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Video by Lucas MENGET

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2008-11-04

American troops have managed to complete many missions successfully due to assistance provided by al Sahwa militia. These former anti-American Sunni fighters changed sides one year ago to help US troops fight al Qaeda.

One year ago, few anti-American fighters chose to change sides. Since then, the al-Sahwa militia members, who are under little control of the Iraqi government, have been working more for the Americans.


Sunni militia
A commander of the al-Sahwa Sunni militia on November 1, 2008. Those men have been wearing the Iraqi uniform for only one month.


“They continue to work with us, they are the ones who renewed our badge. The Iraqi Army doesn’t do anything for us. It came once to note down our names and that’s it”, a member of the militia told FRANCE 24.

These militia men and their chief fear an alliance between the Iraqi government and their powerful neighbour Iran.


Sunni militia
Al-Sawha Sunni fighters patrol the streets of Adhamiyah on November 1, 2008.
Sunni militia

“Our government doesn’t budge without Iran’s approval. I prefer spying for the Americans rather than the Iranians because the Americans will leave one day. The Iranians are embedded in our system”, says Abu Omar, chief of the Al Sahwa militia in Adhamiyah.

For the militia the Americans are less of a problem: they are seen a rampart against the Al Qaida and Shiite militia helped by Iran.


Sunni militia
Those women are finding it hard to supply their household with water in the Sunni neighbourhood of Adhamiyah, where the Shiite government does little to help.


Sunni militia
Illegal wires connect the nieghbourhood’s homes to an electricity pole.


Date created : 2008-11-03