Sayid Abdul Aziz al-Hakim

ISCI leader Sayid Abdul Aziz al-Hakim was given a funeral ceremony in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Tehran this morning. His body was then transferred to the holy city of Qom prior to transferring it to Basra in Iraq where a formal funeral ceremony will be held. Al-Iraqiyah news channel reported the presence of Iraqi and Iranian officials. His son, Ammar al-Hakim, is expected to take over. It is unlikely that a change will take place with regard to the current IISC leaders who include Adil Abd-al-Mahdi; Humam Hammudi; Baqir Sulagh; and Hadi al-Amiri.

Here’s a detailed obituary from the Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/27/abdul-aziz-al-hakim-obituary

The same news report also noted Kurdistan Region President Massud Barzani’s condolences. It remains to be seen whether al-Hakim’s death will dent the KRG/ISCI partnership that seeks a completely decentralised Iraq. ISCI has campaigned for a federal “super” Shia south akin to the Kurdistan model.

Analysts suggest this dream is now gone in light of the January provincial election results which, according to them, showed a staunch preference for a centralised Iraq.

This might hold water to some extent, but the fact is that although Maliki’s centrist coalition fared well in the elections, it didn’t achieve a dominant win; it only narrowly beat federalist ISCI. Moreover, voting patterns showed that ethnic and sectarian affiliations still dictate which way the electorate votes and as such Kurds in the north voted Kurd, Sunnis in the middle voted Sunni, while Shias in the south voted Shia. The federalist argument therefore still stands but it will be interesting to see how things turn out come the national elections in January 2010, now that Maliki’s Dawa will not be part of the Shia coalition and is set to form a national coalition made up of representative Sunni Arab and Kurdish parties. Of course, this might not happen; it’s still too early to know anything for definite.

The Shia bloc contesting the country’s elections in January, the United Iraqi Alliance (now called Iraqi National Alliance) was to be led by Al-Hakim. Senior ISCI leader, cleric and parliamentarian, Humam al-Hamudi will do so instead

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