"Using this location and a combination of security forces, it ensures
coalition forces will have the ability to collect information on the local
nationals in and around the JSS," U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dana Pinkston said.
"It improves security for everyone."
Officials said the new Guardians have maintained a low profile in wake
of the Iraqi government decision to disband Al Sahwa. They said many of the
officers in Guardians were in transition and would soon serve in either the
military or security forces.
The auxiliary force was expected to remain throughout 2009 in Baghdad
and other cities where Al Qaida operates. Officials said the Guardians would
serve as a temporary home for thousands of Sunni officers who have not yet
been integrated into the Iraqi security forces.
Al Sahwa was also manning roadblocks around Baghdad and other major
cities. Officials said three-man Al Sahwa squads have been deployed on
highways to the Iraqi capital to ensure security and safety.
"The SoI [Sons of Iraq] are controlled and paid by the local sheiks,"
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Christopher Henning, an adviser for Al Sahwa, said. "Right
now, the U.S. forces are facilitating the money for the SoI, but soon that
responsibility will be shift to the government of Iraq."