Friday, October 20, 2006

Anbar Salvation Council versus AlQaeda: Prologue

Thanks to political failure in Baghdad, it appears (Al-Hayat, Friday October 19) Bush is getting ready to negotiate with the Islamic Army of Iraq and other resistance groups, "secretly" in Amman. The likely content of those talks is so far a complete mystery. But closer to home, in Ramadi, the new Iraq is getting ready to witness the first of the new type of armed confrontations, pitting AlQaeda against Sunni Iraqi nationalists, the latter including local tribal groups, existing armed resistance groups, and also Sunni political groups that have now become fed up with the government.

Al-Anbar province extends all the way from the western outskirts of Baghdad to the Syrian border. Ramadi is one of its main cities, close to Baghdad, and it is where AlQaeda held a parade or demonstration on Wednesday to underline startup of the Islamic Emirate which they claim will include all of the Sunni-Arab provinces of Baghdad. Arrayed against AlQaeda and promising to dislodge them from Ramadi is a new organization called the Al-Anbar Salvation Council (pending a better English version of the name), whose exact makeup is still a little unclear, but whose concept is to include all of the Al-Anbar tribes, along with officers in the former (Saddam era) army, and also current personnel in the Iraqi police and army.

Remarks made to Al-Hayat paint a mixed picture of the new Al-Anbar Salvation Front, as it tries to organize to take back Ramadi from AlQaeda. On the one hand, the person described as the leader, one Abu Risha, says the tribal people, former army officers, and others, are all available, and in fact already control the outskirts of Ramadi, but they are waiting for the necessary material and armaments support from the Iraqi government. But others say Abu Risha isn't the man to organize the tribes because too many of the urban leaders object to him. Moreover, some oppose the idea of accepting any support from either the Iraqi government or the US. Finally, relations with the existing armed resistance groups, including Islamic Army of Iraq and others, is completely unclear.

According to remarks to Al-Hayat published in the Saturday October 21 edition, the leader of the Salvation Council, or perhaps better described as the would-be leader, Abdul Satar Abu Risha, said all of the tribes and former army officers and current government police and army personnel are standing by waiting to hear from the office of Prime Minister Maliki the government's final answer to their request for assistance in the form of vehicles and arms. Abu Risha says the group as it now stands lacks the "material military capability" to sustain a military operation on the scale that taking back Ramadi would require. The group controls the area surrounding Ramada and all access points, he said, but lacks the wherewithal to go into the city proper.

As for relations with the existing armed national-resistance groups like Islamic Army of Iraq and the Brigades of the 1920 Revolution, Abu Risha said the tribes traditionally fight on their own, and would not be coordinated with other groups like these, but in the case of the 1920 Revolution Brigades, he said coordination should be possible in the future.

But Abu Risha's viewpoint isn't the only one. This Al-Hayat piece also cites remarks by Khalif Alyan, a leader in the Iraqi Accord Front, which is the biggest of the Sunni coalitions in parliament. Alyan's remarks are particularly interesting as an expression of the new Sunni rejection of the Maliki government. Alyan said the followers of his group would object to joining in the Anbar Salvation Council if any of the tribes were to accept Iraqi government support or US support. And he said he was skeptical of the ability to Abu Risha to actually bring the tribes together in the way that he claims to be able to do. Alyan added that the clan leaders in Ramadi and other cities in Anbar that he has spoken to object to the idea of any group "based on Abu Risha". And to drive the point home, he said if the Salvation Council ends up accepting Iraqi government or US government support, the result will be fitna or all-out civil war in Anbar.

On the question of overall strategy, Alyan said the creation of a balanced security force, and a political process "open to all resistance groups" both require the elimination of AlQaeda from the province, and the reason is that the AlQaeda aim of setting up an Emirate ultimately supports the US aim of breaking up the country. In other words AlQaeda and the US are in some sense partners in the project of breakup, while his group (Iraqi Accord Front as a potential partner or member of the Anbar Salvation Council) is nationalist and anti-breakup.

There are also remarks by Salvation Council member (apparently a tribal person) Hamid al-Hayish, who complained that one of the obstacles to moving on Ramadi right now, is that at least part of the sensitive area is supposed to be in the particular bailiwick of the Mayor of Ramadi, Ma'moun Rashid, and of the Islamic Party. The mayor seems to be a particularly unknown quantity. Abu Risha said the government wants the Salvation Council to coordinate with him, but the AlQaeda parade went right in front of his house, and apparently he isn't that keen on taking them on.

