Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Iraq operation gets surprise support

A massive military operation in Diyala province has underscored the military and political gains by the Sahwa militia, despite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's earlier attempts to thwart them. Maliki has now apparently come around to involving the Sahwa rather than opposing them.

The Sahwa are the "Awakening Forces" created and paid by the U.S. military to co-opt militants and fight al-Qaeda, but they have become a force of their own parallel to the military and the police.

They are a mostly Sunni militia of about 90,000, comprising mostly former anti-occupation resistance fighters and even al-Qaeda members. Each member is paid $300 monthly.

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