Sheikh Aifan Saadoun al-Issawi, chairman of the security committee in the Anbar Provincial Council, says the influence of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups is coming to an end.
He said Iraqi forces have all but eliminated the terrorists' sources of funding and killed or arrested their most important leaders in recent years.
During an interview at his office in Ramadi, al-Issawi discussed the progress Iraqi forces have made fighting terrorism.
Mawtani: How is the current security situation in Anbar?
Sheikh Aifan Saadoun al-Issawi: The security situation is good, compared with previous years. The reason for that is support provided by the government for the development of police and army forces and for the training of security members and officers to establish security and stability. This is in addition to the successful security operations that security forces have recently carried out.
The security situation in every district and sub-district of Anbar is largely stable. This has been achieved thanks to the cooperation of Iraqi tribes and citizens with the security agencies in chasing wanted individuals and uncovering the strongholds of terrorists who target innocent civilians.
Mawtani: Are al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups still operating in the province?
Al-Issawi: The case of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization and the rest of the criminal groups is about to end and we are about to turn its last page. There are many reasons for this, such as the loss of their sources of financing, the ability of Iraqi forces to discover their strongholds, and the arrests of their top leaders who were involved in killing innocent people and targeting state institutions.
Another reason is the cooperation of tribes, tribal sheikhs and even young students in finding suspects and arresting or killing the terrorists.
Mawtani: How many security breaches are there today as compared with years past?
Al-Issawi: There were too many security breaches in 2005 and 2006. However, it is clear that since 2007, security breaches have largely dropped. For example, we recorded 13 security breaches per day on average in previous years. This year, we are recording three to six security breaches a month, which is a very low rate.
In addition, the number of victims, whether martyrs or wounded, was high during the years of security tensions due to terrorist acts. However, today, there is a big difference as compared to the past.
Mawtani: What is your evaluation of the army and police forces in Anbar?
Al-Issawi: In the past two months, a study was conducted and Anbar Provincial Council and security leaders implemented it to identify problems and obstacles hindering security development and to evaluate general performance. Based on the results, new divisions were created in the security agencies to provide the services that citizens need.
The proof of the success of Iraqi forces and their disciplined work is that they have moved from security work alone to include service work. They support state projects and launch many cleaning and renovation campaigns, such as removing waste and barriers, supporting government institutions, and training young people in various industrial trades and crafts in areas across Anbar.