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article imageIraq army, Sunni tribes join forces against al Qaeda militants

By Cameron Christner     Jan 4, 2014 in World
In an alliance defying recent cultural tensions, Sunni and Shi'ite forces joined together in opposition to al-Qaeda insurgents, fighting over control of the Iraqi city of Ramadi.
After the militants, black-clad and faces covered, stormed police stations in the city, the newfound allies responded with a counter assault that killed dozens.
The death toll for the insurgents is estimated between 40 and 60, along with an unspecified number of the opposition.
"Those people are criminals who want to take over the city and kill the community," said the leader of the tribal forces, Sheikh Rafe'a Abdulkareem Albu Fahad. This outlook was apparently shared by the Iraqi government, leading to an unlikely alliance that disregards recent tensions caused by the Syrian war.
Meanwhile in the neighboring city of Fallujah, militants similarly attacked police stations, as well as seized loudspeakers at an Islamic congregation, imploring worshippers to back them.
While there was no bloodshed in Fallujah, militants retain control of large portions of the city, and have reportedly set up checkpoints. This reflects their overall foothold in the region of Anbar, where they keep significant influence.
Many of Syria's neighboring countries have felt the effects of the war among their own mixed Sunni and Shi'ite populations, Iraq being no different. However, the common ground displayed here may act as a catalyst for further cooperation between the two cultures.
More about Iraq, Syria, Sunni, shi'ite, Al qaeda
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