Monday, October 08, 2007


Al-Sadr and al-Hakim sign truce

(Al Jazeera) - Moqtada al-Sadr and Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, two of Iraq's most influential Shia leaders, have agreed a deal aimed at ending years of rivalry. Al-Sadr's movement, which enjoyed a surge in popularity after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, is backed by several thousand fighters known as the Mahdi Army and is the country's most powerful Shia group.
Al-Hakim leads the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), another significant Shia faction and a pillar of the ruling coalition. The two groups have clashed repeatedly in the past in their competition for control of Iraq's majority Shia community.
A statement from al-Hakim's office said Saturday's accord mentioned three points aimed at "enhancing relations between the two groups and maintaining the Islamic and national interest."
The first point outlined "the necessity to maintain and respect the Iraqi blood under whatever circumstances or by any party. Bloodletting is contrary to all legislations and morals."
The remaining two points talked of uniting media and cultural efforts and setting up a joint committee with provincial branches to keep order between their respective supporters. Liwa Sumaysim, head of the political committee of the Sadr group, said: "The agreement is essentially a commitment of honour. The most important aspect is that it forbids both sides to engage in bloodletting against each other and against Iraqis in general."
Hamid al-Saadi, head of the SIIC media office, said the deal was agreed in a "friendly spirit" and came at an "important time for the country". "Iraq needs deals between factions in Iraq to enhance and preserve Iraqi unity," al-Saadi said in a statement.

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