RealNews

Iraqi Militias Near Accord To Disband

Move Would Aid U.S. Handover. Leaders of Iraq’s two largest militias have provisionally agreed to dissolve their forces, according to senior U.S. and Iraqi officials. The move is a major boost to a U.S. campaign to prevent civil war by eliminating armed groups before sovereignty is handed over to an interim Iraqi government on June 30, the officials said. Members of the two forces — the Shiite Muslim Badr Organization and the Kurdish pesh merga — will be offered a chance to work in Iraq’s new security services or claim substantial retirement benefits as incentives to disarm and disband. Members of smaller militias will also be allowed to apply for positions with the new security services, but those that choose not to disband will be confronted and disarmed, by force if necessary, senior U.S. officials said. The occupation authority is still negotiating with Kurdish and Shiite leaders, who want more extensive guarantees than they have been offered. But U.S., Kurdish and Shiite officials said they had secured an agreement in principle and likely will announce a formal deal within the next few weeks. Full Story

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