With more than 600,000 American-trained troops in Iraq, why are they arming children?

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Disturbing images from Iraq show heavily armed children standing alongside both bloodthirsty jihadists and government forces during the escalating sectarian conflict. A video shows several boys no older than 10 clutching automatic weapons as they calmly watch Sunni rebel fighters blow away a defenseless captive with a bullet to the back of the head.

NY Post  The grisly footage shows the kneeling prisoner being heckled by a swarm of jihadi fighters in the city of Mosul before the execution. After the doomed man is killed, the rebels and the kids cackle and celebrate in the background. In other regions of the war-ravaged nation, children with guns were photographed flanking forces loyal to the government and roving Shiite militias.

The images emerged as government troops battled to prevent Sunni insurgents from annexing Baquba — a pivotal battleground just 40 miles from the capital of Baghdad. Rebels infiltrated sections of the city, but officials claimed they backed off when confronted by soldiers and volunteer Shiite militiamen who’ve signed up in droves to fight the insurgency.

“Everything in the city is now under control, and the groups of armed men are not seen in the city,” said Brig. Gen. Jameel Kamal al-Shimmari.Opposition fighters claimed that they remain entrenched in several neighborhoods.

Also in Baquba, 44 Sunni inmates were killed in a provincial jailhouse. Insurgent leaders said the men were all shot in the head and chest at close range as the rebels closed in on the jail. But government officials countered that the insurgents were responsible for the deaths when they stormed the facility with hand grenades.

The Baquba collisions forced the closure of a major oil refinery in the area that has cut off fuel and power to entire swaths of Iraq. The jailhouse killings stoked fears that Shiite fighters are conducting lethal reprisals against Sunni civilians and fighters . The bullet-riddled corpses of four reportedly Sunni men were found in a Shiite district in Baghdad in what officials suspect were revenge killings.

Also in Baghdad, the bodies of a respected Sunni Muslim cleric and his two assistants were discovered in a morgue after they were allegedly kidnapped by Shiite militiamen. The Muslim Scholars Association said in a statement that Imam Nihad al-Jibouri and his assistants were abducted by men wearing government security force uniforms in the mixed Saidiyah neighborhood last Thursday. Stunned allies of the slain cleric vowed swift revenge.

ISIS in Syria executing Obama-backed FSA rebels and children:

The bloodletting also hit a heavily Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad where a car bomb killed 12 people and wounded dozens more. Sunni rebels have vowed to topple the wobbling regime of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and are calling on fighters and extremists to join them in their march toward the capital. Despite the sporadic violence since the rebel offensive began, government forces retain full control of the capital.

The spiraling crisis has aligned interests between unlikely partners — the United States and Iran. Iran’s Shiite leaders are angry over the Sunni uprising in their neighboring nation and the old foes have considered some form of joint action to end the chaos. More than 5,000 Iranians have signed up online to defend Shiite holy places within Iraq that the rebels have openly threatened to overrun.

ISIS executes 2 children in Syria:

The Iraqi regime is trying to steady itself after the al-Qaeda-inspired group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, suddenly took control of large areas of the country in northern and western Iraq. Stunned by the swiftness and severity of the initial assault, many Iraqi soldiers fled their posts. The chaos and fighting has driven roughly half a million people from their homes in Iraq just three years after US troops departed.

The battle-hardened fighters of ISIS, trained and armed by the U.S., rose to prominence in neighboring Syria where they continue to wage war for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad against rebels there.

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