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The tribes of Iraq will be implacable with those who joined the group EI

Ⓒ AFP – Ahmad Al-Rubaye – | No hiding place for the IS group: the Iraqi forces and members of the Hashed al-Shaabi units advance on Al-Qaim, in the Iraqi province of Anbar, on November 3, 2017

In the desert of Iraq, the tribes decided to be implacable with the members that joined the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), for which, they affirm, “there will be no forgiveness”.

With the withdrawal of the EI group in Iraq, “the Bumahal and other tribes agreed to adopt a common position,” General Ismail Mehlaui, former commander of army operations in the western province of Al Anbar and a member of the tribe of the Buhamal.

In this vast Sunni region where tribal law prevails, the tribes are studying the thorny question of what to do with the members who swore allegiance to the “caliphate” self-proclaimed by the IS group.

“They all fled to neighboring Syria,” say the villagers of Al Obeidi, in the heart of Iraq’s last jihadist stronghold, which has just been recovered by Iraqi forces.

But, if they return or are discovered in the surroundings, “they will be treated with severity,” warns General Mehlaui. “There will be no possible forgiveness,” emphasizes the man, with a thin mustache.

“We will punish them as prescribed by God, so that justice is done to the members of the tribes that were harmed” during the occupation of the EI group, continues this Iraqi, who lost his home, dynamited by members of his tribe converted into jihadists.

– Houses destroyed –

The cycle of revenge has already begun in Al Obeidi, says a head of security services in the Al Qaim region, where 150,000 inhabitants belong to half a dozen tribes.

Ⓒ AFP – Ahmad Al-Rubaye – | Iraqi forces make the sign of victory in front of the symbol of the Islamic State (IS) group after taking the town of Al-Qaim

“Busharyi fighters exploded a week ago the house of a member of their tribe who had joined the EI” and accused of having dynamited some houses of Al Obeidi, the official told AFP, asking for anonymity.

Mohamed Al Mohamedi heads the municipal council of Hit, near Ramadi, capital of the province of Al Anbar. A few months ago, several families demanded “the expulsion of the relatives of the jihadists,” he told AFP.

The authorities were notified, but this did not prevent acts of revenge. “The house of a jihadist with explosives was destroyed, another was burned down and stun grenades were thrown at other homes of families that had members in the EI group,” he says.

The authors, he says, were not identified. But after these attacks several families left the city, as also happened in the vicinity of Mosul, the big city in the north of the country snatched from the EI group. “The families of jihadists can not live here because that creates tensions,” says Mohamedi.

Also in the Ramadi region, Sheikh Awad Al Dalma, of the Budalma tribe, established a list of “267 terrorists from the tribes of the Budalma, the Bushaaban, the Budhiab and the Janabin,” found guilty of “murders or destruction of homes. ”

– Al Qaeda and then the EI group –

When Al Qaeda bloodied Iraq after the 2003 US invasion, tribal fighters have already taken up arms against the extremist group. In addition, many of its members hold positions of responsibility in the Iraqi armed forces.

Ⓒ AFP – Ahmad Al-Rubaye – | Iraqi forces celebrate the takeover of Al-Qaim, until then in the hands of the Islamic State group, at the beginning of November

2014, with the proclaimed “caliphate” of the EI group between Syria and Iraq, numerous Sunni Iraqis, in a country where two thirds of the population is Shia, decided to swear allegiance to the ultraradical organization.

But the Bumahal fighters, like other tribes, formed Sunni units within the Popular Mobilization Forces, a heteroclite coalition of Shiite militias and local fighters determined to expel the IS group from Iraq.

This is the case of Faysal Rafie, kalashnikov in hand. Behind him, in the middle of a sandstorm, piles of rubble are piling up: the houses are demolished with explosives in Al Obeidi by the jihadists, and whose owners demand justice.

“The terrorists of the EI destroyed our houses and robbed us everything because we fought against injustice and terrorism,” he complains. “We sacrifice all our goods for the […] Iraqi people.”

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