BACKGROUND: AYATOLLAH SAYED MOHAMAD BAQIR AL HAKIM
Mar 28, 2003 23:46 PST
BACKGROUND ON AYATOLLAH SAYED MOHAMAD BAQIR AL HAKIM
(Commentary and editing by James Roger Brown, Director, THE SOCIOLOGY
This week exiled Shiite Cleric Ayatollah Sayed Mohamad Baqir al Hakim
announced plans to return to Iraq to assume a leadership role for Iraqi
Shiites which constitute 60% of the population. Ayatollah al Hakim has
been in Iran since leaving Iraq in 1980. He was welcomed in Iran by the
top Muslim fundamentalists and was an active political ally. Members of
the al Hakim family have been popular and powerful Clerics for several
A 60 Minutes interview of Ayatollah al Hakim is scheduled to air Sunday,
March 30, 2003, 7:00 PM ET/PT.
By announcing plans to return to Iraq, Ayatollah al Hakim places the
Bush Administration in yet another dilemma. His return to Iraq will
probably derail any plans for a Western style democracy by increasing
the likely hood Saddam will be replaced by a fundamentalist Islamic
state like Iran. If President Bush blocks Ayatollah al Hakim’s return to
Iraq, the alliance of exiled Iraqi groups may be destroyed or seriously
damaged. Ayatollah al Hakim has been an important member of the alliance
with his own 30,000 man army and an active intelligence network inside
Iraq. Loss of these intelligence assets now may inconvenience US
intelligence operations inside Iraq.
1. Ayatollah Sayed Mohamad Baqir al Hakim Biography, Iraqi News:
“Sayed Mohamad Baqir al Hakim Biography
Ayatollah Sayed Mohamad Baqir Al-Hakim
Official Site (http://www.sciri.btinternet.co.uk/)
Born - 1939.
Marital Status - Unknown.
Education - Studied religion in Najaf, Iraq.
Ayatollah Sayed Al-Hakim was the co-founder of the Islamic political
movement in Iraq, along with the Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir Al-Sadr
and other scholars. Sayed Al-Hakim maintained a close association with
Ayatollah Al-Sadr up to Al-Sadr's death in 1980. In 1972 Sayed Al-Hakim
was arrested by the Baath regime, but later was released. In 1977 he was
re-arrested following the uprising in Najaf in February of 1977, and was
sentenced to life imprisonment. He was once again released in July of
1979. Sayed Al- Hakim then decided to fled Iraq in 1980, shortly after
the eruption of war between Iraq and Iran. He is currently residing in
Sayed Al-Hakim is the current leader of Supreme Council of the Islamic
Resistance in Iraq (SCIRI). In 1983, Saddam Hussein reacted violently to
Sayed Al-Hakim's political activity in SCIRI and arrested 125 members of
his family. Subsequently 18 members of his family were executed. In
1980, Al-Hakim has fled to Iran.
Although now part of the U.S. led coalition against Saddam Hussein,
Al-Hakim had earlier publicly condemned the United States, stating that
"we do not put confidence in the Americans, they have always acted
against the interests of the Iraqi people." Al-Hakim's position on an
American attack upon Iraq has shifted between hatred and cooperation,
apparently based upon circumstances, making statements that are at times
condemning and at times supporting. Hakim is a serious competitor in a
post-Saddam Iraq, since he is a member of the Shia branch of Islam, as
are 60 percent of Iraqis. Hakim also profits from identification with
his deceased father, Ayatollah Muhsin Al-Hakim, who was the leader of
Shia Muslims around the world, from 1955 to 1970.
© 2003 Iraqi News. All Rights Reserved.”
2. OFFICIAL WEBSITE: The Supreme Council For Islamic Revolution In Iraq:
Information about The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq
“The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), is
headed by Ayatollah Mohamad Baqir Al Hakim the son of the late Grand
Ayatollah Muhsin Al Hakim who was the spiritual leader of the Shia in
the world for the period 1955-1970. SCIRI consist of a general assembly
of 70 members which represent deferent Islamic movements and scholars.
The general assembly elects a central committee of 11 members. This
committee is considered the supreme body of SCIRI. It is in charge of
the following units:
Information and Investigation.
Administration and Finance.
SCIRI has secret cells all over Iraq which are involved in gathering
information, media work and military activities. SCIRI has also main
offices in London (headed by Dr. Hamid Al Bayati), Damascus, Geneva and
The head office of SCIRI is based in Iran among the largest Iraqi
community outside Iraq temperarely estimated at one million Iraqis.
SCIRI has main offices in different parts of the liberated areas of
SCIRI commands military forces called Badr Corps. This started as a
brigade and developed into a division and then into a corps. The Badr
Corps consist of thousands of former Iraqi officers and soldiers who
defected from the Iraqi army, Iraqi refugees, and Iraqis who fled the
country and join SCIRI.
SCIRI has good relations with all the neighboring countries around Iraq.
Ayatollah Al Hakim has visited Kuwait several times and has been
received by Amir of Kuwait, Crown Prince and many other officials. He
has visited Saudi Arabia many times and has been received by King Fahd,
Crown Prince Abdula and other high ranking officials. He has visited
Syria and been received by President Hafuz Al Asad several times. He met
also Sulaiman Demeriel the president of Turkey. He has met high
officials in Iran several times such as Ayatollah Ali Khameneie, Shaikh
Rafsanjani and president Khatami. On his resent visit to Lebanon
president Ameel Lahoud received Ayatollah Al-Hakim who met also the
prime minister and several Lebanese Ministers.
