Monday, December 04, 2006
Standing in the way of control:
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of SCIRI and commander-in-chief of the fearsome Badr Corps, left his meeting today with President Bush for a brief appearance at the U.S. Institute of Peace this afternoon. I asked Hakim: You've been accused of the abduction, torture and execution of perhaps thousands of Sunnis. How do you respond?

He said, through a translator: "Those are only accusations. We deny them all, we reject them all. There is no evidence of any of that. It happens that there was an armed group by the name of the Badr Brigade, but by the order of Sayyid Mohammed Bakr al-Hakim [Abdul Aziz's murdered brother], they became a civil group known as the Badr Organization in 2003. Since then there has been no violence by them, no fighting."

There you have it! Hakim also wants to see the civil war escalate, according to his prepared remarks: "The strikes that [Sunni insurgents, takfiris -- his term -- and Baathists] are getting from the multinational forces are not hard enough to put an end to their acts, but leave them [to] stand up again to resume their criminal acts. This means that there is something wrong in the policies taken to deal with that danger threatening the lives of the Iraqis. Eliminating the danger of the Civil War in Iraq could only be achieved through directing decisive strikes against takfiris [the prepared statement, corrected by the translator, reads "terrorists" here], Baathists [and] terrorists in Iraq. Otherwise we'll continue to witness massacres being committed every now and then against the innocent Iraqis."

UPDATE: I'm a reporter! Says The New York Times:

Mr. Hakim fended off those charges today in an appearance at the United States Institute for Peace, following his White House visit. “We reject all those accusations,” Mr. Hakim said, asked by a reporter if his organization is responsible for murder, torture and abduction. He added, “We say there is no evidence. Nothing of that happened.”

--Spencer Ackerman
You were not expecting more than that answer, did you? If it was not for Badr' Brigades' involvement in the violence, he would not have been in the White House anyway. How about the Ministry of Interior, run by SCIRI?
America is foresaking democracy and good governance for security and stability, not because Iraq can't be democratic but because a liberation mutated into an occupation, a badly managed one. It sounds bad, but faced with the reality on the ground, it may sound the right thing to do. Let's see what Baker-Hamilton are gonna say!
Blogger Bilal Wahab/Kurdistan | 2:50 PM

Bilal, of course you're right, but I thought it worthwhile to pose the question directly & collect his answer, honest or not.
Blogger spencerackerman | 2:57 PM

Bravo, Spencer.
Blogger Susan | 4:45 PM

You were a reporter on All Things Considered, too.
Blogger hermit greg | 6:34 PM

I'm a reporter!

Everyone knows how error-prone the NYT is...

Then again, I suppose it's possible that some copyeditor simply thought "underemployed freelancer/blogger-cum-punk rock chef" was too unwieldy for some reason.

And from said copyeditor's point of view, the line between that and "reporter" probably isn't so great anyway.
Blogger Swopa | 7:08 PM

Way to go, man! Making the news.
Blogger Neil Sinhababu | 7:45 PM