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Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s latest tape includes his admission of errors committed in Iraq by those whom he describe as ‘Mujahudeen’, furthermore calling upon his supporters to implement Shariah, avoid disputes and to rise above all other concepts.

Perhaps what is intended by this statement is the abandonment of tribes in Iraq so that they may associate with Al Qaeda and conjoin under its umbrella. This is evidence indicating the impact of the blows that Al Qaeda fighters have been dealt as a result of Sahawat al Anbar’s (Anbar National Awakening Council) efforts, along with others among the Sunni areas that have risen to confront the Sunni extremists.

In his message to his aides, Bin Laden urged the necessity of forsaking concepts related to tribalism, in addition to those that are incompatible with Al Qaeda’s military and security doctrine. However, the Al Qaeda organization and its leadership only thrive, spread and benefit through sectarian conflicts and tribal disputes.

The objective of such a call, of course, is to drive a wedge between the sons of tribes and their leaders, so as to pave the way for Al Qaeda fighters to continue their criminal activities in Iraq.

Thus, the importance of Sahawat al Anbar in Iraq becomes clear and with it the importance of supporting it and standing by it, both internally and externally  otherwise; the alternative will be Al Qaeda and its criminal actions.

Bin Laden’s new tape has revealed Al Qaeda’s targets in Iraq and the size of the strike that the organization has received. Therefore, the ball is now in the court of the parties that are hostile towards Al Qaeda, and those who support the security in Iraq and the purging of the state of such terrorist acts.

The parties most concerned here are the Iraqi government and its neighboring states. The options have become limited; not in accordance with US President Bush’s way but in accordance with the nature of Al Qaeda. The choice is either for Al Qaeda or against it.

Standing against Sahawat al Anbar, not supporting it or hindering its armament against the terrorist of Al Qaeda means siding with Bin Laden and persisting in imposing security disruptions that prolong the suffering of Iraqi citizens in the important areas in Iraq  or rather, in all of Iraq.

If we seek to protect the security project and civil life in Iraqi Kurdistan, and if we aspire for it to be the ideal model in Iraq, then al Anbar and other Sunni areas (including Fallujah today) have come to represent hope for those who want stability for Iraq in accordance with an understanding that is far removed from sectarianism and a reality that necessitates the departure of foreign forces from the country.

A result of one of the aspects of the stability in security that was achieved by al Anbar is that the elders of Sunni clans have called for the return of thousands of Shia families that had once lived in the Sunni city of Ramadi alongside their Sunni compatriots, as they had before.

Is this the Iraq that we want, or is the version that Al Qaeda organization and its terrorist leadership want? This question must be answered by Nuri al Maliki’s government.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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