Emboldened by success in Syria, al-Qaeda occupies its old haunts in Iraq
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Few Iraqi cities bear in their dust-covered stones the tragic symbolism of America’s misbegotten war like Fallujah does. It was there, in March 2004, that angry mobs pulled four Blackwater USA contractors out of their vehicles, dragged them through the streets and hung the bodies of two of them from a bridge over the Euphrates in an unforgettable sign that America was not, in fact, a welcome liberator. And it was there, in the months following, that U.S. forces redeemed the possibility of a peaceful Iraq, fighting house to house, up close and personal, in a costly but successful effort to clear the city of insurgents and make it safe for handover to Iraqi government forces.