A new government without a capable military won't mean much. And it doesn't appear that Iraq has one at the moment.
Most concerning in a new report's analysis of the Iraq war death toll is evidence of the high level of violence that's persisted since the civil war ended.
Abu Mahdi al Mohandas is one of more than 6,000 candidates on the ballot in the Iraqi elections on March 7. But the Shiite politician, now hiding in Iran, says the US considers him a terrorist and a weapons supplier to Iraq militia groups.
The funeral procession of the influential religious and political figure is to make its way south on Saturday to the holy city of Karbala, and then to Najaf, where Hakim will be buried.
The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq aims to capitalize on the disarray within Moqtada al-Sadr's movement ahead of provincial elections planned for October.
Iraqi troops took the southern city without a shot being fired from Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.
Battles continued to rage Sunday between the radical cleric's Mahdi Army and Iraqi and US forces.
Residents of Baghdad's Shiite slum fear violence in Basra between the Mahdi Army and Iraqi forces will spread to Baghdad.
In Baghdad Thursday, thousands protested the Iraqi government's battle with the Mahdi Army militia loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.