Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has praised the tribal leaders in Fallujah for their ongoing efforts to retake the city from al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), ruling out a military offensive against Fallujah.
“We do not care how long this takes,” Maliki added, saying the military could encircle Fallujah until AQI is removed from the city, which it took a week and a half ago.
The Fallujah tribes have taken parts of the city back by force and are in talks to retake the city outright from AQI, but that doesn’t mean Fallujah will necessarily return to Maliki’s control.
Even before AQI showed up Fallujah and much of the Anbar Province was in open revolt. The prime minister had sent the military in to crack down on protests, and Fallujans have made clear they don’t want the central government back either. Maliki may have ruled out the invasion of Fallujah for the duration of AQI’s ouster, but once they’re gone it seems inevitable he’ll want to reinvade to take the city back from the tribes.
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