Iyad Allawi, the former Iraqi prime minister whose Iraqiya coalition won 91 seats in the country's March parliamentary election, has sought support to form a government from Moqtada al-Sadr, the Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia leader.
The two politicians, who in the past have not seen eye-to-eye on a number of issues, met this week in the Syrian capital Damascus.
But now, they say they are hoping to overcome their differences with a view to forming a new government in Iraq.
The country has been in an apparently unbreakable political deadlock since the March elections.
An alliance between the two could pave the path for Allawi to become Iraq's next prime minister.
What would it take for Allawi and al-Sadr to form a political alliance? And to what extent are outside forces hindering or aiding the process?
Inside Story discusses with guests: Alaa Makki, a member of the Iraqi parliament from the Iraqiya Alliance, Ali al-Dabbagh, an Iraqi government spokesperson, and Louay Bahry, an Iraq expert at the Middle East Institute.
This episode of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, July 20, 2010.
Source: Al Jazeera