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Al Qaida making an attempt to return in Iraq with defecting US- backed fighters

By Nairita Das

London, Aug. 11 (ANI):Al-Qaida leaders are reportedly attempting to make a comeback in Iraq by enticing scores of former Sunni allies to rejoin the terrorist group and by paying them more than the monthly salary they currently receive from the government.

Al-Qaida is also thought to be moving to take advantage of a power vacuum created by continuing political instability in Iraq, which remains without a functional government more than five months after a general election, The Telegraph reports.

Sheikh Sabah al-Janabi, a leader of the Awakening Council - also known as the Sons of Iraq - based in Hila, 60 miles south of Baghdad, told The Guardian that 100 out of 1,800 rank-and-file members had not collected their salaries for the last two months: a clear sign, he believes, that they are now taking money from their former enemies.

"Al-Qaida has made a big comeback here," he said, adding: "This is my neighbourhood and I know every single person living here. And I know where their allegiances lie now."

The Sons of Iraq grew out of a series of mini-rebellions against militants associated with al-Qaida that started in late 2006.

They soon grew into a success story in Iraq, which was capitalised on by the then commanding US general, David Petraeus, who agreed to pay each member a $300 monthly salary and used the rebels as a tool to quell the boiling insurgency.

The US handed over control of the Sons of Iraq to the Iraqi overnment in late-2008. The programme since has been plagued by omplaints about distrust and delays in paying salaries. (ANI)

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