Sunni tribal leaders are starting to turn on the murdering jihadists they have previously given safe haven to:
But Sheikh Osama Jadaan’s dislike of foreign occupation is nothing compared to his contempt for Iraq’s other intruders – the foreign jihadists who have indiscriminately killed thousands of his countrymen. Now, in what coalition commanders hope will mark a turning of the tide against al-Qaeda in Iraq, he has become the first of the Sunni tribal leaders to declare war on the terrorists to whom, until now, they have given safe haven.
He is well-placed to do so – his al-Karabla tribe lives around the desert city of Al Qaim, near the Syrian border in Anbar province, the Sunni insurgents’ stronghold.
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Sheikh Jadaan’s armed followers claim to have arrested and killed 300 would-be jihadis entering from Syria, many bound for service as suicide bombers with Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
“I am doing this job because the foreign terrorists kill the civilians,” said Sheikh Jadaan, 52, at his heavily guarded villa. “None of them ever attack the Americans except occasionally, they just attack the innocents…”