Iraqi Shi’ite militias brutally cracking down on Sunni towns that have been reclaimed in central Iraq have made them very much unwelcome in the fight against ISIS as far as many Sunnis are concerned, and has even driven some of those Sunni tribes into direct alliance with ISIS to avoid the militias taking their towns.
Not so in Hit, however, in the far east of the Anbar Province, where the recent ISIS massacres of the Albu Nimr tribe, one of the few Sunni tribes loyal to the Iraqi government, has brought the entire surrounding area into direct alliance with the Shi’ites.
The two factions, at each other’s throats elsewhere in the country, fight side-by-side against ISIS here, with an eye on expelling ISIS from the important town.
If they pull it off, it could be a big win for the Iraqi government in the near term, as it would both move ISIS away from Baghdad and could be touted as a victory for sectarian cooperation.
In the long-run, however, the split between the Sunnis and Shi’ites isn’t going anywhere, and it wouldn’t take much to ruin this one incident of cooperation.