US military marked the end of its Iraq operations in a ceremony attended by Vice President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The remaining 13,000 US troops are due to withdraw by end of year.
In his first public address in Iraq since leaving the country almost four years ago, fiery Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr this weekend led thousands of followers in chants of 'No to America.'
A flurry of meetings could signal the formation of a new Iraq government by next week's deadline. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's main challenger met with him tonight, after meeting kingmaker Muqtada al-Sadr yesterday.
Three months after elections, Iraq's parliament met for the first time in a short meeting to swear in new members. Politicians say negotiations on forming a new government could still be months away from completion.
A US general said he hasn't ruled out the involvement of militias close to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in recent attacks in Iraq's south and says the movement is reasserting itself as a force in the area.
Washington contends that allowing ex-Baathists back into the fold is key to undercutting the insurgency.