Thursday, April 12, 2007


Iraqi Accord Front may withdraw from political process

(al-Melaf) - The largest Sunni bloc in Parliament may intend to withdraw from the political process, al-Melaf reports in Arabic. The news agency cites an "informed source" inside the Tawafuq Front who reportedly said that the outstanding arrest warrants for Tawafuq MPs have led the bloc to plan its withdrawal announcement.
Arrest warrants have previously been issued against a number of Tawafuq deputies. Members of parliament cannot be prosecuted unless the chamber lifts the status of immunity.
A number of members of the bloc left Iraq weeks ago without filing requests for official travel or leave with the office of the president of the Parliament, according to al-Melaf. During raids by US and Iraqi forces on homes of Tawafuq parliamentarians, weapons and documents were found linking Front members with elements of militant groups, and also to the prior regime, according to US claims. Tawafuq MPs have denied these allegations.
The Tawafuq Front has refused to discuss the lifting of the diplomatic immunity of a number of parliamentarians. Adnan al-Dulaimi, the president of the bloc has said that the arrest of parliamentarians is a threat to the political process, al-Melaf writes. The Tawafuq Front, a coalition of Sunni parties, is under intense pressure, both from the Iraqi government and US forces, but also from many Iraqi Sunni Arabs who view their participation in the political process under the aegis of the US occupation as illegitimate.
Tawafuq is the largest Sunni-based political bloc in the Parliament, representing 44 seats in the legislature. A Tawafuq withdrawal from the political process could deliver a serious blow to the Iraqi regime. Tawafuq has remained in the opposition in Parliament, but its participation in the body has provided lent legitimation to the Iraqi regime by providing Sunni representation in the process. Absent the Tawafuq presence in Parliament, this claim of Iraqi Sunni Arab representation in the political process would be harder to sustain.
"Tawafuq" is an Arabic word that has been translated different ways: It has appeared in media reports glossed as "Accord," "Concordance," "Accordance" or even "Consensus."

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