August 3rd, 2007 08:27 EST
Diyala Tribal Leaders Continue Reconciliation Efforts
Eighteen paramount tribal leaders representing 14 of the major tribes in Diyala province, Iraq, swore on the Quran and signed a peace agreement unifying the tribes in the battle against terrorism during a meeting at the Baqubah Government Center Aug. 2.
The meeting, led by Ra’ad Hameed Al-Mula Jowad Al-Tamimi, governor of Diyala; Staff Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem, commander of Iraqi security forces (ISF) in Diyala province; and Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of coalition forces in Diyala, was attended by sheiks representing three Shiite tribes, 11 Sunni tribes and 60 of Diyala’s 100 sub-tribes.
“Let’s build this tent and live under it like one family – all the tribes and all the people of Diyala. You have to be one family,” said Ra’ad Hameed Al-Mula Jowad Al-Tamimi, governor of Diyala, who stressed the importance of the sheiks in the country’s efforts towards stability and security.
“Problems can be solved by the sheiks because they have great influence on their tribes,” Ra’ad continued, stating the tribes are the key to success in Diyala.
“Those tribes that do not choose to participate in the way ahead for a secure Diyala will be left behind,” said Sutherland as he spoke to the tribes. “Don’t say, ‘I need,’ until you say, ‘I’ve done.’ Do for your families, do for your tribes, and do for Diyala.”
“The tribal leaders can change the hearts of the people,”
said Sheik Mahmood Abdul-Shinba Al-Hassani. “Instead of cheering for the terrorists driving through the streets, the people will cheer for the Iraqi security forces in the streets.”
“The terrorists are not that many,” said Sheik Adnan Abdul-Mehdi Al-Anbaki. “We have to stand together and we need to kill the terrorists. We know who they are.”
After discussing tribal differences and why it is important to unite, the sheiks signed a reconciliation agreement and swore over the Quran as a promise to uphold the agreement.
As stated in the Quran, “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which God (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves,” the sheiks agreed to ten conditions.
Some conditions of the peace treaty include ending tribal conflicts and attacks; cooperating with the ISF; fighting al-Qaida, militia groups and other terrorist organizations; working with the security forces to eradicate corrupt members; returning displaced families to their homes; reporting and removing improvised explosive devices; and respecting all sects, religions and women’s rights.
“This is the time my government needs me,” said Sheik Mazen Rasheed Al-Mula Jawad Al-Tamimi, paramount sheik for the Tamimi tribe. “Why should I stand by and watch when my people tell me everything – the good and the bad?”
“We have to consider the fact that local people are helping us. We have to work with them hand-in-hand and go forward,” Ra’ad said. “If anyone is standing in our way as an obstacle, then we will have to take that obstacle away from our path.”