Anbar eyes Political Battle as Displaced Return

The city is known for successfully withstanding an 18-month siege imposed by IS.

Sheikh Awad Osman is the leader of the Jughayfa tribal militia in Haditha and will be running on the National Movement for Development and Reform list, better known as Al-Hal, Osman told Al-Monitor. Al-Hal is led by Jamal Karbouly, a former head of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society.

“The war against IS has been won on the ground and now is the time to win the war against the IS mentality,” Karbouly said, through greater attention to education.

“More than 209 parties are registered in Iraq” for the May 2018 elections, Karbouly noted in an interview with Al-Monitor at his home in Haditha as several young tribal fighters looked on, “but we don’t know yet what all the alliances will be.”

Over 24 million people are said to be eligible to vote in the elections nationwide.

A number of smaller parties have sprung up in recent times, including one called Ahrar al-Furat under local Sheikh Abdullah al-Jughayfa, who is known for his colorful turbans, dark sunglasses and missing limbs, which he told Al-Monitor had been caused in 1998 in an unexploded ordnance incident.

Some of Jughayfa’s fighters and now assistants in his political campaign had previously spent several years in the notorious Camp Bucca on what he said were false accusations of links to al-Qaeda, a common occurrence in the area. They later went on to fight against IS.

General security along major roads seems good in the province, as Al-Monitor can attest to after traveling both alone and with security forces several times in recent months from Baghdad to Haditha and other cities. This female reporter did not experience any problems traveling alone other than being held up at checkpoints for lengthy periods despite obtaining prior authorization and holding an international press card.

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