From the Independent:
Yet, ironically, the death squads are the result of US policy. At the beginning of last year, with no end to the Sunni insurgency in sight, the Pentagon was reported to have decided to train Shia and Kurdish fighters to carry out "irregular missions". The policy, exposed in the US media, was called the "Salvador Option" after the American-backed counter-insurgency in Latin America more than 20 years ago, which led to 70,000 deaths and countless instances of human rights abuse. As the US and British policies in Iraq reach the last stages of unravelling, there are increasingly frantic calls to the Prime Minister, Nour al-Maliki, from Washington and London to rein in the government-sponsored death squads. The problem is that the militias, well armed and entrenched, are connected to political parties who know that Mr al-Maliki is dependant on their support.