Hakim, Iraq's most popular politician according to a recent poll, is also the head of SCIRI, a large Shi'i paramilitary force similar in nature to Morqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army, but less radical in nature.
Speculation is that the attack was caused by Baathists, but some of Sadr's supporters would be just as happy to see Hakim die too. On August 29, 2003, a huge car bomb in Najaf killed al-Hakim's older brother, who had headed SCIRI since 1984. The perpetrators of the attack were never identified at the time. One can only assume that this attempted assasination will backfire on the perpetrators, and that Hakim's popularity will soar as a result. This could be troublesome for the U.S. presence in Iraq in the longterm -- Hakim claims to want a secular Iraq, but not all of his words match his rhetoric.
"(The U.S. occupation) is primarily responsible for (the death of my brother) and the blood that is shed all over Iraq every day. Iraq must not remain occupied and the occupation must leave so that we can build Iraq as God wants us to do."
- Abdel Aziz Hakim