Tribal fighters take part in a military training to prepare for fighting against Islamic State militants, at the Ain al-Assad military base in Anbar province November 15, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
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Islamic State's systematic massacre of hundreds of Iraq's Albu Nimr tribe should have been an unmistakable wake up call for a country that may not be able to stabilise without long-term support from Sunni tribesmen.The Albu Nimr were one of the Sunni tribes that helped the U.S. Marines defeat al Qaeda in Iraq's vast Western Anbar province during the 2006-2007 "surge" offensive, a strategy Washington hopes Iraq can now repeat against Islamic State.An Albu Nimr leader told Reuters that about 3,000 fighters were primed and ready to join up with Iraqi forces at the Ain al-Asad base, but security forces would only allow about 100 Albu Nimr members of them to gather there.That mistrust goes both ways: About two weeks before Dempsey arrived, word spread that Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia fighters were gearing up to help the Albu Nimr. But Anbar council chief Karhoot likened the Shi'ite militias fighters to Islamic State militants and said he would not work with them.Other parts of Iraq are also complaining that the Baghdad government should be doing more to reach out to them.
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