The current head of Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council, Ezzedine Salim, has been killed in a car bomb blast in Baghdad.
Mr Salim, a Shia Muslim and political activist is the second member of the Council to be killed since it was set up last July.
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has said that they had expected attempts to derail the political process and that the attack will not affect plans to hand over power to the Iraqis on 30th June.
What effect will Mr Salim's death have the hand over preparations? Will his killing hamper attempts to encourage Iraqis to work with the US-led coalition? Send us your comments.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.
Any perceived delay in the handover of power to the new Iraqi "Governing" body, will be a political nightmare for Bush and Blair. So it is not going to happen.
Paul, Leeds, UK
My thoughtful comments have never been posted. The BBC seems to choose the ignorant comments such as those posted by Mimi who is supposedly from the USA. These views are anti-American and utterly false to anyone but the most faithful of conspiracy theorists.
Tim, Kansas, USA
My thoughtful comments have never been posted, too. The difference is that I pay the licence fee that provides a vehicle for Americans to insult the whole of Europe. When Britain gets out of America's mess, we must abandon adventures abroad designed to allow our leaders to strut on some imaginary world stage. To my friends in America - I still love and admire true Americans and true American standards. Bush is a temporary aberration.
Vernon Moyse, King's Lynn
The handover will go forward. It must. The reason there is so much resistance to Democracy in the Middle East is that the Mid East governments desperately fear it. It means giving their citizens a voice, which will mark the beginning of the end of dictatorial theocratic rule.
(I am an Iranian, but I am raised in Sweden ever since the age of 3). If the coalition troops leave Iraq it will show the terrorists that their methods work. And that is not acceptable. I admire the determination of the coalition troops against these savages and killers. Keep up the good work. Europe has not understood the importance of this job. Europe does not care about the people in Iraq, Europe only cares for it self. And I believe that if Europe would of joined the war in Iraq from the beginning the situation would not have been like this one. We can all thank France and Germany for it. Especially France.
Just because a leader has been killed dose not mean that the withdrawal of Coalition forces should be slowed down or brought to a halt. The fact that maybe the US or Britain do it for other reasons is beyond the point.
Haroon Lone, Cranbrook, Kent
No...nothing will happen with the killing. Why does press still call June 30th a "handover"? What exactly is being handed over when the Dept. of Defence has just asked the US Congress of a virtual blank check? Iraq will still be an occupied country on July 1.
Amina Khan, Washington DC., USA
Obviously the killing of Mr Salim will delay the handover, but its by no means the only factor involved in the handover. The coalition started the "war" on the wrong foot and without a doubt will continue with their current form. Sadly the only thing they are doing is creating a stronger and more resolved insurgent base.
Bob, Cape Town, South Africa
To its everlasting dishonour the US-led coalition doesn't count the Iraqi civilian dead anyway. So what difference does this one brave man's death make?
Andrew, South London
No matter what happens in Iraq, the US takes the blame. A cowardly suicide bomber has killed a good a decent man, one who represented the future of Iraq, and the pundits and the Arab press blame the US. The Americans can't stop every suicidal maniac...the people of Iraq must put one foot in front of the other and must stop giving refuge and support to this murderous "insurgency" that seems to have no ideology but death and destruction.
John C, New York, USA
Delay the handover? What handover? Whatever governing body is created after June 30th will be just as impotent and American dominated as the present one.
Dan, Mississauga, Canada
People need to wake up to the fact that this man was murdered, not because of US policies in Iraq, but because he was an Iraqi with a different political view to those who seek to terrorise. You all forget that people like Mr Salim want the new Iraq that the allies have tried to deliver. That is being denied them by these fanatical terrorists who take heart from the irrational ramblings of the anti- US brigade.
Mark H, UK
Of course it will delay the handover. And really, the war is not finished, a new Vietnam is born.
Norbert, Antwerp - Belgium
The reason why Bush and Blair are getting so much criticism is not because they are trying to bring peace to Iraq, but because they are failing so badly. Of course we also criticise the terrorists. that goes almost without saying, but simply because the terrorists are evil doesn't mean we should give Blair and Bush unquestioning support as they make a bad situation worse.
David Patrick, Reading, UK
The Iraqi people have the determination to build a democratic country. I believe killing a leader like Ezzedine Salim wouldn't affect the handover of power and these terrorists will be washed away gradually as the bright hope of 24 million people is much greater than the dark hope of few hundreds terrorists.
