A leader of the powerful Sunni Albu Nimr tribe in Iraq's Anbar Province has warned that a severe ammunition shortage means it will be unable to continue fighting Islamic State (IS) militants.
Naim al-Kaud told the "Asharq al-Awsat" newspaper on December 8 that the tribe only had enough weapons to fight IS militants in Anbar for another five days. IS gunmen were equipped with modern weapons, Kaud said.
The Albu Nimr tribal leader said that the tribe's elders believed that the responsibility for providing reinforcements for Sunni tribes in Anbar lies with the Iraqi central government and not with the United States. For that reason, Kaud said Sunni tribes from Anbar did not participate in a recent delegation of Iraqi tribes to Washington and would not turn to Iran for help.
Over the past two months, IS gunmen have massacred hundreds of members of the Albu Nimr tribe in Anbar, saying that they did so because the tribe had fought against them.
The tribe's warning came as IS gunmen launched another major assault against the government complex in Anbar's provincial capital, Ramadi, one of the last remaining urban areas under Baghdad's control in Anbar Province.
According to an RFE/RL correspondent in Iraq, Islamic State launched the attack at 7 a.m. on December 8. Security forces were able to repel the attack, killing at least 22 of the gunmen, the correspondent said.
The attack was the latest of Islamic State's attempts to take Ramadi, which would be a significant gain for the militant group.
On November 25, after IS militants came within 20 meters of the provincial capital's government complexes in the city center, the Anbar Provincial Council warned that the militant group could overrun the city within 24 hours. Iraqi security forces managed to repel the gunmen, as they did in the December 8 attack.
However, the security situation in Ramadi remains extremely precarious. According to the RFE/RL correspondent, Islamic State gunmen also launched an assault on the Hawz district in the southwest of the city on December 8.
On December 3, Kurdish media outlet Rudaw quoted the chairman of Anbar's Provincial Council, Sabah Karhout, as saying that the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State had approved the creation of a 50,000-strong tribal force to fight the extremist group in Anbar.
While Karhout said that the coalition would "bear the expense of training and arming" the tribal force, the U.S. State Department said that the Iraqi government would organize the force with U.S. support.
-- Joanna Paraszczuk