Forces Key to Iraq Security Lose Steam as US Hands Off

Shiite government isn't incorporating Sunni Sons of Iraq, or, worse, hunting them down
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Sep 30, 2008 1:18 PM CDT
An Awakening Council member stands guard in southern outskirts of Baghdad.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – As Iraq's Shia-led government assumes greater control of security, US soldiers fear the sudden disintegration of the 54,000-strong Sunni force that had been key to improving conditions there, the Washington Post reports. The government has pledged to hire 20% of the so-called Sons of Iraq, but that still leaves the haunting prospect of thousands of young men “unemployed, with weapons,” says a US captain.

Ethnic tensions and distrust plague the relationship between Iraqi police and the US-funded militias who helped curb violence in Iraq. American soldiers are setting aside money to keep paying the Sunni groups if the government does not, but the Sons say they also fear arrest, even death. “They will kill us, one by one,” says one member.