Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Al-Maliki calls for tribes to help fight Al-Qaeda

(AP) - Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned Tuesday that Iraq's fight against terror will be "open-ended and long" and called for the creation of "salvation councils" across the country to bring together Iraqis to fight al-Qaida militants. In a televised address marking the first anniversary of his Shiite-dominated government, al-Maliki also warned unnamed foreign parties that they would pay a "high price" of their own security for meddling in Iraq.
"I call on the faithful and patriotic clans and civil society organizations to set up national salvation councils in all of Iraq's provinces and stand by the armed forces in the fight against terrorism which is targeting Iraq's territory, people and heritage," said the Shiite prime minister. His call appeared to be for the creation of councils modeled after an alliance of Sunni Arab clans which banded together in the western Anbar province to drive al-Qaida in Iraq militants from their areas. The tactic seems to have worked, with Ramadi, the provincial capital, no longer under extremist control.
Steps are under way to copy the Anbar formula in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad where al-Qaida is known to be active. Attacks against U.S. and Iraqi troops as well as Shiite civilians have been increasing there.
He also warned Iraqi groups, which again he did not name, against forging alliances with foreign powers, saying that doing so would turn Iraq into a battlefield for regional and international powers to settle their scores.
Al-Maliki, however, warned that he would not allow his efforts to achieve national reconciliation to be hijacked by those who want to turn it into "a bridge for the return of murderers and criminals ... the new Iraq has no place for the Baath Party whose history is full of coups, conspiracies, crime and genocide."
In a thinly veiled reference to Sunni Arab politicians critical of the U.S.-Iraqi security push in Baghdad, now in its fourth month, the prime minister asked the judiciary to start legal proceedings against those whom he said were seeking to undermine the reputation of the armed forces. They should be charged with inciting hatred and sectarian divisions as well as condoning terrorism, he said.

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