While most militia fighters were deployed to front line positions on the outskirts of Tikrit, armed civilian forces also fanned out across the Iraqi capital. Within days militiamen became a common sight at police checkpoints, while their vehicles, often white pickup trucks without plate numbers, began regularly patrolling neighborhoods.
As the country's security crisis led to a political standoff in Baghdad that now appears to have eased, both militias and the military have increased their presence on Baghdad's streets, further straining the already heavily militarized capital.
Despite his promise of support for Iraq's prime minister-elect, the militia leader maintains, his forces remain indebted to a degree to Maliki for the arms and authority he handed the fighters in the early days of the current crisis.
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Kataib Hezbollah is another Iraqi militia, arguably as powerful as Asaib Al-Haq. Saiid Hashem, its leader, sat on an ornate sofa in a cool sitting room on a hot Baghdad day, calmly explaining that his men are not fighting for one particular leader or a sectarian cause.
"We are fighting for our country, we are fighting in the name of Iraq," said Hashem, who also goes by the nom de guerre Abu Warith. He conceded that the same does not go for all the armed civilian groups operating on Baghdad's streets these days. Some, he said, are unpredictable, acting independently with little to no command and control. But, he says, his men, a group declared a terrorist organization by the United States, have the country's best interests at heart.