Monday, August 20, 2007


Najaf tribes announce new front to fight Al Qaeda

Security, Tribal
(Azzaman) - Members of al-Ghazalat tribe inhabiting areas south of Baghdad and close to the religious city of Najaf have vowed to battle al-Qaeda fighters in their areas. The promise came after the kidnapping of four shepherds from the same tribe of whom no trace has been found for weeks. Al Qaeda is active south of Baghdad and routinely attacks highways and convoys and abduction is one of its strategic tactics to punish opponents and collect money through ransom to finance its operations.
The Al Ghazalat have raised a force of 300 armed men but other tribes are said to have promised more men and have asked the government for supplies and weapons. Sheikh Jawad al-Ghazali, the tribe’s chief, joined by other tribal elders, attended a rally in Najaf announcing the formation of “a new tribal front to fight Qaeda in southern Iraq.”
Reports say more tribes have come together in central Iraq to drive Qaeda from their areas. U.S. troops furnish these tribes with weapons. But Qaeda’s influence and popularity, particularly among Sunni Iraqis, is reported to be growing and the group has recently intensified its attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces, mounting more deadly car bombings than ever before.
The apparently intrepid Qaeda in Iraq has even dared to assassinate powerful Sunni tribal leaders for coordinating with the U.S. against it – the thing which even former leader Saddam Hussein would have thought twice before doing. And as pressure on the group mounts in Baghdad and adjacent areas, Qaeda has begun regrouping in northern Iraq, using Mosul as one of its main garrisons.

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