Iraq Fighters Ditch US, Rejoin al-Qaeda

Sunnis are quitting 'Awakening Councils' for al-Qaeda
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2010 6:28 AM CDT
Iraq Fighters Ditch US, Rejoin al-Qaeda
An Awakening council member stands guard in the southern outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq.   (AP Photo/Loay Hameed, File)

A wave of Sunni fighters whose alliance with the United States has been critical in turning the insurgent tide in Iraq have rejoined al-Qaeda, or are acting as double agents, finds the New York Times. Though the number of defections is unclear, several hundred members of the Awakening Councils have either quit or been dismissed in recent months. Many have fallen prey to an intense recruitment campaign aimed at getting members to switch sides.

Sunni fighters feel vulnerable in the new, Shiite-led Iraq. “At this point, Awakening members have two options: Stay with the government, which would be a threat to their lives, or help al-Qaeda by being a double agent,” says one man who recently quit. “The Awakening is like a database for al-Qaeda that can be used to target places that had been out of reach before.”
(More Awakening Councils stories.)

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