Saudis urge Iraqi tribes to reject ISIS

After encouraging Sunni tribes in Iraq to help undermine the country’s Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Saudi Arabia is now asking tribal leaders to support a new priority: fighting the insurgency led by the group that calls itself Islamic State, which the kingdom sees as an existential threat, the officials say.

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These people say they hope the shift will weaken the Islamic State’s bed of support in Sunni-majority western Iraq, help cripple the insurgency and smooth the way for broader Sunni participation in a new government in Baghdad that is now in negotiation.

They also hope that the confluence of interests between Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and Shiite-led Iran in defeating the Islamic State—which stunned the region when it seized huge swaths of Iraqi territory last month—mark a first step toward easing the destructive rivalry between the two powerful countries.

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