Sunni tribes turn to Iran for weapons to fight Islamic State militants

By Abbas al-Baghdadi

Azzaman, January 4, 2015

Faced with a superior enemy and lacking weapons and proper training, some Iraqi Sunni tribes have turned to Iran for assistance, according Salah al-Jibouri, a deputy representing a Sunni block in the Iraqi parliament.

Jibouri said the decision by the tribes comes following U.S. reluctance to arm the tribesmen.

Parliamentary Speaker Saleem al-Jibouri was reported to have held a meeting with U.S. Republican senator John McCain to work out a plan to mobilize Sunni tribesmen against Islamic State (IS) militants.

But Jibouri said the U.S. made no commitment and some of the tribes have already turned to Iran for weapons.

Iran has expressed its readiness to arm any Sunni tribe engaged in fighting IS as it sees the jihadist group a threat to its own security.

“The meeting between parliamentary speaker and McCain with the representatives of Iraqi tribes in restive provinces discussed ways of confronting Daeesh and the liberation of areas under its control,” Jibouri said. “I was part of the meeting and the tribal representatives put two alternatives before McCain to fight Daeesh.”

Daeesh is Arabic name for IS.

The tribes told McCain if the U.S. does not arm them they will turn to Iran for weapons.

“Some (Sunni) tribes in one of the provinces have opened a channel of dialogue with Iran and asked Tehran to supply them with weapons to confront Daeesh,” he added.