New Iraqi Sunni Alliance Confuses Political Scene

New Iraqi Sunni Alliance Confuses Political Scene

Monday, 9 July, 2018 - 07:00
Iraq parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri. (Reuters)
Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa
A number of prominent Iraqi Sunni leaderships announced a new agreement aimed at appointing a unified negotiations team to attend discussions over the formation of a new government.

A statement released by Speaker Salim al-Jabouri’s office on Sunday said that the leaders of several political blocs met at his residence to tackle the current political developments and ways to reach understandings and bolster dialogue to achieve rapprochement between blocs.

The meeting reviewed the May parliamentary elections and the ensuing accusations of fraud that led to a decision to hold a manual recount that kicked off on Tuesday.

The Sunni figures underlined the importance of the recount to restore trust in the electoral process and the formation of a national government.

Positions expressed after the meeting varied on whether a new political alliance was struck or whether an agreement was simply reached over a negotiations team that can hold talks with Shiite and Kurdish partners, especially in wake of the recent rapprochement between those two sides.

The rapprochement has stoked fears of the reemergence of the so-called historic Kurdish-Shiite alliance that collapse during Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s second term in office between 2010 and 2014.

Mohammed al-Karbouli, who is one of the architects of the new Sunni bloc, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We agreed on an alliance … that will enjoy a mass leadership.”

“This is not a sectarian formation, but an attempt to reach a unified vision for the Sunni blocs to enable them to hold negotiations with partners based on this vision in order to avert a repeat of past tragedies that befell our regions and provinces,” he explained.

Prominent Sunni leader Kamel al-Dulaimi said: “Discussions between political blocs clearly indicate that we did not learn from recent bitter past experiences.”

“We are repeating the same scenarios but in different forms. We have attractive headlines, but no substance,” he added, accusing officials of placing their own interests above national ones.

Iraqi academic Yehya al-Kabisi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the fragmentation in various sects in the country can be blamed on internal rivalries.

“Everyone knows that without internal unity, … none of these sectarian houses will be able to achieve their proper representation in wake of the parliamentary elections,” he added.

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