Friday, September 14, 2007

Shiite views on Abu Risha

Azzaman, which is of Sunni orientation, cites laudatory remarks about Abu Risha by the official Sadrist spokesman in Najaf, who denounced his assassination, and added
Abu Risha was the person who was able to establish the possibility of fighting terror and restoring security and peace to many areas of Iraq...
And the Sadrist news site says this:
The news of the killing of Abu Risha, a Sunni by creed, had a major resonance among the Shiites of Iraq, something that once again gives the lie to the accusation that there is sectarian war struggle between Sunnis and Shiites, so much so that the satellite television channel "Light" known for its [Shiite] creedal orientation, when it made room for receipt of messages from viewers of condolence for the martyrdom of Abu Risha, the volume of messages was amazing, amounting to thousands between the time of the announcement and midnight of last night, and they were all from Shiite Iraqis from all over the country, and particularly from the South. They called him a hero and a martyr and a fighter against terror, and this reflected the place Abu Risha had in the hearts of Shiites for his courage in fighting the wahabi takfiiri terrorists of AlQaeda....
The SIIC (SCIRI) site carries a number of very flowery eulogies of Abu Risha, but the tone is a lot more aggressive and broad-brush. Where the Sadrist expressions of condolence and admiration seem to have put the emphasis of the specific acts of clearing away terror, the SIIC statements (or at least those on the SIIC site) tend to talk more about the alleged structure that Abu Risha was supposedly fighting: namely not only takfiiri terror, but also the Baathist environment that they say fostered and continues to cooperate with the terror. Here is an example:
[Abu Risha] is surely among those who have dedicated themselves to the national spirit and the defence of Iraq as against those from within and without who would pollute it, and who are those gangs that would devastate Iraq from within if not the Baathist remnants and those who defend them. ... Those who target the [truly] national persons of Iraq [like Abu Risha], are not as is so often said from AlQaeda, but rather from the Baathists and the Sadamists, because what is AlQaeda but a group whose entry into Iraq was permitted...and they have been mostly exterminated...and the Baathists and the Sadamists have taken over the name and the commentary, and issue statements [in the AQ name] on every event... The person who placed the bomb that martyred Abu Risha, who knew his habits and his movements, wasn't from AlQaeda but was someone close to him...

In neither case (Sadrist reactions or SIIC ones) is there any mention of Abu Risha's cooperation with the Americans. In death that seems to have been forgiven him, or at least forgotten. But beyond that, it is important to notice the big difference between the Sadrist reactions and those of the SIIC coloration. For the Sadrists, it seems this was a man whose fight against takfiiri terror wasn't particularly polluted or negated by his cooperation with the Americans, any more than the political arm of the Sadrist movement itself, in and out of the US-sponsored government, is considered by Sadrists to have been compromised by that. But for the SIIC eulogists, what is in question isn't specifically the fight against terror, it is rather the fight against the Baathist remnants and those who protect and cooperate with them. In this, the SIIC eulogists seem to be harking back to the original Bush-administration propaganda to the effect there is no genuine domestic resistance to the occupation, only a bunch of dead-enders and a few left-over terrorists. (This is somewhat impressionistic: The Buratha site does take the trouble to note that the opinions expressed there are those of the respective authors only).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you mean "genuine domestic resistance to the occupation" rather than to the opposition?

7:35 PM  
Blogger badger said...

thanks, I corrected that

1:35 AM  
Anonymous Alison said...

These eulogies from the SIIC (formerly SCIRI) and Sadr crowd are not surprising in view of the accusations levelled at Abu Risha by a Sunni tribal leader in June (as reported in Al-Quds). As well as carrying out black ops against Resistance leaders, Abu Risha was said to have "received large sums of money from SIIC leader, Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim, and from Muqtada Al-Sadr…."


7:18 AM  
Anonymous gj said...

Will the "principled Sunni resistance" support ALQI in a program of assassination of the other Awakening shieks? Does it support AlQI's follow up suicide attack on Sunni civilians in Ramadi? Was Abu Risha's murder the result of the recent "peace" between AlQI and the rest of the resistance?

If so, and if ordinary Shiites see the resistence as now acquiescing or collaborating with AQI on attacks on Sunnis(!), as also has apparently happened in Hur Rajab, what conclusions will they draw about the Resistence's real intentions toward them if the US leaves and the Iraqi Army is over-run?

That outpouring of spontaneous grief by ordinary Shiites rather indicates the depth of their desperation for a Sunni leadership unambiguously committed to reconciliation.

5:02 PM  

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