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Shiite Leaders: SCIRI to Undergo Radical Changes Soon - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- According to sources belonging to the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq [SCIRI], chaired by Abdulaziz al-Hakim, The organizations future programs will rely more on Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani as source of emulation, while distancing itself from the idea of guardianship of the scholars [wilayat al-faqih] represented by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The organization also intends to drop the word “revolution” from its name and hopes to ascribe to a name with a “bigger Iraqi flavor” to it.

One of SCIRI’s prominent leaders, Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, said that the council is seriously examining these changes. He further said in a telephone conversation with Asharq Al-Awsat that the changes come “in tune with the constitutional situation in the country”. He said that the structure of SCIRI and its name were devised when it was in opposition, and now that “the country has moved to legality and constitution, we are compelled to review all the existing programs.” Al-Saghir said: “The word revolution does not have to be reflected now, considering that what we want has been achieved.” He said that the changes had to be carried out six months ago, but the “situation[in Iraq]” prevented us from doing that. Al-Saghir discarded the possibility of a change among the top leaderships of the party, and added that a announcement will be issued about all these changes, but he refrained from giving any date. However another leader expected it to be issued today.

Al-Saghir denied that these changes are due to differences with Iran where the party was created. He said that “our friendship with Iran was and still is a friendly one”, and he added that Iran had rendered lots of services to the Iraqi opposition.

An unnamed prominent leader in SCIRI, told Reuters that the changes will endow the organization with “a bigger Iraqi flavor”. He added that the change will represent a step towards the “Iraqization” of the Shiite organizations in Iraq. He said that one these changes will consist in dropping the word “revolution” from the name of the organization for it to become “The Supreme Islamic Council in Iraq”. The leader imputed the change of the name to the fact that the word “revolution” used to point to the struggle against the regime of former President Saddam Hussein.

A SCIRI statement said that Al-Hakim, the leader of the Unified Iraqi Coalition (the biggest bloc in the parliament), chaired in the last two days an extended meeting which included the cadres of SCIRI. The meeting dealt with the assessment of the situation in addition to deciding future action plans and determining positions in accordance with current events.