Iraq's Anbar province calls for support against 'Islamic State'

Iraq's Anbar province calls for support against 'Islamic State'
A member of Anbar's council has said they are willing to accept assistance from Iran against the Islamic State group.
2 min read
03 January, 2015
Tribesmen in Anbar province have enlisted to fight the Islamic State group [AFP]

A member of the Anbar provincial council has said it will seek help from Gulf states - or even Iran - if the Iraqi government in Baghdad continues to "ignore their demands for support", to counter the onslaught of the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS).

"Council members have convened and decided to send a formal request to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait to supply Anbar with arms," said the council member, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The request will be presented formally in the coming days.

"Anbar falling to IS will endanger all Arab states, which is why they have to work to thwart IS, especially as Anbar is next to Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. If the IS group takes control of the province, it would make it extremely easy for it to move into [Jordan and Saudi Arabia]."

[Iran] fears the strength of the IS if it takes over Anbar.
- Mohammad al-Fahdawi, Anbar council member

Anbar's local council no longer trusts US promises to support the province, the source said.

"The council will, however unwillingly, resort to other countries, including Iran, if the Gulf states do not offer support to the province," he added.

Council member Mohammad al-Fahdawi also told al-Araby al-Jadeed that Iran has shown willing to provide support.

"It is common knowledge that Iran is not interested in Anbar, and supports the Assad regime," said Fahdawi. "But it fears the strength of the IS if it takes over Anbar.

"Arab states - and in particular Gulf states - need to realise the danger if the province falls to IS, or if Iranian forces and Iranian backed militias enter [the fight]... The province has had to resort to asking for foreign aid because of the government's neglect of its demands and the massive impact the killings of hundreds of locals has had."

Anbar, in western Iraq, has seen constant fighting and attacks by the IS group, which has taken over large swathes of the province, while the government has reportedly ignored requests to arm the tribesmen who are fighting IS.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.