October 10, 2007

(From the Babylonians site)

Shiites’ Biggest Party Supports Federalism
Oct 8th, 2007 by babylonians

October 7, 2007

At a meal at the council’s headquarters in Baghdad to break the fast during Ramadan, [Ammar al-Hakim, son of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council] invited journalists to attend and did not object to female reporters not wearing a scarf. On most other occasions, female visitors would be asked to wear a veil.

Hakim is popular among the young generation of Iraqis and is regarded as a tolerant leader.

He was trained by his uncle Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim, who was killed in a bombing in Najaf in 2003 shortly after he arrived back in Iraq from exile following the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Outside interference was another factor hurting Iraq, Hakim said.

“Maybe some agendas from outside, which side with this or that, is a reason for the deepening of these problems,” he said without elaborating.

Hakim echoed the view within SIIC that federalism was a good solution for Iraq’s problems, allowing fair competition in the provinces that would allow Iraq’s people to be better served.

He said by forming regions, there would be less competition in Baghdad and therefore less tension over jobs.

“When the central government has very wide authority and it controls everything, therefore everybody wants to ensure their rights in the central government,” said Hakim, who rejects the idea of a specific Shi’ite or Sunni region.

“Last year, the parliament froze forming regions for a year and a half. So now one year has passed and we still have six months in which serious work needs to be done to prepare the ground for people to have their say and … begin forming regions within the timetable we have,” he said.

Iraq’s constitution describes Iraq as a republican, parliamentarian, democratic and federal state but it does not define specifically the degree or nature of the federalism that Kurds and some Shi’ites are seeking in parts of the country.

Sunni Arabs fiercely opposed federalism and worry that it could lead to the country’s partition.


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