Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Of Tribes and Men

UPDATE (September 24, 2007): Here's a link to the column that I'm refering to below; it ran today.

Note: I had sent in a column on this topic to the New York Sun, but they keep bumping me off the page, so I’ll summarize the points of the column and add all the stuff that hadn’t fit into my space allocation.

Main point: tribes don’t matter all that much. Generals and experts like to be praised.

Here’s how I started my column:

Last week’s murder of Sheikh Sattar Abu Risha was tragic, but not catastrophic. His death does not change the vastly improved situation in Anbar Province, since his role in its pacification was exaggerated from the beginning. Anbar stabilized for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with Abu Risha or America’s counterinsurgency efforts there—something that the U.S. military command has yet to figure out. Abu Risha found himself in the limelight at the right time and place, and the Americans fighting the terrorists in Anbar seized upon him as the poster-boy of a new strategy—empowering Iraq’s defunct tribal structure—that they had hoped would make belated sense of the positive transition and would allow them to claim credit, and medals, for it.

But why begrudge General David Petraeus and his counterinsurgency advisers the accolades for this turnaround at this time? Does it really matter, whether tribes were the primary factor in defeating Al-Qaeda or not, given that the story coming out of Iraq is more and more hopeful? Yes it does: the implication is that if you don’t know why and how you’ve won, then you won’t be able to replicate victory. The tribes, like the U.S. troop surge, were catalysts that speeded up the demise of the insurgency, but they did not trigger the process; the insurgency’s failure predated the surge and any tribal strategies.

I believe the insurgency failed because it had bad ideas and unrealistic expectations. When the price paid by the local population for these ideas and expectations—fighting the Shiites and re-establishing Sunni hegemony—became too steep, Sunnis turned against the insurgents and tried to find shelter, yet again, under the central government. This latter trend is the one that should be reinforced: Sunnis should be encouraged to throw in their lot with the New Iraq, rather than falling back into the tribal identities of Iraq’s past.

“Tribes are now part of Iraqi folklore; they don’t matter anymore. We found out the hard way,” said Abu Seif, a man who once sold me on his own importance as a tribal leader from Anbar. This was said to me recently at an office in Amman, where Abu Seif now manages his business affairs.

A long time ago and in a career far, far away, I had turned myself into a tribal expert, focusing specifically on the tribes of Anbar, and the ones that surround Baghdad. Consequently, I had to often deal with tribal leaders, or sheikhs.

The Dulaim Camel Corps

Over four years ago, my first day in liberated Iraq was spent in the countryside of Ramadi, Anbar’s capital city, which had just fallen under American control a little less than 24 hours earlier. Abu Seif and his brothers and cousins waited for me on the main desert highway, and my traveling companions and I followed them over dirt tracks somewhere east of Ramadi to where their tribal diwaniyyah, or hall, was located.

Abu Seif was preparing for a role in politics since he was one of the few significant tribal leaders inside Iraq who had been in contact with anti-Saddam forces. Later that day, Abu Seif escorted me into Baghdad in his fancy Mercedes, but en route we witnessed a spectacle of mass yet systematic looting of the state-owned warehouse at Abu Ghraib. People were piling up anything from steel frames to porcelain toilets onto their cars and trucks, and many of them were from Anbar. “Why don’t you stop them?” I asked. “They won’t listen to us,” Abu Seif answered, thus giving me my first hint at how far a tribal leader’s writ really extends.

David Ignatius made a good point about tribes in his column yesterday (Washington Post, ‘Shaky Allies in Anbar,’ September 20, 2007): the U.S. should work with tribal leaders but shouldn’t exaggerate their importance. However, I think that he left out some large chunks of the narrative of how the Americans had dealt with tribes:

Like other journalists who follow Iraq, I began talking with Sunni tribal leaders in 2003. Most of the meetings were in Amman, Jordan, arranged with help from former Jordanian government officials who had perfected the art of paying the sheiks. One contact was a member of the Kharbit clan, which had long maintained friendly (albeit secret) relations with the Jordanians and the Americans. The Kharbits were eager for an alliance, even after a U.S. bombing raid killed one of their leaders, Malik Kharbit, in April 2003. But U.S. officials were disdainful.
But while U.S. officials were disdainful of some sheikhs (the ones Ignatius was talking to), they were actively counting on others: Ignatius should remember that America’s first approach to handling Anbar was through working with the tribes, and the key characters in that effort were the CIA, Ayad Allawi, and Sheikh Majid al-Abdel-Razzak al-Ali al-Suleiman, who’s sister was married to Malik al-Kharbit, the sheikh Ignatius mentioned—she was also killed in that raid. I remember going over to Sheikh Majid’s apartment in Amman to give my condolences, and thinking, “The CIA and Allawi have got to be kidding…” after I got my first look at him.

