Rumours about some kind of serious internal dissension within Iraqiyya have been flying around for weeks, but so far not much of substance has materialised. It does however seem significant that a press release from Iraqiyya, published today through the ordinary party bureaucracy and in itself not particularly remarkable, all of a sudden talks of Kazim al-Shammari as “official spokesman” of the list.
Earlier this autumn, Ayad Allawi has had a tough job enforcing unity within Iraqiyya ranks, and at one point explicitly limited the list of people authorised to speak on the behalf of Iraqiyya to Maysun al-Damluji and a few others. Even though there could of course be practical and/or holiday-related reasons behind it, the sudden “promotion” of Shammari, who earlier in the week was one of the few Iraqiyya deputies to express support for Maliki before the conclusion of the political talks in Baghdad, does seem to mark a break with Allawi’s line. If confirmed, this could indicate a deeper split within Iraqiyya, at least partially related to tensions between the “exiled” and the “domestic” circles within the coalition which seemed further highlighted in a separate meeting yesterday between Jalal Talabani and Usama al-Nujayfi, Salih al-Mutlak, Rafi al-Eisawi, Izz al-Din al-Dawla and Jabir al-Jabiri, all of Iraqiyya. It is noteworthy, though, that Shammari, who was elected from Baghdad, is a Wifaq member (Allawi’s own branch), indicating the potential depth of any split.