Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Don’t You Just Love Tags?

In today’s New York Times, Edward Wong tags Hajim Al-Hassani (speaker of the transitional National Assembly and an ex-Minister of Industry) as a “secular Sunni Turkmen.” This is quite a remarkable transformation from last April, when Wong used to tag Hassani with such labels as “a prominent Sunni Arab” and “was a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a religious Sunni group” and that “his former ties to the Iraqi Islamic Party indicate that he could support conservative Islamic policies for the new government.” (‘Iraq Takes Step Toward New Government,’ New York Times, April 4, 2005)

Quite a transformation indeed: not only did Hassani change his politics, but he managed to change his ethnicity too, in less than seven months! And oh, his brother Emad was recently arrested in Kirkuk on terrorism charges; apparently he was a top dog in the insurgency…

BTW: Hassani ain’t a ‘pure’ Sunni; his mom is a Shia (Turkmen).

Master of disguise...?


I've always had the eerie feeling that Hajim Al-Hassani (well, now that he has been ‘officially’ anointed as a Turkmen, we can properly pronounce his name as Hajim Hosni) uncomfortably resembles Orson Welles. Could it be that the versatile actor, who allegedly died in 1985, had simply re-invented himself as an Iraqi politician? Somebody should sneak up on him and whisper ‘Rosebud’ in his ear; just to see if he freaks-out or something.

Hassani (or Welles…) is running as no. 2 on Ayad Allawi’s list.

No. 5 on Allawi’s is none other than Adnan Pachachi, whose tag is also in need of an update. The nonagenarian “Sunni Arab” politician is half-Shia (his mom is from the Haymus clan near Hillah), his wife is Shia, and he officially converted to Shi’ism in an Iraqi court. He has grown daughters and no sons, and Shia inheritance laws favor daughters.

Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that the Pachachis, imported by the Ottomans as Georgian Mamlukes, were in fact alevis, or members of a pseudo-Shia cult.

The New York Times should be a bit more careful with its tags. That’s all I’m sayin’.

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