Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Airstrikes | ISIS | Iraq | sunni

Despite Airstrikes, ISIS Appears to Hold Its Ground in Iraq

By    |   Monday, 22 Sep 2014 02:20 PM

American airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) have done little to rollback the militant group's territorial gains in part because many Sunni tribes have chosen not to engage, The New York Times reported.

The United States air offensive has been successful in halting advances of the terrorist group but ISIS continues to hammer Iraqi government forces, with hundreds of soldiers having been killed in battle or mass executions.

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"Behind the government's struggles on the battlefield is the absence or resistance of many of the Sunni Muslim tribes that all sides say will play the decisive role in the course of the fight — presenting a slow start for the centerpiece of President Obama's plan to drive out the militants," the Times said.

Sunni tribes played an instrumental role in the fight against al-Qaida-linked militants seven years ago, but were subsequently alienated from the authoritarian and Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

"The Sunni tribes' role here is almost nonexistent," Ali al-Jabouri, a local fighter, told the Times. "There are many tribes in the villages near here but they were not serious about joining us to combat the Islamic State, and until now none of them have joined us."

The Obama administration had hoped that the formation of a new inclusive government would help rebuild Sunni support but a number of influential Sunni sheikhs say they remain unconvinced.

"The Sunnis in Anbar and other provinces are facing oppression and discrimination by the government," Mohamed el-Bajjari, a tribal sheikh and spokesman for a coalition of tribes, told the Times. "This government must be changed to form a technocratic government of nonsectarian secular people, or the battles and the anger of the Sunni people will continue."

Other Sunni leaders, however, say that a number of the largest tribes have signaled their support in the fight against ISIS, and are in the process of organizing national guards to join the offensive.

"The next few days will bring good news," Wasfi al-Aasi, a Sunni Arab tribal leader, told the Times.

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American airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) have done little to rollback the militant group's territorial gains in part because many Sunni tribes have chosen not to engage, The New York Times reported.
Airstrikes, ISIS, Iraq, sunni
354
2014-20-22
Monday, 22 Sep 2014 02:20 PM
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