Sunday, November 27, 2005

Is Hakim Right?

Abdul Aziz Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, believes that it will not be until the US forces leave that the Iraqis will finally be able to truly fight the insurgencies. Whether or not to agree with this claim is what is up in the air. This man does know his country, but he may be mistaken about what it will take to rid the country of insurgents. If he is wrong in his assumptions and more freedom is given, with negative consequences, the US will have to back track to reestablish the progress that had already been made in the country. The Washington Post examines his stance.

“In more than an hour of conversation at his Baghdad home and office, Hakim denied accusations that the Shiite-led government's security forces -- with alleged involvement by his party's armed wing -- have operated torture centers and death squads targeting Sunni Arabs. He also renewed his call to merge half of Iraq's 18 provinces into a federal region in the oil-rich, heavily Shiite south, and he played down Iran's interests in Iraq, saying that the Shiite theocracy to the east wants only what the United States claims to want: a stable Iraq.”

These accusations make the situation even more touchy. If we trust the word of a man with these accusations pointed toward him and we are wrong, we will have another policy disaster on our hands. The administration has already been wrong about so much. However, if he is telling the truth and we stay on, it will be hard to live down the fact that we could have been out of Iraq much earlier than we actually were.

“Hakim oversees the party's armed wing, formerly known as the Badr Brigade. Its fighters are widely feared for what even many Iraqi Shiites say are habits of torture and other ruthless tactics learned from Iranian intelligence and security forces. Now officially converted into a private security detail and political group, the renamed Badr Organization is widely alleged to control many command-level and the rank-and-file officers in the Interior Ministry -- police, commandos, intelligence agencies and other branches.”

If the resulting government from the Dec. 15 elections includes this man, it is likely that the US may not be welcomed in Iraq any longer, as anything other than an aid to building the security forces. If this is the case and he is a corrupt man, we may need to implement some covert operations in order to help to keep this man out of office, where he may undo everything that we have been doing during our occupation. The article mentions that we are taking the accusations against this man very seriously, in which case we need to do what we can to see that his influence over the Iraqi people is minimized. This is a man who blames the terrorist killing of his brother on the American forces.

“Hakim charged that the United States, evidently fearful of alienating Sunnis, was blocking the arrests of Sunni political leaders who had ties to insurgents. "The mixing of security and political issues" was just another U.S. mistake, he said. 'Terrorists should know there would be no dealing with them.'"

There is a link between political and security issues. However, security cannot come in second, it must be the first priority. The fact that this man is a Shiite, and the claim is about protection of Sunnis makes me question the validity of the statement. This is a very vocal man, and his claims should be taken seriously. However, there are strong claims against his intentions, as well. Further investigation is needed to determine whether or not his is right, but this is an important question when deciding whether or not to change the American objective just because of one man’s views.

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