Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki raises his hands with members of his State of Law coalition after addressing supporters at Al-Mina Stadium during a visit to Basra, in southern Iraq, this month. Iraq is due to hold general elections on March 7, and the incumbent faces strong competition from an alliance of Iranian-backed parties. hide caption

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An Iraqi man walks past posters with a symbolic X across a picture of Iraqi lawmaker Dhafir al-Ani, a Sunni politician who was barred from running in the election because of alleged ties to the Baath party. Alaa al-Marjani/AP hide caption

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Iraqis holding pictures of Saddam Hussein march during a protest against the new constitution of Iraq near Ramadi in 2005. Bilal Hussein/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Bilal Hussein/AP