On many occasions, I raise a question to many speakers and graduate students: Does tribe trump religion or does religion trump tribe? The answers are interesting, intriguing, and important because of the social fabric throughout the MENA region. What is occurring today in Iraq's al-Anbar province is a case in point.
Al-Qaeda purge through tribal cooperation
Yes, there will be more violence, and yes, there will be more attempts at igniting a sectarian battle. But make no mistake: clearly, tribalism is trumping religion in al-Anbar province and that fact will win concessions from Baghdad in the future.Dr. Theodore Karasik
Jumping forward to late 2013, al-Anbar residents began to protest against Baghdad's will. The protests were based on tribal elites and their denizens seeking greater rights against the central government including greater subsidies and improvements in housing, education and infrastructure.