RealNews

Iraqi Shi’ite leader wants US-backed units curbed

Iraq’s powerful Shi’ite Muslim leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, called on Friday for curbs on U.S.-backed neighbourhood patrol units, which are mainly Sunni, saying weapons should only be in the hands of the government. Hakim, head of the biggest party in the Shi’ite-led government, praised the role of the patrols, known to Iraqis as “Awakening Councils”, in contributing to a sharp drop in violence but said they should only play an auxillary role. “It is necessary that these Awakenings should be an arm of the government in chasing criminals and terrorists but not a substitute for it,” he told hundreds of Shi’ites at his Baghdad compound in a speech marking the Muslim Eid al-Adha feast. “Weapons should only be in the hands of the government.” Full Story

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