He met the previous UN General Secretary Javier Peres De Cullar.
Ayatollah Al Hakim has received in Tehran most of the Ambassadors of the
countries in the world.
Ayatollah Al Hakim has an historical and warm relation with the Kurdish
Movements in Iraq since his father gave a religious decree (Fatwa) which
forbade the Iraqi army from fighting against the Kurds in Iraq. A mutual
agreement as been signed by SCIRI with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
(PUK) headed by Jalal Talabani to work against Saddam's regime. A
similar agreement was signed with the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP)
headed by Masood Barzani several years ago.
Ayatollah Al Hakim has strong relation with other ethnic and religious
minorities in Iraq such as Turcomans, Assyrians, and all Christian
groups. He participated in Christmas and Easter celebrations of the
Iraqis Christians in Iran. His relations with the late religious leader
of the Iraqi Assyrian Community Zaya Baboo was unique as they worked
together to fight against the dictator of Iraq and the tyrannical regime
of Bath Party. They traveled together to Geneva and met UN General
SCIRI has participated in all Iraqi opposition conferences such as the
Beirut conference in 1990 and Salahudin in north of Iraq in 1992. It
was a part of all umbrella organization for Iraqi Opposition groups such
as the Joint Action Committee and the Iraqi National Congress (INC).”
3. Information about the formation and history of the Badr Corps
The Islamic leadership in Iraq followed civil methods in its religious,
cultural and political movement in Iraq after the 1920 revolution
against the British occupation. However after the second Ba'ath coup in
1968 the Islamic movement as whole faced all kind of repression in the
late 1960's and 1970's. Thousands of religious scholars and Islamic
activists have been arrested and tortured. Hundreds of them have been
killed while being torture or executed.
The Ba'ath regime started its reign with a brutal confrontation with the
religious leadership of Grand Ayatollah Sayed Muhsin Al Hakim who was
put under house arrest. His son Sayed Mahdi Al Hakim was accused of
being a traitor and fled the country and was assassinated later in Sudan
In 1974 five religious leaders were executed. In 1977 there was a
popular uprising when the regime prevented the people from visiting the
Shrine of Imam Husain in the holy city of Karbala. Sayed Mohamad Baqir
Al the leader of SCIRI and the son of Grand Ayatollah Sayed Muhsin Al
Hakim was arrested, tortured and sentenced to life imprisonment without
In 1980 Ayatollah Mohamad Baqir Al Sadr who became the religious leader
after the death of Sayed Muhsin Al Hakim was executed with his sister
Amina Al Sadr. Saddam's regime issued a decree to execute all the
members of the Islamic Movement. Therefore the Islamic leadership
decided to defend itself by force. Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir Al Hakim
fled Iraq as his life was in danger. He settled in Iran among the
largest Iraqi community outside Iraq. He started to mobilise Iraqis who
were deported to Iran by Saddam's regime, Iraqi officers and soldiers
who defected from Iraq during Iraq- Iran war as well as Islamic movement
members who fled Iraq.
The strategy of Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir Al Hakim the leader of SCIRI
was as follows:
1. To establish popular secret resistance cells inside Iraq.
2. To mobilise Iraqis outside Iraq and to train them on using arms.
3. To establish an armed force to fight Saddam's regime.
Ayatollah Al Hakim started this force with a brigade called Badr Brigade
which developed in to a division and then into a corps. It consists of
thousands of fighters recomited from Iraqi refugees in Iran, Iraqi
migrants and Iraqi military officers as well as soldiers from Iraqi army
who defected during Iran- Iraq war. A new wave of fighters arrived in
Iran after the popular uprising of March 1991 which was crushed by
The Badr corps consist of Infantry, Armoured, Artillery, Anti aircraft
and commandos units. The training courses are supervised by Iraqi
military officers and commanders who defected from Iraqi army.
The Badr forces strategy is as follows:
1. To build military bases in some safe areas such as the Marshes in
southern Iraq and Kurdistan in Northern Iraq.
2. To establish secret resistance cells all over Iraq.
3. To keep mobilising and training camps outside Iraq in the
neighbouring countries which allow such activities.
During the popular uprising of March 1991 the secret cells and elements
which was connected to Badr corps took part actively in launching and
spreading the uprising from the south to other parts of Iraq.”
60 Minutes. “Exiled Ayatollah Awaits Return To Iraq.” CBS News, March
Barr, Cameron W. “Among Iraqi exiles, frustration with tight-lipped US.”
Christian Science Monitor, February 10, 2003.
Doyle, Leonard. “Opposition: The World of Iraq’s Ayatollah-in-waiting.”
Belfast Telegraph, March 28, 2003.
Global Security. “Iraqi Intelligence Service - IIS [Mukhabarat].” Global
Security.Org, September 12, 2002.
Kazmi, Jaheer. “Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Al-Hakim.” Guardian Unlimited,
May 2, 2002.
Pinkerton, James. “Deal With Another Ayatollah May Cost US.” Newsday,
November 28, 2002.
Play and Learn. “Ayatollah Sayed Mohamad Baqir Al-Hakim.”
playandlearn.org, undated. http://playandlearn.org/Scholars/502.htm
Sky News. “What after Saddam?” Sky News, March 20, 2003.