10,000 Shiites Mourn in Najaf
Some 10,000 mourners (other reports say more) showed up in Najaf for the 40-day commemoration of the assassination of Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim on Friday. The brother and successor of the deceased, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, used the occasion to insist that the drafters of the new Iraqi constitution be elected rather than appointed. He also criticized poor policing in contemporary Iraq, saying that the political parties should be allowed instead to deploy their paramilitaries in order to keep order. Al-Hakim’s Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq maintains a militia, the Badr Brigade, which helped keep order at the commemoration on Friday, along with Jalal Talabani’s peshmergas from the Kurdish PUK.