Ally pledges to continue sheik’s work
RAMADI, Iraq — Photographs and posters of slain Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Resha were hung in Iraqi police stations and were passed around public meetings in Ramadi this week.
Calls for revenge were frequent after the charismatic Sunni leader and two others were killed in a two-bomb explosion on his family compound last week on the first day of Ramadan and a day before the first anniversary of the Anbar Awakening, which Sattar helped begin.
“Everyone here knew Sheik Sattar — he was close to all of us,” Sheik Khattab Ahmer Ali Sulayman al-Dulaymi said at a District Council meeting Monday in his home. “We want revenge — al-Qaida doesn’t make exceptions, why should we?”
U.S. military leaders maintained a constant presence at the house during the weeklong mourning period, as many worked closely with Sattar during the leaders’ recruitment of Iraqi security forces and the Anbar Awakening, a movement of tribal leaders to help coalition forces root out insurgents in the province.
“It was a severe blow,” Col. John Charlton, commander of U.S. forces in Ramadi, said Thursday. “We’ve been going there every night.” Leaders also have worked with Sheik Ahmed, who has since been named his brother’s successor, Charlton said.
“[Ahmed] is a very intelligent man,” Charlton said.
Charlton this week gave Ahmed a photograph of Charlton between the brothers. They taught Lt. Col. Miciotto Johnson of 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment to look at the world through “Iraqi eyes,” Johnson said Thursday.
“The picture was hard for [Ahmed] to look at,” Johnson said. He characterized Ahmed as “a very well-educated businessman.”
Both Johnson and Charlton expressed hope that the assassination would strengthen local resolve to continue Sattar’s efforts against al-Qaida. Charlton compared the assassination to the fatal 1968 shooting of civil-rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Was the civil-rights movement stronger after Martin Luther King’s death? Or did his death inspire the movement as a tribute to his legacy?” Charlton asked.
“There may have been some friction between the tribes, but I think this has brought everyone together with a greater amount of cohesion.”