The U.S.-backed Iraqi government has struck against the “Sons of Iraq,” Sunni paramilitary fighters who have taken U.S. money to turn against al-Qaeda in Iraq and who now believe they are being betrayed as the Americans prepare to withdraw.
Leila Fadel, Baghdad bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers, says the Maliki government is afraid of the power that “the Sons of Iraq” have accumulated in Sunni areas. The government also suspects that these former insurgents may switch allegiance once more.
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On the other hand, Fadel says these Sunni fighters believe they are now being persecuted. Some leaders have fled into exile or into hiding, and at least one is believed to have been beaten to death by government forces.
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