After a meeting in Jordan on Wednesday, Sunni insurgents, tribal leaders, and former Baath Party figures said they will fight until they capture the Iraqi capital Baghdad and end Shia rule.
“We will take over Baghdad and bring down the political regime in Baghdad in the coming weeks, God willing,” said Sheikh Fayez Al-Shawoosh, spokesman for the council of Iraqi tribal chiefs.
A final statement called on the international community to support the insurgency to save “Iraq and the region from an unknown future”.
Several hundred representatives attended the meeting in Amman, emphasizing that they and not the jihadist Islamic State lead the uprising.
“This revolution is led by the sons of tribes who are leading it and the Islamic State is a small part of it,” said Sunni cleric Abdul Malik al-Saadi, who led mass peaceful protests in western Iraq in 2013 that called for an end to security abuses and political exclusion.
At the same time, participants hailed the contribution of the jihadists to the offensive which has taken the cities of Mosul and Tikrit and closed on Baghdad.
The Islamic State has not humiliated us and if it had not been for them we would not be here today raising our heads high,” said tribal leader Sheikh Qasem Obeidi.
Others emphasized that there could be no compromise with the al-Maliki Government.
“We are now in a state of continued Jihad to end the remnants of the U.S. occupation and restore the rights of the Iraqi people,” said Abd al-Naser Al Janaby, a prominent Salafi cleric and politician and a leading supporter of the armed uprising. “We expect a new dawn for Iraq from this revolution.”
Ahmad Dabash, a founder of the Islamic Army, one of the leading groups in the insurgency, said the participants share an opposition to the partition of Iraq on ethnic or sectarian grounds.
(Featured Photo: Mohammad Hannon/AP)
Iraqi Forces & Militias Again Fail to Move Into Tikrit
Iraqi forces, including Shia militias, have again failed to move into Tikrit, the city taken by insurgents last month.
Local residents and Iraqi media said the Iraqi force tried to move through the town of Awja towards Tikrit but were beaten back by heavy machine-gun and mortar fire from insurgent positions.
The Iraqi troops withdrew to a base south of Awja.
A fighter said some soldiers and militia were in Tikrit and ready to put the raise the Iraqi flag over Government buildings when “the doors of hell opened”, as the Islamic State sprang an ambush: “The bullets rained on our heads from everywhere, the suicide bombers were throwing themselves from the windows and detonated themselves in the air.”
The push by Iraqi forces ended when the lone support helicopter ran out of fuel.
The Iraqi military failed earlier this month in another offensive on Tikrit, after air-dropping special forces and snipers into the city center.
Tikrit fell to insurgents on June 11, a day after they took Iraq’s second city of Mosul.
Iranian Delegation Meets Iraqi Kurdish Leaders Over Crisis
An Iranian delegation led by Riza Emiri Mukaddem, Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council, is in the Iraqi Kurdistan capital of Erbil on Wednesday for talks with President Massoud Barzani and other Kurdish leaders.
Barzani’s office said the Iranians asked him to play an active role in forming a new Iraqi Government and re-establishing after the insurgent offensive that has taken Mosul and other Iraqi cities.
Abdullah Akreyi, a Kurdish government official responsible for Iranian relations, said Tehran wanted a stronger relationship with the Kurds and to be kept informed of developments between Erbil and Baghdad.
Iran has warned the Kurds not to pursue a referendum for independence but at the same time is seeking to preserve its relationship with Erbil as it tries to find a solution for the crisis over the Iraqi Government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.