Monday, June 07, 2004

Two months on, things look rather different, although kidnapping remains a threat to outsiders.

Falluja has been calm for weeks, since the Marines cut a deal with former generals in Saddam's army to keep the peace...

In the south, U.S.-led troops squeezed Sadr's fighters out of town after town, helped by pressure from Shi'ite elders. The young cleric offered a truce on Friday in his last bastion, Najaf. It seemed to be holding on Saturday as Iraqi police returned to patrol the center while guerrillas and U.S. troops withdrew.

Crucially, U.S. commanders dropped a demand that Sadr turn himself in on a murder charge, leaving his fate and that of his militia in the hands of fellow Iraqis, Shi'ite negotiators said.

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