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A series of bomb attacks in eight  cities have killed more than 40 people and wounded more than 200 in Iraq on Tuesday, targeting police officials, government buildings, and Shiite pilgrims. A combination of car bombs and and suicide attacks struck one week before a historic Arab League summit is set to take place in Baghdad, the first such meeting to take place in he country in more than a generation. The cities of Kirkuk in the northern Kurdish region and Karabala, which is home to important Shiite shrines in the south were the hardest hit as security in Baghdad has been ratcheted up in preparation for the meeting, which will bring dozens of Arab leaders to the country for the first time since American security forces withdrew at the end of last year. Some officials blame a "resurgent al-Qaeda" for trying to destabilize the fragile government and should they be unable to protect the visiting diplomats next week, it would be a major blow to the very idea of a independent and stable Iraq.

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