The Wall Street Journal is reporting that in the latest defection, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi has said that he was quitting the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) and forming a new party. According to the report:
Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, shown in July, said this month that he was quitting the Iraqi Islamic Party and forming a new party. After many Sunni groups made peace with Mr. Maliki’s government, Sunni politicians looked forward to January’s election as a way to ratchet up their political standing. Those hopes are now threatened by disunity. Several prominent politicians have recently left the biggest Sunni Arab political grouping, the Iraqi Islamic Party, or the IIP. After IIP losses to upstart rival Sunni groups in January elections, many bloc members said their political chances would improve outside the group. The IIP is the largest bloc in an umbrella Sunni alliance known as the Iraq Accord Front, the third-largest bloc in parliament behind a Shia coalition and a Kurdish alliance. Defections could hurt the slate as it positions itself as the main voice for the Sunni vote. It could also weaken Sunni unity and resolve in hostile disputes with Kurdish officials in Iraq’s north. Sunnis who are worried about being underrepresented in Iraqi politics have been the biggest proponents of a strong federal government in Baghdad, to check any Shiite and Kurdish encroachment. Kurds, however, have pushed forcefully for more sovereignty in the semi-independent northern enclave. Kurds have also squabbled with Sunnis over disputed land, including the oil-rich northern capital, Kirkuk. “The Kurdish bloc is a coherent one because it shares the common goals of making Kirkuk a part of Kurdistan and other nationalistic issues,” said political analyst Watheq Abdul Qadir. “That unity can hurt the Sunnis because they are not coming together as one.” This month, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi said he would leave the IIP to form a new political party, called the Renewal List. Mr. Hashimi has said his new party strives to rise above sectarian and ethnic divisions that have defined Iraqi politics for the last several years. He hasn’t named others who will join him in the new party, but he said it will be made up of tribal leaders and academics, among others.
The Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), established in 1960, is the major Sunni political organization in the country …The party was suppressed during the regime of former President Saddam Hussein. Many of its members were forced to flee the country. The party returned to public life after coalition forces occupied Iraq. The IIP seeks to preserve the leading role Sunnis have had in running the country starting with the establishment of the modern Iraqi state in the beginning of the 20th century. The Iraqi Islamic Party was formed as an Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood organization, and conducted underground work during the Baathist period. Thee party does not considers itself a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood Group, established in Egypt in 1994, nor a political front for it in Iraq. The Iraqi Islamic Party acknowledges strong ties to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood through political and intellectual alliances.