Iran and Iraq
Muhsin al-Hakim “Horrified” at British Assault in Basra
Muhsin al-Hakim, the son of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, spoke out in Tehran about the British attack on a Basra jail. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim is widely underestimated, but he is the leader of the majority party coalition in parliament as well as of one of its constituents, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. His party controls 9 of the 18 Iraqi provincial governments as well as key cabinet posts. He is among the more important leaders in Iraq. His son Muhsin is probably expressing views more frankly than his father could afford to. The Financial Times reports Muhsin as “horrified” at the British military demolition of the central Basra jail to free two undercover SAS officers. Muhsin says that the two shouldn’t have been out of uniform in a sovereign Iraq, and that they forfeited their legal immunity when they put on civilian clothes. He also called on the Blair government to stop thinking in the old Sunni Arab way about Iraq, that Kurdish and Shiite rights equal a break-up of the country.
His last point would be more convincing if his father hadn’t insisted on a provision in the constitution allowing the southern Shiite provinces to form a confederacy that would own a hundred percent of all future petroleum finds in that area.
Meanwhile, Iran says it supports a free and fair referendum on the new Iraqi constitution on October 15. Major Iranian figures have said that they hope the constitution, which privileges Islamic law, is adopted.
And the Iraqi ambassador in Tehran, Muhammad Shaikh, praised Iran’s positive role with regard to Iraq and called for even greater cooperation between the two countries.