Iraqi Army to Cordon Off Falluja Before Tribes Try to Retake Control, U.S. Says

WASHINGTON — Providing new details about the Iraqi government’s effort to regain control of a key Sunni city now occupied by jihadists, a senior State Department official said on Wednesday that the Iraqi Army planned to cordon off the city so Sunni tribes could try to secure it one neighborhood at a time.

“The plan is to have the tribes out in front, but with the army’s support,” said Brett McGurk, the top State Department official on Iraq and Iran, describing preparations to try to oust the jihadists from Falluja, a key city in Anbar Province.

Mr. McGurk, who recently met with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad, was testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

But he cautioned that Iraqi forces were facing well-equipped fighters from the group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, including snipers armed with .50-caliber rifles, making for potentially difficult street-to-street fighting.

RELATED COVERAGE

Islamic Militants Extend Battle Into Another Iraqi ProvinceFEB. 5, 2014

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said on Wednesday, in a weekly address, that “the battle is about to end in Anbar.”

Spoken like a true politician, as the battle changes directions.

As for the battle beginning in Falluja, the Tribes should feel just as secure with the Iraqi Army at their backs, as the Iraqi Army feels with Syria in the corridor behind them that they cordoned off.

via Iraqi Army to Cordon Off Falluja Before Tribes Try to Retake Control, U.S. Says – NYTimes.com.

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