Politics & Economics

Tribal divisions and the struggle for influence in Anbar

Iraq

The upcoming elections in Iraq in May are leading to heated competition among the various groups vying for influence in Haditha and other parts of Anbar Province.

Haditha holds a special place in the makeup of Anbar Province in Iraq. Many of the local residents of Haditha were prominent resistors to ISIS when the terrorist group rose to power in Anbar, after taking control of more than half of the province in 2014. Those who resisted against ISIS militants and expelled the terrorist group from the area are now competing for power and influence, especially taking into account the upcoming national elections in Iraq in May.

Haditha, and Anbar province in general, is currently facing a number of issues that are being addressed as part of campaigns to gain political influence in the region. Reconstruction of infrastructure after the devastation caused by ISIS, and the return of displaced people who were forced to leave their homes by the terrorists, are currently the main problems facing Haditha.

Another issue is the social and political conflict between tribal leaders, who seek to maintain their grip on their tribal groups, and those who are more inclined to represent a regional identity within the parameters of the Iraqi nation. In other words: a clash between tribalism and modernism.

Some of the main tribes active in the Haditha region are the Jugheyfa and Albu Nimr tribes. Both of these tribes are part of the Sunni Tribal Forces and fought against ISIS. Jugheyfa is local to Haditha, while many from Albu Nimr escaped to Haditha after atrocities were committed against the tribe by ISIS.

As for political entities, the main political parties vying for power in Haditha and Anbar are Victory of Alliance, the new coalition party formed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in December 2017, and Anbar is our Identity, a coalition of 5 parties formed by the governor of Anbar, Mohammad Rikan al-Halbusi.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Haditha has not managed to send any political representatives to the House of Representatives. The city hopes to send a candidate to represent the more than 60,000 constituency of Haditha.

Image: Al Jazeera