BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN):...reports have emerged this year of tensions between Sunni fighters and the Sunni-dominated al Qaeda in Iraq, particularly from Anbar province, long a favored turf for indigenous Sunni insurgents and foreign fighters infiltrating Iraq from Syria.
The unconfirmed reports from tribal leaders to Iraqi government officials indicate that Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed Tuesday in fighting between al Qaeda militants and Sunni tribal fighters from Abu Ghraib and Falluja...
Sunni insurgents and the so-called Sunni resistance are still forces that must be reckoned with, as well," Petraeus said. "However, while we continue to battle a number of such groups, we are seeing some others joining Sunni Arab tribes in turning against al Qaeda in Iraq and helping transform Anbar province and other areas from being assessed as lost as little as six months ago to being relatively heartening."
Petraeus said the United States "will continue to engage with Sunni tribal sheikhs and former insurgent leaders to support the newfound opposition of some to al Qaeda, ensuring that their fighters join legitimate Iraqi security force elements to become part of the fight against extremists." He said it is part of the effort to "reach out to moderate members of all sects and ethnic groups to try to drive a wedge between the irreconcilables and the reconcilables, and help the latter become part of the solution instead of part of the problem."
...One Iraqi villager, Abu Miriam, told CNN that locals have tired of al Qaeda. He says his people began fighting U.S. forces, but foreigners infiltrated their ranks. "If you talk against them, they let you go at first, then come back and behead you later," he said. Asked what would become of him if al Qaeda knew he was talking, Abu Miriam replied, "I will be killed. In fact, slaughtered, slaughtered with a knife." These tensions provoke the tribes' Salvation Council to work alongside U.S. Marines and soldiers. Full story.
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Above: UK 1st Battalion Royal Highland Fusiliers (1RHF) annual exercise, Band of Sisters. Held at Episkopi, Cyprus.
Above: The first major combat operation of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) in Afghanistan, El Dorado, coincided with the last in the ULYSSES-series missions.
Iraq: Spanish forces prepare to board a ship.