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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs