Iraq’s lawmakers proved unable to unite behind Prime Minister designate Muhammad Allawi’s efforts to form a cabinet, forcing him to withdraw his candidacy on 1 March. The failure came amid long-running (and deadly) protests, and the absence of political leadership is exacerbating the treacherous situation.

“I tried with all possible ways to save our country from sliding into the unknown and to solve the current problem. But during the negotiations, I ran into many things unrelated to the country’s interests,” Mr Allawi said in a statement to President Barham Salih. “Some sides negotiated with the mere aim of making gains without paying any attention to the national cause or heeding the blood of the martyrs who fell during protests seeking the change of conditions.” (CONTINUED - 829 WORDS)