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Fears of inter-Shi’ite Strife in Iraq’s Diyala | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi soldiers seen in towns recaptured from ISIS in Diyala province, north of Baghdad (AFP Photo/Younis Al-Bayati)

Diyala –Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has sent an elite force to Diyala governorate after several armed fights erupted between tribes in Abu Saida area.

Heavy and medium weapons were used in the clashes that led to the death and injury of several people.

An informed source told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the fights were not purely tribal but also political.

The source explained that the clashes happened between members of the same faction, and most probably between members of the same legion of the Badr Organization. He went on to say that the armed dispute was between two platoons of Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in the district.

The source added that the clash is not sectarian because both sides are Shi’ites, and is not political given that the two parties belong to the same tribe and have the same political affiliation.

The source concluded that the fight was about positions given that the governor wants to expel the director of Abo Saida area, whereas the director is trying to gather signatures on a petition to remove the governor from his post.

According to the source, this raises fears of possible inter-Shi’ite fight in the governorate after the disputes between the tribes have grown.

He added that the tribes and platoons were all united against al-Qaeda and then ISIS. But after ISIS’ withdrawal from the city there are fears that clashes could grow into more serious tension if the Baghdad leadership doesn’t contain the situation.

Diyala MP Salah al-Jabouri told Asharq al-Awsat that the fights in the governorate are neither among tribes nor among sects. He explained that the dispute is among armed forces and militias, raising fears that the fights would reach other governorates.

“These clashes are based on political and party interests,” he explained.

In addition, former Diyala governor Omar al-Hamiri told Asharq Al-Awsat that tribes of Diyala are an important pillar of the security, tribal and social aspect of the governorate. He added that the tribes had always had important roles in times of struggle and violence but never went into fights and clashes.

He explained that what had happened was due to personal interests.

Hamiri called upon all Diyala tribes to unite against those who want to benefit from the bloodshed of the members of the tribes.