Friday, December 01, 2006

Is Bush getting closer to Iran?

CNN has reported that President Bush will soon meet with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, a prominent Shiite leader with close ties to Iran. Does this mean the the U.S. is inching closer to talks with Iran? Probably not, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

Who is al-Hakim? Here is a short bio from the Council on Foreign Relations:

A popular opponent of Saddam Hussein's regime, Hakim is the chairman of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which was founded as a guerilla movement in 1982 in Iran. Its militia, the Badr Brigades, staged armed attacks against Hussein's regime. Hakim's beliefs align with Shiite leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's, in that he supports a secular democracy that recognizes the importance of Islam but bars clerics from overtly exercising political power. He lived in exile in Iran for more than twenty years before returning to Iraq to serve as a member of the Governing Council and advocates autonomy for the south and close relations with Iran.

CNN also reports that Bush plans to meet with VP Tariq al Hashemi, a key Sunni leader in Iraq.

It is important not to jump to any conclusions vis-a-vis Bush's meeting with al-Hakim. We will hope that this is a function of presidential leadership in Iraq, not an overture to Iran.

See- To Baker Commission: This is why we should not talk to Iran - from earlier today.


No comments: