News / Middle East

Maliki Calls on Local Tribes to Fight Iraq Militants

FILE - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pictured during a meeting in Tehran, Iran on Dec. 5, 2013.FILE - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pictured during a meeting in Tehran, Iran on Dec. 5, 2013.
x
FILE - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pictured during a meeting in Tehran, Iran on Dec. 5, 2013.
FILE - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pictured during a meeting in Tehran, Iran on Dec. 5, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday that his forces are willing to refrain from attacking the Anbar Province strongholds of Fallujah and Ramadi, now in the hands of Islamic militants, so long as the local tribes fight them.  He is urging the Islamist fighters to surrender.  Iraqi media predicted Tuesday that the army was preparing to invade Fallujah.

Maliki urged Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province to “come to their senses and take the right side” in the conflict “by ceasing support for Islamic militants and terrorists.” He went on to warn them “not to help fuel the war waged by al-Qaida.”

Earlier, the prime minister signaled a delay for an attack on the Anbar province town of Fallujah, which is now in the hands of pro-al-Qaida Islamic militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Maliki said he would not attack “if tribal forces battled al-Qaida, themselves.”

In a weekly press briefing, Maliki also urged world powers to “help Iraq in its battle against this awful group.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Iraqi leader on Wednesday, the second time this week, about the power struggle in Anbar.  According to the White House, Biden encouraged Maliki to continue to work with local, tribal and national leaders  and reiterated that the United States will support and assist Iraq in its fight against international terrorism.

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society reports that 13,000 families have fled Fallujah in the past few days.

A middle aged man told state TV that conditions inside the city are worsening.
He said social services are not functioning, and lack of necessities like cooking gas, gasoline, and the difficult situation in general is compelling residents to flee.

Al Arabiya television reported that the militants had shot down a combat helicopter Wednesday afternoon.  The station added that Prime Minister Maliki's office told it the chopper had “suffered technical failure.”

Iraqi Brigadier General Rashid Fulleiha, who leads an army brigade in the Ramadi region, said government forces were not playing a key role in the fighting.

The Iraqi army is sitting back and watching tribal fighters attack the Islamic militants, he said.

Contributing factors

According to Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches at the University of Paris, many factors have contributed to Iraq's current conflict, including the quick exit of U.S. forces in 2011, the incomplete training of Iraqi military forces and Prime Minister Maliki's unwillingness to share power with his Sunni rivals.

Abou Diab added however, that the prime minister wants Sunni tribal fighters to take the lead against the Islamic militants, who are also Sunni.

He said Maliki is letting this happen in order to avoid a Sunni-Shi'ite confrontation in the country, which would be very costly.
 
Sectarian violence has increased sharply in Iraq over the past year, and Maliki's Shi'ite-dominated government has little support in the Fallujah area.
 
The United States is rushing air-to-ground missiles and surveillance drones to help Iraq's government against the al-Qaida linked militants.

Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Maliki on Monday to express U.S. support in the struggle against the extremists. But Secretary of State John Kerry says no U.S. troops will join the battle.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More