Iraq elections can now go forward after Kurds and Sunnis agreed to a new, amended law. Obama's 11th-hour call Sunday night was part of a crucial US role in sealing the deal.
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.
Iraqi lawmakers are deadlocked over how to conduct the crucial Iraqi election, slated for January. A delay could postpone the US withdrawal.
Its relative success in Saturday's regional election reflects deep popular dissatisfaction with official corruption.
The region, which has increasingly been at odds with Baghdad, holds elections Saturday for a new regional government.
Polls open throughout most of the country for a provincial election that could shift the balance of power.
The Iraqi premier is increasingly at risk as cracks in his Shiite-Kurdish coalition grow in the waning days of the Bush administration, his other main ally.
Editors and reporters risk jail time as they expose cronyism and push Iraqi leaders for reforms.
Al Qaeda-linked militants and Kurdish ultranationalists are both pressuring Iraq's largest Christian enclave.