Thousands of mourners have attended the funeral of Iraq’s leading Shi’ite power-broker. The Imam Ali mausoleum in Najaf was packed with followers of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the man credited with leading the Shi’ite re-emergence after years of oppression under Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led regime.
Al-Hakim was born in Najaf. He was buried next to his brother Muhammad Baquer who was killed by al-Qaeda in 2003. Al-Hakim was one of Iraq’s most influential political figures, but his death highlights growing splits among Shi’ites: just days ago his party launched a new grouping for next January’s elections but there was no place for al-Hakim’s former ally, the current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.