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It's you. I knew it was you. I knew it the moment I saw you. What happened? How did you do it? I beat you! I crushed you! I killed your friend! And you still came back. Well, this is where it ends, Alex Rider. I will finish you now. Not a slow death. Alas, we have no time. But every death is the same for the one who dies.
~ Razim about to shoot Alex Rider.
Abdul-Aziz al-Razim is the main antagonist of Scorpia Rising, the ninth book in the Alex Rider series. He is a former member of Al Qaeda and the Mukhabarat, and a board member in the criminal organization known as Scorpia who is assigned to carry out Operation Horseman.
Razim was born in the Iraqi town of Tikrit in 1966. Growing up, he was a difficult child, driving away all the nannies his parents attempted to install in the household (stabbing at least one of them in the thigh with a pair of scissors). He was also apparently a genius, although he quickly began to realise that he was different from other children in one key way: he didn't feel emotions. In order to put this to the test, he strangled his dog in the orchard to see if this would make him feel sad. It didn't.
After Saddam Hussein came to power, Razim heard about an incident in which he forced party members accused of treason to execute other party members, and decided that he supported Saddam as they shared sadistic tendencies. Soon after, his parents, immediately realising Saddam was insane, held a meeting with several high-ranking friends to discuss how they could get rid of him, not realising Razim was recording the whole thing, which he then handed over to the police, resulting in the execution of his parents and their friends, and the implied rape of his sister Rima, who Razim last saw being dragged screaming from the house by four laughing officers, who threw her in their van. After this, Razim was called in to talk with the commissioner of police, who informed him he was being placed with foster parents, narrowly resisting the urge to shoot Razim in the process due to his unnerving lack of any real emotion regarding his parents execution. Several years later, he was invited to join the Mukhabarat, Saddam's brutal secret police, rising through the ranks to become the most feared man in Iraq barring Saddam himself, allegedly bathing in the blood of his enemies daily. He also once stabbed a fellow officer to death for saying that he looked like Harry Potter. His time in the Mukhabarat also caused him to experience pleasure for the first time, as he enjoyed the sensation of being feared and having the ability to have anyone killed.
In 2003, Iraq was invaded, and Razim fled rather than be captured by the British and Americans, who he correctly predicted would win the war. After Saddam was indeed overthrown, Razim joined Al Qaeda, not out of any Islamic fundamentalism, but because he wanted to organise terror attacks, which he saw as a game. He managed to become head of his own terrorist cell, before his superior suggested he might become a suicide bomber. Razim responded by using his suicide vest to blow up his superior before hiding from Al Qaeda in Cairo, where Scorpia found him.
Revealing His Plan
Razim is contacted by Zeljan Kurst, chief executive of Scorpia, who requests that he carry out an assignment requested by Greek billionaire Yannis Ariston Xenopolos to get the Elgin marbles returned to Greece, which Razim agrees to. Razim then flashes back to his past as he approaches Luc Fontaine, a captured French secret agent, and reveals several knives. As Fontaine pleads for his life and attempts to convince Razim that his organisation is on his trail, Razim reveals his ambition: to create a measurement of pain named the "Razim" after him. He then begins torturing Fontaine with his knives in order to begin his experiments into the measurement for pain, eventually killing him off-page.
Razim then arrives at the Scorpia meeting, where he explains his plan, Operation Horseman: to frame teenage MI6 agent Alex Rider for assassinating the US secretary of state during her state visit to Egypt, then kill the real Alex and leave his body nearby, allowing them to frame the British government and use evidence previously collected to prove they used a child agent to commit an assassination (that they actually committed) and blackmail them into returning the marbles rather than release the information. In order to get Alex sent to Egypt, Razim plans to kill an internationally wanted terrorist and leave his body in the Thames with evidence making it look like Scorpia is going to strike at a boy's school for millionaire's children in Cairo. However, board member Levi Kroll objects on the grounds that Alex has the luck of The Devil and will probably survive, bringing up the deaths of Julia Rothman, Nile and Winston Yu as examples of Alex defeating Scorpia. Due to Scorpia' s rules that they have to be unanimous to pass any motion, this means Razim's plan can't go ahead. However, Kroll then attempts to retire from Scorpia, pulling a gun on Kurst and Razim because no-one can retire from Scorpia without being killed. However, he's shot in the spinal cord by a sniper Kurst hired suspecting that Kroll would try something. With Kroll dead, Operation Horseman is able to go ahead, and Kroll's corpse is used as the dead criminal. Razim then arranges for Julius Grief, Alex's clone, to be broken out of jail to perform the assassination.
In his fortress near the Egyptian town of Siwa, Razim continues his experiments, kidnapping people off the streets and torturing them to death in order to confirm his findings about the measurement of pain. After an incident where Julius disobeys his orders and goes after Alex, Razim has a conversation with him where he orders him to stay put until he needs him. He also finds out about Julius's backstory, being informed about Dr. Hugo Grief's experiments to create human clones, and Julius's pathological need to kill Alex. Razim decides to kill Julius after Operation Horseman is finished, specifically by flaying him alive and then rolling him in a pile of extremely corrosive salt that he has in his fortress after getting the idea when Julius suggests doing it to Alex.
After Alex is kidnapped and brought to Razim's fortress by Julius and Erik Gunter, Razim greets him at the fortress, getting annoyed at Julius for hitting Alex since he needs to be unmarked, as well as revealing that he also kidnapped Alex's friend Jack Starbright, before having Alex taken away to the cells. The next day, Razim has breakfast with Alex and Jack, telling Alex about his ambition to create a measurement of pain and that he's going to "perform an experiment" on him, although he doesn't tell him how. Soon after, he summons Alex to his torture room and tells him what he's going to do: since he also needs to experiment with psychological pain, he's going to do something incredibly scarring to him. Julius then switches on Razim's security camera feed, showing Jack escaping from her cell and hotwiring one of the security vehicles. As she gradually escapes, Razim explains how he planned for all of this to happen before eventually allowing Julius to detonate several high power explosives he placed in the vehicle, seemingly killing her (although it's revealed in the sequel, Never Say Die, that he in fact used pre-shot footage and edited some of it out in order to hand her over to Scorpia at the specific request of fellow board members Eduardo & Giovanni Grimaldi). After this, Julius leaves to kill the Secretary of State, and Gunter takes Alex with him to kill him after Julius completes his mission.
Following the deaths of Gunter and Julius at Alex's hands, Alex returns to Razim's Siwa base impersonating Julius, who Razim hasn't learned failed yet. He informs Razim that he succeeded, but gives himself away when he tells Razim he's going to get his things before he leaves, only to go the wrong way. Realising what happened, Razim orders his men to kill Alex, but Alex manages to destroy the gate controls with a grenade, allowing CIA forces to enter and engage Razim's guards. During the melee, Alex tries to escape along a rope bridge, but Razim catches up to him and prepares to shoot him. Fortunately, CIA agent Blake Lewinsky sees Razim and manages to shoot the bridge just before being killed by Razim's guards, cutting through the ropes and causing Razim to lose his balance. Alex tries to save him, but is unable to, and can only watch as Razim falls into his corrosive salt, which slowly dehydrates and eventually kills him. Following his death, MI6 is able to capture Kurst and all the other board members with the exception of the Grimaldis (who are later killed by Alex in Never Say Die), destroying Scorpia and ending the threat they pose to world security.