A good news story you may not have read, Sheik Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishaw said “I swear to God, if we have good weapons, if we have good vehicles, if we have good support, I can fight Al Qaeda all the way to Afghanistan.” Sheik Abdul Sattar is leader of one of the Sunni Arab tribes who have turned against Al Qaeda to fight on behalf of the Iraqi government and the Americans. The story comes from the New York Times
According to the story, Sheik Abdul Sattar is always surrounded by 'burly Iraqi men' with 'walkie-talkies, Kalashnikov rifles and camouflage vests stuffed with ammunition clips.'
... He is the public face of the Sunni Arab tribes in lawless Anbar Province who have turned against the Sunni jihadists of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, many of whom belong to other, sometimes more militant Iraqi tribes.
Sheik Abdul Sattar, a wiry 35-year-old with a thin goatee who comes from the provincial capital, Ramadi, is the most outspoken Sunni tribal figure in the country who is fighting, at least for now, on the side of the Shiite-led Iraqi government and the American military.
He has met three times with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki since announcing his campaign in September, and there is talk that the sheik has received large amounts of money from the Iraqi government or the Americans. His face has been shown in anti-insurgent commercials on the government-run Iraqiya television network.
But Sheik Abdul Sattar, as he is known to Iraqis and American commanders, complains that he does not get nearly enough financial or military support. “We don’t have enough weapons, cars, uniforms,” he said.
Part of the sheik’s mission is rooted in the tribal law of revenge. His father was killed by Al Qaeda in 2004 for opposing its kind of fundamentalism. Two brothers were abducted and never heard from again, and a third brother was shot dead, he said. He has survived three car bombs outside the home he shares with his wife and five children.
Residents in parts of Anbar say the split in the Sunni insurgency is widening, with moderate tribal leaders and nationalist guerrillas pitted against fundamentalist warriors and rival tribes. That has led to a sharp increase in Sunni-on-Sunni violence across Anbar, especially in the past week, deepening the chaos of Iraq’s civil war.
Al Qaeda remains a major force, and the relentless violence from all sides has turned the province into a failed region, according to a classified Marine intelligence assessment that was leaked to reporters last year.
You should go read the entire article which talks about the United States plan in Iraq, the conflicts between Sunni and Shiite, the distrust of the government blocks, the strength and influence of the 'tribes' and how to use that to ultimately find peace. An excellent article.
The skeptic reading this will say, 'it's all about the money'. Perhaps there are groups who are just demanding money and have no desire to follow through on their promises. However, Sheik Abdul Sattar doesn't sound like one of those. He sounds like a man on a mission.
Some moderate Sunni sheiks in Anbar have said that for purposes of survival, they might be forced to ally themselves with Al Qaeda if the American military and, in particular, the Shiite-led Iraqi government did not provide them with more money and weapons, given the powerful presence of Al Qaeda in the province.
I don't envy the fragile balancing act that America and the Iraqi government are trying to maintain.