The Bush administration and much of the Western media have praised supposed Anbar tribal chief Sheik Abu Risha as the key to Iraq’s reduction in insurgent violence. Abu Risha was recently killed by al-Qaeda. Or, that’s what we’ve been told. What if this whole story is complete fiction, created in the minds of Washington spin-doctors and readily accepted by clueless reporters? Over to you, Greg Palast (one of the finest investigative journalists around):
Did you see George all choked up? In his surreal TV talk on Thursday, he got all emotional over the killing by Al Qaeda of Sheik Abu Risha, the leader of the new Sunni alliance with the US against the insurgents in Anbar Province, Iraq.
Bush shook Abu Risha’s hand two weeks ago for the cameras. Bush can shake his hand again, but not the rest of him: Abu Risha was blown away just hours before Bush was to go on the air to praise his new friend.
Here’s what you need to know that NPR won’t tell you.
1. Sheik Abu Risha wasn’t a sheik.
2. He wasn’t killed by Al Qaeda.
3. The new alliance with former insurgents in Anbar is as fake as the sheik – and a murderous deceit.
How do I know this? You can see the film – of “Sheik” Abu Risha, of the guys who likely whacked him and of their other victims.
Just in case you think I’ve lost my mind and put my butt in insane danger to get this footage, don’t worry. I was safe and dry in Budapest. It was my brilliant new cameraman, Rick Rowley, who went to Iraq to get the story on his own.
Rick’s “the future of TV news,” says BBC. He’s also completely out of control. Despite our pleas, Rick and his partner Dave Enders went to Anbar and filmed where no cameraman had dared tread.
Why was “sheik” Abu Risha so important? As the New York Times put it this morning, “Abu Risha had become a charismatic symbol of the security gains in Sunni areas that have become a cornerstone of American plans to keep large numbers of troops in Iraq though much of next year.”
In other words, Abu Risha was the PR hook used to sell the “success” of the surge.
Al-Jazeera English has now screened the documentary.
Part one is here:
Part two is here: