The USG Open Source Center translates a recent speech of Ammar al-Hakim, who is functioning as acting leader of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council while his father is undergoing treatment for cancer. Via BBC World Monitoring
“July 22, 2007 Sunday
Iraq’s Ammar al-Hakim addresses Martyr Day rally 21 July, 2007
[Speech by Ammar Abd-al-Aziz al-Hakim, secretary general of the Shahid al-Mihrab Foundation, on the occasion of “Martyr Day” in Baghdad -live]
Baghdad Al-Iraqiyah Television in Arabic at 0645 gmt on 21 July carries live from Baghdad a 32-minute speech by Ammar Abd-al-Aziz al-Hakim, secretary general of the Shahid al-Mihrab Foundation, on the occasion of “Martyr Day,” which coincides with the fourth anniversary of the “martyrdom” of Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim. The video shows people waving Iraqi flags and holding pictures of Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, in addition to other banners. They are heard shouting religious slogans with drums beating in the background.
Al-Hakim begins by invoking God’s peace and blessings on Prophet Muhammad, Ali Ibn-Abi-Talib, Fatimah al-Zahra’, the two imams Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, all other imams of the Prophet’s family, the imam for whose return the Shi’is are waiting, religious authorities, the martyr religious authority Shahid al-Mihrab [Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim], and all martyrs of Iraq who lost their lives during the era of the deposed regime or during the current violence and terrorism.
He praises the martyr’s supporters for their “firm stand and confrontation of those who sought to turn Baghdad into a city of ghosts,” and says: “Our people’s massive march clearly shows that our people will not give in to terrorism, be subdued by the plots of enemies, abandon their great political project, or quit their accomplishments. They will not give in to frustration and retreat.”
He salutes the citizens of Baghdad in their entire sectarian and political spectrum, and says: “You have been accustomed on this occasion every year to listen to the speech of Al-Sayyid Abd-al-Aziz al-Hakim who used to thank and salute you as well as to present to you our political view of the situation, but, due to his health condition, he is unable to be among you in person today. However, he called me a few minutes ago to ask me to convey to you his greetings, thanks, appreciation, and pride in you all.” He adds that Al-Sayyid is anxious to be with you any time his physicians allow him to do so.
He says: “We are gathered here to eulogize Shahid al-Mihrab and all Iraq’s martyrs and to renew loyalty and allegiance to Shahid al-Mihrab and his policy, one of moderation, tolerance, freedom, independence, and justice.” He says that it is worth remembering on this day some of the martyr’s thoughts and characteristics. He goes on to say that the martyr was a person of wide-ranging interests; he was a scholar, interpreter, historian, and knowledgeable of all religious and humanitarian matters. Besides, he was a distinguished political leader and an outstanding military commander as he fought the deposed regime with his brothers. He was also a good father who embraced his sons, and was methodical in his thoughts, the building of institutions, making of decisions, and in public performance. He used to depend on the nation with all its popular bases and masses in his political and social action because of his deep faith in it. Also, he was frank and transparent with his people in every detail of his moves to the extent that he lost his life for this frankness, which he never abandoned. The martyr was objective and a man of deep thinking. He never made a decision without reviewing all its consequences thoroughly. He never complimented any one at the expense of the common interest. He also defended the interests of the entire Iraqis.
He continues: “On this day, we should clearly address our brothers in the elected Iraqi Government to tell them that we support them, stand on their side, thank them for their efforts, and express our understanding of their circumstances, suffering, and siege. Yet, this should not prevent us from demanding the rights of our people.” He adds: “We ask the government to respond positively to the demands of the families of martyrs, orphans, widows, and those who sacrificed themselves. We demand that they be aided, supported, and provided with the basics of a decent life. We cannot continue to watch the difficult and miserable circumstances which many of the martyrs’ families are still facing after the lapse of four years. The institutions that were established by the esteemed government should play an effective role in taking care of the families of the martyrs, whether those who lost their lives during the deposed regimes’ era or in the current violence and terrorism after the fall of the regime.”
He says: “We are currently facing critical and enormous challenges, which threaten our Iraqi experiment. We cannot face, defy, or tackle these problems without taking the following steps: Rendering the political project in Iraq a success, strengthening national cohesiveness, reinforcing real partnership, providing equal opportunities for all Iraqis, and guaranteeing the rights of all Iraqis under the state’s order and Constitution. We must focus on the crucial Iraqi people’s will in determining their future through electoral polls. We will not accept or give in to any encroachment on the constitutional system. We stress the need for a national Iraqi solution that is independent, original, and a produce of all effective powers in the Iraqi arena. We also emphasize that the solution should be a comprehensive one that satisfies all sides under the authority of the law and Constitution and deals with the apprehensions and concerns of all parties under this authority. Additionally, we emphasize that any solution to the Iraqi problem should stem from bolstering the unity of Iraqis, not widening the gap or division between them. We must unite, because unity is the real key to resolving the many issues that we are facing today.”
He adds: “Such a solution can only be reached or the handling of issues can only succeed when all effective Iraqi forces meet together, taking Iraq’s interests into foremost consideration. With this in mind, a real partnership among all Iraqi forces and society components will then be concluded. The meeting of these forces should open opportunities for partnership for all Iraqis and lay down realistic solutions under the principles and within the frameworks to which we referred earlier. Furthermore, the Iraqi national, free, and independent will should be utilized in the process of reform.”
Al-Hakim continues: “We welcome all the regional and international efforts, particularly those of the brother Arab states and the dear Islamic countries, provided that they conform with this view and principle and maintain the priorities that we have set for the sake of achieving political and security stability in our country, accomplishing development and construction, and providing services to the citizens, so that Iraq will regain its natural rank in the region and the entire world.”
He adds: “We will work together with the numerous and various national forces in Iraq to end foreign presence in the country and strengthen Iraqi sovereignty through peaceful and political resistance and by firmly building our security forces in terms of training, recruitment, armament, and all factors of success. We support the building of the Iraqi foundation on strong bases in order to fill the gap, not building alternative institutions that might widen the Iraqi crack or embarrass the Iraqi project in the future.”
He continues: “The Saddamists, takfiris, and extremists are held responsible in the first degree for the Iraqis’ suffering, killing, eradication, torturing, and violation of their honour and holy shrines. We will not allow or respond to the calls for the return of the Saddamist Ba’th Party. However, we have no problem coexisting with ordinary Ba’thists who have merged into society or those who have not yet merged, but want to, to play their part in society similar to other Iraqis. The Saddamist Ba’th should not have a sensitive role or rank in our country, and we will not allow it to happen.
He says: “The local and provincial popular committees that we are witnessing today are the strong fortress and big power that the Iraqi Government can utilize in the process of law enforcement and in monitoring the moves of those who infringe on the law. These committees are a critical mainstay and vital force to build Iraq and regain its security and stability. These committees are located in all areas and comprise the entire Iraqi spectrum, which, if they operate in cooperation with the Iraqi security institution and according to a certain mechanism that is laid down by this institution, will benefit the institution and contribute to the achievement of security and stability.”
He adds: “The provinces of South Baghdad, Baghdad, Kurdistan, and other provinces in any Iraqi area are the alternative for which we opted, and the one that we will continue to adopt. We will establish a federal system in Iraq, because we believe that the system of provinces will open the door for tackling many of the issues that we are currently facing. This system will open real opportunities for all Iraqi citizens in all areas for an effective partnership in managing their affairs. It will also strengthen affiliation to the homeland through opening opportunities for a good life and real partnership for the citizens. Thus, the people will stand closer together and take into consideration the special needs of each area. This is why we believe that this system is the genuine solution to the problems that we are facing. I call on you, dear brothers, to be seriously prepared to form these provinces within the timeframe set by the Iraqi House of Representatives.”
He continues: “Speaking on your behalf, we newly express our pressing desire and serious will to be open to Arab and Islamic regional countries as well as to the world community, because we believe in the principle of mutual interests, regional and international partnership, and in the actual interests that bind us to our brothers and dear ones. We renew our pressing desire for openness and joint action. We call on these states to come closer to Iraq, extend further cooperation, show understanding of its circumstances, and stand on the Iraqis’ side. However big are the problems, they will one day be solved. Iraq and the Iraqis will continue to exist. We hope that these countries would take their strategic interests into consideration and extend their hands to our great people.”
He says: “We call on our esteemed government to shoulder greater responsibilities in order to render services, establish security and stability, and proceed on the path of construction and implementing development projects. We are very concerned over the slow performance of some ministries and their negligence of the programmes and policies set for them to implement projects and spend the funds that were allocated for these projects.”
He adds: “The issue of the religious authority will continue to be essential, representing a feature or image of this good country. It also represents a safety valve. At the top of this authority is Imam Al-Sistanti, may God keep him safe. I call on you dear brothers and on all the honourable people of Iraq to rally around this authority and adhere to its general directives, which all fall in the interest of the entire Iraqis and stem from national feelings, as you know well. Imam Al-Sistani is the one who always says that our Sunni brothers and kinfolk are akin to us. This is the logic of our religious authority.”
He continues: “Samarra is the bleeding wound in the hearts of all honourable and national Iraqis. The Iraqi Government should shoulder its responsibilities in maintaining security on the road to and in the city of Samarra, and it should expedite the reconstruction of the two holy shrines. The government should hold the delinquent persons accountable for these disgusting crimes, whether they be terrorists, collaborators, or government officials.”
He pledges to the Shahid al-Mihrab, saying: “We will continue to be loyal to this march and defend its accomplishments. We will not kneel, yield, or retreat, but will proceed cohesively forward day after day and extend the hands of love and fraternity to all Iraqis, the region’s countries, and all the world’s countries. We want to establish an ideal experiment and to strengthen our values in this country whose great people, with their deeply entrenched civilization and rich history, are capable of achieving this end, God willing.”
He concludes his speech by thanking the masses that attended the rally.
Source: Al-Iraqiyah TV, Baghdad, in Arabic 0645 gmt 21 Jul 07″