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US shuns tribal leaders who claim to have infiltrated IS

A group of tribal sheikhs want to visit Washington to convince US officials to drop Baghdad and give them direct support.
Ali Hatem Suleiman, head of the Dulaimi tribe that dominates the Sunni heartland Anbar province, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Arbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, August 15, 2014. Suleiman, one of Iraq's most powerful Sunni tribal leaders, said on Friday he was ready to work with the new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, provided he protected the rights of the minority sect, which was marginalised by his predecessor. Picture taken August 15, 2014.   REUTERS/Stringer
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Iraqi tribal leaders on the front lines of the battle against the Islamic State (IS) are being denied an audience in Washington as the Barack Obama administration focuses instead on working with Baghdad.

Several tribal sheikhs say their tribes have infiltrated IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL, on both sides of the border with Syria and are ready to share valuable information with the US military that could be used to locate hostages, target supply routes and monitor recruitment efforts. There’s a catch, though: The United States must deal directly with them, not with a central government that they see as little more than a stooge for Iran that has been oppressing them for the past decade.

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