When the American military presence in Iraq ended in December 2011, Washington and Baghdad claimed that Iraq was a stable, sustainable democracy. However, this appears questionable as Nuri al-Maliki, prime minister since 2006, has continued his quest to dominate the state and to use its power to break opposition to his rule,  leaving the country vulnerable to heightened sectarian tension and a new civil war.

When the American military presence in Iraq ended in December 2011, Washington and Baghdad claimed that Iraq was a stable, sustainable democracy. However, this appears questionable as Nuri al-Maliki, prime minister since 2006, has continued his quest to dominate the state and to use its power to break opposition to his rule. His systematic exclusion of key politicians from power underlines the failure of the 2010 elections to deliver representative government, and leaves the country vulnerable to heightened sectarian tension and a new civil war.

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Iran nuclear talks approach conclusive deadline

Iran and its interlocutors have until 24 March to reach an agreement on the country's nuclear programme. Failure to do so would not mean an end to diplomacy, but the US Congress would likely enact new sanctions legislation.

France's nuclear conservatism

Those who were hoping that French President François Hollande would use a recent speech to break with France's nuclear traditions will have been disappointed.