Friday, February 23, 2007

Report: Son of Shi'ite leader al-Hakim arrested on return from Iran

Shi'ite cleric Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, spent years in exile in Iran before returning to Iraq. In December, Hakim met with Bush in Washington, shortly before the administration attempted to coordinate Prime Minister Maliki's ouster with Hakim chosen by Washington to be the power-broker behind the scenes. Hakim is also head of the Badr Brigade, a Shi'ite militia. Last week, the U.S. raided the Baratha mosque in Baghdad, which is associated with Hakim. The U.S. military says it was targetted for 'illegally armed militia kidnapping, torture and murder activities'. Regarding his son's arrest, a spokesman for Hakim said, '"We don't know what is the message the Americans are trying to send by doing this, but it is certainly a negative one. They have told us that they will redress the situation. That was this morning. It's now evening, and nothing happened.'

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — U.S. troops arrested the son of Iraq's most powerful Shiite politician Friday as he returned to the country from Iran, Shiite officials said.

Amar al-Hakim, son of political leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, was taken into custody at a crossing point and was transferred to a U.S. facility in Kut, according to the elder al-Hakim's secretary, Jamal al-Sagheer.

Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim is leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the country's largest Shiite party with longtime ties to Iran. He met with President Bush at the White House in December, and his party is part of the Shiite alliance that includes Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Read the rest at USA Today

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