American military commanders in full dress uniforms standing alongside Sunni Arab tribal leaders at the funeral of Sheik Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, also known as Abu Risha, demonstrates the growing bond between American forces and the Sunnis. Not surprising since the historical conflicts pitting Sunni against Shiite fueled the Iraq and Iranian war. It should be of no surprise that much of the foreign insurgency has been coming from Iran who sees a clear opportunity to annex southern Iraq just as soon as the Americans leave. It may be impossible for the U.S. to do anything but to throw more support behind the Sunnis in the coming months while fostering a 2nd leadership change in Baghdad.

In an event saturated with tribal traditions, the mourners eulogized their lost leader, Sheik Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, also known as Abu Risha, who had gathered the Anbar tribes and worked with the Americans to fight jihadist militants in the province. And they sent a stark message to his killers: the men of Anbar will hunt them down.

“Revenge, revenge, Anbar people,” came the chants from Sheik Sattar’s guest house. “Where can he hide or run away, he who is wanted by us.”

“All of Anbar is Abu Risha, so Abu Risha has not been killed,” said his brother, Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha. “I pledge to you, my brothers and my cousins, that I will follow the road that was taken by Sheik Abu Risha. We will follow it until we kill the last terrorist in Iraq.”

The Interior Minister said he would form a police brigade named after Sheik Sattar and give it the mission of hunting down his killers. Iraq’s national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, who attended the funeral, said the government would support the Anbaris’ fight against extremists and give the province money for economic development. More…