Iraqi government starts paying Sunni fighters in Baghdad

Payments by Iraq's Shi'ite-dominated government to thousands of US-backed Sunni fighters in Baghdad are on track, the US military said Sunday. Some 100,000 former Sunni insurgents, known as Sons of Iraq or awakening councils, revolted against al-Qaida in Iraq and joined forces with the United States two years ago. The US military managed and paid the volunteers to help provide security in neighborhoods, towns and villages, but handed over control of the groups to the Iraqi government last month. US Brig. Gen. Mark Zamzow said the Iraqi government has paid some 35,000 of the more than 51,000 Sons of Iraq in the Baghdad area on schedule, and that the remaining fighters are to be paid in coming days.