Maliki to revive Sunni militia role against al Qaeda

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, in a striking change of course, is embracing the Sunni Muslim tribal fighters whose role in combating al Qaeda he had allowed to wither after U.S. troops left two years ago.

Al Qaeda-linked militants, feeding off widespread Sunni resentment at perceived mistreatment by his Shi’ite-led government, swept into the cities of Falluja and Ramadi two weeks ago in an embarrassing setback to Maliki…

He is turning the money taps back on to try to quench an insurgency by al Qaeda’s latest incarnation in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), whose rise has helped drive violence back to the worst level in five years…

“Those people contribute to achieving security and the government has to take care of them,” he said, briskly fielding questions at an ornate, flag-decked reception room in his three-storey palace in Baghdad’s heavily guarded “Green Zone”.