Iraqi militiamen, who only a few months ago were planting roadside bombs targeted at the Americans, are now joining up with the US forces to expel al-Qaida from Iraq. While opposing the occupation, they see the Islamist insurgents of Ossama bin Laden as a much greater threat to Iraq.
While initially welcoming al-Qaida insurgents, they soon realised their true intentions when they started issuing religious edicts and insisting that the Iraqi army and police were apostates who should also be killed. Worse still were the attacks on civilians and the routine use of kidnapping to finance their operations. Disenchanted with al-Qaida’s real agenda, many of these militiamen (in fact at the rate of hundreds a day) are now signing up to the Iraqi army, or joining brigades to help drive bin Laden’s Islamist theo-thugs out.
Of course, turning against al-Qaida comes at a price. One militia leader, Sheikh Karrar, has survived a sniper attack, seen his house blown up and several of his relatives have been killed.
Journalist Ibrahim Mohammed reports the full story for (South African) News24.com.