The United States military is promoting the formation of neighborhood militia groups in Iraq. The groups are touted as being a local volunteer reaction against al-Qaida elements in the country.
But it appears the military is also giving them money, uniforms, training and, possibly, weapons. Top U.S. commanders have been coy about how much support is involved.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government doesn't like the idea of sanctioning more armed groups in his country, and neither do some locals. They say the "citizens" are thugs who were kidnapping and planting bombs not too long ago.