Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Interview With Sheikh Ali Hatem Al Sleiman (Updated)

Following are excerpts from an interview with Sheikh Ali Hatem Ali Sleiman of the Al-Anbar Salvation Council, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on September 24, 2007.


Ali Hatem Ali Seliman: We must distinguish between the noble and courageous resistance and those reckless, filthy people, who have come here – each with hair down to his knees. Brother, we must distinguish between black and white. In Iraq, the word "resistance" has become derogatory, because of the confusion in terms. It's best to speak out so that everybody in Iraq knows: The Al-Anbar Salvation Council, the Al-Anbar tribes and their military wing, and all the good people of Al-Anbar have never brandished their weapons against any patriot fighting the occupation. By Allah, this has never happened. We have used our weapons only against those extremist, filthy people, who have created this confusion, and made the world view us with contempt. Our role is to deal a blow to Al-Qaeda and the militias, wherever they may be. The militias, by the way, also play a role in Iraq, when it comes to the displacement of people and mass murder.
[...]
Ali Hatem Ali Seliman: Let the American president know that when the heroes of the Iraq tribes... Neither he nor Rice – that sheep who drove our people out of their homes – nor anybody else will be able to enter Al-Anbar, when the people of Al-Anbar get the province and all of Iraq on their feet.
[...]
Ali Hatem Ali Seliman: [The Americans say]: "Our forces liberated Al-Anbar." What, your forces liberated Al-Anbar?! With all due respect, that is disgraceful. What, your forces are capable of liberating Al-Anbar? Your forces got into trouble, just like us. The American army got into several problems: It should be in charge of traffic, it should be in charge of building, whatever. We all got into trouble because of the democracy of the "effendi" Bush. [Bush] was not welcome in Al-Anbar. No one knew he was coming for a visit. It does not honor us in any way to host someone like that. We have nothing to do with him. Politically, we have people who represent us on the Al-Anbar Awakening Council and the Al-Anbar Salvation Council. Let them reach understandings with [the Americans]. We have nothing to do with any politician – not the president and not politicians of lower rank.
[...]
Ali Hatem Ali Seliman: By Allah, shame on people who say that the Al-Qaeda members are Iraqis. Them, Iraqis? Who attacked us? Weren't we attacked from Dhahran and the other Saudi airfields? Weren't we attacked by American missiles and planes which came from Arab countries? Those despicable people should be ashamed of themselves. All they have learned is to say meaningless things. They should stop exporting their Salafis... Not Salifis, I mean those extremists, who were sent to Iraq to wage Jihad. Let them wage Jihad in their own countries. Syria is occupied by Israel, and the Arab countries are occupied by American and foreign bases.
[...]
Ali Hatem Ali Seliman: Listen, my friend, let me tell you one thing. I swear by God that whoever sets a foot on Iraqi soil and dares to insult us and our honor – we will wipe the floor with him, get it?
[...]
Interviewer: Sheik, from where do you get all your aid, money, and weapons?
Ali Hatem Ali Seliman: Oh, do me a favor! The Saudis know all about the weapons we have. Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Jordan have complained about [weapon] smuggling. In the days of Saddam, even helicopters were smuggled. Four-barrel and single-barrel missile launchers, mortar, rockets, PKCs – we tribes have all that. Brother, we don't have to beg anyone for these weapons. As for finances, what has the Iraqi government ever given us? I challenge anybody who says that I took a single dirham. Some time ago, on Al-Arabiya TV, or perhaps it was your channel, that black woman from the American embassy said that they were allocating 26 billion dollars to support the tribes. I don't want their billions, and we didn't get a single dirham from them.

The link to the whole interview is here (Arabic)

I watched Sheikh Ali on a number of occasions and on different Arab channels. His concept is simple: the unity of Iraq, purging Al Qaeda elements from other Iraqi provinces, but this is new, by confirming that "the Awakenning" of Al Anbar province was independent from any US support, or let me say, it is the first time I hear / read Sheikh Ali mentioning the issue of US support in that context.

Update: below is another video interview with Al Jazeera



8 comments:

Abbey said...

Mix, can you explain to me, who is this man...who does he represent

MixMax said...

Abbey,
Al Al Sleiman is a member of the Anbar Salvation Council (or what is known now as "Al Anbar Awakening Movement". He is the leader of one of tribes in western Iraq; the Ameer (prince) of Al Duleem tribes.

Some call him a hero, because of his hard line stand (and sometimes short tempered reaction) regarding a number of very essential issues related to the current events in Iraq. Many people liked his strong statements regarding his dispise towards the concept of division between Iraqi Sunni and Shiite. In addition, his determination to crack down on al Qaeda from all Iraq and not only in Anbar province has became like his theme, especially during interviews on TVs and newspapers with the use of his own tribal dialect and strong words. However, some condemn him because he never publicly called for withdrawal of US forces from Iraq - and sometimes he warned from full withdrawal of these forces under the current circumstances; This interview clarify this issue, and focuses mainly on whether the Anbar Salvation Council is getting US support or not in dealing with Al Qaeda!

On every interview on Arabic media and since April 2007 (the date announced full purge of Al Qaeda from Anbar province) he appealed to prime minister Maliki to lend a hand to authorities in other provinces for the same purpose, but this request came into def ears, I guess, because no official reply from the government was sent back! He even called for participation in the current government as step forward towards full reconciliation.

MixMax said...

coincidently, today's news is related:
http://www.iraqsun.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/c31d0aaa23b24a75/id/302504/cs/1/

Abbey said...

Mix, I followed your link and got a story on brain surgury in the 'Iraq Sun' ...I dont know what i am doing wrong..A

Abbey said...

Mix, you say some call him a hero, and you say somelike his strong statements..what do you feel..

and will this man have a role in long-term Iraq stability..i apologise if this is a naive question, Im just trying to understand...A

MixMax said...

I am sorry, Abbey, this is the link:
http://www.iraqsun.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/c31d0aaa23b24a75/id/302504/cs/1/

MixMax said...

He is considered a hero by some people, as I said, because his statement is calling for unity and strength for all Iraqis, and rejects the current situation of having foreigners meddlling with the fate of Iraq. I guess his strong words comes from the power of winning a certain situation (represented in the purge of the province he and his fellow tribe's men are governning).

I don't know how his stand would help the long term stability in Iraq, because there are many challenges and factors we have to wait and see how would react to such emerging power of the 'awakening movement' in Iraq in general i.e. Mahdi army and Badr Brigade. Remember, the awakening movement delimma is spreading in different Sunni parts in Iraq, such as the one in Mosul now, which is in the making. The latter itself might have an impact to the Kurdish control over the north, no one knows!

To make long story short: it is unknown how and if he and others like Sheikh Ali would effect the long term stability in Iraq.

Abbey said...

Thank you Mix for explaining, I went and read some of his interviews and your right, he does speak strongly...but perhaps that is a good thing...especially if he is passionate, In Australia they would call him a 'no-Bullsh*t; kind of guy, and he would be admired for that...and your right on the long term thing, its hard to guess when the rules, the players and the game are changed so often, thank u for trying to explain it for me...I will keep reading