Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Abu Risha the big winner ?

For Sattar abu Risha, leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, the meeting with Bush on Monday was a story-book affair. He told Al-Hayat that Bush called him a hero and immediately granted two of his requests, namely for the release of all innocent prisoners in American and Iraqi custody, and compensation for those damaged by military operations. Bush said he would study abu Risha's other requests, which included repealing de-Baathification and national reconciliation. The two also talked about increased American aid for an expansion of the Anbar model to other areas of Iraq. Enthused, abu Risha decided to change the name of his group from Anbar Salvation Council, to Congress of the Iraq Awakening.

In a parallel universe more resembling our own, Al-Hayat says three leaders of the Sunni parliamentary parties, Adnan Dulaimi, Khalaf al-Alyan and Saleh al-Mutlak arrived in Washington (another report puts this in the future tense), to get ready for a Congressional hearing September 13 where they have been invited to testify on all aspects of the Iraq crisis, including withdrawal, Iranian meddling, political process, reconciliation, you name it and they will be asked about it. A spokesman said they have brought with them a Working Paper, which the spokesman described like this: "It will center on the need for a complete refurbishing of the current government, rather than continuing to support it". Sot al Iraq, quoting an Alyan interview with Radio Sawa, says the delegation will include Ayad Allawi too. Asked why the delegation is limited to these people, Alyan said the Congressional people wanted to hear the views and demands of the Iraqi opposition.

And in Baghdad, Maliki's national security adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie unexpectedly announced a "new government strategy" which will be called "Iraq First", covering the coming three-year period of time, with targets for national security, political reconciliation, and economic development. Rubaie denied the timing of this had anything to do with the Bush visit, and the reports in Al-Hayat and Azzaman don't explain what the real point is, beyond perhaps the implication that the Maliki administration wants to show sufficient confidence to talk about a three-year plan. There also isn't any explanation why this policy announcement wasn't made by the Prime Minister or the President. Because the fact is that Rubaie is considered among the more polarizing members of the Maliki government, for instance when Maliki visited Damascus recently, the Syrians told him not to bring Rubaie with him.


Anonymous Alison said...

A ringing endorsement from Bush ought to be a kiss of death, surely? If being hailed as a hero by the man who has destroyed Iraq enhances the prestige of that opportunistic creep Sattar Abu Risha, I give up!

4:23 AM  
Blogger badger said...

Alison, they are soul-mates, two peas in a pod.

4:38 AM  
Anonymous gj said...

I thought Abu Risha had done a bunk to Jordan with US 75 million tucked under his dishda?

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alison, you're a psychic! This guy was blown up in a car bomb. I wonder if it will save the US any $, or will we just give it to the other crooks in his group? Yep, that's the ticket. Keeping the American tax dollar flowing.

1:15 PM  

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