al Qaeda in Iraq forms the “Mutayibeen Coalition,” which includes six Anbar tribes
Governor Maamoon Sami Rasheed al-Awani met with local tribal sheikhs and city government leaders at a U.S military outpost in Husaybah, Iraq, July 3, 2006. Photo by Cpl. Antonio Rosas. Click image to view.
The battle lines between al Qaeda and the government in Anbar province continue to take shape. In mid-September, 25 of the 31 tribes in Anbar province decided to back the Iraqi government and join forces to hunt al Qaeda. The tribes have had success in hunting down al Qaeda, and committed to allowing their members to join the police and Army.
Al-Qaeda is countering the government and Coalition moves, and is attempting to form its own grand Coalition. The Scotsman reports the Mujahideen Shura Council, al Qaeda’s umbrella organization in Iraq that is designed to grant legitimacy and an Iraqi face to their efforts, has announced their own alliance, called the “Mutayibeen Coalition.” “Counted as its members three smaller insurgent groups and leaders of ‘loyal’ Sunni tribes,” states The Scotsman.
Six masked fighters announced the formation of the Mutayibeen Coalition. “We call on all the mujahideen (holy fighters), scholars, tribal elders and dignitaries to join hands with their brothers in the coalition to implement God’s sharia, expel the occupiers and bring victory to God’s oppressed people… We swear by God to do our utmost to free our prisoners and to rid Sunnis from the oppression of the rejectionists (Shi’ite Muslims) and the crusader occupiers…”
The merger of tribal elements and disparate Sunni Islamist insurgency groups has been in the works since the death of Zarqawi, if not before then. This is a direct result of Abu Ayyub al-Masri’s leadership of al Qaeda in Iraq. Under Zarqawi, al Qaeda in Iraq tried to cow and subvert the power of the tribes. Al-Masri has followed the advice of Attyia and Zawahiri, and is reaching out to the tribal leaders.
The six tribes have upwards of 300,000 members, but it should be noted there are existing divisions within the tribes. The identification of the tribes has exposed their loyalties and made them direct targets. Unlike insurgent/terrorist groups, which operate in the shadows, the tribes are established, know entities that own land, businesses and homes. Iraqi and Coalition efforts against th six tribes include purchasing the loyalty of leaders, targeting the recalcitrant leaders, and assisting members in the ranks who oppose the coalition with al Qaeda.
The Iraqi government proceeds with efforts to reign in the sectarian killing and delegitimize the violence. The Financial Times reports the leaders of influential Sunni and Shia religious groups will “meet in the holy city of Mecca next week to endorse a call for an end to all sectarian bloodshed.”