But homegrown Sunni insurgent groups not directly tied to AQI remain committed to fighting US forces and driving Iraq's Shiite led-government from power. While they have assumed a lower profile, they benefit from the support of former regime figures and militant Sunnis abroad as well as the proliferation of weapons and ammunition flowing from Iran and Syria.
They have also made significant inroads into the Sunni militias, dubbed "Sons of Iraq," created by the US military to fight AQI. While Petraeus said again Wednesday that these US-backed militias had "some former insurgents," the IAI's Abu Abdullah, who goes by a nickname, says he would not dream of moving around if it were not for help from these militias and Sunni elements inside government security forces.
Echoing concerns about the true allegiance of these US-funded militias, Sen. Joseph Biden (D) of Delaware raised the prospect in his remarks Tuesday that these groups may one day "turn their guns on us."
Requests to the US military in Iraq for comment on the activities of non-AQI insurgent groups have gone unanswered.
Insurgent's view of US presence
In an interview, Abu Abdullah revealed a complex picture of a Sunni insurgency that appears to support US efforts to diminish AQI's reign, yet is deeply opposed to the American-led effort here.