Iraqi elections March 7 will be another major test of the country's democratic experiment.
As race for presidency nears, a new role is eyed for a former US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad: Help Kabul work with the outside world.
Though unpopular, the president has more national reach than the shrinking pool of contenders.
Perceived as ineffective and corrupt, the Afghan president faces an uphill battle to reelection.
Its threat to remove its troops from the south comes amid friction over bid to appoint UN 'super envoy.'