Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant anti-Saudi and Bahraini governments slogans during a demonstration in Basra.
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Federalism in Iraq: What you need to know

The last American troops left Iraq in December 2011, after an occupation that lasted eight years.

Since the invasion by US-led troops in 2003, the country has experienced intense civil violence, with militias fighting each other as well as foreign troops. Ethnic and sectarian conflict, as well as a deteriorating security situation, continue to put Iraqs unity at risk.

BBC Arabic's Rami Ruhayem explains why the idea of federalism has taken hold, and why different regions are asking for autonomy within the state of Iraq.

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