The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Taruna Godric
416-916-5202 ext 432

Betrayed in Iraq

Leila Fadel: Leaders of Awakening Councils are arrested, tortured and killed by Iraq government


Violence is escalating
in Baghdad as the Iraqi government continues to detain leaders of the Sons of

The Sons of Iraq is a
group of former fighters who have turned on Al Qaeda and have been supporting
the US. The Maliki government is uncomfortable with the power the leaders of
the group have gained after being recruited and paid by US troops to patrol

The government is
trying to weaken these groups who were promised by the US their previous crimes
and violence would be forgotten. However, the Iraqi government did not forget
and is continuing to arrest and detain leaders, forcing many of them into

The Awakening Councils
of the Sons of Iraq have been suppressing Al Qaeda forces, but as their
movement is weakened by the recent arrests, concerns of other extremist forces

"One of the concerns
is that these guys themselves were the extremist forces in the streets and once
you started giving them cash, they stopped," said Leila Fadel, Baghdad Bureau
Chief at the McClatchy Newspapers. "The other issue is that if they're not in
the streets that the more extremist forces... will become more powerful in the
streets because they're not out there watching."

Although the amount of
people being detained is not large, the government has targeted significant members of the movement.

"It isn't a hundred thousand people being
detained, but there are hundreds of them... and the people that are
being detained or are in exile were the ones that were the faces of the
movement when it was really dangerous, when if you joined the police, you were
killed, when there were headless bodies in the streets of Diyala Province."

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