Search This Blog

Friday, March 13, 2015

Jubbour rejected ISIS calls for them to Join ISIS

The Jabbour Tribe has been in battles with ISIS ever since. Now they are a key player in the Iraqi Governments battle to retake Tikrit i Northern Iraq. – I.B.
The only way for civilians to get to the town of Dhuluiya is by boat across the river Tigris, since the so-called Islamic State blew up the main bridge here and tribesmen battling them commandeered the other.
Steering through long reeds, we pull into a little dirt harbor. Here, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, is the home of a branch of the Jubbour tribe. They’re a big Sunni group in this agricultural area and they want to tell me how they’ve halted the advance of the Islamic State.
At first glance, the village seems lush. We bump along backstreets — “It’s safer,” they tell me — past houses with gardens full of pomegranate trees.
It’s really beautiful here, I say. But the men giving me a ride into town reply that it’s not all that beautiful right now, actually. We’re about two miles from the front line. The Islamic State fires maybe a dozen mortars a day at the town, and at the little boats chugging across the river.
An Iraqi Sunni fighter holds a position during clashes with Islamic State group fighters in October the town of Dhuluiyah. i
An Iraqi Sunni fighter holds a position during clashes with Islamic State group fighters in October the town of Dhuluiyah.
Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images
The nearest hospital is behind that front line, so they’ve converted a school into a makeshift clinic. It’s there that I meet senior men from the Jubbour tribe.
They crowd into a disused classroom and tell me how the Islamic State blazed down from the north in mid-June. The villages north of here are Sunni, where many feel oppressed by the Shiite-led government. Some allied with the Sunni militants. Others fought, and fell.
Until those militants reached Dhuluiya.
“Since that time, the fighting started, and everyone from third-grade students to sheikhs took part in it,” says Barzan Ahmad, a Jubbouri and a university professor. “Everyone raised their weapons.”
He says that after the fighting had been going on for two days, the militants proposed negotiations. So a delegation from the Jubbour tribe went to meet an Islamic State leader.
He ordered the Jubbouri to join them and to kill 30 members of their tribe — army officers and doctors — as punishment for working with the Shiite-dominated government of former Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, which many Sunnis despised.
“They said, ‘We came to liberate you from this injustice and oppression caused by Maliki’s rule,’ ” says Ahmed.
The Jubbouris were outraged. Sheikh Mawloud Awad Hassoun says the tribe believes in peaceful co-existence. A lot of them are educated — engineers and lawyers.
Iraqi Sunni fighters secure an area during clashes with ISIS fighters in Dhuluiyah.
Iraqi Sunni fighters secure an area during clashes with ISIS fighters in Dhuluiyah.
Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images
“We don’t see ourselves as slaughterers,” he says. So the tribe declined the offer to join the extremists and began fighting against them again.
In the chaotic hallway of this makeshift hospital, I meet Ahmed Issa, who joined the fight against the extremists — and lost his leg.
“They’re criminals,” he says. “They’re killers. If they enter your house, they are going to kill you.”
The war here is often deeply sectarian. The Shiite-led government recruits Shiite militias. Sunni tribes join with the Islamic State. But here, Shiite fighters from Balad, a town across the river, came to help out.
“We’ve become more than brothers,” says Issa. “What hurts them, hurts us, and what hurts us, hurts them.”
Fighting together, they pushed the militants back. It helped when Iraqi army helicopters hit some Islamic State positions. But they say they need more help from the government.
re captured by the Islamic State.