Iraq Arabic News, March 14 2008

The “Awakening’s” Ultimatum Ends, But Anbar Remains Calm
summarized by Nathaniel Rabkin

A month ago, the tribal Awakening movement in al-Anbar province issued an ultimatum to the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), demanding that it abandon the province within 30 days. If not, the Awakening leaders threatened, their armed followers would use violence to put an end to the IIP’s presence in the province. The Iraqi Islamic Party controls most institutions of the provincial government in al-Anbar.

The ultimatum has now expired, but no violent clashes have broken out. Yahya Akkashi, a member of the Islamic Party’s Falluja branch, said that the Awakening’s threats were empty and merely proved that the group lacks public support, adding “I challenge them to organize a peaceful protest of a thousand Anbari tribesmen who claim to oppose the Islamic Party.”

Abdallah Ismail Mukhlif, the head of the Awakening office in Saqlawiyah, said that the ultimatum had been the personal initiative of Hamid al-Hayis and Ali Hatim Suleiman, two prominent leaders of the Awakening. According to Mukhlif, their position “does not reflect the public will, and if it did, we would see peaceful protests and popular actions.”

Mukhlif noted that “some of the tribes of Anbar are upset with the Islamic Party’s influence in the province, but the tribes are not yet at the point of taking up arms over this struggle.” Mukhlif also claimed that relations between the Saqlawiyah Awakening, which he leads, and the local branch of the Islamic Pary are “positive and built on mutual cooperation, as are the relations of both groups with the local Mahamidah tribe and the other tribes of the area.”

al-Hayat, Yasser Muhammad, “Officials of the Islamic Party and the Awakening Consider it Unlikely That Their Disputes Will Turn Into Clashes,” March 14.