On March 14, 2011, it was reported that six members of Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement (INM) left the list to form a new party. The group was led by Talal Zubaie, who said the new group would be called the Youth of Iraq Party. Zubaie blamed the leadership of the INM for the defections, claiming that they only thought about themselves. Zubaie said that the Youth Party would be an opposition group.
Just three days before, eight others members of the INM left to form the White Iraqi National Movement. That group was led by Hassan Aliwi and included the Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Jamal Batikh. They personally called out Allawi for failing to follow through with the National Movement’s program. They too said that they would be an opposition group within parliament.
There was another public split within the National Movement back in February. On February 21, Qutaiba Jabouri was kicked out of the list. Jabouri claimed that he had the backing of 60 of the list’s 91 parliamentarians for him to become the nominee for vice president instead of Tariq Hashemi. Hashemi is the leader of one of the six major blocs that make up the INM. Jabouri went on to blame Hashemi and Deputy Premier Saleh al-Mutlaq for his expulsion because he had earlier criticized them for only caring about their own personal agendas rather than the needs of the public. Jabouri ended up joining the White Iraqi National Movement.
The Iraqi National Movement has always been an unruly group. Allawi has only marginal control over the list, which is led by many strong personalities. Some of them like Hashemi and Mutlaq have followed their own agendas, sometimes to the detriment of Allawi, their nominal leader. Ever since the March 2010 election there have been rumors and reports that the INM was breaking apart. That finally happened this year as the government has still not been fully formed, and Allawi has been shut out of office, both of which have increased the internal divisions. Those difficulties continue, which could mean more defections in the coming weeks.
Alsumaria, “Two thirds of Iraqiya members name Jibouri as VP,” 2/23/11
Brosek, Raman, “Iraqiya is expected to have another political party,” AK News, 3/14/1
Brosk, Raman, “Another new bloc emerges from al-Iraqiya,” AK News, 3/15/11
Shames, Abdullah, ”Eight al-Iraqiya deputies announce split from bloc,” AK News, 3/7/11
Sowell, Kirk, “Inside Iraqi Politics Issue No. 10,” Inside Iraqi Politics, 3/11/11