Broad Welcome for Sunni Return to Iraqi Politics

This article was written by Abeer Mohammed, and was originally published by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, It is reproduced by Iraq Business News with permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

A decision by Iraq’s Sunni Arab political bloc to end its boycott of parliament has been welcomed as a step towards halting a political crisis that sparked fears of fresh sectarian conflict when it erupted in December.

The Sunni-backed Iraqiya list had refused to attend parliament sessions since mid-December, complaining that it had been excluded from decision-making.

Tensions worsened when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki sought the removal of his Sunni deputy, Saleh al-Mutlaq, and an arrest warrant was issued for Sunni vice-president Tariq al-Hashemi on terrorism charges.

Iraqiya bloc ministers also decided to boycott cabinet meetings.

The political battle coincided with a series of attacks which resulted in mostly Shia casualties, raising concerns of a return to the bloody sectarian warfare that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis.

But this week the Sunni coalition, which won a majority in 2010’s parliamentary election but was unable to form a coalition, announced it would return to parliament and would also consider attending cabinet meetings again.

Mayson al-Damloji, an Iraqiya spokeswoman, told reporters that the list had “made its decision to return to parliamentary sessions in order to discuss important issues for citizens, like the budget of 2012”.

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