I was visiting my aunt in law today when a visitor came for her mother in law, who was over at her house. This lady, Maisoon al Hashimi, was mourning the assassination of her brother who had just been killed two days ago.
Sayyid Mahmoud al Hashimi (as his sister insisted on calling him) was the brother of Tariq al Hashimi- the current president of the Iraqi Islamic Party (the largest Sunni party in Iraq). He was most likely assassinated as a pressure tactic against his brother. Maisoon told us that eye witnesses claimed that the street he was driving on was blocked on both sides by Iraqi forces (!yes! see entry on Al Mahdi army below and attached article) and his car was shot at numerously. When these shots did not kill him, one of the killers got up on the roof of his car and threw some sort of a bomb/grenade at al Hashimi's car. And he was martyred, Allah yirhamuh (may God have mercy on his soul).
His sister was incredibly strong. She was telling us how this brother (out of 4 brothers) was her favorite. She told us of his kindness, gentleness and caring for all people. After his death, many people that they did not know came by to condole the family. He left behind six children, the oldest a freshmen daughter in college and the youngest 3 year old twin boys.
The sad reality of the matter is that such assassinations occur on a daily basis in Iraq, with no regard for the rule of law. Until these assassinations are investigated and stopped, Iraq will remain in the chaos that it has sunk to in this post-Saddam era.