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Iraq's Defense Minister Wants Sunni Patrols To Integrate

By Can Tran     Dec 22, 2007 in World
There has been a warning issued over Sunni patrols. The Iraqi government has warned that it will not allow the US-backed patrols to become a “third force” alongside both the police and the army.
Iraq’s defense minister, General Abdel Qader Jassim has said that the US-backed Sunni-dominated patrols should be integrated into the regular mainstream Iraqi security forces. The recent drop of violence in Iraq has been credited to the Sunni-dominated patrols.
According to correspondents, Shia leaders are afraid that the Sunni-led patrols will turn against them after the US forces leave the country.
We categorically reject them [the neighborhood patrols] turning into a third military organization,” Mr. Jassim explains. He is too a Sunni Arab. This was at a joint press conference with Jawad al-Bolani, Iraq’s Interior Minister.
Currently, the patrols consist of at least 71,000 men. A good number of these men are former insurgents turning on Al-Qaeda. They have once fought against both US troops and the Shia-led government of Iraq.
The members are paid $10 a day by US authorities. Next year, Iraq’s government will be responsible for paying the patrols. At the joint conference, they would only pay the patrols if twenty-percent of them integrate into the regular security forces.
For the other patrol members, they said they promise to provide vocational training for the remaining members for a smooth transition into civilian life.
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