Political deadlock, a lack of government control, and Iraq again appears caught in spiralling chaos.
At least 25 people were killed in an attack on an army patrol early Monday morning - capping off a bloody 48 hours in which nearly 100 people were killed in the country. And many more died in daring attacks on two prisons near Baghdad.
To start with, there is a weak state. Iraq has a fragile political process that has brought representation but it did not bring the best of the Iraqis. So you have got politicians who are immature who benefit from social and sectarian divides.
It is part of a recent wave of violence that has claimed a the lives of 2,000 Iraqis in the last four months - the deadliest outbreak of bloodshed seen in five years in a country still struggling to find a way of sharing power between its Shia, Sunnni and Kurdish ethnicities.
The American troops completed their formal withdrawal from Iraq in late 2011.
Not long after, the country's unity government was thrown into turmoil, when an arrest warrant was issued for Sunni vice president Tariq al-Hashemi.
An increase in car bombings and shootings that came after the US withdrawal, were, and continue to be a reminder of Iraq's insecurity.
In December 2012, thousands of Sunnis began protesting across Iraq, because of what they see as marginalisation by the country's Shia dominated government.
The latest violence has revived fears of a return to the widespread sectarian killings that pushed the country to the brink of civil war.
But what are the reasons behind the increasing violence in Iraq? And who is behind it?
Inside Story, with presenter Mike Hanna, discusses with guests: Laith Kuba, the director of the Middle East and North Africa programme at the National Endowment for Democracy. Laith was the former adviser to the Iraqi prime minister; Brigadier general Mark Kimmitt, a former secretary for political and military affairs and former director for strategy at United States Central Command [CENTOM); and Souad Mekhennet, a columnist at Newsweek. Souad has covered Iraq extensively and authored the book The Children of Jihad.
|"One is hard-pressed to argue with a democratic process that picks the leaders and that is is exactly what happened inside of Iraq. It is hard to argue with the majority of people which say 'These are the leaders we choose.' We could certainly suggest some people to be in the positions of leadership, we could certainly recommend people for specific qualification but in the end of the day the people have spoken."
- Mark Kimmitt, , a former Assistant Secretary at the United States Department of State