On paper, Sheikh Majid was the paramount chief of the Dulaim Confederacy. The Dulaim are the principal tribal group of Anbar Province, so much so that it used to be called the Dulaim Canton when Iraq was first created. Theoretically, the Dulaim can all trace their roots to three ancestors: Khamis, Juma’a and Sebit (…literally, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). When one judges genealogical tables against population numbers, this claim of ancestry is shown to be patently bogus: these three ancestors could not have produced today’s +1.5 million Dulaimis in so few generations. What probably happened is a situation common to the rest of Iraq and much of the Middle East: smaller tribes got gobbled up by larger tribes, while sedentary peasants and town folk were absorbed by dominant tribal powers during times of insecurity. Consequently, genealogists would dispute Sheikh Majid’s Dulaimi descent, and would peg him a scion of the Abu Risha princely family of the Tayy tribe—just like Sheikh Sattar Abu Risha.

Why does all this detail matter? Because Sheikh Majid derives his stature from his grandfather, Sheikh Ali al-Suleiman. But there’s a catch there: Sheikh Ali was always challenged by other branches of the Dulaim who denounced him as a non-Dulaimi, but he only secured his position with British gold and guns. Sheikh Ali was established as the paramount chief of the Dulaim by Iraq’s British occupiers after World War One.

So even 80 years ago or so, when tribes mattered much more since there was no central state or authority, the system had been corrupted and restructured by foreign meddling and money.

CIA analysts cannot be faulted for taking Sheikh Majid seriously for he is what he claims to be: the grandson of the paramount sheikh of the Dulaim. But anyone meeting him in person should have done a double take: this guy is a clown.

Well anyway, the CIA’s stabilization efforts in Anbar failed very quickly, and Anbar witnessed the birth of the insurgency.

Now onto Dave Kilcullen's piece, Anatomy of a Tribal Revolt, in the Small Wars Journal published last August. Kilcullen who until recently served as General David Petraeus’ senior counterinsurgency adviser says:

Iraqi tribes are not somehow separate, out in the desert, or remote: rather, they are powerful interest groups that permeate Iraqi society. More than 85% of Iraqis claim some form of tribal affiliation; tribal identity is a parallel, informal but powerful sphere of influence in the community. Iraqi tribal leaders represent a competing power center, and the tribes themselves are a parallel hierarchy that overlaps with formal government structures and political allegiances.
I disagree. Although Kilcullen tempers his argument with many considered nuances and caveats, he gives tribes too much authority over the individual, and apparently uses outlandish claims from tribal leaders themselves keen on promoting their own importance. It is one thing to be proud of one’s tribe—I take pride in being a Nakha’i—but it’s a whole different matter to take orders from one’s nominal tribal sheikh. These social structures have been fraying under the myriad forces of sedentarization, urbanization, nation states, sectarianism, land reform and dictatorship to the point where tribal sheikhs are now rendered a quaint, “savage” aristocracy that the men in power—now wearing Western suits—would tolerate and do small favors for.

Tribal leaders held on to some lingering prestige accorded to them by their ancestry; their dress and mannerism harked back to romanticized notions of Arabian chivalry. The tribes turned into job placement agencies; the sheikhs would petition the powerful over low-grade government jobs for the desperate young men who still came to them for help.

That’s how the sheikhs held on to their social relevance, by becoming a 'civil society' lever between a small segment of the population and the all powerful, all benevolent welfare state, much like the neighborhood mukhtar does. They are useless for mass mobilization, and could never rival a civil society institution such as the religious hawza in Najaf; something that was clarified by the failure of tribal chiefs, and the politicians who relied on them, at the polls.

