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Deep Breath: Sons of Iraq Now in Iraqi Government’s Hands « The Washington Independent

The U.S.military announced today that it has just signed its final paychecks for one of the riskier programs it’s ever undertaken: inducing the coalescence of ex-Sunni insurgents into the quasi-governmental militias called the Sons of Iraq. The program was hated and opposed by the Shiite-led government, and now that government is in control of it, officially beginning its payroll to the militias on April 1.

This program has always represented a division between U.S. goals in Iraq and those of the Shiite government. The United States wanted to reduce its pool of enemies in Iraq and give them a stake in the government. But the Shiite leadership wanted to ensure a stable future for a Shiite-run state. One of the more hopeful signs in Iraq these days is that the Shiites do not appear to be thinking in zero-sum terms anymore. But they still fear that the armed Sunnis aim to infiltrate and subvert a still-weak state, and that can spool off into dangerous directions.

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