First Published: 2006-03-06

 
Iraq's Hawija Sunni tribes declare war on Zarqawi
 

Tribal leaders vow to fight all those who attack their sheikhs and clan leaders, including Al-Qaeda.

 

Middle East Online

Funeral of Sheikh Tarek Abdullah Ibrahim al-Obaidi in Kirkuk

HAWIJA, Iraq - Faced with attacks against their sheikhs and clan members, a number of Sunni tribes from Hawija – an insurgent bastion in northern Iraq - have declared war on Al-Qaeda's frontman in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

"We shall fight all those who commit such attacks, notably Al-Qaeda," the tribal leaders said in a statement that has been circulating around Hawija.

In the last month-and-a-half, the head of Al-Nuaim tribe, Ibrahim Al-Nuaimi, and one of the heads of the powerful Jubur tribe, Ahmad Mehdi Saleh, have been assassinated in this Sunni rebel bastion, 220 kilometers (137 miles) north of Baghdad.

Khaled Abdel Hussein, a doctor at Hawija's general hospital, was also killed by armed men who barged into the hospital building and sprayed it with bullets.

General Hatem Khalaf Al-Obaidi, head of the police of nearby Kirkuk, was also gunned down while in the area.

"It is a terror campaign against our leaders," Sheikh Abdel Rahman al-Assai, head of the Obaidi tribe, said.

"We are not going allow them to silence us and do this to us. The resistance opposes the occupation and is an Iraqi affair.

"Terrorists and Takfiris (Sunni extremists) kill, kidnap and terrorise our people. We cannot accept this," he said.

He felt it was legitimate to kill these men as they belong to "Zarqawi and such groups."

Insurgent activity is rife in the area which has earned the nickname of Iraq's Kandahar - an allusion to the former Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan.

On February 22, four US soldiers were killed there when their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb.

The tribal leaders said groups linked to Zarqawi were carrying out attacks on the "army, police, oil and gas pipelines and technicians which harms the interests of Iraq."

"We never offered refuge to terrorists. All those who offer shelter to terrorists will be treated like terrorists," their statement added.

"We reject violence and the murders of civilians in the Arab areas."

"These dark forces strike all religious people and their symbols," a local Hawija council member Hussein Ali al-Jubur said.

Attacks on Iraqi security forces also delays the withdrawal of foreign coalition troops, he noted.

"We are against any action causing losses to our security forces as it weakens them and delays the withdrawal of the occupying forces (coalition forces)," he said.

"Attacks by Zarqawi or others worsen the sorrows of our people, deprive them of electricity, water and fuel," he added.

The call to arms by the tribes was welcomed by General Anwar Hama Rahma, head of the Iraqi military in Kirkuk who offered his full support to their fight against Al-Qaeda insurgents.

The new stand by Sunnis around Hawija mirrors that to the south in Samarra, where the killing of a key tribal sheikh last October had strained ties between Qaeda fighters and locals, although the sides have since reportedly brokered a truce.

The US military has also reported clashes between nationalist insurgents and Al-Qaeda in Al-Anbar province, considered a bastion of rebel violence.

 

US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance advances in IS-held Tabqa

US drone strike kills 5 Qaeda suspects in Yemen

Libya seizes two foreign oil tankers after gunbattle at sea

Turkish opposition down but not out

Europe’s 2017 elections affecting lives of Arabs, Muslims

Iran opens refinery to become petrol self-sufficient

Kuwaiti resigns from FIFA council to fight bribery claim

Waterway lifeline for civilians fleeing Tabqa

New Jordan-Syria spat revives simmering tensions

Trump’s U-turn on Syria checks Iranian ambitions

Hezbollah defiance on Israel border undermines Lebanon Army

Pope lifts spirits of Egypt's persecuted Christians

UN eyes new Western Sahara talks after Polisario pullback

Erdogan says Turkey, US can turn Raqa into 'graveyard'

Hamas to amend controversial charter

Turkish authorities block access to Wikipedia

Pope Francis leads mass in Egypt

President of European rights group censured for Assad meeting

Pope Francis flies to Egypt as 'pilgrim of peace'

Palestinians protest to support prisoners on hunger strike

Turkish army, Syrian Kurdish militia in new clashes

Erdogan to rejoin Turkey ruling party next week

Germany urges EU not to break off Turkey accession talks

OPCW says chemical weapons allegedly used 45 times in Syria

Netanyahu slams German foreign minster as 'insensitive'

UK warns of ‘increased level of terrorist activity’

Erdogan hopes for 'new page' with US under Trump

UN Security Council calls for Polisario pullback from Guerguerat

UN envoy to Libya to visit Sudan for peace talks

Tunisian PM booed out of town hall meet

Russian spy ship sinks off Turkish coast

London police arrest ‘terror act’ knifeman by parliament

Palestinians strike in support of protesting prisoners

Two Saudi soldiers killed in rocket attack near Yemen border

German soldier plots attack under refugee disguise

Iraq forces retake town of Hatra from IS

Syria accuses Israel of strike near Damascus airport

10 dead after strikes on rebel-held hospitals in Syria

Turkey’s AKP to hold special congress readmitting Erdogan

EU reviews Libya request for naval equipment

Jail terms over death of Moroccan fishmonger

UN appoints Syrian Olympic swimmer as ambassador

Bahraini activist on hunger strike behind bars

Calls on Saudi social media for jobless protest

Tunisian coastguards no match for high-speed smugglers