Iraq's Shiite-dominated government is demanding that Sunni militias who are helping fight Islamic extremists eventually disband, fearing they will otherwise turn into their own military force. The militias, called Awakening Councils, or Concerned Local Citizens, comprise more than 70,000 Iraqis, including former insurgents, and are funded by the United States.
"We completely, absolutely reject the Awakening becoming a third military organization," said Iraq's defense minister. The government promises to hire a quarter of the Sunni militiamen into its security forces and provide vocational training to the rest for other jobs, but will deny them separate headquarters. Violence in Iraq has dropped 60% in the past half year.