Some mourn, but others celebrate death of 'traitor'

The death of Sheikh Abu Risha, the charismatic, chain smoking young sheik, has had a huge impact in Iraq as well as the wider Arab world.

There was a sense of shock among many, especially the country's Sunni community. Ali Hatem al-Sulaiman, deputy chief of the province's biggest Sunni tribe, said that if "only one small boy remains alive in Anbar, we will not hand the province over to al-Qa'ida.

But messages were being posted on international jihadist websites exulting at the end of "the traitor and apostate". One called him "one of the biggest pigs of the Crusaders".

The killing took place on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, and on the eve of the first anniversary of the founding of the Anbar Salvation Council, a tribal alliance led by the sheikh, which had been battling al-Qa'ida fighters in the western province with some success. Last night Anbar was under a state of emergency with the routes to Jordan and Syria closed down and US reinforcement on standby to be airlifted to the area.

The attack on the sheikh was followed by a car bombing in Baghdad, the first in the Iraqi capital for more than a week, killing four people and injuring 12 others, leading to fears of an escalation of violence during Ramadan, which has become the norm in Iraq.

According to Iraqi sources, Sheikh Abu Risha told associates he would spend Ramadan in Jordan, where the import export business run by his family had offices. This may have given his enemies an opportunity to plan the bombing.

According to the American military, violent incidents in Anbar have fallen in the last month. However Abu Risha and his tribal allies had survived several previous assassinations attempts. In June, a suicide bomber assassinated four Sunni sheikhs who were cooperating with Americans in Anbar, detonating an explosive belt as they gathered inside a large Baghdad hotel.

The following month a suicide truck bombing at Taji, north of Baghdad, again aimed at a meeting of Sunni tribal sheikhs who had agreed to oppose al-Qa'ida, killing five people and wounding 12 others.

One of the sheikh's principal bodyguards, Samir al-Nimrawi, is reported to have received a threat, purportedly from al-Qa'ida, that he would be killed "whatever the Americans try to do to protect him".

Abu Risha's critics accused him of corruption, sectarianism and using government money to run his own private army.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Glou...

Humanities and Economics Teacher - January 2015 - Malaysia

£18000 - £20400 per annum + Accommodation, Flights, Medical Cover: Randstad Ed...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain