Christian Action Network

Daily Terrorism News; WebPage @ www.ChristianAction.Org

Al-Qaeda takes its explosive revenge on tribal leaders who dared to fight

(The Times) Al-Qaeda struck back yesterday with vengeance against Iraqi tribal sheikhs, whose recent switch of allegiance has driven the group out of its strongholds west of Baghdad. A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt caused devastation at a heavily defended central hotel in Baghdad when he blew himself up as tribal leaders gathered for an informal meeting. At least 12 people were killed in the blast at the al-Mansour Melia Hotel, an imposing concrete structure on the banks of the Tigris, which houses the Chinese Embassy in Baghdad and is a favorite haunt of Iraqi politicians and foreign journalists. The force of the blast devastated the lobby, killing 12 people, many of whom were buried beneath fallen masonry. The attack was the latest incident in a bloody battle that has been fought over the past months between Sunni Muslim tribes, who once supported the insurgency against the Americans, and al-Qaeda, their erstwhile allies. Among the dead were Fassal al-Gawud, the former governor of Anbar and sheikh of the al-Bu Nimir tribe, Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Fahdzawi of the Fahad tribe, Sheikh Traqi Saleh al-Assafi and Colonel Fadil al-Nimrawi, both tribal figures. Other victims included Hussein Shaalan, an MP and Rahim al-Maliki, a well-known Iraqi poet. Sheikh Mahmoud Daham, a tribal leader who survived the attack, said that the bomber had “targeted the tribes that are fighting terrorism”. “Iraq will stay standing, no matter what you do,” he said. The bombing was one of three suicide attacks yesterday that killed at least 45 people and were aimed at countering a US offensive against militants in and around Baghdad. Al-Qaeda has good reason to want revenge. A year ago US military analysts believed that the restless western province of Anbar, including the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, was “lost” because of the scale of the insurgency. But after the formation of the Anbar Salvation Front, a group of powerful tribal chiefs, al-Qaeda has been all but driven out of its strongholds in the province and violence has dropped 60 per cent. The tactic was so successful that US commanders have copied it elsewhere. Much of the current US effort is concentrated on Diyala province, northeast of the capital, where about 10,000 US forces are working closely with tribes and former insurgents who have agreed to co-operate against al-Qaeda. The Americans claim to have killed dozens of suspected al-Qaeda fighters as well as uncovering al-Qaeda infrastructure in Baquba, the capital. Officers claim that much of the intelligence they received for the operation was supplied by their new allies. However, there are concerns that arming, funding and offering other support to the groups could lead to the formation of a Sunni Muslim militia, similar to the Shia militias that have made so much of Iraq ungovernable. Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, has said it is essential that liaising with the tribes is done under government supervision to avoid the emergence of new militias. There are thought to be about 150 Iraqi tribes who claim the loyalty of millions of clan members. The Americans deny that they are arming the groups openly. But it is known that they are offering security contracts to some tribes to guard buildings and pipelines. Others are being enrolled as “police auxiliary units” and even as soldiers. In the latest move the Americans are attempting to enlist the help of the tribes to subdue Baghdad.

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June 26, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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