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Iraq's new US ambassador has been welcomed by Iraqi political leaders, who criticized his predecessor for not being actively engaged in the political process.
The last US combat brigade in the Iraq war crossed into Kuwait on Thursday, leaving behind 50,000 US troops in an unsettled country still struggling to form a government.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met Tuesday with Ayad Allawi to discuss forming a new government and decide who will be prime minister. But the main Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish factions are still negotiating.
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.
Nearly three months after the March 7 Iraq election, Iraqis are waiting for 100,000 new jobs to be filled and face backlogs in everything from obtaining permits to registering for pensions. Some complain their vote was 'worthless.'
At an unusual Baghdad gathering of key players, tensions eased over the Iraq election results. But the effort to form a coalition government and choose Iraqi's new prime minister and president still in the early stages.
Iraq reopened a rebuilt foreign ministry building in Baghdad Wednesday, just nine months after a major truck bombing. 'The best answer to the terrorists ... is to rise from the ashes again,' said Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
US Ambassador Christopher Hill today expressed concern that nearly two months after the Iraq election, a government has not been formed. Complicating the drawn-out process, Iraqi officials today disqualified two winning candidates.
After weeks of delay on passing a new election law that the US and others worried could delay Iraq's election -- and perhaps delay a withdrawal of US troops -- parliament passed a law that should lead to elections as scheduled in January.