Iraqi Sunni lead­ers con­demn Is­lamic State in Er­bil con­fer­ence

Shi­ite and some Sun­nis claim that the con­fer­ence is fruit­less and against unity of Iraq

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

Iraq's top Sunni re­li­gious, po­lit­i­cal and tribal lead­ers met in the Kur­dish re­gional cap­i­tal Er­bil, cap­i­tal of the Kur­dis­tan re­gion of Iraq, Thurs­day to con­demn Is­lamic State ter­ror­ists and call for the for­ma­tion of a Na­tional Guard to help com­bat them.

The Iraqi Sunni lead­ers met to dis­cuss a common de­fense strat­egy against in­vad­ing Is­lamic State mil­i­tants, plead­ing for unity in the face of a dire threat. One po­lit­i­cal leader dubbed the Is­lamic State the “Mon­gol in­vaders of our era.”

Iraqi Sunni Vice Pres­i­dent Osama Nu­jeify was the key­note speaker at the con­fer­ence, urg­ing the ap­proval of a Na­tional Guard to com­bat the Is­lamic State.

He said the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is sym­pa­thetic to the plight of or­di­nary Iraqis, and that he and other lead­ers are look­ing to the in­ter­na­tional coali­tion to help set up a Na­tional Guard force to rep­re­sent var­i­ous re­gions. He in­sisted the force will not be sec­tar­ian and that it will not pose a threat to the unity of the coun­try.

Sunni politi­cian Hek­mat Suleiman said the “suf­fer­ing of our women and chil­dren is forc­ing us to ex­ert the ul­ti­mate ef­fort to re­lieve them of th­ese hor­rors.”

Re­ports of Is­lamic State bru­tal­ity in both Iraq and Syria have been wide­spread. Un­con­firmed re­ports say the Sunni ex­trem­ists have ex­e­cuted more than 750 mem­bers of the Al­bunemr tribe near the An­bar town of Hit.

A re­port Thurs­day claimed the mil­i­tants had killed sev­eral hun­dred mem­bers of the Shei­tat tribe near the Iraqi-Syr­ian bor­der, bury­ing them in a mass grave.

Sec­tar­i­an­ism de­rided

Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Mo­hammed Mash­hadani told the con­fer­ence the forces of di­vi­sion in Iraq are strong, but that sec­tar­i­an­ism is not the wave of the fu­ture.

He asked, "Who will profit from the di­vi­sion of Iraq into Sunni, Shi'ite and Kur­dish re­gions?" He ar­gued that sec­tar­i­an­ism is a prac­tice, but not a phi­los­o­phy, and that all re­li­gions have their ex­trem­ists. Sec­tar­i­an­ism is back­wards, he in­sisted, and a force of ig­no­rance.

Ninevah prov­ince sec­re­tary gen­eral Faris Sin­jary told the gath­er­ing that de­fend­ers of a united Iraq and the gov­ern­ment “need arms and help from neigh­bor­ing states to fight the bat­tle against Is­lamic State ter­ror­ists, as well as to re­build their tat­tered na­tion.”

Iraqi

Prime

Min­is­ter Haidar al Abadi, who held a joint press con­fer­ence Thurs­day in Bagh­dad with vis­it­ing Jor­da­nian Prime Min­is­ter Ab­dul­lah Nsour, thanked the Hashemite King­dom for vol­un­teer­ing to train Iraqi se­cu­rity forces.

He said that se­cu­rity is im­por­tant to the gov­ern­ment and that Jor­dan is of­fer­ing its help to train 64,000 mem­bers of Iraq's se­cu­rity forces.

Un­pre­dictable out­come

Sev­eral Sunni mem­bers of par­lia­ment lashed out against sec­tar­ian Shi'ite mili­tias, which they claimed are alien­at­ing many or­di­nary Sun­nis in the coun­try. MP Sha'alan Krayem of Sala'edin Prov­ince in­sisted that “evil [Shi'ite mili­ti­a­men] have done aw­ful things, like burn­ing houses, burn­ing fields and at­tack­ing mosques." He ar­gued that "many of them are just as bad as [the Is­lamic State mil­i­tants].”

A num­ber of top Sunni lead­ers, in­clud­ing Par­lia­ment Speaker Se­lim al Jabouri, did not at­tend the meet­ing. Jabouri did not give a rea­son. Gov­er­nor of Sala'edin Prov­ince, Raed Ibrahim al Jabouri, in­di­cated he would not at­tend be­cause of what he said was the “pres­ence of peo­ple con­nected with ter­ror­ism,” at the par­lay.

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