Three Sunni Arab groups have joined forces to field candidates in December's elections provided for under the newly ratified constitution, which many Sunnis opposed. But a group of hard-line Sunni clerics denounced the constitution and said they will not join the political process.
Those contradictory statements signaled confusion within the minority Sunni Arab community, which forms the core of the insurgency, over how to go forward after it failed to block ratification of the new constitution in the Oct. 15 referendum.
Leaders of the three Sunni groups, the General Conference for the People of Iraq, the Iraqi Islamic Party and the Iraqi National Dialogue, announced Wednesday they would field a joint slate of candidates in the Dec. 15 balloting and work together in the new parliament to promote Sunni interests.
"This alliance aims to provide Iraqis with a national slate for the elections," Ayad al-Samarraie, a senior official of the Iraqi Islamic Party, told reporters.
He said the largely Sunni alliance will include some Shiites in southern provinces and that its agenda will include a call for the withdrawal of US-led forces from Iraqi, if progress can be made in building national institutions.