Hamza Mustafa
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on : Tuesday, 17 Jun, 2014
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There is a “tribal revolution” in Iraq: Anbar tribal chief

Ali Hatim Al-Suleiman, Emir of the Dulaim tribe, says tribes, not ISIS, in control of Mosul
Anbar tribal chief Ali Hatim Al-Suleimani talks to Asharq Al-Awsat. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Anbar tribal chief Ali Hatim Al-Suleimani talks to Asharq Al-Awsat. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—A prominent Anbar tribal chief has denied that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is responsible for the recent unrest in Iraq, portraying the situation as a “tribal revolution” against the government of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, in comment that contradicted the prevailing narrative about what is happening in the country.

“It is the tribal rebels who are in control of the situation in Mosul. It is not reasonable to say that a group like ISIS, which has a small number of men and vehicles, could be in control of a large city like Mosul. Therefore, it is clear that this is a tribal revolution, but the government is trying to force us all to wear the robe of the terrorists and ISIS,” Ali Hatim Al-Suleiman told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Suleiman is emir of the Dulaim tribe, which with over 3 million members is one of the largest Arab tribes in Iraq. Its members are predominately located in the western province of Anbar, the scene of fighting between ISIS militants supported by some Sunni tribes and government forces since December last year. He affirmed that a number of Arab Sunni tribes, including his own, are fighting against the Baghdad government.

“The time for political solutions has passed. We will not permit a political solution. Maliki has used all his strength against the Iraqi people . . . So how can there be a political solution? The only solution is Maliki’s ouster.

“When we get rid of the government, we will be in charge of the security file in the regions, and then our objective will be to expel terrorism—the terrorism of the government and that of ISIS,” Suleiman said.

But according to media reports, government statements and eyewitness accounts, ISIS took over Mosul on Tuesday of last week, before seizing Tikrit on Wednesday and advancing into the northern towns of Jalula and Saadia on Thursday and Friday. Most recently, they took over the northern Turkmen town of Tal Afar. The Islamist group has pledged to march on the capital Baghdad, with Shi’ite militia forces reinforcing Iraqi army positions today amid fears of a sectarian civil war breaking out in Iraq.

ISIS has claimed to have executed thousands of people, mostly Iraqi soldiers and members of minority groups. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the “recent upsurge of violence in Iraq at the hands of terrorist groups including” ISIS, a spokesman said earlier this week. “Reports of mass summary executions by [ISIS] are deeply disturbing and underscore the urgency of bringing the perpetrators of such crimes to justice,” the statement added.

Division is the best solution to what is happening in Iraq, Suleiman told Asharq Al-Awsat, adding that the advance of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters towards the capital Baghdad is part of a popular Sunni uprising against the central government.

“The revolution does not belong to anyone, but the tribal revolutionaries are the masters of the scene. Iraq is heading towards partition. There are two choices; either Iraq becomes a sea of blood, or each community rules itself. Central government is not the solution. We do not want an Iraq that fails to respect our dignity and religion,” he said.

He added that special “military committees” have been formed to “organize” the revolution. “These committees are located in the provinces of Anbar, Baghdad, Nineveh, Salah Al-Din and Diyala. They are under the joint command of tribal leaders and former army leadership.



  1. elias says:

    If according to Mr Suleimani’s claim and expectation, a partition of Iraq happens from the view point of the sectarian lineage, it will further escalate the separatist movement in the whole region.The infighting sects in the region will find a justification for their movement whose legacy would be very difficult to be contained.Every distinct group has it’s right to it’s own identity upon which the cultural dimension take it’s courses and that should be regarded as a reality .But this does not mean that a country with it’s glorious past and envying heritage will be fractionated into pieces according to it’s sectarian colors. Iraq needs a win win formula.If a group vows to be victorious over other, it welcomes defeat for all and in the long run, a defeat for the whole region.

  2. Mohammad says:

    If this is a tribal revolution then why they would need a gang of criminals like ISIS?. You only team up with criminals when you want to rob a bank not fight for your rights. The tribal leader is saying once we get rid of this government we will expel terrorism, how starnge it is. They team up with the know terrorist in the region and once they get rid of the goverment the terrorist will sure make these so called tribal leaders clean their bathrooms amd mop their floors. These terrorist are using s segment of the population to achive their ultimate goal; establish the head office of the Bani Ummayah in Iraq since they faild in Syria. We all hope and pray that the people of Iraq solve their own problems and avoid outsiders giving them advises.

    • Free_Iraq says:

      To Mohammed – what do you call the people who are siding with Iran and Syria government at the detriment of the Iraqi people? Iran is a terrorist government. So Syria’s government, Hizb Allah, and the current Iraqi government are already partnering with better organized and funded crime team. One cannot be myopic by whom one consider good AT THE MOMENT.

  3. […] is telling, therefore, that the outspoken Iraqi Sunni tribal figure Ali Hatem al-Suleiman is now talking about a “tribal revolution” against Maliki’s government. Suleiman was one of the more […]

  4. […] hold any affinity with the Islamic State and its actions he maintains they are only a small part in a general Sunni revolt against what they believe to be an unrepresentative and sectarian central government. He himself […]

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