Sunday was a particularly bloody day in Iraq, with 44 killed in a wave of attacks against Iraqi security forces and police stations in eleven cities. At least 240 people were wounded.
The attackers, who apparently intended to create chaos throughout the country and undermine the government, bombed police recruits waiting in a line-up and gunned down soldiers. While there was no immediate claim for responsibility, the Iraqi branch of al-Qaida has frequently targeted security forces, vowing to take back areas it was forced from, prior to the withdrawal of US forces.
The deadliest attack came at an army outpost in Dujail, killing ten and injuring another eight. The attack came at dawn. In another attack, near the city of Kirkuk, a car bomb struck police recruits waiting in line to apply for jobs with with the Northern Oil Co. Seven people were killed and 17 wounded.
Another attack occurred in the southern city of Nasiriyah, where two car bombs exploded near the French consulate and a local hotel. Authorities believe the consulate was not a target. The attack killed two and wounded three. One policeman was killed at the consulate.
Nine cities, including Shia neighborhoods in Baghdad, were targeted in smaller attacks.
Insurgents have been active in Iraq since the US troop withdrawal and violence has increased in the successive months.
Near the city of Kirkuk, in Tuz Khormato, a bomb outside a market killed four and wounded 41. In Kirkuk itself a series of three explosions, two car bombs and a roadside bomb, killed seven and wounded 70.
While al-Qaida's aim is to undermine the government and to retake areas previousl taken by US forces, Iraq has also made the news last week with permitting overflight of Iranian aircraft to deliver weapons to Syria.
Kirkuk has been a flashpoint as Kurdish leaders are attempting to draw the city in their self-rule region. Sunni Arabs, Turkomen and Kurds all want part of the oil rich region. Kurds have pushed for a census, which has been delayed by the central government.
As is so often the case in the Middle East, after winning the war it is difficult to win the peace.
For an indepth study of the Middle East a good source is David Fromkin's book "A Peace to End all Peace."