, and as somebody who argued against the invasion from before it happened, I don’t particularly feel compelled to provide an answer. Neither, it should be noted does the President, other than his New Reasons To Stay approach. The only thing is to extract coalition forces and let it play out now. And if, surprise surprise, Iran has a big new lever to use against the West, well, that can be Bush’s legacy.

    Thank you, Mr President.

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