Al Jazeera: A number of Sunni tribal sheikhs and tribes in Iraq’s Anbar province have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a defection that comes as a major blow to the Iraqi government as it struggles to roll the Sunni insurgents back.
The sheikhs and tribal leaders made the pledge in a statement read out by influential Sheikh Ahmed Dara al-Jumaili, after a meeting in Fallujah on Wednesday. It was not yet clear if the tribes had been forced to pledge allegiance by ISIL fighters, who control Fallujah and most of Anbar province, and have been known to massacre even fellow Sunnis who stand against them.
The sheikhs’ statement said the only way peace would come to Anbar province would be if the tribes joined ISIL. They said they were joining ISIL’s self-declared “caliphate” in order to “fight the infidels, apostates and Shias,” using a derogatory term to refer to them.