Only two tribes in Iraq can be considered “freshly” Bedouin and hence can claim more tribal cohesion among its members and its sheikhs: the ‘Anazah and the Shammar Jarba. They are the last to migrate to Iraq in large numbers and the last to settle down. The latter tribe could boast that one of their own, the urbane Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawer, was selected as Iraq’s first post-Saddam president. But I’d reckon than most Shammaris in Nineveh Province voted for lists other than that which al-Yawer was running on.

I say a lot more about this stuff in my column, so I’ll leave the rest until it gets published, but I want to make some points about Sheikh Sattar Abu Risha. I write:
Abu Risha’s story was the stuff of powerful narrative: a pro-American tribal sheikh who had courageously confronted Al-Qaeda’s menace and eventually evicted them from his province, but was then killed by a treacherous bomb planted by the terrorists—Al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq took credit for it. In war, icons are invented and Abu Risha was such an icon: he looked ‘authentic’ and trim in his flowing Arabian robes, said the right things, and was always available for media comment. But he was creature for an American audience rather than an Iraqi one, and his American minders fell into the trap of believing their own propaganda.

Interestingly, Abu Risha’s tribe is numerically insignificant by Dulaim standards, and only number in the hundreds. Their claim to fame was a descent from an ancestor who once ruled the deserts between Iraq and Syria. When one of their own, Saadoun Dulaimi, became Iraq’s minister of defense during the Ja’afari cabinet, they were little swayed to throw in their lot with the Iraqi state against Al-Qaeda because the latter seemed to be winning; in fact, some Rishawis volunteered for suicide missions in neighboring Jordan.
Sheikh Sattar fit the Western image of the valiant Bedouin scoundrel as depicted by Antony Quinn, who played Sheikh Odeh Abu Tayeh of the Huwaitat tribe in the movie Lawrence of Arabia.

Here’s some detail that confuses the narrative: Sheikh Sattar began his confrontation with Al-Qaeda by recruiting Shiites; many of his earlier crew and his current bodyguard detail are Abu Risha clansmen from the southern province of Samawa who had separated from the Anbar branch of the tribe over a century ago and turned Shiite. According to one source, Sattar’s second wife is from these Shiite Rishawis of Samawa. [His first wife is his cousin, daughter of Sheikh Muhammad al-‘Ifteikhan; and contrary to what’s been reported by the Associated Press, his eldest son is not called “Saddam” but rather the accurate pronunciation is “Sattam”—a tribal name. Sattar was at least 41 when he died.]

There had been many sheikhs in Anbar who wanted to be part of the new Iraq from the very beginning, men like Abu Seif or the CIA’s guy, Sheikh Majid. Later, others confronted Al-Qaeda head-on: credible leaders like Sheikh Nasr Abdel-Karim al-Mikhlif (of the Albu-Fahed tribe in Anbar, held a PhD in Agriculture, one of the few tribal sheikhs in Iraq who could claim a level of authority over his tribe) and opportunists such as Sheikh Usama al-Jeryan (of the Karabilah tribe in Qaim), only to be killed off by Al-Qaeda. Ignatius sings the praises of Talal al-Gaoud, a polished and gentlemanly businessman and fluent English speaker who made much of his money with Qusay, Saddam’s second son, but Ignatius doesn’t mention another Gaoud, Sheikh Fassal, who was more senior than Talal in the Albu-Nimr tribal hierarchy and who was appointed Governor of Anbar (Sheikh Fassal was killed by an Al-Qaeda bomb last June). None of these men achieved Abu Risha’s fame, simply for the fact that he had better timing, and an American audience willing to be charmed.

Here’s something to ponder: Almost all of the tribal leadership of Anbar, and of several other predominately Sunni provinces, showed up to the 3-day wake held in honor of Sheikh Fassal in Amman, Jordan, where most of these tribal leaders now live. As Ignatius pointed out, the Jordanians are especially friendly to the sheikhs, who they hope would give them an “in” into Iraqi politics—I know from my Jordanian sources that they’ve been thoroughly disappointed in this regard. [Tribes are also far more important in the Jordanian political context than in Iraq]. But something happened at the wake that was quite spectacular: Iraq’s Kurdish Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, arrived to give his condolences, and was given the seat of honor, and all were enthralled by his presence. How much had the situation changed: just five years ago Zebari, as an adversary of Saddam’s, would have been shunned, and probably insulted in such a setting. But now, he represents authority, and the tribes want a little of his attention and benevolence.

