Accessibility links

Breaking News

Exiled Sunni Leaders Say Iraq In 'Popular Revolt'

Iraqi security forces pull down a flag belonging to Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during a patrol in the town of Dalli Abbas in Diyala Province last month.

Iraqi Sunni leaders in exile say the seizure of large swaths of territory in northern and western Iraq last month by Sunni-led militants was the result of a "popular revolt" against the Shi’a-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

About 300 Sunni clerics, tribal leaders, insurgent commanders, and businessmen attended a closed-door meeting in Amman, Jordan, about the situation in Iraq on July 16.

Abdelmalek al-Saadi, a senior Sunni cleric, said after the meeting that fighters from the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were only part of a “revolt carried out by the tribes” in Sunni areas.

Ahmad Dabash, a commander of an Iraqi nationalist militant group called the Islamic Army of Iraq, emerged from the meeting with a call for Arab countries to support what he called a "legitimate revolt” in Iraq.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP