Yesterday, Humam Hammudi, considered an influential power broker within the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), said Ammar al-Hakim would be the sole candidate for the leadership of ISCI after the death of his father, Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim. Today, news outlets close to ISCI such as Buratha News carry a story to the effect that the leadership council of ISCI has decided that Ammar will be elected to succeed his father tomorrow. The decision is portrayed as a “blow to the American and Baathist media who were talking about a succession crisis in ISCI”.
What is often forgotten in discussions of the succession issue in ISCI is that ISCI itself is a sort of coalition, or even a confederation. It was originally intended as an umbrella organisation when Iran created it in 1982, but as more and more Iraqis defected from its pro-Khomeini line, its membership became more restricted and the Hakim family came to dominate its leadership. However, since the 1990s, and especially since 2003, this flexible structure has been used to admit new members, including “Hizbollah in Iraq” (headed by Hasan al-Sari) and the Sayyid al-Shuhada movement. This dynamic organisational chart may in itself also help ISCI through a succession crisis, since potential discontents, for example in the Badr Organisation, still retain their semi-autonomous spheres of operation.