Still opposed to the US military and increasingly against the Shia-led Government of Iraq, Mr Abdullah dreamt of starting up a fresh resistance. But in late 2007 he was approached by two uncles and a cousin who had joined a new security movement, which was established by Sunni Arab tribes who had turned against al-Qaeda in Anbar province, once the heart of the insurgency. The concept ”“ arming local people and charging them with security for their neighbourhood ”“ appealed to Mr Abdullah even though the group’s members, which number at least 90,000, were under the payroll of the US military.
“I started to feel that the Americans were better than the Iraqi Government at that moment. I still look at them as occupiers. My feelings towards them have not changed. But my main concern is to stop the Iraqi people’s suffering,” he said. Agreeing to help to set up branches of the so-called Awakening movement in Samarra and other towns north of Baghdad, Mr Abdullah attended his first meeting with the US military just over a week ago ”“ something that he had resisted for months.
“When American soldiers turn up I feel very sad for myself, my country and the fact that I have to sit down and deal with them. I feel like wolves are eating my flesh during the meeting,” he said.