On Monday 8th of February 2010, al -Baghdadiya Satellite Channel held an on satellite interview with the Head of the Islamic Supreme Council Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem where many topics and issues related to the domestic, regional and external files were discussed.
Sayeed al-Hakeem said during the interview “The committee identified its attitude on the 500 people whom did not submit any appeal, while its powers was only in the consideration of appeals to consider in 68 people who have made an appeal, not on anyone else. The committee questioned about the legitimacy decisions of the national accountability and justice commission while it has no validation to question these decisions, it also set an attitude which is out of its authority regarding the winners after the election period of those excluded as they will not be covered by a specific salary or will not have the immunities, these are four topics which were breaks the law and denies the powers of the discrimination commission”
The interview also addressed exploring the views of citizens and direct questions via e-mail.
Al-Baghdadiya / what is your reason for not being nominated to the National Alliance?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / I intended to deliver a message to all Iraqis that what’s important is to provide services to the Iraqi people but not look for positions, all of us. We are in need for coalfield people who are good with the Labor and Parliamentary Legislative, for a competent people in the operational work, as well as in all spaces of work and service, to some political characters can defend Iraq and its people and the national project . I think that staying away from the Iraqi state positions gives me the freedom and flexibility to move and defend the National Democratic project, so I thought I should be away from these joints and state positions. But through my position in the Supreme Council as a major political side in Iraq, I do my role as the Supreme Council remains the representative of these various positions across the great personalities and leaders with our partners in the political process.
Al-Baghdadiya / There are talks about the next election, it will result non-majority government, which makes the formation of the government much difficult, what do you think?
Sayeed al-Hakeem / We trust our people and we respect their decision and will, if the people put their confidence in any coalition, then we will defend the leaders of our people and we know that our people has more than one direction as it is the power of Iraq, so we do not think that there is a party or a list to take the largest share and run the state alone, but in case this happen and some list got more than half of the parliament seats, here the facts of the political action does not assure the possibility of such a list in the administration of the country alone. we are working to achieve a real partnership among all parties and we know in advance that there is more than one list and available for that, therefore, we put big efforts to expand the national Alliance in the first phase at the beginning of its formation to the widest possible area and then to raise the idea of the National Petition Front, which helps to attract and deal with other political parties that will have also the confidence of the Iraqi people, and through joint work, common vision and clear milestones program we will achieve growing harmony in the next Parliament and Government, which helps the advancement of the Iraqi reality and political stability, security and lead to economic recovery for the next period.
Al-Baghdadiya / There are some parties inside the National Alliance have reservations or different opinion on the National Broad Front, including Dr. Ibraheem al-Jaafari what do you think?
Sayeed al-Hakeem / I have not heard any statement or point of view, from Dr. al-Jaafari, but as far as I know that the decision of the National Broad Front came from the National Alliance not from the Supreme Council, We all took the decision inside the Alliance, adopted it and we sacrificed for it through our consultations with the brother Dr. al-Jaafari and we found him understanding and excited for this joint work with the other parties.
Al-Baghdadiya / About your candidacy to the elections, some people say that your reason behind not being candidate is an introduction to major changes in the Supreme Council and specifically remove religious symbols away from being involved into the direct political action, what ‘s your thought?
Sayeed al-Hakeem / withdrawal meaning in the Arabic language is that when you address rights to some task but then you recant it, While here I didn’t stand in the face of the nomination from the beginning so that I pulled myself out then, but there was a deep decision from good insight and expertise that we have taken since launching the National Alliance. In terms of religious men and their role using the executive positions, we believe that this may not be appropriate because of the nature circumstances and considerations of objectivity, but in the legislative position the presence of religious men will be great along with the presence of the other Iraqi qualified to enrich the legislative facilities.
We have seen some of these religious characters have had a constructive roles in the legislative system during the past parliament cycle, therefore there is number of religious men in the National Alliance and varies coalitions are participants and present just like other citizens.
