Skip to comments.Late Iraqi Councilor Only Saddam Holdover
Posted on 09/25/2003 8:03:56 AM PDT by kattracks
The Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq Sept. 25 Aquila al-Hashimi, a career diplomat, was the only member of Saddam Hussein's regime to be chosen by Iraq's American occupiers to sit on the interim Governing Council. Al-Hashimi died Thursday of gunshot wounds, five days after being ambushed by six men in a pickup truck near her home in western Baghdad. Widely expected to become Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, she was preparing to attend the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York.
Her assassination was the latest in a series of assaults against Iraqis who have worked openly with the United States as it seeks to put down a guerrilla war and rebuild the country after overthrowing Saddam in April.
She was "a courageous champion and pioneer for the cause of freedom and democracy," said L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator for Iraq, in a statement from Washington, where he is lobbying lawmakers for funds to rebuild the country.
Al-Hashimi had been in a coma since shortly after Saturday's shooting, said a Governing Council spokeswoman, who would not allow use of her name. Al-Hashimi died about 11:30 a.m. in a U.S. military hospital in the compound at Saddam's former Republican Palace in Baghdad where the U.S.-led coalition has its headquarters.
Al-Hashimi, who was born in 1953, was part of a delegation that traveled to New York on July 22, seeking recognition from the world body nine days after the council membership was announced.
The council said al-Hashimi "fell as a martyr on the path of freedom and democracy to build this great nation. She died at the hands of a clique of infidels and cunning people who only know darkness."
Her death would not distract the council from rebuilding Iraq, it said.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was "shocked and saddened" by al-Hashimi's death and that her legacy would be "a stable and free Iraq."
Hisham Youssef, spokesman of the Arab League, said assassinations "will never improve the situation in Iraq or achieve any results. We're totally against this approach."
Al-Hashimi served in the Foreign Ministry under Saddam. The current Governing Council president, Ahmad Chalabi, blamed remnants of the old regime for her death.
She was a controversial choice for the 25-member council because of her work with the former government. She had served as a key aide to former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and often traveled abroad with him as he represented Saddam.
Al-Hashimi ran the oil-for-food program in the Foreign Ministry under which the United Nations allowed Iraq to exchange oil earnings for humanitarian goods.
A Shiite Muslim, she had a degree in law and a doctorate in French literature and viewed herself as a women's rights advocate. Her last role at the ministry was as director of international relations.
Al-Hashimi, who was unmarried, will be buried Friday. The Governing Council announced a three-day mourning period, beginning Thursday.
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