There was growing tension on Friday between the National Wisdom Movement (Hikma) led by Ammar al-Hakim and Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) headed by Sheikh Qais al-Khazali over a report broadcast by the Hikma-linked Al Forat satellite television network on the involvement of an AAH member in the assassination of Imad Jabar, the owner of the Laymounah restaurant, in the city of Sadr, east of Baghdad.
The television report said that police members arrested the killer of Jabar, and found with him papers and documents proving he is a member of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq.
The report drove AAH and its leader to launch a fierce attack against Hikma, accusing the party of controlling state buildings and lands in the neighborhood of Jadiriyah in Baghdad, and calling for large demonstrations near the party’s headquarters to condemn the TV report.
Without naming the National Wisdom Movement, al-Khazali wrote on his Twitter account: “A person reaches the utmost cynicism when he falsely accuses others for simply disagreeing with them. Unless he is paid, he would then be excused because he would be an agent.”
Spokesperson for the Iraqi Interior Ministry Saad Maan denied arresting the killer of the Laymounah restaurant owner, weakening the credibility of the Forat channel report.
However, the manager of the TV station, Ahmed Salem al-Saedi, issued a strongly worded statement, criticizing Khazali and parties close to Hikma. “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” he said.
Observers are unaware of the real reasons behind the confrontation between the two sides. But some political sources assume the dispute is caused by the race for cabinet seats.