Al-Baghdadiya / Do you think that the National Alliances’ components are politically harmonious and looking for agreed political common?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / There is a difference between the integration and complete unity which is not exists, this is what we call; the Alliance. In the democracy systems, some powers feel that they are in need for an Alliance for their multiple readings in different cases, so they agree on a particular aspect, and here and today we as almost 50 political powers inside the National Alliance agreed on a unified program for the management of the country, determine the features of the national project and to identify priority needs for the next phase, there have been months and dozens of experts, minds and Iraqi energies in various fields to identify the National Alliance program, these powers are harmonious, united and linked to this program and its priorities, however, this does not prevent it differs in some detail in some topics.
AL-Baghdadiya / the diversity in the same one political Alliance in Iraq, do you think that in general it’s positive aspects and prevents the one party dominance and dictatorship on the one hand, but on the other hand it cause fragmentation of the administrative and political landscape, as it does not have a unify speech for a stationed strong country? Do you also think that this is temporary or it might stay for long period?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / Personally, I am optimistic of turning the Alliance from parliamentary bloc into an adult political institution that put lots of safeguards in the rules of procedure and strengthen these roles, this diversity and plurality may raise many fears to unified the situation but it is at the same time, reflects the National Alliance strong point, as it turns the democracy process into real practice, because a single bloc cannot run the country alone as it has to coexist with other blocs. It’s good to try it inside the same bloc itself to have more than one opinion or idea. I mean the one necessary commander thought and one party is gone forever.
Al-Baghdadiya / beyond the latest series of bombings that caused martyrs and victims among Karbala visitors, What about the security file which is under the control of the government, while all the powers contributed with the government formation?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / I think that there are high experienced people involved to the security file from the National Alliance, they formed a committee from the alliance to study the existing gaps and problems, visualize solutions and processors and organize a very mature paper works to be submitted to the Prime Minister and Security file officials as the security project and vision of the National Alliance to address the security file and deal with it, however, on the other hand I do share with you that this government is a national unity government and if the security has been achieved then it will be the result of the cooperation among all political parties and it’s the same thing for the other achievements. In addition we all have to take the responsibility in its full details in case if any gaps.
Al-Baghdadiya / when the government comes to the end, some voices appears to criticize the government itself, Dr. Adel Abdul Mahdi, one of these voices who criticizes the government for its responsibilities while he is a part of each governments’ file besides his membership in the Supreme Council?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / since you mentioned his presidency, Dr. Abdul Mahdi, then we must deal in an official way, but not with media topics on the newspapers shown by the media outlets , which may be as result of misunderstandings. So when we define some errors and gaps we have to explain where is that at? But not to blame the whole government for their responsibility, because the government is the wide framework that embrace all of us as the participating powers in the political process. This does not prevent us to identify the strengths and sometimes gaps points to treat and recover it. This also does not prevent the process of roles distribution and responsibilities of each Minister, then you can direct your question to the minister within the democratic framework as all must bear each other.
Al-Baghdadiya / regarding the Islamic theories, does these theories have agendas stands against the skeptics and proves its ability on the stability, anything else is hidden?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / lots of talks recently heard about the Islamic and religious powers regression, as it’s known during the previous phase in the provincial elections, more than 90% of the seats in the provincial councils in southern Baghdad and more than 70% of the seats in Baghdad was for the Islamists, do I see here any regression, I think that there is some progress and regression among the good Islamic powers. Talking about the speech and programs development, I believe that we live in a country witnesses very large developments in building and sustaining democratic experience, therefore we have to keep in minds always to determine our priorities and exploring the way that makes our future political project capable of keeping pace with these changes in Iraq.
Question via email ; what’s your comment to the same old characters - inside the new Alliance- which lost its popularity in the street?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / we believe that the Iraqi National Alliance should be the wide space, which includes all moods and energies. The open list will give full opportunity for the voters to submit their confidence in those who he wants and skip the others, for example, when we talk about the Supreme Council, there may be some of parties have their own comments, points of view or reservations while there are some others may find that the Supreme Council is able to express the opinion of a very wide range of the citizens and so on to the other entities and candidates.
Al-Baghdadiya / There are some of those who couldn’t score victory in the previous elections as Mr. Ahmed al-Chalabi, Do you think that he became part of the Alliance to get an access to the parliament?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / as said, I do not like to talk about the characters, as much as I like to talk about the principle in general, as it was that the INA is a framework that brings together a wider range of capabilities and orientations in which Islamic, liberal Sunni, Shiite, Muslim and Christian, we wanted to present a combination of all colors and we went to some affective people whom reflect some of these components. Some of them didn’t get the right circumstances to join the new Alliance INA, but promised to be in front after the elections while the others responded, and they became a part of the INA today.
