Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Anbar Infects Diyala

Today, Anbar is a reasonably safe province in which to be stationed as an American soldier. A year ago, Anbar was the center of the Sunni revolt and the home of al Qaeda in Iraq. The change was driven by the Sunnis themselves when one major sheik decided to turn to the Iraqi government and to fight to expel Al Qaeda. The very first step on this road was the formation of the Anbar Salvation Counsel.

Many have speculated that this development, if replicated in other hot spots, would be a major step towards driving out al Qaeda and securing the country. Al Qaeda center of mass has now been driven into Diyala province. Baquba is the capital city of Diyala province. And today, a large cross section of Baquba's leaders have announced the formation of the "Baquba Salvation Council."

An official in Diyala Province announced that more than 280 prominent personalities and tribal and military leaders have formed a “Baquba Salvation Council” to confront acts of violence in the province, focusing especially on combatting the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq.”

Al-Melaf reports in Arabic that Shaykh 'Awad Najm al-Rabi'i, the head of the new “Baquba Salvation Council” announced that around 280 tribal leaders, academics, military leaders, from the full range of sects and ethnicities have formed the council to confront the deteriorating security situation in the province and confront the “gangs” that operate under the organizational rubric of the “Islamic State.”

Citing “resentment and anger among the tribal leaders at the conduct of these gangs,” al-Rabi'i said the leaders were insistent on “declaring war against them and expelling them from the province and bringing security back to the citizens,” the agency writes.

The tribal leader added, “We are prepared to cooperate with the armed factions that maintain loyalty to a nonsectarian, non-partisan Iraq with the goal of rooting out these terrorist groups,” adding that the current situation in the province was “tragic” and saying that it was urgent that the government get involved to deliver the city from the control of “takfiris and tens of Arab and Afghan terrorists that hide in the agricultural areas,” al-Melaf reports. Takfiri is a term used to refer to extremists who practice takfir, or the pronouncement of other Muslims to be non-Muslims. . .
Read the entire story here. If this group has the success of the Anbar Salvation Council and if they embrace the Iraqi government with the same fevor, then this will be a critical development indeed.

(H/T Dinah Lord)

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