A new political alliance formed in Baghdad last week includes several important and influential political forces from Iraq’s majority Sunni provinces.
The formation of the Union of Iraqi National Forces was announced during a Friday (July 14th) press conference in the Iraqi capital.
Speaker of Parliament and new alliance head Salim al-Jubouri was in attendance, along with Deputy Prime Minister Osama al-Nujaifi and other Iraqi MPs.
According to its manifesto, the new alliance seeks to combat terrorism and extremist ideologies and to support the Iraqi government in its reconstruction efforts in the areas liberated from the "Islamic State for Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).
According to al-Jubouri, the new alliance calls on "everyone to adopt clear principles and implement steps that would lift the country out of its repeated crises and adhere to national principles".
These would take into account "a host of factors", he said, "such as genuine reconciliation efforts and working towards bringing stability to the parts of the country where terrorism flourished, whilst denouncing extremist ideologies".
The new alliance will focus on helping to return displaced populations to their homes and providing security during the transitional period, al-Jubouri said.
He called on elected officials to take their responsibility seriously and support reconstruction efforts, security, bringing back displaced families and liberating cities still under ISIS control, such as al-Hawija, western Anbar and Tal Afar.
"The new alliance rejects sectarian and factional groupings and seeks to build an all-encompassing, national project to help plan for the post-ISIS period," he said, in which the state is respected as the legitimate authority.
An alliance against terrorism
Iraqi MP Shatha al-Abbousi, a member of the new alliance, told Diyaruna the top priority of the Union of Iraqi National Forces is to combat extremist ideologies.
"These deviant ways of thinking have wreaked havoc on society and caused wars and suffering over the past few years," she said.
The new political alliance strongly supports the efforts of the Iraqi government and the international coalition in the war against extremist groups such as ISIS, she said, noting that several members of the new alliance are tribal factions.
These factions fought under federal command to expel ISIS, she said.
The alliance plans to support the latest military gains "by preparing the right environment to confront terrorism ideologically, to isolate it socially and suffocate it financially", al-Abbousi said.
Terrorism cannot be defeated without collaboration among the political forces of each area, she said, noting that "people cannot feel safe or have a sense of belonging unless their cities are rebuilt, services restored and jobs are available".
"This will be the initial focus of the new political alliance," she said.
In the next stage, she added, "the very few individuals from the liberated areas who were forced to deal with ISIS for financial reasons" also will need to be taken into consideration.
Eradicating terrorism is an international demand, she said, confirming that the Union of Iraqi National Forces is reaching out to the world to elicit its support, particularly for the liberated provinces as they rebuild their destroyed cities.
New alliance member Iraqi MP Ahmed al-Masari told Diyaruna the region and world should support these provinces by creating a mechanism to collect grants, in addition to creating a fund that would secure the necessary financial resources.
He stressed the importance of working in partnership with the Iraqi government, which he called on to protect the people of the liberated areas.
Several parties that joined the new alliance kept their party names, including the United for Iraq party of Osama al-Nujaifi, Jamal al-Karbouli’s National Movement for Development and Reform (al-Hal or Solution) and al-Arabiya Coalition led by Saleh al-Mutlaq, among other Sunni political parties.