Thursday, 13 September 2007

Bush's support could mean death for Iraqi leaders

Among the reasons people don't want to align themselves with Bush: death

BBC News reports:

A key Sunni ally of the US and Iraqi governments has been killed in a bomb attack in the Iraqi city of Ramadi.
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".

Abu Risha's assassination will be a severe blow to the "Awakening" in Anbar, says the BBC's Hugh Sykes in Baghdad.

This could be a blow to the progress in Anbar, as well as the stability the Bush administration has said the 'surge' has brought to Iraq. Was Abu Risha killed because of his opposition to al-Qaeda in Iraq, or because he carried George Bush's seal of approval? Is the White House's model province about to see more disarray?

By dividing groups by sectarian lines, perhaps the US is partially at fault for provoking more of a nationalist rise. Then again, the killing of leaders who have ties to the United States is not a good thing at all. If the fear the perpetrators of such killings hope to bring works, ties to moderate forces and outside parties will be severed and extremist support will be on the rise.

Let's hope political leaders aren't shaken enough by killings like that of Abu Risha to abandon their causes and the people trying to help, or more imbalance in favor of the extreme will come. Unity and cooperation among forces, not division between sects and isolation from the moderates, need to be stressed for the rebuilding of Iraq. Handshakes shouldn't be a reason for murder.

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