Anbar Tribes vs. al Qaeda

Five al Qaeda, including three Yemenis, are captured by a tribal force in Ramadi

Iraq. Click map to view.

Less than two weeks after 25 of the 31 predominately Sunni tribes in Anbar Province pledged to fight al Qaeda and support the Shiite led government of Prime Minister Maliki, the tribes have taken a shot against al Qaeda fighters. Reuters reports five al Qaeda were captured in the city of Ramadi, “including three foreign fighters from Yemen.”

“The five militants were captured without a fight in a car under a bridge in Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, police Major Salam Obeid said. Tribal leader Sheikh Sattar al-Buzayi confirmed the incident,” reports Reuters. Note that the tribal leaders are willing to go on the record about their involvement in the fight against al Qaeda. Attyia al-Jaza’ri implored Zarqawi to treat the tribal leaders and cleric with respect to avoid just such a situation.

Abu Ayyub al-Masri (a.k.a. Abu Hamza al-Muhajir), al Qaeda’s commander in Iraq, recently lamented the death of 4,000 “foreign fighters” in Iraq. This figure does not include those captured, such as the three Yemenis in Ramadi.

The arrests in Ramadi may not be the opening salvo of the tribes fighting al Qaeda. The recent death of Khalid Mahal, the Emir of Anbar Province, as well as the capture of two unnamed members of the 1920s Revolution Brigades may have derived from intelligence provided by tribal sources.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • N. O'Brain says:

    Is anyone taking that 4,000 number seriously?
    My now tells me that this is of by at least an order of magnitude.

  • Wally Lind says:

    I agree with O’Brain thet the 4,000 figure is very low. I see the agreement with the tribes as very positive, for us, and very negative for the enemy.

  • Anbar Tribes vs. al-Qaeda

    Courtesy of The Fourth Rail:
    Five al-Qaeda, including three Yemenis, are captured by a tribal force in Ramadi
    Less than two weeks after 25 of the 31 predominately Sunni tribes in Anbar Province pledged to fight al-Qaeda and support the Shiite led go…

  • Considering that the coalition only estimates about 1,000 al Qaeda in Iraq at its height, the 4000 figure is actually quite high, reflecting an amazing attrition rate.
    Flypaper indeed.

  • TallDave says:

    Well, 1000 at a given time, perhaps. Al Qaeda terrorists tend to have a short shelf life.

  • Mitch says:

    A short shelf-life seems to be the logical result of blowing one’s self up.

  • Patricia says:

    Iraqi blogger Alaa the Mesopotamian also comments on the tribes in Anbar who are coalescing against the terrorists. Scroll down to “The Grand Fitnah.”

  • Robert Modean says:

    Remeber, it’s important not to conflate the Bathists, the Fedayeen, home grown insurgents, the criminal element Saddam released before he was ousted, and Al Qaeda.
    The majority of the resistance we dealt with in the first two years came from the Bathists and Fedayeen, now it’s mostly the home grown insurgents, the criminals, and Al Qaeda. So 4000 dead for AQ is a good number.

  • M. Beard says:

    The tribes coming together to fight insurgents is a good thing, only if they act on what they say. The only place this is really happening is in al anbar, anyways.

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