April 21, 2004
Four car bombs went off in front of police stations in Basra, killing nearly seventy Iraqis. The intention is apparently to intimidate the Iraqi police into inaction. Al Qaeda is suspected of being responsible. But in northern Iraq, a tip led to a raid which seized three car bombs outside Kirkuk.
In Fallujah, the local leaders are unsure if they can deliver on their promises to turn over illegal weapons, and those who have murdered aid workers. Small groups of gunmen continue to fire on marines and are apparently defying any local traditional leaders (tribal chiefs, clergy, Etc.)
American troops will withdraw from the outskirts of Najaf, a city containing the most sacred mosque in Shia Islam, and currently occupied by renegade religious student Muqtada al Sadr and several hundred armed followers. Representatives of the senior Shia clergy say they can deal with al Sadr. But with al Sadr already accused of killing two older clergymen who opposed him, that remains uncertain. In the last century, Iraqis have, time and again, rolled over and done nothing when confronted with a small groups of armed and determined men.