Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, September 2008
Responsibility US-Recruited Sahwa Fighters Transferred to Iraqi Government, as US Forces May Leave Iraq by July 2009
Sahwa fighters have been recruited by US forces to fight Iraqi organizations which oppose US forces. They represent Iraqization of the war, a form of which was used in Vietnam (Vietnamization of the war). This measure is apparently aiming at absorbing them by the US-backed Iraqi government forces, as preparation for the US withdrawal from Iraq by July 2009.
Sahwa fighters to receive their salaries starting Oct.
Thursday , 04 /09 /2008 Time 10:30:04
Baghdad - Voices of Iraq
BAGHDAD, Sept. 4 (VOI) –
The Iraqi government will begin paying Sahwa fighters their salaries starting next month, an official spokesperson for the government said on Thursday.
"Starting October 1, the government will pay Sahwa fighters their salaries and will be responsible for supervising these groups, whose number is estimated at 50,000," Dabbagh said in an exclusive statement to Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI).
Nearly 20 percent of those fighters will join the security forces, which have thus far taken 6,000 of them. Others will be given civilian jobs or will undertake vocational training in centers that will be set up for this purpose, the spokesperson explained.
The Sahwa councils are anti-Qaeda fighters working in coordination with the Multi-National Force (MNF) and the Iraqi government.
These councils were set up in a number of Iraqi provinces such as Al-Anbar, Diala, Ninewa, and Salah al-Din with the aim of bolstering political and local tribal powers to fight armed groups, particularly al-Qaeda network, in those areas. These councils are usually led by tribal chiefs or notables in the provinces.
U.S troops could leave Iraq by July 2009-Petraeus
General David Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq, said he would call for the pullout of U.S. combat troops from Baghdad within 10 months in his report to Congress because of declining violence in the Iraqi capital.
Petraeus's comments came as the United States and Iraq seek to finalize a security pact that will govern the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq after a United Nations (UN) mandate expires at the end of the year.
Petraeus told reporters in Baghdad he recommended the withdrawal of troops from Iraq in a report to be submitted to Congress in two weeks, citing "increasing capabilities of Iraqi forces to conduct security operations without the help of Multi-National troops in most of Iraqi areas."
Asked whether it was feasible that U.S. combat forces could leave Baghdad by July 2009, Petraeus said: "Conditions permitting."
"The number of attacks in Baghdad lately has been ... I think it's probably less than five (a day) on average, and that's a city of seven million people," he added.
The U.S. military handed over on Monday (the security of) Iraq's Anbar province to Iraqi forces less than two years after it almost lost the western region to armed groups.
Al-Anbar was the 11th of Iraq's 18 provinces to be returned to Iraqi control since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Iraqi leaders have said the U.S. and Iraq have agreed on a 2011 date for U.S. troops to leave the country, but U.S. officials said negotiations were continuing. Washington has been reluctant to embrace fixed timetables for withdrawal.
The terms of the future U.S. troop presence in Iraq are under close
scrutiny as the United States prepares for a presidential election in
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