The most prominent figure in a revolt of Sunni sheiks against al-Qaida in Iraq was killed Thursday in an explosion near his home in Anbar province, police said.
Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha was leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, also known as the Anbar Awakening — an alliance of clans backing the Iraqi government and U.S. forces.
Abu Risha and two of his bodyguards were killed by a roadside bomb, said Col. Tareq Youssef, supervisor of Anbar police.
No group claimed responsibility for the assassination but suspicion fell on al-Qaida in Iraq, which U.S. officials say has suffered devastating setbacks in Anbar thanks to Abu Risha and his fellow sheiks. It's unclear how his death would affect U.S. efforts to organize Sunnis against the terrorist network.
Abu Risha was among a group of tribal leaders who met President Bush earlier this month at al-Asad Air Base in Anbar province. Read more...
The Bush Administration has touted al Anbar as the shining beacon of success in Iraq, so it will be interesting to hear how the president spins this in his nationwide address this evening. ThinkProgress points out that just 10 days ago, Bush was touting their cooperation with the US. Remember how just days after McCain touted the safety of the market he visited, market workers were ambushed and killed? Given how the Arab media covered the meeting between Bush and Abu Risha, (they call him a 'traitor') the timing of this seems less than random.