Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ex-fighters get government jobs in Iraq

Nearly 50,000 Sunni fighters who sided with American forces against al-Qaeda and other militants in Iraq are now in government jobs, a top official said. The announcement at a U.S. military base in the heart of Baghdad was a reminder that Iraq's sectarian tensions risk being stoked as parliamentary elections approach in March. Many of the former Sunni fighters, part of a group known as the Sons of Iraq, were former insurgents who switched sides, helping to stabilize the country. The U.S. has been urging Iraq's Shiite-led government to find jobs for the fighters to promote national unity and maintain security as American troops begin to leave the country. Mohammed Salman al-Saadi, chairman of Iraq's Implementation and Follow-up Committee for National Reconciliation, said Iraq hopes to put the rest of the 96,000 Sons of Iraq in jobs by summer.

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