Playing The Shiite Card

Playing The Shiite Card

By David Ignatius
Friday, August 26, 2005; A21

America is finally having its great debate over the Iraq war. In that debate, it's worth listening to a young Iraqi Shiite cleric named Ammar Hakim. He speaks for the people who arguably have gained the most from America's troubled mission in Iraq and, to a surprising extent, still believe in it.

Hakim, 34, is the oldest son of Abdul Aziz Hakim, the leader of the Iranian-backed Shiite party known as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which is probably the most potent political force in the country today. He now lives in Najaf, the Shiite equivalent of the Vatican, where he helps direct the party's social and charitable network. But he and his family lived 23 years in exile in Iran. To put it bluntly, Hakim represents what might be called the "Shiite card" in the Iraqi poker game.

Playing The Shiite Card


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