After previously announcing the withdrawal of Iraqi forces in the wake of severe clashes with armed militias, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki reversed the decision on Thursday and sent more security forces to Al-Anbar governorate in the west of the country.
Al-Iraqiya TV, which is close to Al-Maliki, reported him saying that: “We will not withdraw our armed forces; indeed based on calls by residents and the local government, we are sending additional soldiers.”
News about Al-Maliki’s decision to reinforce the army’s presence in Al-Anbar came after Wednesday’s announcement by tribal forces and Al-Qaeda affiliated militias called Da’esh that they had imposed full sovereignty over the governorate.
An Iraqi security source reported renewed clashes in the early morning between the Iraqi Army and the tribal forces. The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the clashes lasted for about an hour, without giving any details about losses on either side.
Tribal forces in the city of Al-Fallujah swept on Wednesday Al-Jolan Police Station, killing a policeman, freeing all prisoners and then torching the whole security compound.
Several hours later, large numbers of Al-Fallujah residents left their homes fearing counter security operations by the government against the Da’esh, which had announced full sovereignty over the city by loudspeakers.
Since Saturday, cities throughout Al-Anbar Governorate have been witnessing security chaos after Iraqi security forces violently dispersed a one-year anti-government protest and arrested a leading Sunni MP, killing his brother.
Tribes and armed militias in the governorate had given the government an ultimatum to release the MP, Ahmed Al-Alwani; however the government did not release him, and the clashes have continued.