The U.S. is trying, with mixed success, to convince the Iraqi government to not pursue a genocidal policy against the Sunni Arab minority. At least not until U.S. forces have all withdrawn from the country. The Americans thought they had a deal with the Kurds and Shia Arabs, who dominate the government, that the hated Sunni Arabs would be left alone and treated fairly. But things began to fall apart earlier this year, soon after the U.S. turned over control of the Sunni Arab "Sons of Iraq" militia to the Iraqi government. The 100,000 members of the Sons of Iraq did not like this, because they know that most Iraqis (the 85 percent who are Kurdish or Shia) would like to see all Sunni Arabs gone from the country. Having discriminated against non-Sunnis for centuries, the Sunnis do not like being on the receiving end. But they must be careful, as too much terrorist violence, that can be traced back to Sunni groups, and the Kurds and Shia might be motivated to ignore world opinion, and attack the remaining Sunni Arabs, killing them and chasing them out of the country. This appears unbelievable to Westerners, but is a common topic of conversation inside Iraq, and neighboring countries. The Sunni Arabs have managed to make themselves very, very unpopular in Iraq.
For the moment, the government has promised to keep paying most of the Sons of Iraq a monthly salary (to help out with security), and give some of them government jobs. But only time will tell if the Sunni Arabs will be allowed to remain in Iraq. There are discouraging signs. For most of 2009, the Sons of Iraq were often not getting paid, and not getting government jobs. The Kurds and Shia Arabs do have some legitimate fears, because the Sunni Arabs speak openly of eventually regaining power, and having their revenge for all the economic and physical pain Sunni Arabs have suffered since Saddam's Sunni Arab government was overthrown in 2003.