Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi had made clear he was very interested in staying out of the growing tensions between the Emirate of Qatar and the other GCC member nations. That, however, appears it was not meant to be, as Vice President Ayad Allawi has insinuated himself into the issue.
Allawi, himself a former prime minister of Iraq, today accused Qatar of having promoted a plan to “split Iraq” along religious lines, saying they sought the establishment of an independent Sunni Iraq in exchange for a Shi’ite-dominated region.
That would be bad news for Allawi, a secular Shi’ite politician whose political support is heavily dependent on Sunni voters who see him as preferable to the more religious candidates aligned with the Dawa Party and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council.
Whether the allegation is true or not is another matter. Qatar, like most of the Gulf Arab states, has been seen trying to limit the Shi’ite-dominated Iraqi government’s influence in the Sunni Arab west, but talk of splitting Iraq outright along these lines never appears to have been a proposal which got very far, let alone one that Qatar ever publicly backed.
While Allawi’s allegations put him in the same camp with Saudi Arabia et al. in throwing around accusations about Qatar, in this case it appears not to fit neatly into the Saudi narrative, as they’ve been trying to paint Qatar as too close to Shi’ite Iran, and this accusation would have Qatar undermining Iran’s allies in Baghdad for the sake of the nation’s Sunni Arab minority.