Thursday, September 13, 2007

Setback in Anbar?

Waiting for my ride to the airport so I might as well post some.

It's tragic, but probably not all that surprising, that Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the sheik in Anbar who had taken a leading role in organizing tribal groups against al-Qaida in Iraq and appeared with Bush during his Labor Day stopover in Anbar, was killed at his home today. It happened the same day another news story said al-Qaida in Iraq took heavy losses in a joint U.S.-Iraqi raid north of Baghdad, but also the same day it appeared that a compromise on a law to share oil revenues in Iraq appeared to be falling apart.

Abu Risha looked like your classic handsome Sheik of Araby. A junior member of the anti-Qaida coalition did say the group will strike back, persevere and not be deterred. But it will be a while before we know whether this is really true or not. I have little doubt that al-Qaida, especially if its backs are to the wall, is prepared to be quite ruthless.

President Bush may be able to sustain optimism, but it's difficult for some of us who believe our perspective is more reality-based, to expect even a modicum of stability, let alone an ally in the "war on terror." I would like to be wrong, but I don't think so.

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