Iraqi Children Fight on All Side

Alive in Baghdad

raq, Baghdad - The international media broadcast news of the creation of a new tribal force in Iraq, the Al-Sahwa, or “Awakening” Forces, with much fanfare. It has been repeatedly said that they are the newest, if not last best, hope to repair the security situation in Iraq generally, and Sunni areas particularly. However, one thing the international media has not paid much attention to is the age of the Fighters in the new Al-Sahwa Forces.

Many towns around Al-Anbar and Baghdad Provinces as well as others have witnessed the creation of “Al-Sahwa Councils.” The aim of this force is to protect the people living in these areas and to force Al-Qaeda out of their areas by working side by side with American forces, and according to tribal traditions everyone from any tribe taking part in the council should participate in this force. Some interpretations of Islamic tradition consider individuals as young as 15 to be an adult. Sources have told Alive in Baghdad that they have witnessed children between the age of 12 and 17 taking part in the Al-Sahwa forces, particularly in Adhamiya and Taji. These children are not believed to have any military training prior to joining Al-Sahwa, but are now paid up to 300 US dollars per month to carry a gun and take shifts at checkpoints or on various patrols, depending on the area.

In other areas like Najaf and Karbala where you can see a great existence of “Al-Mahdi Army” , you can also observe a high number of young age fighters, those fighters were trained by the hands of the Mahdi Army on using the Russian Rifle (AK-47), the age of them is between 13 and 18 years old, the Mahdi army named this forces “ Aosood Al-Hussain” witch it means the lions of Hussain, the aim of this brigade is to protect some neighborhoods and some religious areas

Both of Mahdi Army and the Sahwa force considers those kids are heroes protecting their country and helping their families finicality, some families of those kids are thinking the same way, unfortunately they don’t look to the risk that is surrounding them from the car bomb attacks of being killed by other militias, any teenage joining the Mahdi army receive a salary that is between 150$ and 300$ depending on their position or what do they work and the same amount for the Sahwa forces

Alive in Baghdad brings you some interviews with those kids, and the questions Is dose 300$ worth to work in a risky place instead of getting educated and going to school

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