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.
In the wake of the disputed Iraq election, the two largest Shiite parties announced they are creating an alliance to lead the next government that leaves them just 4 votes shy of a parliamentary majority.
With followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr saying they support neither Nouri al-Maliki nor Iyad Allawi, the top two vote-getters continue to jostle for allies to form a coalition that will lead Iraq.
Top politicians race to avoid all-out war between feuding Shiite factions as US forces launch airstrikes against Mahdi Army targets.