UK & World News

  • 24 June 2014, 6:57

Militant Leader Vows To Stop PM 'Burning Iraq'

A senior Iraqi Sunni leader has told Sky News that his men will continue to fight Iraqi government forces until the current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki steps down.

"If Maliki stays in power Iraq will end," Sheikh Ali Al-Salman told us.

"We will never allow that to happen, whatever it costs us. He is using the same policies as Saddam. He is burning Iraq to stay in power."

Sheikh Al-Salman heads a militant group of fighters which now number in the thousands. His army is growing daily.

"I think Iraq is facing two choices: either a white civil war or a divided Iraq," he predicts.

"The international community is to blame. The US administration should not leave Iraq like this. They should not walk away from Iraq."

His Military Council for the Revolutionary Tribes is based in Ramadi but controls large parts of Anbar Province to the west of Baghdad, the scene of recent insurgent fighting.

Al-Salman's men are currently fighting alongside ISIS against the Iraqi military.

But whilst they have a mutual cause, he warns that ISIS has no future in Iraq.

"ISIS came after our revolution and they tried to benefit from it. ISIS has tried to open Iraq up to international interference. Will we fight ISIS? Yes, but not for the time being."

Before ISIS captured headlines in Europe and America, Sheikh Al-Salman was the first person to take arms against Nouri Al-Maliki's government six months ago. They laid the ground for ISIS to join the fight.

Sheikh Al-Salman has been contacted by the US government but he hasn't held direct meetings with them although he told us he is willing to work with them to find a solution.

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