Saturday, September 15, 2007
'Abd al-Sattar Abu Risha, 37, a prominent Sunni Arab tribal leader in al-Anbar Province in western Iraq, was assassinated with his three bodyguards by a powerful roadside bomb placed near his home in the city of Ramadi, the provincial capital. Al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers (Iraq) had sought to kill Abu Risha since the formation of a tribal coalition, the Iraq Council of the Awakening, in al-Anbar which sought to resist attempts by al-Qa'ida to establish bases of control in the province.
Thousands of mourners at Abu Risha's funeral chanted angrily, "Revenge, revenge on al-Qa'ida! There is no deity/god but God and al-Qa'ida is the enemy of God! 'Abd al-Sattar is the pride of Ramadi!"
"We blame Al-Qaeda and we are going to continue our fight and avenge his death," said Shaykh Ahmad Abu Risha, 'Abd al-Sattar's brother and successor.
Abu Risha's father and two of his other brothers were killed by al-Qa'ida in Iraq before the formation of the tribal coalition in September 2006. Abu Risha met with American military commanders and U.S. President George W. Bush seeking to form an operational alliance against al-Qa'ida. The shaykh however defined the tribal coalition's goals as the salvation of Iraq and retaliation for brutal attempts by al-Qa'ida in towns across al-Anbar and not U.S. interests. The al-Anbari tribal militias significantly reduced violence and inflicted severe defeats on al-Qa'ida throughout the province.
"We did not support the US forces or anyone else. We fought on behalf of our people and defeated al-Qa'ida," said Abu Risha. "We came to save Iraq from deaths, terrorism, and ruin. We will continue to defend Iraq and we will continue to raise the flag of Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest), and we will enter Baghdad. We are not interested in the post of minister, prime minister, or president of the republic."
BBC Profile of 'Abd al-Sattar Abu Risha
Al-Jazeera English News Sketch of 'Abd al-Sattar Abu Risha