Sunni leader promoting revival of a nationalist coalition with Sadr
Three weeks ago, November 12, there was a report in Asharq al Awsat about what was being called the National Iraqi Gathering or Assembly, apparently sponsored by a branch of the Dawa party, but including Sadrists, people from the Iraqi National Accord, National Dialogue Front and others, the news of that day being that this was joined by one of the Najaf authorities, Ayatollah Yaqubi, spiritual leader of the Fadhila Party. From the summary back on November 12:
[The movement's spokesman] said: The Iraqi experience since the American attack in 2003 has demonstrated the inability of the existing political parties to go beyond their "narrow special interests, and their ideological sacraments" in a way that could save Iraq from the fate that appears to be awaiting it. To make a long story short, he says the elected political parties have ended up abdicating their responsibility to the nation as a whole, and giving in to the temptation sectarian in-fighting.Three short weeks later the risk of an American withdrawal at the expense of the Iraqi democracy obviously seems a lot more threatening. It has been widely reported that Moqtada Al-Sadr, in a reaction to the Maliki-Bush meeting, has been at work on a parliamentary alliance that would call for US troop-withdrawal as an act of Parliament. The news today is from Aswat al-Iraq, and it is in the form of a statement by Saleh al-Mutlak. Here is the whole news item:
Of particular interest to American readers should be his analysis of the "the new American strategy" in Iraq, which he describes as focused on extricating America from a situation that is "distressing [to America] both domestically and globally, even if that [extrication] is at the expense of the democratic experiment in Iraq, which has cost us so many victims." The appeal, which is not only to political parties, but to other groups and tribes and so on as well, refers to the risk currently facing Iraq of being "dispersed and [the various parts] snatched up".
Head of the National Dialogue Front Saleh al-Mutlak said today there will soon be an announcement about establishment of a National Salvation Front in Iraq to include various political and religious figures. He explained [in Amman] that the announcement comes by way of reviving a political movement that had been stalled (or words to that effect). He said this will include, besides [his own] National Dialogue Front, the Iraqi List led by Iyad Allawi, the coalition for Reconciliation and Freedom led by Mashaan Juburi, and the Sadrist movement led by Moqtada al-Sadr. It will also include groups from outside the political process including [something called] the Constituent Council led by Jawad al-Halasi, tribal elements from south and central Iraq, along with representatives of the Yazidis, and the Turkmen, Kurdish movements that oppose separation, a coalition of Christians, along with the [something called the] Arab Shiite Movement. And Matlak said the movement will be supported by religious figures of social and political weight, including al-Baghdadi, al-Yaqubi, al-Muiid, and al-Sarkhii, along with the Khalasia school.That's all it says. This appears to be an expanded version of what was referred to three weeks ago as the National Iraqi Gathering or Assembly, representing nationalist groups of both the Sunni and Shiite persuasion, described then as aimed at protecting the country from the ill effects of an American withdrawal designed only to save their own skin. It is possible this project and the Sadr project for a parliamentary-alliance for US withdrawal are on the same page, but on the other hand a lot of people will say: "it is too late for this". Time will tell.