Shiite Government Vows To Disband The Sunni Militias
Bet the surge protectors didn't see this coming:
Iraq's Shiite-led government declared Saturday that after restive areas are calmed it will disband Sunni groups battling Islamic extremists because it does not want them to become a separate military force.
In Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish rebel targets, the military said, in the third confirmed cross-border offensive by Turkish forces in less than a week.
The statement from Defense Minister Abdul-Qadir al-Obaidi was the government's most explicit declaration yet of its intent to eventually dismantle the groups backed and funded by the United States as a vital tool for reducing violence.
The militias, more than 70,000 strong and often made up of former insurgents, are known as Awakening Councils, or Concerned Local Citizens.
"We completely, absolutely reject the Awakening becoming a third military organization," al-Obaidi said at a news conference.
He added that the groups would also not be allowed to have any infrastructure, such as a headquarters building, that would give them long-term legitimacy.
"We absolutely reject that," al-Obaidi said.