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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

CBN News on the Anbar Salvation Front

Source: CounterTerrorismBlog.

By Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
April 15, 2007

Last week CBN News terror analyst Erick Stakelbeck and I developed a story on the Anbar Salvation Front, a group that includes a broad mix of Sunnis who are united in their goal of expelling al-Qaeda from Iraq. An excerpt:
    The Anbar province has served as a nerve center for al-Qaeda since the early days of the insurgency -- some might call it al-Qaeda Country. It's estimated that more than 8,000 Iraqis have been killed or injured by insurgent attacks in Anbar province. Cities such as Fallujah and Ramadi have long been trouble spots for U.S. troops. The campaign of terror has led to power and influence in the predominantly Sunni region.

    But many tribal leaders here are tired of living in fear and want to take their home back from al-Qaeda. "They believe that al-Qaeda in Iraq is breaking Iraq apart and turning the Sunni people on each other, and they want to eliminate that," said military analyst Bill Roggio. Roggio says the Anbar Salvation Front includes a broad mix of Sunnis: local tribesmen, Iraqi nationalists, ex-Baathists, and even some Islamists. Many are former insurgents that are now working with the U.S. military and Iraqi government.
The Anbar Salvation Front is already a powerful force, and is likely to take on increasing importance in the future. As Bill Roggio of The Fourth Rail told CBN, "We're certainly allied with people who fought us, probably less than a year ago. But this is, in the end, how you win insurgencies. How you break them apart and turn the more moderate elements against the more radical elements."

You can read the whole piece and watch the video report here. For more, see Eli Lake's excellent profile of Anbar Salvation Front leader Abdul Sattar al-Rishawi in The New York Sun.

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