Saturday, May 19, 2007

Iraqi Shiite Leader In U.S. For Cancer Treatment

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the largest and most powerful Shiite party in Iraq, is in the United States for urgent medical attention, according to U.S. officials and his organization.

His party, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, refused to discuss Hakim's diagnosis, but U.S. officials said the cleric, 57, has been found to have lung cancer and is in the United States for further tests and to develop a treatment plan.

In a reflection of Hakim's stature, President Bush authorized immediate transportation to get Hakim from Iraq to the United States, an administration source said yesterday. Vice President Cheney played a role in arranging for Hakim to see U.S. military doctors in Baghdad, who made the original diagnosis, and for the current medical treatment in Houston, the sources said. ...

His party, until recently known as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, has the most seats in the Iraqi parliament. ...

Hakim has been a strong advocate of the creation of a Shiite region out of nine Shiite-dominated southern provinces in Iraq. "He has been forceful in his style to ensure that the Shiites of Iraq are recognized as the main force in politics, and he has been outspoken in his support for a Shiite regional entity that could challenge the authority of the central government," said retired Army Col. Paul Hughes, who served in Iraq and helped orchestrate the work of the Iraq Study Group at the U.S. Institute of Peace.


Blogger DrewL said...

Any chance the U.S. will hold Hakim "hostage" and use him as a bargaining chip in their upcoming negotiations with Iran? One would think Hakim and his Shia brethren in Iran would be of like mind on a lot of issues.

5/19/2007 11:39 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


Not a chance.

But, that's not to say that the idea may not be percolating through the fertile brainpans of Cheney, et al.

Good to hear from you again.

5/20/2007 7:18 AM  

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