RealNews

US bids to stop Saddam-era enmities sparking tribal clashes in Iraq

The US army gathered sheikhs in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriyah after land disputes from the Saddam Hussein era sparked threats of violence among the region’s powerful tribes. The sheikhs arrived at the main US military base here in their traditional robes for the talks aimed at calming disputes between former exiles who charge their lands were confiscated during the ousted Sunni Muslim strongman’s brutal rule over the Shiite south and landowners who say they have been dipossessed by the returnees. US commanders stressed that they had no powers to adjudicate the disputes themselves — their aim was purely to defuse the threat of violence between the returnees and those who found a way to cohabit with the Saddam regime. “Until a new government is formed, we can take no decisions about the ownership of land — our main priority is to prevent any conflicts arising in the meantime,” US army civil affairs officer Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Bryant said Monday. Full Story

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