STORY: In August, Baghdad saw two days of intense street fighting, the worst the Iraqi capital has seen for years.
The crisis amounted to a power struggle between the powerful Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and mostly Iran-aligned Shi'ite parties and paramilitary groups.
Both sides have tried to exert their control over formation of a new government since an election in October.
The struggle began with political moves in parliament and the judiciary went to the streets as Sadr withdrew from the political process and staged protests during the summer, and then degenerated into violence at the end of August.
It has left Iraq, which is reeling from years of war, sanctions, civil strife and corruption, without a government for the longest period since the 2003 U.S. invasion which toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.