Did you see George all choked up? In his surreal TV talk on Thursday, he got all emotional over the killing by Al Qaeda of Sheik Abu Risha, the leader of the new Sunni alliance with the
Bush shook Abu Risha’s hand two weeks ago for the cameras. Bush can shake his hand again, but not the rest of him: Abu Risha was blown away just hours before Bush was to go on the air to praise his new friend.
Here’s what you need to know that NPR won’t tell you.
1. Sheik Abu Risha wasn’t a sheik.
2. He wasn’t killed by Al Qaeda.
3. The new alliance with former insurgents in Anbar is as fake as the sheik – and a murderous deceit.
How do I know this? You can see the film – of “Sheik” Abu Risha, of the guys who likely whacked him and of their other victims.http://tinyurl.com/377bx2
Just in case you think I’ve lost my mind and put my butt in insane danger to get this footage, don’t worry. I was safe and dry in
Rick’s “the future of TV news,” says BBC. He’s also completely out of control. Despite our pleas, Rick and his partner Dave Enders went to Anbar and filmed where no cameraman had dared tread.
Why was “sheik” Abu Risha so important? As the New York Times put it this morning, “Abu Risha had become a charismatic symbol of the security gains in Sunni areas that have become a cornerstone of American plans to keep large numbers of troops in Iraq though much of next year.”
In other words, Abu Risha was the PR hook used to sell the “success” of the surge.
The sheik wasn’t a sheik. He was a fake. While proclaiming to Rick that he was “the leader of all the Iraqi tribes,” Abu lead no one. But for a reported sum in the millions in cash for so-called, “reconstruction contracts,” Abu Risha was willing to say he was Napoleon and Julius Caesar and do the hand-shakie thing with Bush on camera.
Notably, Rowley and his camera caught up with Abu Risha on his way to a “business trip” to
There are some real sheiks in Anbar, like Ali Hathem of the dominant Dulaimi tribe, who told Rick Abu Risha was a con man. Where was his tribe, this tribal leader? “The Americans like to create characters like Disney cartoon heros.” Then Ali Hathem added, “Abu Risha is no longer welcome” in Anbar.
“Not welcome” from a sheik in Anbar is roughly the same as a kiss on both cheeks from the capo di capi. Within days, when Abu Risha returned from
On Thursday, Bush said Abu Risha was killed, “fighting Al Qaeda” – and the White House issued a statement that the sheik was “killed by al Qaeda.”
There ain’t no Easter Bunny and “Al Qaeda” ain’t in
Who got Abu Risha? Nothing – NOTHING – moves in Ramadi without the approval of the REAL tribal sheiks. They were none-too-happy, as Hathem noted, about the millions the
So who are these guys, the sheiks who lead the Sunni tribes of Anbar – the potentates of the Tamimi, Fallaji, Obeidi, Zobal and Jumaili tribes? Think of them as the Sopranos of Arabia. They are also members of the so-called “Awakening Council” – getting their slice of the millions handed out – which they had no interest in sharing with Risha.
But creepy and deadly or not, these capi of the desert were effective in eliminating “Al Qaeda in
This miraculous military change, where the enemy just evaporates, has one explanation: the sheiks ARE al Qaeda in
What’s wrong with that? After all, I’d rather send a check than send our kids from
But there’s something deeply, horribly wrong with dealing with these killers. They still kill. With new
Do the Americans know about the ethnic cleansing of Anbar by our erstwhile “allies”? Rick’s film shows
Rick’s craziest move was to go and find these Shia refugees from Anbar. They were dumped, over a hundred thousand of them, in a cinder block slum with no running water in
So the great “success” of the surge is our arming and providing cover for ethnic cleansing in Anbar. Nice, Mr. Bush. And with the
An Iraqi government official frets that giving guns and cover to the Anbar gang is like adopting a baby crocodile. “A crocodile is not a pet,” he told Rick. It will soon grow to devour you. But what could the puppet do but complain about his strings?
This Iraqi got it right: the surge is a crock.
Greg Palast is the author of “Armed Madhouse: from
On his departure from
Palast will update the report today on Air