Our country is at war. The authorities are carrying out numerous attacks against Sunni terrorists implanted in the region. In this context, there have been abuses, for example arrests based solely on anonymous denunciations; baseless detentions and home searches; etc.
Little by little, members of al Qaeda have joined civilian protesters’ ranks, which is why the camp was dismantled. But what needs to be understood is that there are armed groups everywhere in Iraq. In Shiite cities, there are armed Shiite groups, and in Sunni cities, there’s al Qaeda. But since al Qaeda targets the government [which is dominated by Shiites] and civilians, the government fights back.
It’s a vicious circle: since al Qaeda is present in Al Anbar province, the Iraqi army keeps carrying out attacks there, and each time, the local population gets angrier and angrier. And al Qaeda’s popularity grows. They create divisions between the federal government and local leaders. But they’re not the only ones to manipulate the population like this: Sunni members of parliament and the Shiite government also use this conflict to garner votes.
"Another goal is to reinforce security on the border with Syria"
Another goal of this operation was to take back control of the road, and thereby reinforce security on the border with Syria, which is really easy to cross at the moment. Al Qaeda fighters go from one country to the other as they please.
Generally, local residents side with their tribal chiefs. But the chiefs are divided: some support the government’s actions, because they themselves have been victims of al Qaeda. Others meanwhile support the terrorists, because their sons are fighting with al Qaeda, because they are against military operations in the region, or simply for religious reasons.