There is no mention in this lengthy piece of the fact that Ramadi is said to be "occupied" by US troops. It does not seem to be a consideration, at least for the people cited here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The US military's progress report on Iraq is in and it's mostly bad news. But there is one unexpected success story: in the heartland of the Sunni Insurgency, a group of tribes has joined with the Americans to fight Al Qaeda. The Americans report that attacks on US forces have dropped dramatically and claim that life is beginning to return to normal. The leader and symbol of this movement that the Americans claim is rapidly securing Anbar province is a sheik named Sattar Abu Risha.

But is Abu Risha all he claims to be?

With the support of the Pulitzer Foundation, Richard Rowley and David Enders set off to find out - and to see who is paying the price.

Part 1:

Part 2:

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Robert "Dick" Fisk: Always Smelly but never so Slick
In his March 15, 2008, opinion "Silenced by the Men in White Socks", Rober Fisk of the Independent proves himself, yet again, to be the true dick that he always was.

First, somehow in his "deep thoughts" about the Middle East, which he has intellectually plundered over the years with the Orientalist inanities of the bored English countryside "gentleman" (bad teeth, stinking bad breath, and all) that he is, he has noticed that "all the men of the Arab Mukhabaraat - Intelligence - Services wear white socks". What relevance does this have to do with human rights in Syria is beyond comprehension, unless perhaps Dick Fisk wishes to add a smudge of nostalgic Orientalist poetry to his perpetually boring blatherings about the Middle East, which, after decades of his own intellectual Onanist machinations, have yet to climax into anything worth remembering him for.

Second, this English dick of a British journalist has spent a lifetime shoving his nose into other peoples' asses that he can no longer smell his own filth. In a not so subtle attack on France's legacy in the Lebanon-Syria area - still to drill the standard canard about how artificial Lebanon is as a country and how much victimized was "Syria" by the French- this English dick states that:

"First came the one-armed General Henri Gouraud, who tore Lebanon off from Syria in 1920 and gave it to the pro-French Christians. Then Paris handed the Syrian coastal city of Alexandretta to the Turks in 1939 – sending survivors of the 1915 Armenian genocide into exile for a second time – in the hope that Turkey would join the Allies against Hitler. (The Turks obliged – in 1945!) Then in the Six Day War, Syria lost the Golan Heights – subsequently annexed by Israel. Far from being expansionist, Syria seems to get robbed of land every two decades."

Why, I ask, is Dick Fisk avoiding the stench coming from south of the Lebanese border? Perhaps out of shame for the atrocious and utterly hypocritical role played by his beloved Albion in the creation of the State of Israel, the partition of Palestine, the displacement of the Palestinian people, the dismantling of historic Palestine by the the British Mandate, the creation of the equally artificial Jordan, Israel and Iraq, the deprivation by the British Empire of the Kurdish people of a righteous place among the nations, in the hope of stuffing the British treasury with European Jewish funds, and building railroads through Turkey to the oil fields in the Gulf, maintaining British control over these oil fields and the route to India (not to mention the partition of India and the creation of the failure called Pakistan today), etc. All of this, in fact, much more recently than France's withdrawal from the region, since Kuwait and a bunch of the decadent and equally smelly pro-English Sunni Arab emirates south of the Peninsula were still British Protectorates well into the 1960s.

Third, you can hear Dick Fisk's own yelps as he pleads with his Syrian victims of French colonialism to stop abusing and arresting human rights activists - "Why – oh why – must this be so? Why did the Syrian secret police have to arrest....", as if these arrests were merely superfluous mistakes over an otherwise clean record, But Dick Fisk's yelps reveal that by doing so the Syrians have shattered all the lies on which Dick Fisk has rested his entire career. These arrests, it seems, inflict greater harm on Dick Fisk himself, in a psychotic version of the Stockholm Syndrome of which he suffers, than they cause their real victims, because they shatter the "nice" image of the Syrian regime which he spent his life painting, while bashing the many many victims of that regime. Listen to his yelps addressed to the Syrian regime:
"Instead, we've gone back to the midnight knock and the clanging of the cell door. Why – oh why – must this be so? Why did the Syrian secret police have to arrest Dr Ahmed Thoma, Dr Yasser el-Aiti, Jabr al-Shufi, Fayez Sara, Ali al-Abdulla and Rashed Sattouf in December, only days after they – along with 163 other brave Syrians – had attended a meeting of the Damascus Declaration for Democratic Change? The delegates had elected Dr Fida al-Hurani head of their organisation. She, too, was arrested, and her husband, Dr Gazi Alayan, a Palestinian who had lived in Syria for 18 years, deported to Jordan."
Yalla, we say in Lebanese, what's another British or English dick going to do more than his own "empire" did for centuries? They'll always come and go, though never as persistently as this genuinely phallic dick called Rober Fisk, and yet he, unlike all of them, has yet to "finish" and go home.

8:39 AM  
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7:43 PM  

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