Question via email / regarding the Eradication and the Accountability and Justice, did you say that these files must be closed?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / I did not say such talk, and no one allowed to say so in Iraq, we are all committed to the Constitution and the law, the Baath Party was and still have its bad roles against the Iraqi people and Saddamists always had their known positions in the torture, abuse and bombings, what I mentioned in my talk about this is the discrimination and deconstruction but not to confuse because the Baath Party was, still and will remain prohibited by the Iraqi constitution. There are Saddamists – Sadam followers- they are bad too so there is no room for them also in the political process in Iraq, there are senior officials now belongs to the Baath party and might be included by the Accountability and Justice Commission rules AJC, even if they were not criminals, according to legislation and laws of the Iraqi constitution, because some of them signed to join the Baath just to survive, and back to your question, my talk was specifically forwarded to these kind of people as I spoke several times on this subject and explained that we must give the opportunity to those who joined the Baath party just to survive, because the Baath forced everyone to join his offices, we must treat these people as Iraqis and give them the opportunity to participate in Iraqi life and live their lives normally.
Al-Baghdadiya / you had talks about the resistance, you even described it in which raised some reactions, especially of Sayeed Muqtada al-Sadr, what is your comment?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / the interview was recorded so we issued a clarification right on the second day, it’s known what I was talking about, we have been asked about the Iraqi resistance and we answered that the resistance is a legitimate right of peoples and nations, with no exception, whether in Iraq or anywhere else, and we expressed our appreciation and respect for the fighters in everywhere, but we mentioned that some of those who raise the flag of resistance in Iraq, unfortunately they adopted operations targeting citizens, which distorts and disrupts the goal of the resistance and that’s what is the most important because my talks have misunderstood which leaded to some criticisms as we respect the criticism and points of views, therefore, we have issued a clarification mentioned the whole talks but not some section.
Let’s go back to the Accountability and Justice law, who included by this law they will not have the opportunity to participate and run for elections to the parliament and this does not mean that they do not have the chance to live in Iraq or that we are treating them as criminals sent to courts and prisons, every country has laws and conditions, as much as we defend the AJC dictions, as much as we defend the rights of those who felt injustice.
Al-Baghdadiya / why these people haven’t been eradicated during the political process participation and previous elections? Is that because of the Constitution or what?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / there are two reasons, first; some of these people accused of fostering the Baath Party not being a member of the Baath Party, The promote can be happen at any time and this will be determined by the Discrimination Committee in case if all appeals submitted. Secondly; the lack of implementation of the law at the current period does not prevent its implementation later on, to be quite frankly with you, we were at a time after breakdowns affected an important and essential component in our country, perhaps it requested kind of leniency to persuade everyone to participate but today we are in another circumstance allows us to apply some laws, the component includes important characters and we are defenders of the true partnership of all the components as we refuse to link these to a party considered as forbidden in Iraq, the Baath.
The other matter is that this case to be wanted to became a sectarian, because according to the reports I have read that the two thirds (570) among the excluded are Shiites and one-third from the Sunni, and there are (68) persons just out of (570) who have made appeals, and this means that others have accepted the decision and withdrew, because their blocs also accepted the decision and nominated different people, but the discrimination decision included everyone, and this is strange.
Question via email / does the Iraqi judiciary independent? If so, what’s this escalation for?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem, / as I said, if this decision was from the discrimination commission within its constitutional power and proper proportion, it should be respected, but this commission exceeded its powers when delayed while it’s not of its powers however it identified attitude on 500 peoples whom did not submit an appeal, while its authority but to look into these appeals. So the commission has to do nothing out of its power but to consider (68) people whom have made an appeal not any more, the Discrimination Commission questioned the legitimacy of the AJCs which also out of its powers, it determined an executive attitude of the post after the elections to the winners of those excluded as they will not be covered by some certain salaries or they will not have an immunities and this also is not of its powers, and these are four cases in which was breaking the law and powers overcome by the Discrimination Commission.
