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Coordination Framework Approaches Iraq’s Sunnis, Kurds to Form Govt without Sadr

Coordination Framework Approaches Iraq’s Sunnis, Kurds to Form Govt without Sadr

Saturday, 17 September, 2022 - 06:15
Iraqi demonstrators gather during an anti-government protest in Baghdad, Iraq September 2, 2022. (Reuters)

The Shiite pro-Iran Coordination Framework carried out over three days last week negotiations with Sunni and Kurdish forces to form a new government in Iraq.

The Framework is keen on forming the new cabinet as its rival, cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, head of the Sadrist movement has yet to comment on the efforts.

The Framework held talks with the Sunni Azm and Sovereignty alliances and the Kurdish Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

Leaks to the media confirmed speculation that the Sunnis and Kurds have set a number of conditions to join the Framework in the new government.

It remains to be seen whether the Sadrists and Framework will meet after the Arbaeen commemoration on Saturday.

An informed source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the negotiations between the Framework, Sunni and Kurdish forces are not official, rather the latter two parties are “testing the waters” with the former to see whether it would achieve repeated demands that have been ignored for years.

The source said the negotiations are significant because they go to show how far Sadr’s former allies – the Sunnis and Kurds – have grown distant from his movement.

Sunni conditions at the talks included introducing amendments to the parliamentary electoral law within three months, holding parliamentary elections within one year at the latest, amending the counter-terrorism law and reconstructing liberated provinces.

They also demanded the withdrawal of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) from these provinces, uncovering the fate of abducted individuals, and returning the displaced to Jarf al-Sakhir.

These demands and others had fallen on deaf ears in previous governments - that were dominated by Shiite powers – due to political disputes.

Political observers believe the Framework is determined to forge ahead and hold a parliamentary session soon to pave the way for the election of a president and appointment of a new prime minister.

Regardless of what it intends to do, it seems unlikely that it will go far if the Sadrists remain silent, which is also unlikely.

The Framework has an arduous task ahead with negotiating with the Sunnis and Kurds over meeting the demands of the former and having the major Kurdish parties reach an agreement over a presidential candidate.

Should an agreement be reached, then the necessary quorum may be met at parliament to elect a president.

Should the Sadrists have a different say on the matter, then any agreement sought by the Framework with the Sunnis and Kurds will collapse. This is especially true if Sadr were to again mobilize his supporters on the street.

This may again lead to intra-Shiite clashes, further complicating the already complex scene in Iraq and opening it to new unpredictable possibilities.

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