By Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail
"BAGHDAD, Jan 14 (IPS) - The newly formed 'Awakening' forces set up by the U.S. military are bringing new conflict among people.
For months now the U.S. military has been actively building what it calls 'Awakening' forces and "concerned local citizens" in an effort to reduce attacks on occupation forces.
Members of the forces, which comprise primarily former resistance fighters and tribal groups, are paid 300 dollars monthly. There are at present about 80,000 recruits to these groups. The U.S. military plans to cap the number at 85,000.
According to the U.S. military, 82 percent of the members are Sunni......
'Awakening' forces have been widely criticised for corruption and for brutal tactics. Many speak of them as "gangs", "criminals", "dogs of the Americans", and "thieves." But the Bush administration, and many media outlets in the west, credit the 'Awakening' forces with bringing stability to volatile areas."