Al-Baghdadiya / for how long do you think that these debates and problems will continue in the Iraqi political scene?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / unless we build an institutional state, respect its institutions and distribute its authorities properly, otherwise the controversy will remain, I think that any constitutional institution when taking decisions within its validity power , it must be respected by all, even though in case if someone wants to appeal its decision, he must go thru the constitutional observatory institutions, this way every citizen will be able to go and defend his rights, but if we want to look at the cases in politically vision, then we would have moved away from the commitment of state institutions, because we will feel satisfy if its match our wills and if not we blame and reject it, which is big mistake.
Question from a female citizen / Do you believe in the Arabic identity of Iraq?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / no doubt we are Arab and certainly quite proud of our Arabism and Arab identity of Iraq with all full respect for the Kurds, Turkmen and other ethnic groups brothers, but we were, still and will remain proud and defenders of this Arabism, and this a right all must be proud in it.
Al-Baghdadiya / there are different talks these days in the Arab world regarding the Arab identity of Iraq, don’t you think that the government is on dereliction in clarifying this matter?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / I think we as Iraqis barry part of the responsibilities in the confusion that occurred our national project and the political persons after 2003, the questioning about our national affiliation or Arabism comes based on political regional reasons and fears of democratic experience in Iraq and its secretions, new political powers and the democratic project, I hope that all Iraqi leaders, politicians and elites can to focus more on this issue to explain and remove this confusion about the Arab Identity as we wish that our Arab brothers to open their ways, hearts and hands to the Arabic historical Iraq.
Question from a citizen / where did you get the financial to spend during the elections?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem, / It is known that the INA does not have many expenditures during the electoral process and hasn’t yet showed anything to the surface, what comes will be limited and very modest, this is being done through a citizens who believes in the INA and offer their assistance to help the campaign and follow it up, it’s can’t be compared to what is paid to the Alliance with many other powers that have more finance abilities than the INA abiities.
Al-Baghdadiya / there are two types of alliances before and after the elections, and some people raised a controversy beyond your visit to Kurdistan as there are fears that the government formation will be difficult after the elections and the INA and all blocks can’t be the majority to form the government, what do you think?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / back to the earlier time of the interview ,we differentiate and distinguish between the true partnership which is necessary and between quotas, which affected the political process and paused a lot of tasks, it possible to think for a government without the participation of all Iraqi nationalities, creeds and sects, we have to think in wide mind to insure all parties that they will be presented in the administration of the country, because we moved from a circumstances that turned the closed alliances into big national alliances includes all, but still in need for more representation to the depth of all the Iraqi components. We might be able to reach that at a later period and after 4 years we must think properly how to frame a Front that brings all together.
We discussed in our visit to Kurdistan region and meeting with the Kurdish leaders that the Kurdish attitude must be presented in the next political scene.
Al-Baghdadiya / But does your meeting with the Kurdish parties what made Dr. al-Jaafari reserve on this issue for the fears of quotas in the next government?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / I do not think that the involvement of Iraqi competent in the administration of the country is a return to the past, but it is a consolidation of the true partnership among the parties, however I haven’t heard al-Jaafari’s statement but in our direct deliberations I find him interested in such relations with the Iraqi competent and other important parties, we cannot look to an Iraqi Government with no Turkmen, Kurdish or other competent.
Question by citizen / How come that Sayeed Amar says he defends Arabism, while you apply an Iranian agenda?
Question via email / what is the Islamic rule of the lists and candidates who buy votes?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / I believe that the Supreme Council is not an opposition party works under the ground to be with hidden agenda away from the citizens and observers by side of some country -God forbids- no he is not, because the Supreme Council is a huge political entity enjoys with its clear national directions, has a popular base and enjoys with great confidence of our people, our agenda and project are both clear to the public, we do have ministers and MPs and our attendance is clear in the Iraqi political scene, I have no idea about the agenda! But I know that we are away from the logic that says Iraq must be away from Iran to get closer to our Arab brothers, we go to the Turkey the neighbor to build strategic relations as we go to Iran the neighbor for the same reason, Iran is an important neighbor country which we have 1400 km along borders with, we are talking here on behalf of Iraq not the Supreme Council, however we go to the Arab brothers and we talk to them, dispel their fears, advice them and encourage them to share interests with Iraq and its new political process, we do so in recognition of our national interests of Iraq, therefore we believe that we should build a relationship based on interests and friendship with all regional countries, so if there is some people explain this as an Iranian agenda, then we respect such explanations, but we do have our vision for our national interests.
