It looks like this staged photo op of Bush shaking hands with Sheik Sattar Abu Risha in Iraq has backfired ingloriously in his face:
Reported by BBC:
A key Sunni ally of the US and Iraqi governments has been killed in a bomb attack in the city of Ramadi, Iraqi police and media say.
Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was the leader of an alliance of Sunni Arab tribes that rejected al-Qaeda because of its methods and worked with the US.
He was killed in a bomb attack near his home in Iraq's western Anbar province.
Abu Risha was among a group of tribal leaders who met President George W Bush during his visit to Iraq last week.
"The sheikh's car was totally destroyed by the explosion. Abu Risha was killed and two of his bodyguards were seriously wounded," Ramadi police officer Ahmed Mahmoud al-Alwani told Reuters.
Abu Risha was the leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, also known as the Anbar Awakening, an alliance of clans which sided with US forces and the Iraqi government in order to try to reclaim Anbar province from al-Qaeda.
Of course, Abu Risha was really nothing more than a bandit as reported by Time:
Sheikh Sattar [Abu Risha], whose tribe is notorious for highway banditry, is also building a personal militia, loyal not to the Iraqi government but only to him. Other tribes -- even those who want no truck with terrorists -- complain they are being forced to kowtow to him. Those who refuse risk being branded as friends of al-Qaeda and tossed in jail, or worse. In Baghdad, government delight at the Anbar Front's impact on al-Qaeda is tempered by concern that the Marines have unwittingly turned Sheikh Sattar into a warlord who will turn the province into his personal fiefdom.
This entire episode illustrates the utter futility of our nationbuilding effort in Iraq. The country is bedeviled by corrupt sheiks, warlords, militia leaders, clan leaders, religious figures, politicians and criminals who are all pursuing their own interests and have zero loyalty to the figurehead government that we have installed there. The ones who are cooperating with us now were planting roadside bombs to kill our troops yesterday and they will be again tomorrow.
It's utterly humiliating for America to see our president shaking hands with a scurrilous bandit and scumbag like Abu Risha. The mission in Iraq must be going much more badly than they tell us if they are desperate to stage photo opportunities with criminals in order to portray the Illusion of success.
We need to put an end to the ridiculous farce now. Putting lipstick on a pig like Risha shouldn't fool anyone into believing that there are leaders in Iraq who believe in human rights and democracy. They are all out to line their own pockets with gold, seize the wealth of the country from its people, build their personal militias, and kill anyone who gets in their way. Iraq is like Mogadishu but on a national scale and there's not a darn thing our troops can do to fix it. The idea of a "revival" in Anbar is nothing more than a hollow invention of Bush's war marketing machine that is built on bribes paid to criminals who are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of our heroes in Iraq.
BRING THEM HOME NOW!
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!