Perfectly described by Spencer Ackerman (italics in original):
(SOI=Sons of Iraq, the Sunni Tribes that the US Army is essentially bribing to not fight them and take out the so-called al-Qaeda in Iraq):
If we don’t keep paying off the SOI warlords/militiamen — there are probably over 100,000 of them by now — then they have little incentive to keep their guns pointed away from U.S. troops, as the Maliki government has made it clear it distrusts them intensely. If we keep paying off the SOI warlords/militiamen, we undermine the ability of the government that we still support to ever achieve a monopoly on the use of force, and put cash into the pockets of brutal men who, in many cases, promise to shoot their way to power. If we don’t keep paying off the SOI warlords/militiamen, al-Qaeda could reemerge in Iraq. If we keep paying off the SOI warlords/militiamen, the Shiites in the government will remain intransigent in terms of reconciliation, fearing that the armed Sunnis are getting ready to take a mile if given an inch. If we keep paying off the SOI warlords/militiamen, we risk a resurgence of violence. If we don’t keep paying off the SOI warlords/militiamen, we risk a resurgence of violence. Any and all of these possibilities exist whether or not we keep paying off the SOI warlords/militiamen. Pick your poison.
The analysis as a meta point on news that one of the Sons of Iraq Abu Abed has fled to Jordan because he has been accused of murder by the Maliki gov’t.