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Iraqi Tribal Leaders Could Support Gov’t, Fight Islamic State

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Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq have said they conditionally support Prime Minister-designate Haidar al-Abadi and could join in the fight against Islamic State militants.

Ali Hatem Suleiman, an influential tribal leader in the western Anbar Province, said he was willing to work with Abadi if he respects the rights of the Sunni community.

Taha Muhammad al-Hamdoon, a spokesman for Sunni tribal and clerical leaders, told Reuters that Sunni representatives throughout Iraq had drawn up a list of demands for the new government.

Many foreign and domestic leaders are hoping Abadi will persuade the tribal leaders — who have sided with IS insurgents because of their opposition to outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki — to change sides and support the government.

The Sunni tribes support for U.S.-led forces in Iraq between 2006 and 2009 was decisive in defeating Al-Qaeda.

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