In pictures: The Maliki years

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki took office in 2006, but seems set to hand over power after another Shia politician, Haider al-Abadi, was nominated to succeed him. His premiership was a tumultuous time for Iraq that began with high hopes and ended with an insurgency raging in the north and US air strikes against Sunni rebels.

Nouri Maliki at press conference in 2005

Nouri Maliki rose to prominence after the 2003 US-led invasion, as a lawmaker for the Dawa party. A former party activist from southern Iraq, he lived in self-imposed exile during the rule of Saddam Hussein.

Mourners in Baquba, 2006

He was appointed prime minister in 2006, as Iraq was in the grip of a bloody three-way conflict involving US forces and Sunni and Shia militias.

Mr Maliki tours Samarra mosque in 2007

The sectarian conflict intensified after Sunni insurgents attacked this Shia mosque in the city of Samarra in 2006.

Iraqis celebrate death of Zarqawi, 2006

In the same year, Shia Iraqis welcomed news of the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of an al-Qaeda-linked group that had targeted their community.

Iraqi troops in Basra, 2008

In 2008, Mr Maliki ordered Iraq's fledgling army into battle against radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr's militia. Their victory enhanced the prime minister's reputation as a strongman.

Iraqi children look on as US troops inspect a neighbourhood during the 'surge'

Meanwhile, a boost in the US troop deployment - coupled with the creation of tribal militias, bankrolled by the US - helped tamp down the Sunni insurgency.

Mr Bush and Mr Maliki, 2008

In 2008, the US announced it would gradually hand over control of security to Iraqi forces. Anger at the US remained high, however. At a press conference in Baghdad, Mr Maliki tried to defend visiting US President George W Bush from a pair of shoes, flung in protest by an Iraqi reporter.

Protest against Mr Maliki in Baghdad

Many Iraqis also directed their anger at Mr Maliki, regarding him as an increasingly authoritarian leader.

Mr Maliki at an electricity station.

Despite Iraq's great oil wealth, the government struggled to provide basic services such as electricity and sewage, again fuelling discontent.

Iraqis celebrate election results in 2010

In 2010, Iraq went to the polls. Mr Maliki secured a second term in office, amid fierce protests from his rivals.

Mr Maliki prays in his office

Mr Maliki became isolated politically after 2010, as Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders complained that he was monopolising power. After the eruption of a jihadist-led insurgency in the north of Iraq in 2014, Mr Maliki has faced intense pressure to step down.

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