The Sons of Iraq, as the US military calls them, also known as the Sahwa or Awakening Councils, are mostly former insurgents who fought the Americans but have since transferred their loyalties to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq. They have played a key part in the sharp reduction in violence in Iraq over the last year.
The Iraqi government is to start paying the salaries of men transferred to its control - a monthly bill of some 15 million dollars - from November 10th. For the moment the transfer is limited to Baghdad.
Jay DESHMUKH, who is an AFP correspondent in Iraq.