Iraqi Sunni politics (under Prime Ministers Haydar al-Abbadi and Adil Abdulmahdi, 2014-2019)

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Applicant, Center of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Affiliation: Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 12

The article explores the dynamics of the state of the Iraqi Sunni political establishment that changed marginalized provincial factions to an influential parliamentary force in 2014-2019. In the beginning of the period when ISIS occupied vast territories to the north and west of Baghdad, Sunni politicians had to abandon their ambitions to influence the federal center policies and focus their efforts on rivalries inside the councils of Anbar, Salaheddin and Nainawa provinces.

The drastic marginalization of the Sunni factor on the federal level made Sunni politicians more willing to seek compromise with the Shia-dominated federal center,. This generally resulted in the obvious decrease of sectarian tension. During the 2018 parliamentary elections that led to the formation of the government of Adel Abdulmahdi, Sunni politicians tactically joined coalitions led by Shia, seeing this the only way to be elected. They continued the tactics of inter-faction maneuvering in the new parliament that led some of them even to the blocs headed by Shia islamists known by their close ties with Iran.

In 2019 the president of the Iraqi House of Representatives Mohammad al-Halboussi succeeded in uniting a good number of Sunni politicians who had had to join Shia-led coalitions during the elections, thus creating an influential Sunni bloc and positioning himself as a nation-scale leader. His latest and most prominent accomplishment is the second place his “Taqaddum” (“Progress”) bloc won during the parliamentary elections of 2021, outmaneuvered only by the populist “Sadrist Fraction” (“Al-Kutla as-sadriya”).

KeywordsIraq, Sunni politics, parliament, elections
Publication date08.12.2021
Number of characters34754
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