Col. Ya’arub “Harbi” al-Hashimi Assassinated in Baghdad Today
Colonel Ya’arub Shakir al-Hashimi, a.k.a. “Harbi” (“Warrior”), was assassinated in front of his parents’ home in the Yarmouk neighborhood of Baghdad today. Assailants traveling in three cars shot him dead and narrowly missed his brother, Army Col. Ali Shakir. “Harbi” was previously mentioned on Talisman Gate last December here:
For the historical record: Al-Zubaidi (55 Most Wanted List member) was arrested near the town of Hillah on April 21, 2003 by an Iraqi National Congress (Free Iraqi Forces) unit led by Col. Ya’arub Al-Hashimi (“Harbi”). Col. Al-Hashimi, a Sunni Arab from Baghdad and an Iraqi-Canadian citizen, went to on to lead the 36th Battalion of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (later the 36th Commando Battalion), and was relieved of his duties in the autumn of 2004 by Defense Minister Hazim Al-Sha’alan for refusing orders to storm the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf during the confrontation with the Mahdi Army. Al-Hashimi is currently Iraq’s military attaché in London.
Since then, Harbi had been transferred back to Baghdad, where he resigned from the Ministry of Defense and went back to Canada to rejoin his wife and children. As of a month ago, he came back to Baghdad and was poised to become Ahmad Chalabi’s new security chief.
Harbi was a young helicopter pilot in the Iraqi Army when he defected to the Iraqi National Congress’ base in Northern Iraq in 1994. He made up his decision to defect and join this group after INC operatives succeeded in destroying six Iraqi Army helicopter gunships at the Kirkuk Airbase. Harbi fought bravely in the 1995 INC offensive against the Iraqi Army. He was evacuated to Canada along with his family after the Republican Guard (allied with Barzani’s peshmerga) overran INC bases in Northern Iraq in October 1996.
Harbi could have led a nice sedentary life in Canada but he chose to heed yet another call for arms: He rejoined the INC in Northern Iraq in January 2003. He later became a commander in the FIF and was placed in charge of the highly-effective 36th Battalion.
He was brave, humorous and patriotic. He was fiercely loyal to a secular and democratic Iraq.
Some commentators on Iraq make a habit of deriding ‘the exiles.’ I would have liked to see them do that to Harbi’s face.