BAGHDAD — Iraq's deadly insurgent groups have financed their war against U.S. troops in part with hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. rebuilding funds that they've extorted from Iraqi contractors in Anbar province.
The payments, in return for the insurgents' allowing supplies to move and construction work to begin, have taken place since the earliest projects in 2003, Iraqi contractors, politicians and interpreters involved with reconstruction efforts said.
A fresh round of rebuilding spurred by the U.S. military's recent alliance with some Anbar tribes — 200 new projects are scheduled — provides another opportunity for militant groups such as al Qaeda in Iraq to siphon off more U.S. money, contractors and politicians warn.
"Now we're back to the same old story in Anbar. The Americans are handing out contracts and jobs to terrorists, bandits and gangsters," said Sheik Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman, the deputy leader of the Dulaim, the largest and most powerful tribe in Anbar. He was involved in several U.S. rebuilding contracts in the early days of the war, but is now a harsh critic of the U.S. presence.
So more taxpayer dollars are going to groups that are killing our soldiers. Does anybody think that this is a good idea? Anbar, according to the administration reports, is our big success. The place where we're "makin' progress". I wonder how long it will take before some pundit blames this on Nouri al-Maliki?