As one Iraq observer put it to me, “tribes are a barometer of power; they swarm around whoever has the upper hand.” The danger now is that the Americans are trying to resuscitate a clannish social system that had withered away in Iraq, and turning it into a power in of itself.

Going back to Kilcullen’s paper: Maybe what’s important here are tribal tactics in warfare, rather than the institution of a the tribe itself: the insurgency had imposed its terror (and control) on Iraqi society by being very up-close and personal: they knew the name, address and genealogies of those who stood against them among their own kind, and would strike out at them from the shadows, in a way similar to how Saddam's totalitarian regime worked, which isn't surprising since many insurgents worked in Saddam's security organs. The U.S. military had been trained to target regimental colors rather than individuals—it’s a depersonalized method of war, seemingly in place to make the act of murder more palatable to Western sensibilities. But an insurgent’s willingness to kill was made easier by knowing who he was going to kill; punishing the alleged individual “guilt” of the victim. What succeeded against Al-Qaeda’s methods was the tactic of turning cousins on cousins: all of a sudden America had allies on the ground who fought in the same way Al-Qaeda was fighting—they made it personal.

Something to ponder.

There’s a lot more to say about tribes, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Updated correction: my mistake, I meant Sheikh Majid, not his brother Sheikh Hatem! Changes have been made throughout the text. Sheikh Hatem has been dead for a while.


Blogger bg said...


ponder this.. albeit he suffered the loss of several family members, as well as dealing with several attempts on his life.. Sheikh Sattar (may he & all those who fell before him rest in peace) remained in Iraq & fought for all Iraqis.. i cannot honestly say the same for any politically higher ranking Sheikhs (tribal leaders), who live in comparative safety & comfort within Amman, Jordan..

my aplogies if i got that wrong, however..

you go on about affording too much credit to tribal structure by America.. via discrediting it via affording tribal structure credibility.. very confusing..

okay, whether i have all, part, or none of it wrong, i best read it over & over again.. hopefully untwisting the pretzel.. :D

btw: America is very aware of the fact that any of the tribes (for whatever reasons by whatever means) could easliy turn on them.. for all our sakes, lets just hope & pray things keep going in a positive way..

thanks TG.. :)


1:20 PM, September 21, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

bg...you are just a bush cheerleader so any analysis will be way over your head. all you wanna hear is bush, bush, bush.

1:35 PM, September 21, 2007

Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

"The tribes turned into job placement agencies; the sheikhs would petition the powerful over low-grade government jobs for the desperate young men who still came to them for help."

Concur...and thru the Sheiks the US Army found a way to employ young men for the good...

"Sheikh Sattar fit the Western image of the valiant Bedouin scoundrel as depicted by Antony Quinn, who played Sheikh Odeh Abu Tayeh of the Huwaitat tribe in the movie Lawrence of Arabia."

Every nation needs heroes....go to any ghetto in the US and the hero is the corner drug dealer...not a very good boding for the future of the Ghetto.

In the absense of positive heroes...the negative heroes will do for the common man. See Hezbollah, Hamas, AlQueda and the corner crack dealer for confirmation of this theory.

6:10 PM, September 21, 2007

Anonymous CK MacLeod said...

I'd be interesting in Kilcullen's response to this line of argument, since I'm not entirely sure that his thesis depends on envisioning the tribes either as a progressive institution or as true competition for a strong(er) state, even in the areas of the country where they are most influential. I also wonder if it's sensible to minimize the roles of the armed forces and the tribes in routing Al Qaeda in Anbar from their strongholds. Even if speeding up the removal of AQI from urban strongholds is all that the Marines, tribes, and former insurgents achieved together, it turned out to be rather critical for preserving political support for the overall mission - no small thing unless you believe that the US really should withdraw on an expedited basis, and that the Iraqis are already in a position to "handle" the aftermath.

Still, it's all a very interesting insight.

8:04 PM, September 21, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a very fun and stimulating read. Thanx!

8:43 PM, September 21, 2007

Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Hi BG,

Abu Risha was not the only one to suffer; Abu Seif's eldest, his pride and joy who was in his last year of med school, was also abducted and killed. One can't judge how valid someone else's opinion is based on speculation over how much he or she has "suffered".

