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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs