After weekend offensives against the city of Fallujah failed to unseat al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), which captured it from the central government late last week, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is hoping that simply demanding someone else do the job will work.
In a statement today Maliki demanded that the citizens of Fallujah forcibly expel AQI from the city themselves, saying they faced a harsh military offensive if they refuse.
Maliki played up the “danger” that the locals would face if they didn’t expel AQI, but since the Iraqi military has so far failed to do so, it seems unlikely that the tribal leaders in a city of a couple hundred thousand people can muster a force able to do so either.
Couching the military action against AQI as a punishment against the Fallujans for failing to oust al-Qaeda also seems risky as a narrative, particularly with the Sunni cities in Anbar Province already protesting against the Maliki government for heavy handed crackdowns on them.
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