UK & World News
West Warned Over ISIS And Sunni-Iraqi Alliance
A leading spokesman for Iraq's Sunni tribes has called on the West to pledge its support to them, claiming they are the only power capable of ridding Iraq of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and restoring stability across the country.
Sheikh Zaydan al Jabiri, leader of the political wing of the Tribal Revolutionary Council, told Sky News his organisation viewed ISIS as dangerous terrorists, and that it was capable of taking them on.
But Mr Jabiri, who currently resides in the Jordanian capital Amman, also made a clear threat that without Western help, the tribes and ISIS may be forced to combine efforts targeting their shared enemy - the Shia-dominated Iraqi government.
Mr Jabiri, who comes from Ramadi in Iraq's Anbar province, warned without support to take on ISIS, his organisation's 15,000 fighters will have no option but to join them.
He said: "We are builders of this country, not armed gangsters. We want to prove to the world we are against ISIS, and all killings that are going on.
"We want to send a message to the West that we can build a good balanced relationship with you."
While he admitted jihadist elements had played a role in the capture of Mosul and other areas, he stressed that much of it was down to the existing insurgency being carried out by Sunni tribes and elements from the Saddam Hussein-era Baathist movement.
ISIS, he claimed, was merely exploiting the efforts that both those groups had already made to topple the Maliki government.
"Even this blessed revolution that has taken place in Mosul, there may be jihadist movements involved in it, but the revolution represents all the Iraqi people - it has been brought about by the Sunni tribes, and some baathist elements, it certainly does not belong to ISIS," he said.
The Tribal Revolutionary Council received backing from the US in 2007 following the death of al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
The aim was to ensure the void left by his death was filled with more moderate Sunni elements, in a deal known as Sahwa.
Mr Jabiri claims the tribes could clear out ISIS in the same way it cleared out much of AQI (al Qaeda in Iraq) from Anbar Province when Sahwa was initiated, but it needs the West to back them now, and pull support from the Maliki government, or they will have no choice but to cooperate with ISIS.
"If the West let us down this time, if they let our revolution down, we will be forced to cooperate with ISIS, and the world will be responsible for what the ISIS gangsters do to Iraq's children," he said.
"You are accurate, and I repeat again, if the world lets us down we are not going to just say to you that we will fight ISIS. The world will just be proving it supports ISIS."