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.
Although Iraqi and US officials say they've severely damaged Al Qaeda in Iraq, a series of new Baghdad bombings reveals the organization may be weaker but is still trying to spark tension between Sunnis and Shiites.
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.
Iraq election results are due this week, but parliamentary seats held by women will automatically increase because of a new quota that says men can hold no more than three-quarters of all seats.
With 80 percent of the Iraq election votes counted, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki is neck and neck with former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Even if Maliki wins the popular vote, he may not be able to hold together a coalition government.
A Sadr City youth hopes the Iraq election is a way to leapfrog connections and bribes to get justice.
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.
Just two weeks before crucial Iraq parliamentary elections and amid a dispute over the disqualifications of some candidates with ties to Saddam Hussein's banned Baath party, a suicide bomber killed 11 in Anbar Province. Some in Iraq are worried that the controversial disqualifications are heightening tensions.
Ahead of January elections, supporters of the Sadr movement cast ballots for individual candidates – rather than parties – for the first time in a primary poll.
Adel Abdul Mahdi says in an interview with the Monitor that political reluctance to ask US troops for security support should be reconsidered.