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Iraqi Militias to Disband, Join Official Forces

Deal covers 100,000 fighters but allows some Kurdish factions to retain troops. Rebels, such as the Al Mahdi army, are excluded. U.S. officials and leaders of Iraq’s new government on Monday announced a long-sought deal to integrate about 100,000 fighters belonging to private militias into the army and police, an arrangement that seeks to bolster the central government in advance of the U.S. transfer of sovereignty later this month. U.S. and Iraqi officials hope that the agreement will reduce the threat of civil war when the U.S. occupation ends. Although the accord moves closer toward forming a representative Iraqi army reflecting Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish groups, it also allows pro-U.S. Kurds to keep under their command a significant number of fighters. That arrangement could spark friction among Shiites and Sunnis wary that an armed Kurdish force could potentially push for independence. Full Story

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