(photo credit: Rongem Boyo)
A day after Mr al-Maliki had sworn to fight powerful Shia militias “to the end” he appeared to soften his tough stance and offered them until April 8 to surrender heavy and medium weapons. He also offered cash to those who comply, a tactic the American military used in 2004 when they failed to crush the Mahdi Army in fighting in Sadr City. The fighters handed in mostly old weapons, took the cash and rearmed for a brutal resurgence in early 2006, when full-scale sectarian warfare broke out in Baghdad.
A Mahdi Army spokesman in Sadr City said: “We are still fighting. Nobody handed in their weapons, we will never do that for cash.”