RAMADI, Iraq, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida in Iraq is finished and the remaining battles will be fought among the political parties at the ballot box, a Sunni tribal leader said.
"Al-Qaida does not pose any danger to Iraq anymore, and it is finished. The real danger are those that fight us in the name of legitimacy and religion," said Ali Hatim with the National Front for the Salvation of Iraq.
The organization is a newly formed coalition representing several prominent Sunni tribes in Iraq and includes the Anbar Awakening Councils.
Hatim aimed his rhetoric squarely at the Sunni Islamic Party of Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, saying his group was "waging a battle of destiny" against the party, London newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported Thursday.
"Had it not been for the intervention of the government and the U.S. forces, this party would not have lasted for two days in Anbar," he said.
He also blamed the Islamic Party for cooperating with al-Qaida to form illegitimate Awakening Councils elsewhere in the country.
The Sunni sheik said his party would seek the preservation of tribal and national unity in the upcoming elections, blaming rival parties for exploiting Islam to take advantage of the Iraqi people.
"These Islamic parties want to marginalize the role of Iraq and steal the people's funds in the name of religion and the sect," he said.