KIRKUK, Iraq — Even his parents admit that Faras Awad was a killer. As an insurgent leader in this northern Iraqi city, he kidnapped women and executed civilians in the years after the American invasion. Then he vanished, to escape the law, his enemies and a $50,000 bounty on his head.
ut someone needed to pay. Late last year, Faras’s younger brother Yousef was kidnapped, shot in the head and dumped in an abandoned lot. The police called it a lawless act of revenge — one brother dying for the sins of another.
Tribal leaders say that scores of other family members of insurgents have been attacked and killed in recent years as Iraqis turned against Al Qaeda and other militant groups. Insurgents’ families have also been driven from their homes and villages, accused of being complicit in their loved ones’ crimes or simply guilty by association.
The attacks represent a small fraction of the overall violence, but they illustrate one of Iraq’s greatest struggles as it tries to break a vicious cycle of killing and revenge.