Now that virtually all "Sons of Iraq" groups in Baghdad have been shifted to Iraqi government control, such groups in the rest of the country will follow suit, officials say.
The transition, marked by a change in members’ pay from U.S. dollars to Iraqi dinars, is scheduled to be completed across the country by June, a critical time for the country.
Under a security pact being debated by Iraqi lawmakers, U.S. troops would withdraw from cities and towns by June 30 and work out of bases.
The armed civilian groups have been praised for helping calm down violence in the country, but some members have maintained Iraqi security forces have not accepted them.
As of last Wednesday, 24,810 of the 26,000 "Sons of Iraq" in Baghdad have been paid by the Iraq government. There were a few problems with pay, including the lack of extra pay for "Sons of Iraq" leaders, but those are being taken care of, according to a news release issued by Multi–National Division—Baghdad.
Diyala, Babil, Wasit and Qadisyah provinces are next, making the transfer in January, Col. Bill J. Buckner, a spokesman with Multi–National Corps—Iraq, said in an e-mail message.
Anbar province will do it in February, Ninevah and Kirkuk in March, and Salahaddin in April, he said.
Some "Sons of Iraq" members are being trained for jobs in the Iraqi security forces.