The oil revenue sharing dispute between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) continues and is expanding to other regions. Two main conflicts dominate the Iraqi political scene, as the country plans its third parliamentary elections after the 2003 invasion. In addition Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Islamic Dawa Party finds itself increasingly at odds with other political factions.

Mr Maliki has a parliamentary majority, through the alliance Dawa formed with other Shi’a political parties, but he is finding it difficult to forge a mutual understanding with other senior politicians. These include KRG President Masoud Barzani, Iraqiya Alliance’s leader Ayad ‘Allawi (a secular Shi’a with wide Sunni support), and the vocal and charismatic Shi’a leader Muqtada al-Sadr. This conflict is expected to escalate ahead of the local elections scheduled in late April 2013, and parliamentary elections which are widely expected to be held in late 2013/early 2014. (CONTINUED - 754 WORDS)