With the local elections approaching, what are the chances of the “United Anbar” coalition in competing with the Sunni political forces in Iraq?

Mosul- With the approaching local elections in Iraq, the conflict between the political forces, whether Sunni or Shiite, is intensifying. The most prominent of these conflicts is evident in the recently announced conference in Anbar Province (west), which is the stronghold of the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament and head of the Taqaddam Party, Muhammad al-Halbousi.

Last Friday, May 19, the city of Fallujah in Anbar Governorate witnessed the holding of the third conference of the Unified Anbar Alliance, which includes many Sunni political leaders, most notably the former Minister of Finance, Rafie al-Issawi, in addition to the former Anbar governor, Suhaib al-Rawi, and other politicians, including Salman al-Jumaili, Jamal al-Karbouli, and others.

In the midst of these events, questions are raised about the possibility of this alliance competing with other Sunni political forces in the provinces recovered from the control of the Islamic State in 2017, such as the Sovereignty Alliance, the Taqaddam Party, and others, and whether this alliance enjoys public support and the opportunity to compete with others.

Alliance and its directions

Regarding the goals of the new alliance, the leader of the Unified Anbar Alliance, Salman Al-Jumaili, confirms – in his interview with Al-Jazeera – that the alliance aims to break what he described as the “political monopoly” of one party and confront the policy of silencing mouths, confiscating freedoms, and the rampant financial and administrative corruption in the departments of Anbar Governorate, as well as striving to provide An umbrella for young people aspiring to work politically away from fear and exclusion in favor of those belonging to the ruling party only, as he put it.

Regarding the chances of the new alliance in competing with other political forces, Al-Jumaili, who held the position of Minister of Planning in the government of former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, comments, “We believe that the new alliance has an opportunity to compete in the liberated provinces, as it is based on respected political figures who previously exercised power and were not registered with them.” corruption files.

Meanwhile, political analyst Riyad Al-Ali believes – in his interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that the Iraqi constitution gave the opportunity to conclude new political alliances and enter the arena of elections regardless of the allies, which may pave the way for the Unified Anbar Alliance to enter the upcoming local and legislative elections and compete with the rest of the parties that lead scene now.

And the matter may not stop at that, as according to Al-Ali, the past years witnessed the rise of many Sunni political blocs such as the Accordance Front, the Union of Iraqi Forces and others, and that the majority of the personalities that lead the Unified Anbar Alliance now were part of those previous alliances, which may mean the possibility of competing with them. Actual for other parties, according to him.

The Unified Anbar Alliance includes many prominent Sunni leaders such as Rafie al-Issawi, Jamal al-Karbouli, Qasim al-Fahdawi, Salman al-Jumaili and others (social networking sites)

The possibility of competition

Salman Al-Jumaili does not hide the possibility of an alliance with other political blocs, as he affirms, “We will enter the local elections through our alliance. We will certainly have understandings with other alliances,” noting that the leaders of the coalition enjoy a public presence despite their exposure to exclusion and injustice during the past years, as he put it, commenting, ” The ruling party in the liberated governorates failed to provide a model for a respectable political project around which the masses rallied, with this party relying on power to liquidate its political opponents and its willingness to make great concessions in return for retaining the position, which is a catalyst for the success of our coalition in garnering large votes despite the media and financial machine. opponents’ great possessions.

On the other hand, the researcher on political affairs, Dr. Saif Al-Saadi, believes that the coalition includes political leaders who can be called the first generation, but all these leaders had problems with the Anbar governorate society and the rest of the Sunni governorates, which may mean that the majority of the masses – in these governorates – It rejects the return of these people to the political scene, given that the coalition does not have a political vision that enables it to compete with the current political forces, indicating that the slogan of fighting corruption will not enable the coalition to strike other forces, and that many of these leaders have corruption files, according to him.

And whether the numbers of the audience present at the last conference, estimated at about 10 thousand people, refute the lack of public support for the coalition, Al-Saadi says – in his interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that the number of attendees at the conference is inaccurate, especially since 20 leaders in the coalition, most of whom could not reach what He entitles them to win a parliamentary seat in Parliament in the recent elections, indicating that more than half of those present at the conference were affiliated with the Qadiriyya sect led by Nehru al-Kisanani, who is part of the coalition, and this is evidenced by the flags and banners of this sect during the conference, according to al-Saadi.

Meanwhile, independent political researcher Raad Hashim believes that the coalition cannot compete with other political forces, especially since all its leaders are leaders from the first generation, and therefore, since Parliament adopted the one-constituency system for the governorate in the legislative and local elections, it is very difficult to The coalition remains unified, as well as its potential to compete with other Sunni political parties.

In the context, Hashim believes – in his interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that since the goal of the Unified Anbar Alliance seeks through its speeches to remove Muhammad al-Halbousi from the forefront of the Sunni political scene, this may collide with another equation that al-Halbousi now enjoys the support of most of the influential forces in Iraqi affairs, which is what It may make the goal of the Anbar coalition difficult to achieve in light of the current circumstances, although the alliance could compete with al-Halbousi politically, which may disturb the movements of the Taqaddam party, whether in Anbar or in other regions, with the approaching local elections.

Numerous indicators

Returning to Al-Jumaili and about the reasons for holding the third conference of the Anbar Alliance, he comments by saying: “We did not encounter technical obstacles to holding the conference, but the general political atmosphere prevailing in Anbar is the restriction through arrest or administrative penalties for those who are employed in one of the province’s departments for activists and opponents of the ruling party in the province. Those who express their opinions through media channels or their personal pages, and had it not been for this harassment, the attendance would have doubled to tens of thousands.

At a time when it was rumored that many of the leaders of the Unified Anbar Alliance had met with Iranian leaders at the headquarters of the Tehran embassy in Baghdad in the weeks preceding the holding of the last conference in the city of Fallujah (west of Baghdad), which may indicate the support of the Iranian embassy and leaders of Shiite political blocs for certain Sunni figures. In order to weaken the Sunni political parties, which may be headed by Taqaddam, sources close to the United Anbar Alliance denied these accusations and considered them irresponsible and lacking evidence.

The spokesman for the Unified Anbar Alliance, Taha Abdul-Ghani, confirmed – in a televised interview – that he denied that the conference was held under the protection of the armed faction “Hezbollah Brigades of Iraq”, pointing out that all the forces that took over the protection of the last conference were from the Anbar Operations Command, the local police and the popular crowd. .

On the other hand, the political researcher Raad Hashem did not hide his fears of a new political alliance between secular and Islamic Sunni political leaders on the one hand, and the alliance of Shiite political parties that own armed factions, considering that the current political moves of the Sunni political blocs indicate that a new phase has begun in the Sunni regions, According to him.

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