Thursday, August 27, 2009

After his death, who succeeds Hakim as ISCI, NIA leader?

There is uncertainty about who is going to succeed the late Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim as the news leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and the new National Iraqi Alliance (NIA).

Sources in ISCI told Azzaman that Humam Hammoudi, a senior ISCI member would be the new leader of the NIA. This claim is contested by Ali al-Adeeb of the Da'awa Party. Although the Da'awa is not yet part of the NIA, Adeeb is no. 2 in the hierarchy of the UIA (the predecessor of the NIA) and had served as Hakim's deputy in leading the parliamentary bloc. However, ISCI's senior members argue that the leadership of the UIA (and now the NIA) belongs to ISCI. It is worth mentioning here that the Da'awa Party has not totally ruled out the possibility of joining the NIA, according to MP Hassan al-Sinaid, of the Da'awa Party.

On Tuesday, the leaders of ISCI had an emergency meeting in Baghdad in which they agreed to have Ammar al-Hakim (Abdul-Aziz's elder son) lead ISCI "during this transitional period". A second meeting will be held later to select a new leader, according to the sources.

There is no word about VP Aadil Abdul-Mahdi assuming either leadership position. This may be because ISCI wants to reserve the leadership to a cleric. However, Abdul-Mahdi's damaged reputation (the bank robbery case) undermines his chances to be VP for another term. Therefore I suspect he will have to compete with Ammar or Hammoudi for the leadership of ISCI or the NIA.

Meanwhile, al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that Badr Brigade (ISCI's militia) has been put on high alert "all leaves were canceled and ranks were reinforced with Ittila'at (Iran's intelligence service) officers to prepare for all possible developments". A senior member of Badr said the organization was only working to arrange the funeral.

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