Magazine
Latest Issue

Rivers of Babylon

The head of Iraq's leading Shia dynasty has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. His young son wants to take his place, but the knives are now coming out

By Nibras Kazimi   July 2007

Fathers and heirs

A couple of years ago I asked Ammar al-Hakim whether his father was still chain-smoking those pungent Iranian-made Bahman cigarettes. “No, we got him smoking Kingston now,” he said with some relief. The elder al-Hakim, Abdel-Aziz, 57, head of the newly renamed Supreme Council of Iraq (which dropped the ominously sounding “Islamic Revolution” from its title a few weeks ago) and leader of the United Iraqi Alliance, Iraq’s Shia parliamentary bloc, has just been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Baghdad is abuzz with news and rumours of succession and political confusion.

Abdel-Aziz Hakim used to serve…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect