Iraqi tribesmen vow to confront ISIS militants in Anbar Province

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By Mohammed al-Salehi

Azzaman, May 3, 2014

Iraqi Sunni tribes say they are prepared to dislodge Jihadist from the restive Province of Anbar but have their own conditions, according the head of Anbar’s Provincial Council Sabah Karkhout.

Karkhout said Iraqi tribes had formed their own military council and were prepared for a fallout attack against ISIS Jihadists who are currently in control of the strategic town of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, the provincial capital.

But Karkhout said the tribes first wanted the government to drop charges against certain tribal chieftains, compensate for damage and casualties in the province and put an end military operations.

“There is an agreement between the military command of the tribal council and the authorities,” he announced.

It is not clear whether the government, which has deployed massive force against ISIS in the province, will accept conditions set by the tribes.

ISIS stands for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Its jihadists are fighting the governments of both Syria and Iraq.

Karkhout said the tribes also would like guarantees from the government that their members will be integrated into security forces once the battle for Fallujah and Anbar was over.

“The tribal military council and the sons of the tribes stand side by side with the Iraqi army in confronting ISIS. ISIS is now enemy number one,” said Karkhout.

He said the tribes have eventually found that their future is with the government and not the “terrorists.”

The tribal council has announced that its battle against ISIS was about to start.

“We are coordinating with tribal leaders and the government to form a huge force to dislodge ISIS” from the province, the council said in a statement.

However, there is uneasiness among some government ranks who suspect Sunni tribes would fight ISIS in earnest.

There have been instances of tribes changing sides and some are reported to be fighting alongside ISIS.

Hakem al-Zamili of the Parliamentary Commission on Security and Defense said the agreement would weaken Iraqi security forces’ resolve to fight ISIS on their own terms.

He said the government should not forget that certain tribes directed their guns against Iraqi forces, inflicting many casualties.

He blamed ISIS and the Sunni tribes in the area for attacks on government forces and attempts to submerge large areas and cut water flow downstream the Euphrates River by shutting the sluices of a dam in Fallujah.