16 September 2007

Sheikh Abdul Sattar Bezia al-Rishawi

When I heard about Sheikh Sattar's assassination on the way to Newark airport Thursday afternooon I had to fight back tears in the back seat of the taxi. The loss of this courageous man and Iraqi patriot saddened me deeply.

It was the second time that day I teared up.

Earlier, an acquaintance had commented about how "expensive" the war in Iraq was. Perhaps it was prescient, because my in my spontaneous response I talked about the bravery of Iraqis standing up to participate in grassroots activities and how significant that was.

About how when scores of applicants lined up outside ISF recruiting stations get blown up, the next day hundreds more line up to replace them. About how the Iraqis who are paying for their freedom in blood have earned our support.

Have we forgotten our own struggle for liberty?

O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

Thursday, 13 September 2007

For Immediate Release

Joint Statement by Charge d'Affaires Patricia A. Butenis and Lieutenant General Raymond T. Odierno Regarding the Assassination of Sheikh Abdul Sattar Bezia al-Rishawi

It is with outrage that the United States and Multi-National Force Iraq condemn the assassination today of Sheikh Abdul Sattar Bezia al-Rishawi. Sheikh Sattar headed the Abu Risha tribe since the murder of his father by Al-Qaeda in 2004. He founded the Sahawat Al Anbar, or Anbar Awakening Council, an alliance of 42 tribes pledged to fighting Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

We extend our deepest condolences to his family and to the families of the others killed in the attack, and our prayers for those who were wounded, including Sheikh Sattar's nephew.

Sheikh Sattar will be remembered for his commitment to peace and security in Anbar. He had the courage to build unity in the face of ruthless violence. Sheikh Sattar exemplified the strength of the Iraqi people in the face of terrorism. His work will go on, and his legacy will never be forgotten.

We stand in solidarity with all Iraqis in expressing our sorrow at this barbaric and senseless killing. We will continue to work with the leaders and people of Iraq as they strive for peace and stability for their country. Our policy in this regard will not change. The Coalition will work with the Government of Iraq to bring those who perpetrated this heinous act to justice. Further, we will continue to work with the Government of Iraq to honor the work and sacrifice of Sheikh Sattar who was a martyr in the honorable cause of peace in Iraq.

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Update 16 Sept: Matt Sanchez is reporting today that Coalition forces have captured a suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist linked to the assassination of Sheik Sattar.

On 2 Sept, Matt conducted what is apparently the last known interview with Sheikh Sattar. I look forward to the in depth report. Another photo here.

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