The main Sunni parliamentary bloc in Iraq, The Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF), lost about a quarter of its membership today as the Iraqi National Dialogue Council (INDC) and several independent members announced their withdrawal from the IAF.
The split seems to be related to yesterday’s resignation of parliamentary speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, an INDC member. His resignation was stipulated on the replacement also being an IAF member. As the bloc seeks a replacement, it is possible Vice President Hashemi’s Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), the largest IAF member, sought to replace Mashhadani with one of their own members. On announcing the split, INDC head Khalaf al-Aiyan complained that the IIP was trying trying to dominate the leading posts in the IAF.
As a member of the Iraqi coalition government, the loss of members will harm the coalition, though likely only to a small extent. The IAF has often clashed with the rest of the coalition, most notably when they forced a referendum on the Status of Forces Agreement with the United States. With the loss of the INDC, the IIP will be in even further control of what remains of the bloc. The IIP suspended all official contact with the United States in October after coalition forces killed one of their members in a raid.