Birds of a Feather

Bush’s Meeting With A Murderer
Robert Dreyfuss
December 04, 2006

President George W. Bush meets today with Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the turbaned leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a Shiite fundamentalist party that is strongly tied to Iran. In so doing, the president is meeting with someone who, perhaps more than anyone else in Iraq, is responsible for trying to destroy Iraqi national unity, prevent national reconciliation among Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian mix, and push Iraq into civil war. Al-Hakim, who was virtually Fed-Ex’d into Iraq by the Pentagon in March 2003, was a mainstay of the Iraqi National Congress, led by neoconservative darling Ahmed Chalabi throughout the 1990s. And today al-Hakim controls the SCIRI militia, the Badr Brigade, the Iraqi interior ministry and many of Iraq’s feared death squads. Not to put too fine a point on it, Hakim is a mass murderer.

What’s stunning about Bush’s encounter with al-Hakim is that it occurs precisely at the moment when critically important bridges are being built across Iraq’s Sunni-Shiite divide—bridges that al-Hakim is trying to blow up.

During a stop in Amman, Jordan, on his way to the United States, al-Hakim point blank tried to torpedo the idea of an international conference that might bring together Iraq’s various factions. Such a conference was explicitly proposed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week, who offered to host it. A similar conference, or one like it, is likely to be part of the recommendations that will be issued on Wednesday by the Iraq Study Group, the panel co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Indiana Representative Lee Hamilton. But al-Hakim trashes the idea. “It is unreasonable or incorrect to discuss issues related to the Iraqi people at international conferences,” said the Shiite radical. “The proposal is unrealistic, incorrect and illegal.” (It is, of course, perfectly legal.)

Read it here.

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