Tribal leader: Iraqi troops in Anbar could ‘collapse within hours’

Updated 9:08 AM EST, Sun February 15, 2015
Iraqi security forces patrol the Najaf governorate border on January 24, 2015.
HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty/File
Iraqi security forces patrol the Najaf governorate border on January 24, 2015.
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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May).
Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks.
One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî.
His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack.
He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group.
Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems.
All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017.
Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June.
Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself.
ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty.
ìThe judge will now deci
Greater Manchester Police
A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May). Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks. One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî. His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack. He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group. Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems. All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017. Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June. Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself. ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty. ìThe judge will now deci
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
AP
FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. 
The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold.
 / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold. / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
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Story highlights

Tribal leader warns of a massacre if ISIS moves into Anbar province town

He says ISIS is gaining ground in the Iraqi province, which is just west of Baghdad

CNN —  

An Iraqi tribal leader said Saturday that ISIS militants are gaining ground in Anbar province, predicting a “collapse within hours” of Iraqi army forces there if tribal forces withdraw.

Sheikh Naim al-Gaoud, a Sunni Muslim leader of the Albu Nimr tribe, called for more U.S. intervention – including ground troops, arming tribes directly or at least pressuring the Iraqi government to give the tribes more firepower.

While U.S. officials have said that ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, is on the defensive in Iraq and Syria, al-Gaoud says that’s definitely not the case where he is.

“In Anbar, we are losing ground, not gaining,” he said.

Thousands of families had been under siege in the town of Jubbat al-Shamiya until getting help Friday from U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and Iraqi forces, according to al-Gaoud.

But he said Iraqi troops had pulled out of Jubbat al-Shamiya on Saturday, at which time ISIS was shelling the town.

If the Islamist extremist group’s fighters go in, al-Gaoud predicted a massacre.

Key base attacked

Anbar province is just west of Baghdad, meaning a decisive ISIS victory would put militants on the footsteps of the Iraqi capital. It’s home to the strategic Ayn al-Assad Air Base, which came under attack Friday.

Talking about that battle, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said 20 to 25 people – most, if not all, of whom were wearing Iraqi military uniforms and were led by suicide bombers – attacked the nearly 25-square-mile base.

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“It looks like (ISIS militants) at least got to the outer base limits,” Kirby said.

At least 13 Iraqi soldiers died in the assault, said al-Gaoud, which ended with Iraqi ground forces killing all the attackers.

U.S. troops were on the base at the time, but “several kilometers” from where the fighting happened, Kirby said. The U.S. military did deploy attack helicopters in that ISIS assault, but the Apaches returning safely without firing a shot, military sources said.

American helicopter gunships were also involved in a fight supporting Iraqi ground forces about 15 kilometers (9 miles) north in the Anbar town of al-Baghdadi, according to sources.

Al-Gaoud, the Albu Mimr tribal leader, said militants killed at least 25 Iraqi police officers during their assault on that town Thursday and Friday.

On Saturday, the U.S. military said al-Baghdadi was “contested,” as Iraqi forces fought back.

Anbar province key in multiple ways

Anbar is important not just for its location, for the al-Assad base or for the Haditha dam, Iraq’s second largest. It’s significant for its sectarian breakdown – as a mostly Sunni province in a Shiite-led country.

Sectarian divisions have hurt Iraq before, with ISIS’ rampage through much of Iraq (as well as neighboring Syria) blamed in part to the country’s lack of unity. It’s one reason for then-Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s exit last year, replaced by current leader Haider al-Abadi.

The U.S. government has gotten involved to address such tensions as part of its anti-terrorism fight, such as President Barack Obama’s warning last June – a few months before al-Maliki stepped down – that “there won’t be a military solution” unless Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds all play significant parts in Iraq’s command structure.

Years before, in the mid-2000s, the United States recruited and paid Sunnis like members of al-Gaoud’s Albu Mimr tribe to join its fight against al Qaeda. Those efforts helped turn the tide in the war.

But now, al-Gaoud says, ISIS – which consists of Sunni extremists – is making his tribe pay the price.

“There are people who will be killed in cold blood, and there will be more massacres,” al-Gaoud told CNN in November. “We are getting killed because of our friendship with the Americans. Does a friend abandon his friend like this?”