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Pro-US Tribal Leaders to Head for DC
Shaykh: "Awakening" Intends to Propose Reinstatement of Iraqi Army Officers
10/29/2007 7:24 PM ET
Ahmad Abu Risha, at the funeral of his assassinated brother, Abd al-Sattar, in Ramadi last month.
AFP.
Ahmad Abu Risha, at the funeral of his assassinated brother, Abd al-Sattar, in Ramadi last month.

A US-allied tribal leader intends to travel to Washington to meet with top US officials, and will propose the reinstatement of high-ranking Iraqi officers from the former Iraqi Army.

Ahmad Abu Risha, the head of the "Iraq Awakening Movement" said that the Awakening organization and some of the tribal heads have submitted a formal petition to the US Department of State to travel to Washington to meet with the American president and with US officials to discuss improving the security and economic situation in Iraq, al-Malaf Press writes in Arabic.

The tribal leader, who succeeded his assassinated brother, Abd al-Sattar Abu Risha, told al-Malaf Press that, "From our side, we will raise a number of points with US President George Bush and officials in the White House, the most basic of them being the ways to support the Iraqi security forces to become self-sufficient in addressing any foreign challenge, and to stamp out the intelligence role that neighboring countries, and its influence on the security and political situation in Iraq."

The delegation will raise the idea of the return of the former officers in the disbanded Iraqi Army, specifically high-ranking officers, to benefit from their accumulated battlefield expertise, he said, mentioning especially that he saw a role for the former officers' expertise in defending the borders of Iraq from any foreign designs, the Iraqi news agency writes.

Although he was not reported to have referred to any other countries by name, Abu Risha is likely making reference to Iran in his concerns about Iraq's borders and issues of foreign influence.

Abu Risha added that the delegation to Washington would also be prepared to discuss ways of addressing the deteriorating economic situation in Iraq, and how to improve the opportunities for work and how to overcome the pervasive unemployment in the country, suggesting a campaign to build the country's infrastructure. The tribal leader also said he would discuss ways of bringing Iraq out of its political logjam between the political blocs and parties, looking to urge these parties towards reconciliation and rapprochement for the sake of saving Iraq from security deterioration, and working to spread the spirit of love, peace, and cooperation between the opposed political forces, for the sake of pushing national reconciliation forward, al-Malaf Press adds.

The report does not indicate the intended date of the tribal delegation to Washington.

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