Al-Anbar Troubles Not New

Al-Anbar province in Iraq is a problem and will have to be dealt with over time, says Army Gen. John Abizaid. The CENTCOM chief told reporters Tuesday that securing Baghdad is still the coalition’s priority, despite the growing difficulty of quelling violence and establishing effective governance in Iraq’s largest province, Al-Anbar. The general referenced a recent Marine Corps report that cast a dire view of the Al-Anbar situation, but he held firm in the belief that “Al-Anbar is not a decisive point, Baghdad is.” Abizaid did concede that the province “is a violent area, a tribal area, a tough area,” but he added that it was never well policed under any regime. Abizaid did note, however, that several tribal groups out there are attacking al-Qaeda themselves because they are tired of the violence.