Bush’s new Iraqi friend.

During his “surprise visit” to Iraq earlier this month, President Bush met with Sattar Abu Risha, the head of the Anbar Salvation Council who “has a rather unsavory reputation as one of the shadiest figures in the Sunni community.” Time magazine wrote that “Sheikh Sattar, whose tribe is notorious for highway banditry, is also building a personal militia, loyal not to the Iraqi government but only to him.” Marc Lynch writes, “It’s kind of humiliating to watch an American President get rolled by a two bit, corrupt petty shaykh.” More depressingly:

According to one widely disseminated account of their meeting, Bush acted shocked when Abu Risha complained about Sunnis being killed in Baghdad because of their names, claiming he had never heard of such things. … [I]f true, what an astonishingly depressing admission of ignorance of one of the most important aspects of the Iraqi situation: he has never heard of the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad.