Small Wars Journal

To Retake Cities, Iraq Turns to Sunni Tribes

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 6:01am

To Retake Cities, Iraq Turns to Sunni Tribes by Loveday Morris, Washington Post

In his battle against an al-Qaeda-led insurgency in western Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is providing arms and funds to unnatural bedfellows — Sunni tribesmen who complain of being neglected by his Shiite-dominated government.

The government has trucked weapons and approved millions of dollars in payments to tribesmen in Anbar province in a bid to win their help ousting al-Qaeda-linked fighters who took over the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi earlier this month. The United States is also speeding up its supply of small arms to Iraq, urging authorities to pass them on to tribesmen.

But the effort faces major challenges. The ranks of the paramilitary movement have dwindled since the U.S. military withdrawal in 2011, and Maliki is facing insurrection from parts of the country’s wider Sunni minority, who complain of mistreatment and subjugation at the hands of his government…

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