ERBIL (Kurdistan24) – A senior Sunni Iraqi politician on Wednesday announced the withdrawal of his party’s alliance from a major national parliamentary coalition amid lingering disputes that have stalled the formation of a new cabinet.
The announcement came from al-Hal party leader Jamal Karbouli, who until now has been part of the al-Bina Coalition, led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Iran-backed al-Fatih Alliance. Bina and Islah—which cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon alliance leads—are the two major blocs in the Iraqi legislature formed since the May 12 national elections.
Months of political deadlock has failed to produce a completed government despite parties having set aside their differences in October 2018 to nominate Adil Abdul-Mahdi as prime minister, unable so far to push through a consensus on candidates to lead the key security ministries of defense and interior.
“I announce my withdrawal from the Bina coalition,” Karbouli said in a statement, purporting it was “a first step to correct the path in the search for a national project that works hard for a prosperous Iraq where all Iraqis are equal.”
He further claimed that he had joined Bina “with all good intentions” but that none of his ambitions had been achieved in “making a national political project in its true sense.”
It is believed that the move will significantly affect the strength of Bina's position in parliament.
A fellow Anbari, Karbouli is a key supporter of the present parliament speaker, Mohammed al-Halbousi, having nominated him for the post.
Following this decision, it is so far unclear whether or not Karbouli will join Sadr’s Islah bloc, although meetings between the two have been reported. Sadr has long voiced strong criticism of Iraq’s crippling corruption and has alluded to Karbouli as being a part of it.
Islah now includes former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who leads the al-Nasr coalition, the second runner-up in last year's elections.
While the exact reasoning behind Hal party’s move is unclear, political sources told Kurdistan 24 that it was likely related to growing disillusionment among most Sunni parties with the continued ardent support of Bina members for Iran.
Editing by John J. Catherine