London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Sheikh Ali Hatim, the leader of the National Front for the Salvation of Iraq, has warned that “any side that thinks of clashing with us will be the loser” and added, “It is not in the interest of the government to confront us. Regardless of whether it has leveled accusations against us, we have fought Al-Qaeda and triumphed over it and the government supported us”.
In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, Hatim said: “We are waging a battle of destiny against the Islamic Party. Al-Qaeda does not pose any danger to Iraq any more and it is finished. The real danger are those that fight us in the name of legitimacy and religion, I mean the Islamic Party. Had it not been for the intervention of the government and the US forces, this party would not have lasted for two days in Al-Anbar”.
The leader of the National Front for the Salvation of Iraq denied that the (Sunni) Al-Tawafuq Front headed by Adnan al-Dulaymi represents them. He said: “Neither Al-Tawafuq nor any other group represents the Sunnis. We are Iraqi Arab Muslim clans and tribes. We know how to protect our faith and our tribal identity. We know how to protect our neighbors and the followers of other faiths”. Hatim stressed, “We represent ourselves; no one else represents us”. He wondered: What has the Al-Tawafuq Front done for us? What have they done for the Sunnis? They have destroyed us”.
Hatim is one of the most prominent leaders of the Awakening Council in Al-Anbar and has fiercely confronted and fought against the Al-Qaeda organization and along with the other leaders of the Awakening Council; he drew the attention of the US military command in Iraq and later the Iraqi government of Nuri Al-Maliki. He said: “Things are clearer now about the true national forces that represent the Sunnis”. He pointed out that “The Al-Tawafuq Front came for the sake of power at a time when the Sunnis kept away from the elections or from participation in the government despite the participation of the Shias and Kurds. That is why they brought the Al-Tawafuq [Front] and said that it represents the Sunni Arabs in Iraq”. Hatim added: “The administration of the province is in the hands of the Islamic Party but the government is not moving against them in order to avoid problems. We are giving them a chance until the provincial elections are held. After that, cauterization is the best treatment”.
Hatim disclosed the establishment of a political entity under the name of “The National Front for the Salvation of Iraq”. He said: “The Al-Anbar Province needs to have political formations that would run in the elections in a legal manner. We the sons and tribes of Al-Anbar do not want a chance to the Islamic or sectarian parties. We want to preserve our tribal identity and our national unity for which we fought and defeated Al-Qaeda”. Hatim said, “The National Front for the Salvation of Iraq consists of Iraqi tribes from Al-Anbar, and central and southern Iraq. It is open to all nationalist Iraqis to join it. We have an alliance with the Al-Anbar Salvation Council, the Al-Anbar Awakening Congress, and the Council of Al-Anbar sheikhs”.
The leader of the National Front for the Salvation of Iraq affirmed that they will win the upcoming provincial council elections and the parliamentary elections because “the Iraqis trust us and trust our patriotism. The great victory we achieved against terrorism shows that we are not sectarians and that our alliance welcomes our brother Shias. They are Iraqis first and foremost. I believe it is shameful to talk in a sectarian style; we are the farthest as can be from sectarianism. We protected and defended our Shiite brethren and Shiite families that sought shelter in our province both during the Iraqi-Iranian war and during the recent events”. Hatim said, “Our front’s goal is to crush the sectarian sedition, affirm our Arab identity, and restore Iraq to its Iraqi identity distant from alien sectarian divisions”. He pointed out, “What we have accomplished so far is just the beginning and we are preparing for the rest. We seek to cut down to their real size the parties that are using Islam as a cover. These Islamic parties want to marginalize the role of Iraq and steal the people’s funds in the name of religion and the sect”.
Hatim revealed that there are “Awakening councils that were formed by the Islamic Party and the Al-Qaeda organization. We are not responsible for the mistakes that awakening councils that do not belong to us are making. The awakening councils that we formed in Al-Ramadi consist of the sons of the tribes; they are not militias”.