Al-Baghdadiya / some people think that the recent bombings was a reaction to the AJC decisions, do we have to remain slaves for such terrorist actions on political backgrounds?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / we must look at this issue from two angles, who is beyond these bombings and what are his motives and wills, why he is targeting innocent citizens, this issue deserves to stand by to know who is Iraq's friends and enemies, however there is still another aspect related to the insiders, the Iraqis themselves, how to protect ourselves from these enemies.
In His Eminence’s response to the citizens views in the Iraqi street, al-Hakeem said “Following the results of provincial elections, the Supreme Council stands courageously recognizing that these elections revealed the existence of defects and without exaggeration, we have received thousands of readings and remarks by the talent and qualified, who spoke about their assessment to the reality of the Supreme Council and depending on what we read and heard, we spent several months of studying these things and remarks sent to us by the specialists and the Supreme Council supporters, then we started to make plans to reform, change and develop the reality of the Supreme Council, and since we get the service admin in the Supreme Council, along with the first press conference, we spoke clearly for a few priorities, interests and paths. The Supreme Council is a deep historic political institution makes its decisions by al-Shura “advice” uses al-Shura framework starting from the central decisions then the central Shura, then the expanded Shura and then the General Authority until it reaches the other joints to study and research. We identified the mistakes and steps to move forward, the primary elections was one of these basic steps and we felt very happy when we found that more than 50 percent of the Supreme Council candidates are independent belong to independent media outlets, there are also many other steps can’t be mentioned all here as we are doing serious reforms in the political speech, media actions, the prosecution of organizations, formations, the communication mechanisms with the nation and other reforms as we are on this task wisely and calmly”.
Question / Are we moving from the political process concept into the state concept up to the next elections?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / we sometimes look at the issue in the framework of the political and scientific terms, and sometimes we go with what the Iraqi street understands, when we talk about a political process then we talk in terms the overall process where we are going to build the Iraqi state and its various institutions.
Therefore these visions are not intersected or transitioned from one period to the other, but it’s the Iraqi environment in which we all living in towards building the Iraqi state, and this is described by the citizens and politicians as the Iraqi political process. The political scene is witnessing integration, development and determining its directions to focus on the scientific program, which prepares the State and its institutions to respect the law and the Constitution.
Q / there are some rumors about divisions inside the Council as there are whom waiting for the opportunity to push you away from the residency of the Supreme Council, What’s your comment?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / what raises amazement of many observers is this consistency which is characterized to the Supreme Council as an Ancient and pure institution, while too much splits and fragmentations hits large political figures, especially when it gets to decline or retreat or so on.
But the Supreme Council have been through a lot since the rough time during the elections besides the death of His Eminence, Sayeed Abdul-Aziz al-Hakeem, however, the Council highly maintained its situation without any problems, personally at the confidence meeting to select the head of the Council, they addressed me for the presidency of the Supreme Council, they insist but to select me to this position, I do not think that there are Contention or compete, and any time I find any of my brothers ready to take the responsibility to became the head of the Supreme Council, I will serve him. And as it’s known in the Supreme Council, there are elections every two years for the Central Shura, the presidency of the Council and other sensitive positions to run the Supreme Council.
Question / were you able to feel the interests of the visited regional and other world countries regarding the all new political fact in Iraq?
Sayeed Amar al-Hakeem / the visits we made, we sit down and discuss with the leaders and officials in friendly meetings away from the frills and courtesies and we explain to them the Iraqi fact to show them the strengths points and encourage them to be open towards Iraq as that Iraq needs its Arab brothers, the regional neighbors and the international community to be close and in touch with Iraq.
I think that these visits have achieved part of this vision and dispelled concerns which is a first step in a long series of efforts made by Iraqi politicians and leaders who are keen and rebels to run the country properly, I do not want overstate the impact of these visits, but I try and humbly do my best to deliver the Iraqis message and their ambition to build their new political experience.