Thursday, September 13, 2007

Does Anbar Need Reevaluation?

First there's this..

From the BBC:

Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, 37, led what was known as the "Anbar Awakening", an alliance of Sunni Arab tribes that rose up against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

US President George Bush met and endorsed the sheikh last week in Iraq.

The White House, which has held up the movement in Anbar province as an example for the rest of Iraq, condemned his assassination as "an outrage".
However that meeting may have actually been causal in his assassination. Over at The American Prospect Marc Lynch writes:
While Americans celebrate their cordial relations with certain tribal shaykhs, the insurgency's leaders publicly fumed that the fruits of their victory might be snatched by undeserving interlopers. The widely disseminated pictures of President Bush shaking hands with Sattar Abu Risha, the epitome of such illegitimate bon vivantes, were likely his death warrant.
Additionally he goes on to point out that while here Abdul Sattar Abu Rish claims to have told W "that his people had achieved in four months what the American military could not achieve in four years." and that Abu Rish is not alone in speaking or seeing the situation in Anbar this way:
In their literature and public rhetoric, the Sunni insurgency has already defeated the American occupation -- which is why the Americans stopped fighting them and came to them for help in fighting al-Qaeda. One discovers virtually nothing in this literature of the American conceit that our forces wore them out or forced them to come to the table.
If Lynch is speaking truly then what we've been seeing in Anbar is a short term gain that will ultimately prove to have a high long term cost. That is, of course, provided that the US military leaders aren't aware of that. So ultimately the real questions to ask are "Who is using who?" and "Who is spinning the real situation to their people?". I'm hoping that the answers to those questions are simply "Us" and "Them" but the simple fact of the matter is, that in order to find out, all we can do is wait and to quote Tom Petty, "The waiting is the hardest part.".

h/t to Memeorandum