Slaughter of Anbar tribesmen shows weakness in U.S. plan to beat ISIS

McClatchy reports: For four grueling months, Naim al Goud, his kinsmen and the local police fought off an Islamic State offensive against his town near Hit, a key city in Iraq’s war-torn Anbar province. In his telling, their constant pleas for Iraqi army intervention and U.S. airstrikes were ignored.

“Nobody gave us any kind of help,” said al Goud, a sheikh of the Albu Nimr, one of Anbar’s largest Sunni Muslim tribes. He said he texted target locations to Iraqi commanders to relay to their U.S counterparts, with no response. “We saw American fighters flying overhead. Maybe they hit somewhere else, but not the places we wanted them to attack.”

Exhausted, hungry and low on ammunition, al Goud and hundreds of his tribesmen ceased firing on Oct. 22 in return for a pledge from the Islamic State that civilians wouldn’t be harmed. They then set out on a 15-hour overnight drive through the desert, leaving behind families and associates and nursing another in a long list of Sunni tribal grievances that are hindering reconciliation with the Shiite-led government and threatening to derail President Barack Obama’s plan to crush the Islamic State.

“They did nothing for us,” al Goud said in an interview last week in a rented house in Baghdad. “It’s all killing and disaster.”

A week later, the Islamic State executed more than 40 Albu Nimr captives on a Hit street and drove thousands of Albu Nimr civilians into the desert, where hundreds have been slaughtered – more than 400 by Monday. Tribal leaders’ calls for help from the Iraqi army and for U.S. airstrikes again went unanswered. [Continue reading…]

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