Iraq’s ex-parliament chief: no to sectarian alliances, Turkey meeting casual

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri. File photo.

Baghdad ( Iraq’s Sunni former parliament chief, Salim al-Jubouri, said Wednesday he rejects joining any political alliances on sectarian bases, stressing that a recent meeting of Iraqi Sunni powers in Turkey was “casual”.

A statement by Jubouri’s office said the former parliament speaker “will not be part of any sectarian formation”.

He noted that a reported meeting of Sunni political figures in Turkey “was casual, and has not resulted in anything”, adding that “meetings continue in Baghdad among political blocs for the formulation of common objectives that facilitate the work of the next government”.

Saudi newspaper Okaz said earlier today that Jubouri held a meeting of Sunni political powers of Iraq in Turkey’s Istanbul, an event which the paper said “deepened differences among Sunni powers”.

It said the meeting drew negative reactions from other Iraqi blocs which viewed it as a violation of declared vows by Iraqi groups of independence from foreign influences.

Amer al-Fayez, a former MP and a member of the Shia-led al-Fatah coalition, told Iraq Today that the meeting violated a parliament resolution that prohibits offshore meetings by senior politicians.

“There is intervention in Iraqi affairs from the outside, which is normal for them, but it is not normal for Iraqi groups to yield,” Fayez stated.

Earlier this week, the Iraqi parliament failed to reach a resolution on the extension of its mandate. Judicial authorities are currently running a manual recount of votes for the parliament elections held in May, a process which was surrounded by accusations of forgery.

Jubouri is a member of Iraq’s largest Sunni Muslim coalition. Iraq is a Shia Muslim majority country, and it is widely presumed that both sects are influenced by regional powers.

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