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Not likely. But recently American media sources have begun to notice developments in Anbar. The New York Times:
Sheik Abdul Sattar said his tribe, the Rishawi, which accounts for a tenth of the 400,000 residents of Ramadi, had always tried to make peace with the Americans in Anbar. That was one reason his father was killed while attending a funeral more than two years ago, he said. Al Qaeda had begun killing sheiks and clerics, even selling videos of the crimes.For background on this group, here's our initial report from last fall. Further coverage - drawn largely from Arab media sources and MNF-I releases, can be found below.
“They became people who didn’t distinguish between right and wrong, and that’s when we believed these people were terrorists,” he said.
Recent violence in Anbar has underscored the brutality of the fighting among the Sunnis there.
Two soccer players in Ramadi had been shot dead in front of teammates by masked gunmen who had accused them of having ties to the Anbar Salvation Council. On Thursday, a car bomb in Falluja killed at least seven people in a policeman’s wedding party, while intense fighting broke out in Amariyat, a community to the south where residents say tribes aligned with Al Qaeda have been battling nationalist insurgent groups.
A car bomb next to a Ramadi mosque killed 15 people on Monday, and a truck bomb exploded in Habbaniya on Feb. 24, killing at least 31 people and wounding dozens, outside a Sunni mosque where the imam had been preaching resistance to Al Qaeda.
In their clashes with Al Qaeda, the sheik’s tribal fighters have captured about 80 militants and put them into a “prison” in Ramadi, the sheik said.
Saudis and Syrians were among them, he said. The Saudis, under interrogation, said they had been recruited in their home country by being shown anti-American propaganda, including images of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, the sheik said. Then they were shipped off to Syria to enter Iraq.
The sheik has little love for the Syrian government. One morning as he ate breakfast in his hotel room, a television program about the assassination of the Lebanese cabinet member Pierre Gemayel on Nov. 21 came on. “This is all Syria’s doing,” he said. “Syria is doing bad things.”
Just as nefarious is Iran, with its ties to the Shiite militias, Sheik Abdul Sattar said.
“In my personal opinion, and in the opinion of most of the wise men of Anbar, if the American forces leave right now, there will be civil war and the area will fall into total chaos,” he said. “If we complete the police and the army, if we make them strong enough, it’ll be possible for the American forces to leave and go home, and they’ll be friends of the Iraqis.”
The evening call to prayer echoed through the streets of Baghdad as he ended the talk. Darkness had fallen. The sheik got up to show two foreign visitors from his room, warning them that no one could ensure their safety at that hour.
Four of his men were shot dead while driving through the capital the previous day, he said, and they surely would not be the last.
It's good to see American media taking note of developments in Iraq beyond the death toll. The past months have seen a vast number of compelling stories going untold, while simple body counts, half truths, and political diatribes have been presented as news. Perhaps in America, as in al Anbar, that trend is reversing.
Great post. You're right. For God's sake, it is about time. When I read about Abu Graib (one more freakin' time), my stomach fell (with my heart in it). I hope the press realizes one day how many lives they are directly responsible for killing. Why couldn't they just shut the hell the up? We are at war. Bush should have done something...Posted by Rosemary at March 3, 2007 11:27 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(1) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)