Sadrists: Sadrists refers to politicians and armed factions that back rebel cleric Muqtada al Sadr. They hold 32 seats in the parliament and lead one of the largest militias in Iraq, the Mahdi Army.
L. Paul Bremer: Bremer served as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran the country from end of Saddam Husseins regime in 2003 until June 2004 when Ayad Allawi became Iraqs interim prime minister. Bremer made several controversial decisions during his tenure. Among them: dismantling the Iraqi Army and removing an Iraqi with ties to Saddams Baath Party from government.
Baathist: A Baathist is a member of Saddam Husseins Baath Party, which was formed in the 1945 as a secular Arab nationalist party. It shaped Syrian and Iraqi politics almost immediately after its founding. In todays Iraq, Baathists are political and armed factions that want Saddam loyalists to return to power.
Quintuple and Quadruple agreements: An agreement reached this week between the four main Kurdish and Shiite powers to break the political stalemate. The groups agreed to reach out to parties that have quit the government, like the main Sunni bloc, the Iraqi Islamic Party.
U.N. Resolution 661: Adopted by the United Nations on Aug. 6, 1990, this resolution called for economic sanctions. And it stated that if Iraq did not withdraw from Kuwait, the United Nations authorized the use of force.
Resolution 1723 1546: UN Security Council Resolution 1546 dissolved the Coalition Provisional Authoritys rule of Iraq, handing governance to an Iraqi-led government. The U.N. unanimously passed the resolution on June 8, 2004. Ayad Allawi became Iraqs interim prime minister three weeks later, and many believed the resolution signaled the end of U.S. presence in Iraq. Instead, the UN passed Security Council Resolution 1723 in November 2006 which extended the mandate of coalition forces in Iraq until December 2007. Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki requested the resolution. Islamic Army: The Islamic Army of Iraq consists of several Sunni factions, insurgents and extremists groups, including al Qaida. Formed in 2003, some Sunnis have called it a resistance movement, saying the group fights for Sunnis in a country now run by Shiites.
Omar Army: The Omar Army or Omar Brigade is a militant Sunni group that was originally formed by Al Qaida to kill and assassinate members of the Badr Organization, a Shiite militia that was conducting targeted assassinations of former Baathists.
1920 Revolution Brigade: The 1920 Revolution Brigade is an armed Sunni faction that operates mainly west of Baghdad. It is one of the newer groups to form since the fall of Saddams regime. U.S. officials believe they have used bombings and other mass attacks, but the group denies that. The 1920 in the groups name refers to the successful Iraqi revolution against British colonial rule that year.
Sistani: Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani is the highest-ranking Shiite leader in Iraq and one of the most important figures of the country. Although he is a religious leader, he has quietly guided Iraqs political process since the fall of Saddam Husseins regime. And he has repeatedly asked for Shiites to not respond to attacks against, which many believe curtailed the violence until the Feb. 2006 bombing of a revered Shiite shrine in the Iraqi city of Samarra.
2007 McClatchy Newspapers