Then you say: "you go on about affording too much credit to tribal structure by America.. via discrediting it via affording tribal structure credibility.. very confusing.."

I honestly don't know what you mean.

Let's lighten the mood a bit: every region of Iraq has a stereotype about its people, and the Dulaimis feature in Iraqi jokes as a boisterous folk who are not that smart.

So they asked a Dulaimi man, "What do you hate?"

And he responded: "I hate sectarianism, and I hate the Shiites."

They asked the same Dulaimi man, "What's the most difficult situation you've ever faced?"

He thought for a moment, and then said: "When I shave while chewing bubble gum."

The first joke is very telling: many Iraqis would go on and on about how "Sunnis vs. Shiites" was never an issue in the past; well of course, because the Sunnis had the upper hand and the Shiites didn't dare speak up. For all the social bonds that have formed over the centuries between the two sects, Sunni-Shiite political and economic tensions have been there from the very beginning of the creation of the Iraqi state. Hence, sectarianism is abhorred, but that doesn't conflict with Sunnis hating Shiites, or Shiites hating Sunnis.

All the best,


9:06 AM, September 22, 2007

Blogger bg said...


Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Hi BG,

Abu Risha was not the only one to suffer; Abu Seif's eldest, his pride and joy who was in his last year of med school, was also abducted and killed. One can't judge how valid someone else's opinion is based on speculation over how much he or she has "suffered".

hello Nibras..

oh, i understand that there was much loss by many before Sheikh Sattar.. what i obviously failed to get across is "talk is cheap", especially when it's coming from outside the wire (someone not literally involved in the situation on the ground) ie: the Dems telling the IG what to do when..

will hopefully post more later..

thanks again TG..:)


9:26 AM, September 22, 2007

Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...


You've become very cryptic...Who's talk is cheap?

Has Abu Risha become a holy relic not to be criticised?


9:56 AM, September 22, 2007

Blogger bg said...


TG = Talisman Gate, sorry for the confusion.. ;)

cryptic?? perhaps, Iraq does need Hero's.. but all i'm trying to say is.. albeit the US may have played up Sheikh Sattars role.. the good intent is/was meant just as much for the world view as it was for the Iraqis, if not moreso for the Iraqi people's momentum in unifying against AQ et al.. which is & has been happening.. as both Sunni & Shia Tribes are not only uniting with the coalition & Iraqi Government, but with each other.. hence, i'd say Sheikh Sattar played a huge role regardless of tribal contruct..

imho, you are downgrading the role Sheikh Sattar played in advancing the Awakening via explaining that we do not understand tribal construct, that too is quite probable.. however, in you're argument as to the importance, or lack thereof, in regards to understanding the tribal contruct.. it seems to me that you are praising the system on the one hand, while condemning it with the other.. like i said, it's very confusing.. but either way, i can't figure out which part of you're argument is applicable to the aforementioned reality..

if you feel Sheikh Sattar needs to be critisized via tribal construct, wrong-doings, or whatever.. that's fine by me, as i'm sure he's done plenty that he deserves to be criticized for.. but as far as what he's accomplished for Iraq on the whole, in all honesty, i believe he deserves praise.. and evidentally i am not alone..

Iraqis vow to avenge America's murdered ally


["We blame al-Qaeda and we are going to continue our fight and avenge his death," said Sheikh Ahmed al-Rishawi, another of the sheikh's brothers who was elected to lead the tribal coalition.

Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, was represented at the funeral by his national security adviser, Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, who condemned the assassination. "It is a national Iraqi disaster. What Ab Risha did for Iraq, no single man has done in the country's history," Mr Rubaie told the mourners gathered at the sheikh's house. "We will support Anbar much more than before. Abu Risha is a national hero."]

["Abu Risha was a man who proved that terrorism can be fought and security can be restored even in the most volatile area in Iraq," said Sheikh Saleh al-Obeidi, al-Sadr's spokesman in the holy city of Najaf.]

there's more, back later..


1:30 PM, September 22, 2007

Blogger bg said...


