KARAK, Jordan — Beneath a statue of a glowering Saladin, a medieval Islamic warrior, a crowd unfurled banners and began chanting protests against the country’s leadership in its palaces and government offices far below the precipices of this ancient fortress town.
Market by market, square by square, the walls are beginning to come down. The miles of hulking blast walls, ugly but effective, were installed as a central feature of the surge of U.S. troops to stop neighbors from killing one another.
Emerging markets took one of their biggest collective tumbles in a decade Monday as stock markets from Mexico to Indonesia to Russia were gripped by fears of a meltdown in Europe’s banking system and concern that a global recession could drag down the price of commodities, forcing a steep slowdown in emerging-market growth.
Two thunderous blasts set off by suicide bombers ripped through a crowded shopping street in the town of Balad Ruz in Diyala province on Thursday, killing at least 35 people and wounding at least 62 others, many of them seriously.
Iraqi military commanders signaled Monday that they would soon remove some roadblocks and other restrictions that had been imposed over the past nine months as part of the effort to reduce violence here in the capital.
The radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his militia to suspend activities for six months in announcement issued a day after dozens were killed during firefights between his fighters and a rival Shiite group during a religious festival in Karbala.
A power struggle between rival Shiite groups erupted during a religious festival in Karbala on Tuesday, as gunmen with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades fought street battles amid crowds of pilgrims, killing at least 50 people and wounding 200, Iraqi officials said.