The Adventures of Chester: The Latest from Al-Hakim
Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim is popping up more and more as the mainstream press begins to realize that he will win Iraq's election. Today's Sunday Times (in the UK) features a story quoting him in short bursts on a variety of topics. Here is what he said:
“No people in the world accepts occupation and nor do we accept the continuation of American troops in Iraq,” said Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.It seems difficult to reconcile the two most glaring statements of Hakim (to Western eyes):
“We regard these forces to have committed many mistakes in the handling of various issues, the first and foremost being that of security, which in turn has contributed to the massacres, crimes and calamities that have taken place in Iraq against the Iraqis.”
[speaking of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Kuwait] “These countries have past experiences and good security forces and with good relations we can solve this problem together,” he said.
“Should the security problem continue, it will not end at the border of Iraq but extend to their countries.”
“Iraq can rely on itself and its people and it does not want foreign troops in its country.”
“Iran is a friendly neighbouring country that stood by Iraqis of all sects in the past, something that will not be forgotten by the Iraqi people,”
"However, this does not entitle it to interfere in Iraq and its people or to impose itself on us. We even told the Iranians this when we last visited them and got their reassurance that they, too, believe in the principle of non-interference.”
[Asked to comment on the idea of stepping aside for Allawi]: “One should not predict intentions in advance.”
“Should the security problem continue, it will not end at the border of Iraq but extend to their countries.”and
“Iran is a friendly neighbouring country that stood by Iraqis of all sects in the past, something that will not be forgotten by the Iraqi people. However, this does not entitle it to interfere in Iraq and its people or to impose itself on us."Here we witness a glimpse of a new foreign policy, never before seen or imagined: the democratic state of Iraq's relations with its neighbors. It is a shame that the Times chose to summarize Hakim's remarks, rather than publishing them in full. [They have yet to learn from the blogosphere . . .] Hakim could mean many different things in these statements:
1. If security problems persist, Iraq will look to its neighbors for assistance.
2. If security problems persist, Iraq's neighbors will have to assist because the same forces that seek to undo the government of Iraq are a threat to the neighbors as well.
3. If security problems persist, Iraq will closely examine the role its neighbors are playing in those problems.
Hakim, a man who spent years in exile in Iran, pursues a wise course here. Rather than making the statements US officials are wont to do, blaming "Iran" or "Syria" for interference in Iraq's security, Hakim leaves open the possibility of working with those governments while at the same time fighting against the terrorists who operate within their boundaries, and fight against the Iraqis. In short, he gives his neighbors face-saving ways to support his internal security requirements. Expect further such statements from Hakim, since they are rhetorically deft. He says, "Of course, Iran and Syria wouldn't support anti-Iraq terrorists, and of course Iran and Syria will assist us in chasing down any terrorists who appear to be based in their countries." A more famous example of this rhetorical device is thus:
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious.
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answered it.
Here under leave of Brutus and the rest --
For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men --
What role for the US in Iraq, post-election? We are the bad cop to Hakim's good one, the big stick to his soft-spokenness, and shortly, the Caesar to the Brutus of his immediate neighbors.
Posted by Chester on January 23, 2005 6:40 PM to The Adventures of Chester