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Qatar on 3 September hosted a ‘conference’ for Iraqi Sunnis seeking ‘national reconciliation.’ In the days leading up to the gathering – which when it took place turned out to be just a series of separate informal meetings – it created a major stir within the Iraqi political scene, as it became known that Sunni insurgent groups such as the Ba’th Party and the Muslim Scholars Association (MSA) were participating. What tied this to the Iraqi political process was the participation of senior figures within the Mutahidun, the coalition led by the former speaker (and recently removed as vice-president) Usama al-Nujaifi. The leading Iraqi figure for the conference – at least in media terms – was Ahmad al-Masari, a parliamentarian from Baghdad who is Mutahidun’s leader in parliament. When Mr Masari announced that Speaker Salim al-Jiburi would be attending the event in Doha, this raised the stakes further.
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