On Friday chief tribal leader Sheikh Ali Al-Hatem called on all Iraqi tribes to withdraw their sons from the Iraqi army until the latter releases the kidnapped parliamentarian Ahmed Al-Alwani and stops targeting Sunni residents.
Al-Hatem, who is the chief of Al-Doleem tribe in Al-Anbar, denied accusations made by the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that the Iraqi army targeted Al-Qaeda when it violently dispersed a one-year protest in the centre of Al-Ramadi, one of Al-Anbar cities.
In a televised statement, Al-Hatem said: "There were no Al-Qaeda affiliates among the protesters. All of Al-Maliki's accusations are untrue, he was lying to the Iraqis and deceived the army for the sake of paving the way ahead for a third term in office."
He continued: "Al-Maliki started the war and will not be able to stop it until we have our rights, and that includes securing the release of Al-Alwani." He said that withdrawing the army from Al-Anbar is "not enough" and demanded calling off attacks on Sunni residents in Deyai and Baghdad.
The strongman said that all "unconstitutional" forces in Al-Anbar would be targets for the tribal rebels. "We will not allow a revolutionary flag to be risen under a jihadist slogan," he insisted. "I call for all tribes to protect private and public properties, and not to attack the police."
The Iraqi army arrested Al-Alwani and killed his brother last Saturday. Tribes gave the prime minister an ultimatum to release him. Two days later, the army violently dispersed Al-Ramadi protest claiming that Al-Qaeda operatives were hiding there.
Severe violence erupted and many were killed, from both the army and the tribes' people.
On Tuesday, Al-Maliki withdrew the army from Al-Anbar but then sent mass forces in the following day, which led to more than 100 deaths.