Friday, February 23, 2007

US Ambassador Apologizes to Iraqi Political Leader for Arresting Son

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim

U.S. troops detained the son of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who leads the Badr militia and the country’s largest Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

The son, Ammar Abdel-Aziz Al-Hakim, is in his mid-30s and normally dressed in black turban and clerical robes, is an influential member of the ruling Shi'ite Alliance in his own right and is secretary general of a humanitarian charity set up by SCIRI. The SCIRI was founded in Iran in1982 and its continued links to Shi'ite Islamist Iran is a source of concern for Washington, which accuses Iran of fuelling violence in Iraq by supplying Shi'ite militias with weapons, funding and training.

The son, Ammar Abdel-Aziz Al-Hakim,was "released after an intervention by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki," Al-Iraqiya state TV said in a breaking news report. He had been arrested by US troops at the Iranian border,

Why he was arrested:

U.S. authorities have complained about Iranian weapons sales and financial aid to the two major Shiite parties in Iraq, especially the Mahdi Army of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who is thought by the US to be in Iran now.

There has been a generations-long feud between their Abdul Aziz al-Hakim familiy and al-Sadr's family creating a major divide in the Shiite population. The feud and has carried over into a personal and political rivalry between the men, and their militias have periodically clashed.

Both Washington and Iraqi leaders have vowed that no independent militia would be exempt as a major security operation is under way in Baghdad.

Abdul Azizal Harkins (the father's) Political Opinion:

"We, as Iraqis and Shiites, are still being subjected to mass killings, kidnappings, displacement, destruction of infrastructure and attacks on mosques and holy shrines as well as other crimes committed by Saddamists, Bathists and their takfiri allies," the cleric Has explained.

"We, with deep regret, still hear fatwas by the takfiris that call for the killings of millions of Iraqis. Such edicts are being issued from inside Iraq by some foreigners who entered the country illegally and also by some evil clerics in neighboring countries," said the leader of the largest Shiite group, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Al Hakim was apparently referring to Abdullah Bin Jabrain, a key members in Saudi Arabia's clerical establishment, who earlier this month joined a chorus of other hardliners who have deemed Shiites as infidels.

Al Hakim is in favor of setting up Federal Regions in Iraq to help stop sectarian violence between the Sunni"s and Shiites.

End Result:

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the arrest was being investigated but stressed that Washington did not mean any disrespect to al-Hakim or his family.

"I am sorry about the arrest," he said. "We don't know the circumstances of the arrest and we are investigating ... but he is being released."

Iraqi Education Minister Khodair al-Khozaei, a Shi'ite, condemned Hakim's arrest. "There will definitely be popular reactions," he told Dubai -based Al Arabiya television. "More than anybody else, it is the Americans who are violating the security plan through their cowboy methods," he said, referring to a major security crackdown launched this month in Baghdad.

The provincial council of the southern Shi'ite province of Najaf called for demonstrations on Saturday.

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