Iraqi Sunni Parliament Boycott Ends

The Iraqi Sunni Accordance Front has decided to end its boycott:

BAGHDAD – Sunni lawmakers ended their five-week boycott of parliament Thursday, raising hopes the factious assembly can make progress on benchmark legislation demanded by Washington. The U.S. said two American soldiers have been charged with killing an Iraqi.


The 44 members of the Iraqi Accordance Front attended Thursday’s session after striking a deal with other blocs to reinstate the Sunni speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, who was ousted by the Shiite-dominated assembly last month for erratic behavior.

Al-Mashhadani is expected to gracefully resign after presiding over a number of sessions. Shiite legislator Hassan al-Suneid, an aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said al-Mashhadani’s return came after secret conditions that should not be made public.

However, one official said al-Mashhadani has until Wednesday to step down or parliament will force him out. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

“We all have to work together to rescue Iraq from the catastrophe which has befallen it,” Sunni leader Adnan al-Dulaimi told parliament. “This is the first step in solving the Iraqi problem and in stopping the bloodshed.”

The Sunnis ended their walkout two days after Shiite lawmakers loyal to anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ended their boycott after officials accepted their demands for rebuilding a Shiite shrine damaged by bombings.

Those two boycotts had paralyzed the 275-member parliament, which is under strong criticism from U.S. critics for failing to approve key legislation and for plans to take a month’s vacation in August at a time when American and Iraqi troops are dying on the battlefield.

I’m open to suggestions on what the meaning of this is (if any).

They’ve made their point?
They’ve come to their senses and decided to start doing the jobs they were elected to do?
This is consistent with the increased cooperation that the U. S. military has been seeing from Sunnis in Anbar and elsewhere?
It’s meaningless?
They haven’t been in the headlines for a while?
They wanted to come back before the Iraqi Parliament adjourns for its August vacation because they wanted to be sure they’d get their vacation pay?

I’m leaning towards the last one but I’m open to other suggestions.


Marc Lynch points to the recently reported rapprochement of various groups in the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, noting:

These moves by the major insurgency factions over the last several months don’t fit well within the preferred American narrative. Their actions are not motivated by the ‘surge’, but rather by the belief that the US will soon leave. Their hostility to the Islamic State of Iraq/al-Qaeda does not translate into support for the United States or the current Iraqi government.

Could a decision to establish a political wing on the part of the Sunni insurgency be related to a greater willingness on the part of Sunni Arabs in the Iraqi Parliament to participate, too?

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