Iraqi government remains as broken and divided as ever

The paralysis is contributing to a rise in violence, and it is severely complicating negotiations on the most difficult and divisive question hanging over the country: Whether to ask the United States to keep a contingency force here after the scheduled withdrawal of American troops at the end of the year. The longer the deadlock persists, the harder it becomes for the American military to reverse or slow the withdrawal of the roughly 48,000 troops, the pace of which will pick up over the next few months…

Mr. Allawi, whose party received the most votes in last year’s election, has yet to show up in Parliament. Mr. Maliki has run the government on his own, and his aides have threatened to sue Mr. Allawi for calling them lying tyrants and claiming they are supported by Iran.

As the deadlock grinds on, political assassinations and attacks on American bases have increased significantly…

Without leaders in place at the Interior and Defense Ministries, decisions have been delayed about whether to single out terrorists, and the government has been unable to properly assess its military capabilities as it weighs whether to ask for the United States’ troops to remain, according to American officials.