'Honor killing' in Iraq?

By now you've heard the tragic story of art critic-turned journalist Steven Vincent (who wrote for publications as varied as the National Review and Harper's) killed last week in Iraq. It was generally assumed that Vincent was either targeted as a result of his article alleging that "Basra's police were infiltrated by Shia death squads," or else that it was just the routine murder of an American in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But the fact that Vincent wasn't held hostage and that his Iraqi translator Nour Weidi was also shot have led some to suspect that the killing may have been the result of their relationship. Vincent, who is already married, had intended to marry Weidi to help her get US citizenship. I'm not quite sure how they intended to pull that one off but the article inexplicably mentions that Vincent's current wife knew of the plan. Ok then.

According to the article in the Telegraph: "Staff at the Basra hotel where Mr Vincent had lived for three months say the couple's relationship had drawn disapproval and warnings of retribution."

Which leads to the possibility that it was an "honor killing."

But then the article goes on to mention Vincent's brash behavior, claims that he'd unearthed scandals, as well as his general disregard for his own safety. Nobody deserves to die, of course, but it sounds like whoever did this may have had to take a number.

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