Amid internal disputes between Shiite forces, represented by the Sadrist Movement and the Coordination Framework, and disagreements between the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a new intra-Sunni crisis is looming in Iraq’s western provinces.
While the Shiites are fighting over the eligibility of any of the two majority forces to form a new government, the crisis between the two Kurdish parties revolves around the right of either of them to take over the presidency. But the matter for the western regions of Iraq with a Sunni majority seems different this time, even if it involves the monopoly of Sunni representation.
The Sunni Arabs chose the leader of the Takadum Party, Muhammad al-Halbousi, as head of parliament. He was re-elected with a large majority of 200 votes. In order to resolve the issue of Sunni representation, Halbousi made an alliance with the leader of the Azm Movement, businessman Khamis al-Khanjar. The two formed the Sovereignty Alliance, with 65 deputies in the Iraqi parliament.
Subsequently, a number of deputies from the Azm Alliance broke away due to their differences with Halbousi, forming a political group called the Azm Alliance, led by MP Muthanna al-Samarrai.
In the context of the political alliances that followed the early elections in late 2021, the Sunni Sovereignty Alliance led by Muhammad al-Halbousi and Khamis al-Khanjar became part of the “Saving the Homeland” coalition, formed by the leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr and which included the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by Massoud Barzani.
On the other hand, the Azm Alliance joined the Coordination Framework and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
However, this alliance was unable to pass its candidate for the presidency to pave the way for the formation of the government, while the Coordination Framework, along with their Kurdish and Sunni allies, formed the vetoing third that forced al-Sadr to withdraw his deputies from Parliament.
In this context, the Sunni representation or its monopoly by one party comes back to the fore. Well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that preparations were underway to hold a gathering in the province that would include about a thousand political and clan figures, to announce a new political group in Anbar.
“The leadership of this alliance is yet to be determined… but the most prominent figures who attended the preliminary meeting are Qassem Al-Fahdawi, the former Minister of Electricity, Suhaib Al-Rawi, the former Governor of Anbar, Salman Al-Jumaili and Nuri Al-Dulaimi, the former ministers of planning, the leader of the Al-Hal (Solution) Party Jamal Al-Karbouli and the head of the National Project, Jamal Al-Dhari,” the sources said.
In this regard, Sunni politician Yazan al-Jubouri told Asharq Al-Awsat that the formation of such a gathering was a natural consequence of the political reality in the liberated western provinces.
He noted that it was not normal for the Sunni representation to be limited to two camps, either al-Halbousi or the Sunni framework.
“The upcoming elections will likely witness the emergence of a fourth, civilian Sunni front, in addition to the return of the Iraqi Islamic Party,” he remarked.