Anbar residents close ranks against al-Qaeda

News article, posted 11.13.2013, from Iraq, in:
Anbar residents close ranks against al-Qaeda (Photo: Mawtani)

Tribal and religious leaders in Anbar have expressed outrage over recent al-Qaeda attacks on civilians and security forces in the cities of Anah, Rawah and Fallujah.

Al-Dulaim tribal leader Sheikh Majed Ali al-Suleiman told Mawtani the recent spate of attacks was "part of a criminal scheme to drive Anbar back to square one".

Despite al-Qaeda's savagery, the suicide attacks and armed assaults failed to breach the ranks of the security services and the people of Anbar, he added.

The province's response to the attacks was formulated during an October 25th tribal conference attended by Anbar religious scholars, social figures and security commanders, he said.

Participants agreed to form a crisis cell to establish co-operation with the army and police by refusing to shelter wanted persons and exposing their whereabouts, and by waiving the tribal custom of demanding blood money for any criminal killed by the Sahwa forces or tribesmen.

Anbar Salvation Council chairman and Sahwa commander Sheikh Hameed al-Hayes said the tribesmen, religious leaders and the educated public stand united to expose al-Qaeda and defeat its schemes.

"The Anbar Salvation Council, the Sahwa and the Sons of Iraq forces support the Iraqi security forces with all their strength to pound the strongholds of terrorists," he said.

Some tribal chiefs "held emergency meetings at tribal guesthouses to give citizens guidance, while religious scholars raced to the pulpits to expose al-Qaeda's plans, urge the public to be on the alert and to show support for army and police forces and the rule of law", he said.

In the border region between Anbar and Syria, al-Qaeda is facing difficulties because tribes are rejecting any kind of co-operation with it, al-Hayes said on a November 4th visit to Sahwa forces in al-Qaim.

Al-Qaeda "tried to penetrate three villages bordering Syria and failed to do so", he said.

Instead, an al-Qaeda leader was killed in the failed attempt and the tribes handed another three al-Qaeda elements over to the Iraqi security forces, he said.

Tribes in the border region have announced their rejection of al-Qaeda, "which puts it in real difficulty", al-Hayes said.

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