Three years after the invasion of Iraq by the US-led coalition life for many Iraqis remains uncertain, with continuing violence and political instability.
Iraq has been rocked by sectarian violence
The BBC News website spoke to four Iraqis and asked them for their memories of the invasion, what life has been like in the country since and what they feel the future holds.
TARA RASHID, OPTHALMOLOGIST, BAGHDAD
During the invasion I was working in one of Baghdad's hospitals. It was hell, but after the invasion we were all happy. "Thank God, someone has come to help us," many of us said.
But after six months everything went to hell again and now the prospects for the future look very bad.
I think people here are tired of living desperate lives and suffering in such conditions.
I do not think the occupation is necessarily the problem. I think we need a dominant power to establish stable government.
Civil war is always a possibility, and although we are not killing each other on the scale of Yugoslavia or Rwanda we are running out of options.
I don't trust our politicians and we are being pushed into a corner right now.
I want us to have normal lives - where you can drive a car, you don't see any military or people carrying weapons, you don't see any checkpoints or people killed in bomb attacks.
I want my kids to go to school and come home safely. But right now I am trapped.
MATEEN DOOSKI, 45, DOHUK, NORTHERN IRAQ
I would not call it an invasion, I would call it a liberation. But this does not mean it came without a heavy price. The current generation will pay before normal life returns.
We are now at a crossroads and we have to choose whether to agree with each other and to make concessions
I remember the day all the bombing started. We had left our homes as we were afraid, as Kurds, of being shelled by Saddam.
Late that night I was sitting in my car and a relative came to me to say that Baghdad was being bombed.
We were happy, we had waited for the moment for a long time.
We are now at a crossroads and we have to choose whether to agree with each other and to make concessions.
One thing is irreversible: The Kurds and Shias, who represent 80% of Iraqis, will not accept Iraq being ruled by a minority government.
We need a government which is representative and so we will keep being patient and making concessions.
SAMIAH, ENGINEER, 43, BAGHDAD
In 2003, just before the Americans invaded, everyone in the city who could left their homes.
We went to a small village in the south, where a very kind man allowed us to share his home and would not accept any payment.
Security remains a constant concern for Iraqis
When the fighting was over we came back. We were amazed when Saddam's statue came down and we said to ourselves: "Now things are better".
But three years on and you cannot feel any change for the better. Now I see fighters in the streets who are not from Iraq and who tell us we are "betraying our religion".
I don't care whether the new government is Shia, Sunni, or whatever, I just want them to bring some development to our country, to pave the roads, rebuild the destroyed buildings.
I don't know what will happen in the future but this situation cannot continue. I stay in my house all the time now as there are so many bombs.
Baghdad was once so beautiful and peaceful. There is no peace now.
HASSAN KHARRUFA, STUDENT, 20, BAGHDAD
Our daily lives have changed little, we still live in fear. I think now is a transitional time for Iraq.
When the war started I was in my last year of high school, studying for final exams.
It is very annoying when people just define us as Sunni and Shia when we are just Muslims
I remember US airplanes flying very low over Baghdad, so low that bullets from Iraqi anti-aircraft guns would fall on our roof.
The hardest thing was trying to explain to my little sister what all the noises were and why the earth was shaking.
Now, I think things here are now slowly becoming stable and we finally are starting to have a working government.
They are trying to find solutions to stop things getting out of hand, like after the shrine bombing.
It is very annoying when people just define us as Sunni and Shia when we are just Muslim. Before the war I did not even know the difference.
I am Sunni and have many Shia friends at college. We all agree that for a stable Iraq we have to connect with each other.