d. Abdul Nasser Al-Mhadawy
New Iraq Centre Advisor
Translated by Shaimaa Shedeed
Fragmentation is the predominant feature of what is known as the Sunni Arabs in Iraq after the occupation in general and after their involvement in the political process in specific. In the fourth cycle of the Iraqi Parliament, this feature prevailed in the political arena in particular, and although the results of the May 2018 elections differ from the rest of the previous elections, the eternal attribute of the Sunni Arabs as is.
The results of the recent elections are a clear indication of the dominance of the parties that represent the Arab Shiite component on the political scene completely. The majority of the House of Representatives is part of this component, whose structure has been split into two parts after the star of the state of law and Maliki has fallen from the forefront. The first part is led by the coalition of Construction and headed by the alliance of Fath, while the other part seeks for being different to what has been inherited and this is represented by Coalition of Reform led by Saeroun who adopted the reform approach in the country. Actually, reform of the political system became a song sung by all to gain others’ sympathy, thus, the Construction coalition put forward a plan for reform to change the corrupted political system, especially after the remarkable confession by the President of the coalition Hadi al-Amiri apologizing to the Iraqi people for the imbalance in the entire political process.
Sunni Arab senators in the Iraqi parliament in its fourth cycle split into two parts, a large part of which joined the coalition of construction in order to ensure security and guarantee cover for their work after noble political Sunni Arabs suffered a lot in previous parliaments due to their principles to the extent that they were almost excluded. Other part allied with Saeroun with the aim of reforming the system or seeking the gains they had expected, especially from the alliance at first with the former Prime Minister Haider Abadi after he had reached some achievements on the ground, especially the security achievements after the liberation of Iraq from ISIS and achieving relative stability and security to the Iraqi citizen who suffered insecurity with gangs and terrorists.
The real problem that accompanied the Sunni Arab parliament members was not in their approaches or orientations through which they won their seats in Parliament or on which their electoral programs and vision for the future were built because the voter in Iraq who is wounded until today does not care for this or that trend, rather, he is still governed by ethnic or sectarian agendas .Hence, the real problem is that the Arab Sunnis change their attitudes and alliances from this party to that and dramatically abandon those alliances who even contributed to their success to reach the parliament seat in away doesn’t refer to any noble principle. The scenes continue and repeat and no one knows who was with whom? What’s more, those who were clearly with a current or a party that financed them during electoral campaigns abandoned them at the end and made other alliances with sides they see another gain and benefit behind!! This behavior is frankly conducted today in the political arena.
In these words we will objectively talk about facts related to the Sunni Arab parliament members in the parliament with its fourth cycle without mentioning specific names or parties.
The first truth that should remain in everyone’s mind is that these people, despite their arrival to the parliament, do not represent the Sunni Arab component in Iraq in fact, although some of them are good, fair and promising. And to be more realistic away from any generalization, this Sunni component itself was almost absent in the elections and only appeared at the minimum limits, in addition, the real turnout of the elections were at best not more than 20%. If we put in consideration that the majority of the areas liberated from ISIS have been dominated by the factions of the IMIS, the image will be clearer. For example, al-Qasaba area in Diyala has no single home for the Shiite component, but more than 4000 persons follow a specific Shia faction and voted for it due to its responsibility for their security. During the elections, they were forcibly taken to vote for that Shiite component.
The second truth which has become source of shame for all the sons of the Sunni component lies in the grand bazaar established to sell and buy positions and posts, whether some seats in the House of Representatives or government, especially ministries and the Presidency of the House of Representatives and other minor posts. This was evidenced by a statement of MP Majida Tamimi. In this regard, Shiite component proudly say these kind of acts of selling and buying positions do not exist among their Parliament members and frankly say this happens in another component. Today, no one in the Sunni Arab component, whether in parliament or outside can deny this fact, however, we can’t generalize this fact as we’re not targeting being biased to any faction on the account of other. Unfortunately, the news of the sale and purchase of positions was not only linked to this electoral round, but it was in previous rounds as well. Political money in the fourth cycle of the House of Representatives played a major role in determining the political map of its current form and even in government positions.
The third truth which is deemed as the most painful is that the majority of these Sunni parliament members work for their narrow interests at the expense of the public interests. They work first for their own interests and then for their partisan interests which is seen acceptable for some although it isn’t because public interest should be the ultimate goal of any parliament member. They also work for the interests of the component and all these fall under the title of achieving what they personally want and no doubt that the narrow interests make the MP necessarily divert from the real work for the rights and from the watching and monitoring work as well which consequently affect the entire legislative image.
The fourth truth is the small blocks problem. They represent disintegration of the cohesive entities and a scourge in the general orientations because they are self-indulgent and are not consistent with the public interest.
The fifth truth, disparity among intellectual backgrounds and ideologies. It may be natural if the bonds to which they are linked are strong and focused on a clear vision and specific goals. However, what should be more important is the pursuit of a clear vision for the country as a whole away from consideration of the fact that this is Islamist and this is secular and from that this is conservative and that is open. Actually, this blind fanaticism for belief or ideology or group is on account of general vision and prevents the perception of truth. It is out of arrogance and strong affiliation to the faction or ideology. Consequently, some may be tempted by the opinions of others who preceded him, which leads to imbalance, quarrels and unproductive arguments, because each individual is unintentionally overwhelmed with the limitations of ancestors and alliances.
The sixth truth is that they are not independent in a way doesn’t serve the Iraqi issue by any mean. Some may be influenced by international forces and others by regional or even local forces. Hence they pursuance will be mainly to satisfy one side or the other or a sect or a party. Indeed, the MP in his performance has to work to achieve the interest of the country only regardless implications of his loyalty and narrow identity and regardless certain hidden budgets and accounts.
Most of the above is related to the individual trends. Correction can be through overcoming them through linking the performance with the technical competence, ability, machine and efficiency on the one hand, and on the other linking to plans and objectives as well as programs and tools. It is fundamentally important to put the right person in the right place. Nevertheless, if we mention the competence, the machine and knowledge, some people’s answers imply that these positions of sovereignty do not need technocrats because they are primarily political positions. They also see that the position holder has the right to choose his team of advisors, specialists and scientists. Thus, his decision is not made by the mind of specialists, but is made in the eyes of the influencers, whether they are local, regional or international, and therefore the decision of the official is the most influential while the specialist opinion is not obligatory. Here, the politicians of Iraq differ from the politicians of the developed countries whose names are associated with their achievements, and therefore if you look at their files, you will find them from the knowledge and science people.