Iraqi Sunni and Shia Surge Against Al Qaeda

New York Sun excerpt:

[That is the kind of terror he was facing. His actions taught Al Qaeda that its barbarity would only earn greater enmity from their new Sunni foes. With his newly found popularity, Sheikh Rishawi did not make the mistake of so many other Iraqi leaders who placed the interest of their sects over the good of the nation. He took steps in March to integrate his militia into the Shi'ia dominated government. On the day of his murder it was the Shi'ia led Interior Ministry that announced the Iraqi government would build a shrine to Sheikh Abu Risha on the road that leads to the Anbar Province.

The sheikh also made an impression on General Petraeus, who presented him with an Arabic version of Machiavelli's "The Prince" and yesterday called his murder a "terrible loss for Anbar and all of Iraq." We hear that Abu Risha privately told General Petraeus of his dream to lead an Arab army to the caves of Pakistan and the Mosques of Saudi Arabia to chase the enemy that Americans and so many Iraqis now share. That promise is the kind of thing that draws the laughter of the Democrats, but not of those who take this war seriously.

The sheikh from Anbar had his detractors. Sunni leaders who tolerated Al Qaeda and were once courted by the Central Intelligence Agency, such as Harith al Dhari, who called the sheikh a fraud. Among the sheikhs in Anbar he had his rivals, some of whom spread rumors about him to the foreign press. Abu Risha certainly meted out his own rough justice to terrorists who had enslaved so many Anbaris before the revolt. But the scenes of purple fingers and dancing voters will be but a memory if others do not continue the prince of Anbar's struggle for democratic polity.

There are, even in this tragedy, grounds for hope. Part of Abu Risha's genius was that he built an organization. Already the sheikh's advisers are planning to finish the work of fighting the death cults — both Sunni and increasingly Shi'ia — that seek to enslave Iraq. The legacy of these cults are hamlets and provinces where smokers get their fingers cut off, wives are forced to become comfort girls, and children are murdered in front of their parents. Abu Risha's rebellion was evidence that it is possible for the human spirit to triumph over evil. May his martyrdom strengthen our will here and in Iraq never to relent until our enemy is vanquished and liberty secured.]

Shia sheiks seek to expand Anbar model to southern Iraq

[Shia sheiks in southern Iraq on Saturday discussed creating a brigade of young men trained by the Americans to bolster local security as well as help patrol the border with Iran. The brigades would mirror the very successful al-Anbar model.

On Sunday, Shiite villagers in Jichan and Ghislayat fought back against the Al Qaeda killers until Iraqi security forces arrived on the scene to help them.]


7:34 PM, September 22, 2007

Anonymous gj said...

Dear Nibras Kazimi

Goodness you seem to have the same intimate knowledge of the tribes of Anbar as you do of the castles and shrines of Syria. Whatever next?

11:18 AM, September 23, 2007

Blogger BrianFH said...

Long ago but not far away, Zeyad on HealingIraq once said that there is a powerful rural-urban distinction in how the tribes in Iraq are regarded and function. The cities operate as melting pots, and human horniness has guaranteed extensive cross-sect marriage, etc. And by now many in the cities, Baghdad in particular, barely know the name of their nominal sheikhs. The family/clan linkages have some sentimental and commercial value, but are secondary to far more modern and relevant associations.

Further, the value systems the tribes bring with them are the desert Bedou ones, and they are simply non-functional in urban environments, often to the point of being disfunctional and offensive.

The upshot is that tribal connections and influence are a) useful in the countryside; b) handy for organizing consensus that has been developing for good, practical, wider reasons; c) handy "filters" for excluding external agitators and disrupters; but also d) limited and inflexible in their applicability to growth of the Iraqi body politic and economy -- notwithstanding the sheiks who live off of local monopolies on construction companies, etc.

4:15 PM, September 23, 2007

Blogger bg said...


HT : The Mudville Gazette

The Anatomy of a Betrayal


[Lt. Col. Jubeir Rashid said Friday that Abu Risha's security chief, Capt. Karim al-Barghothi, confessed al-Qaida in Iraq had offered him $1.5 million for the slaying but that he was arrested before he could collect the money. Two other bodyguards as well as some of Abu Risha's neighbors were also detained, Iraqi police said. The arrests took place two days after the bombing. Al-Qaida front group the Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility for the assassination. Abu Risha, who organized 25 Sunni Arab clans into an alliance against al-Qaida, died along with two bodyguards and a driver when a bomb exploded near his walled compound just west of Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad.]



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