The most significant local ally of Coalition and Iraqi government in Anbar province -- and surely in all of Iraq -- is Sheikh Abdul Sattar al-Rishawi.
He is a powerful Sunni from Anbar province, and, on Iraqi national television, he pledged his allegiance to Prime Minister al-Maliki and to the democratically elected Iraqi government.
In an overt and televised gesture of his determination and solidarity with the Iraqi government, Sheikh Abdul Sattar sliced the palm of his hand with a knife and proceeded to pound the blade into the table before him.
"Sattar said, "The time for dictatorship is gone, and we are welcoming the new dawn of democracy and freedom here."
(Some interesting quotes about Shiek Sattar)
Now, "If you talk to these sheiks, they'll tell you that they're in no hurry to see the Americans leave al-Anbar," "One thing Sheikh Sattar keeps saying is he wants al-Anbar to be like Germany and Japan and South Korea were after their respective wars, with a long-term American presence helping ... put them back together," MacFarland said.
"The negative example he cites is Vietnam. He says, yeah, so, Vietnam beat the Americans, and what did it get them? You know, 30 years later, they’re still living in poverty."
"Sheikh Sattar is authentic to his culture, supports the tribal system in the confines of democracy, and despises al Qaeda in Iraq," said Colonel John A. Koenig (USMC), the head of the II Marine Expeditionary Force G-5 (Governance and Economics), in a recent interview. Sheikh Sattar is also described as both a nationalist and a friend of America. "In Sattar's office, there are two flags - one is Iraqi, the other American." Sattar, according to Col Koenig and other sources in the military and intelligence establishment, wants to build a nationalist, non secular party.
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