Sunni Militia’s Struggle for Relevance


A bomb attack outside an Iraqi military base has killed scores of Sunni Sahwa militiamen who were queuing for their wages. The manner in which the men died seems to embody their leaders’ concerns: picked out by vengeful enemies at the gates of an institution that remains wary of them. The Sahwa (Awakening) fighters partnered the US against their former allies in al-Qaeda – but now feel betrayed by the Iraqi state.

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Analysis: Iraq’s military landscape

A survey of the armed groups in Iraq, from the US-led coalition to the militias and insurgents. Written on the eve of the handover of power to an interim government, as it was becoming clear that the dissolution of the Iraqi army had swelled the insurgents’ ranks. Analysis for BBC News. June 2004.