Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tribute: Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha and Army Capt. Travis Patriquin

  • Obituary: Abdul Sattar Abu Risha Sept. 13, 2007:
    Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was a key Sunni Arab ally of the US and Iraqi governments in Iraq's western Anbar province.

    The 37-year-old leader of the Al Bu Risha tribe was killed in a bomb attack near his home in the provincial capital, Ramadi, on Thursday.

    He was reportedly a top target for assassination by al-Qaeda in Iraq, whom he is widely credited with having defeated in much of western Iraq.

    Abu Risha, who also ran a construction and import-export business with offices in Jordan and Dubai, was among a group of tribal leaders who met President George W Bush during his visit to Iraq last week.

    Abu Risha was part of a group of young tribal sheikhs whose power grew after more senior leaders fled Anbar or were killed in the insurgency that gripped the province.

    In September 2006, angered by the killings of both his father and two brothers by al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Risha approached the US military about forming an alliance to fight the Sunni extremist group. . . .

  • Sunni Tribal Chiefs vow revenge against al-Qaeda Sept. 15, 2007:
    Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The funeral of Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, leader of an Iraqi Sunni alliance against Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organisation was transformed into an anti al Qaeda protest. The leader had been collaborating with US forces against the terror group, when a car bomb in Ramadi, chief town in Anbar province, killed him. Today in an internet message al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.

    More than 1,500 mourners attended the funeral in Ramadi. Iraq's national security adviser, interior minister and defence minister all attended the funeral under heavy security, along with the second-in-command of US forces in Iraq, Lt-Gen Raymond Odierno. Mourners chanted "We will take our revenge" and "There is no God but Allah and al-Qaeda is the enemy of Allah" as the procession continued to the family cemetery.

    Sheikh Rashid Majid, a leader of the al-Bufahad tribe in Ramadi, said: "The killing will give us more energy... to continue confronting al-Qaeda members and to dispose of them”.

  • With U.S. backing, abu Risha rose from young clan leader to head of Sunni fight against al-Qaida International Herald-Tribune Sept. 13, 2007:
    Smoking profusely, Abu Risha — sporting a pistol at his waist — took endless calls on his cell phone.

    "We fought with our own weapons. I myself fought al-Qaida with my own funds," Abu Risha, who runs a construction and import-export family business with offices in Jordan and Dubai, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying this week.

    He was usually mobbed by crowds and greeted with chants of support every time he shows up on the streets of Ramadi, the war-ravaged provincial capital 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad.

    "We owe Abu Risha and his people for giving us back our lives," said Saad Ibrahim, who runs a falafel eatery in the Malaab district of Ramadi where he says bands of al-Qaida fighters ruled supreme until driven out by fighters of Abu Risha's Anbar Awakening Council.

  • Iraqis name police station for slain soldier, by Brian Gartlan. Daily Southtown Sept. 17, 2007:
    During his time in Ramadi, Army Capt. Travis Patriquin grew close to the Iraqis.

    He spoke their language. He understood their culture.

    Now some there have honored the slain officer by naming their new police station after him.

    Patriquin, 32, formerly of Lockport, was killed by a roadside bomb in December.

    Before he died, Patriquin built a relationship with Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha . . .

    The police station in Tameen, a district in Ramadi, was dedicated in Patriquin's name last month.

    "I consider it an honor," said his father, Gary Patriquin. "(Sattar) thought highly enough of my son to make him a part of his tribe."

  • Captain Travis Patriquin - "An American Martyr" Sept. 6, 2007.