From Boston Globe, with thanks to Skeet Street.
BAGHDAD, Iraq — The younger brother was slender and serious, a former bodyguard for Saddam Hussein. He became a Muslim fundamentalist, grew his beard, and prayed five times a day. The older brother was a used-car salesman who told off-color jokes and made regular trips to a Baghdad hotel for drinks.
The brothers, Ali and Khalid Mashhandani, grew up together in a poor suburb of Mosul, a cluster of small, stone houses with wooden and metal roofs along the river Euphrates. For years, their paths diverged. That changed the moment Ali died in Yarmouk Circle, in the center of Mosul.
The story of the Mashhandani brothers offers a glimpse into the lives of two Sunni Arab insurgents, their different motivations, and the toll their actions have taken on their family in Mosul, a northern city that has become a bastion of the insurgency.
With his Islamic convictions and his membership in Ansar al Sunna, a militant group based in northern Iraq, Ali Jassim Mohammed Mashhandani was fighting for an ideological goal.
”Ali was much more serious, much more practiced,” said Hania Mashhandani, the men’s sister. ”And he was a mujahideen prince.”
Khalid Mashhandani was more of an opportunist. He created his own group of insurgents, she said, and set about smuggling cars, kidnapping for ransom, and hiring others to attack US convoys. He allegedly raped and killed at least two Iraqi women. He awaits trial in a Mosul jail.
The brothers represent two major strands of the insurgency: one organized, deadly, and internationally connected; the other less practiced and more individualistic, but just as dangerous…