American soldiers in Baghdad's violent Amiriyah district of have formed an unlikely alliance in an effort to root out al-Qaeda In Iraq. US troops are giving guns, and even the power of arrest, to a Sunni paramilitary group—and a week into the partnership, they’ve helped kill or capture as many al-Qaeda In Iraq members as Americans did during the previous six months.
Some are encouraged by the success, likening the outfit—who call themselves the Baghdad Patriots—to minutemen defending their homes during the American Revolution. Others are less sure, questioning the group's ultimate allegiance to the Maliki government. But for many, desperation is the only ethic that counts. "Hell, nothing else has worked in Amiriyah," said one colonel.