Finding specific breakdowns of the Sons of Iraq (SOI) program are hard to come by. The SOI are U.S.-funded local security units that have been instrumental in turning the tide against Al Qaeda in Iraq and the insurgency. By May 2008 there were approximately 103,000 SOI fighters. 70% of them were Sunnis. They were mostly former insurgents and tribesmen. The remaining 30% were Shiite. The SOIs operate in ten of Iraq’s eighteen provinces. The following numbers come from reports by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Center for American Progress. They are still incomplete, but give a general idea of the number of SOI groups and their distribution across Iraq.
Provinces and Sons of Iraq Groups and Fighters
Anbar 7 SOI groups all Sunni 8000 fighters
Babil 23 SOI groups, 10 Sunni 12 Shiite 1 mixed Sunni-Shiite over 6000 fighters
Baghdad 43 SOI groups 20 mixed Sunni-Shiite over 43,000 fighters
Dhi Qar 2 SOI groups both Shiite over 2000 fighters
Diwaniya 6 SOI groups all Shiite over 1500 fighters
Diyala 10 SOI groups all Sunni 4000 fighters
Ninewa unknown number of groups unknown number of fighters
Salahaddin 54 SOI groups all Sunni over 4000 fighters
Tamim 11 SOI groups all Sunni over 8000 fighters
Wasit unknown number of groups 1500-3000 fighters
Cordesman, Anthony, “Iraqi Force Development,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 2008
Katulis, Brian, Juul, Peter, and Moss, Ian, “Awakening to New Dangers in Iraq,” Center for American Progress, February 2008
Ucko, David, “Upcoming Iraqi Elections Must Consolidate Security Gains of ‘Sons of Iraq,’” World Politics Review, 5/20/08
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