Saman Ahmed, London, UK
No the killing will not delay the handover. I believe that the coalition forces will eventually be forced out of Iraq once the fighting intensifies and Bush and Blair's positions become even more untenable. I really wouldn't be surprised either if the Iraqi governing council is overthrown and Saddam Hussein regains power in Iraq.
Richard , Baar, Switzerland
If the cowards in Europe criticize the resolve of the coalition then, we are sure that we are doing something right.
Craig, Richmond VA USA
There are mixed signals coming from the British and American governments, at one point stating that the coalition will stay for years and the other that the handover in June is certain. However the handover should take place so that the Iraqis can govern and try to control security to reduce the chances of events like these taking place.
Zahra, London, England
I am sad at the death of Mr.Salim. As well as the death of each and every Iraqi. The handover stage show will go on. Nothing will change - it is just an exercise to change the previous mask with new mask. When we see what is happening in the present and what has gone on in the past it looks funny that Bush and Blair talk about humanity and peace.
Aitzaz Rana, Pakistan
I wish the politicians of the world would stop talking as if we the people of the world had no idea what is going on. There is no hand over because that would prove that Bush showed great misjudgement for going into Iraq and the US and UK couldn't dare have that image. The "hand over" is merely an image that they want us to believe. No American and no Brit is leaving Iraq nor are they handing over any power. Power is a drug to politicians and they're addicted to it. So please save the speech for the absent minded.
One has to wonder how such action could not delay the handover, given that these men were high ranking government officials, taking lead roles in the upcoming Iraqi government. If Ezzedine Salim is replaced so quickly, and with such confidence, it will certainly raise some question as to the validity and integrity of this new "Iraqi government".
Daniel Tyre, East Sussex, England
So much criticism of Bush and Blair who may be kicked out of office for trying to bring stability, sanity and safety to Iraq; so little criticism of the insurgents and terrorists who would destroy all that's good for Iraq. The handover will take place as scheduled, but the carnage will not end.
Mark, Boston, USA
The handover must go ahead. The terrorists are desperate to stop it because it will put less of an American face and more of an Iraqi face on the counter-insurgency efforts.
Nate, Wichita USA
Iraq should be divided into three. That is the only forward and the only way to handover power to all its people.
Sam Nileman, USA
The handover won't be anything more than symbolic, so this killing won't make it any better or worse.
John Farmer, Henley-on-Thames, UK
My heart goes out to this man's family and all the Iraqi people. Don't give up the fight for a free Iraq, the world has not forgotten you.
Dave R, Wellington, New Zealand
I predict that on June 30th, Bush will give yet another "mission accomplished" speech.
This is terrible news. I met Ezzedine Salim several times, in Basra and Baghdad. He was a learned, honest, humble and extremely courageous man who took great personal risks for his country; one of the most impressive political figures I have met.
Nicolas H, Paris, France
What power will be left to hand over as Iraq slides into anarchy? No there will be no delay, otherwise it will be Bush and Blair handing over their own power.
Bernard Sacarello, London
The handover is a joke. Handover power? To whom? June 30th is way too soon and the recent events sure won't help. This whole war has been poorly planned from the start. Look at what happened in Falluja, the city has been handed over to Saddam's former general, just six months ago, this idea would have been ridiculed. Improvisation has replaced careful strategy. If this wasn't an election year in the US Bush would have probably levelled the whole city without hesitation. His total lack of ethics will be his downfall. I fear things will get worse before they get better - if they ever do.
Claude Delorme, Montreal, Canada
All I see is the British criticizing our policies even though they had their Boer War, the French criticizing us even though they had a part in Vietnam, and the Germans criticizing us even though they conquered half of Europe. The difference with what "we" Americans are doing, is that we are actually trying to give Iraq some self determination as quickly as our political process will let us so that we can get out! We learned from all of your mistakes what happens when you stay somewhere too long.
Mike Stinnett, Virginia, USA
To Mike Stinnett, Virginia, USA. Another example of what Americans feel about the rest of the world - disdain.
The handover is purely symbolic, and has no real meaning. It's a political manoeuvre performed for transparent political gains. It's for consumption by naive voters in the US and the UK. Will this delay it? Of course not. after all, it really have no value other than in commercials, press releases, and sound bites. You don't need honesty, and integrity for that.
David Watts, Landau, Germany
Whilst I felt that the date of June 30th was too early, now that it has been set and agreed on by both the Coalition and the Iraqi's we can not let these terrorists win by moving the date.
Ryan Cullen, London, UK
The handover is crucial to happen at the end of June. However, it is also equally important to have more coalition troops in order to make the country secure and stable. With unmanned borders and some hostile neighbouring regimes, Iraq is becoming a breeding ground for terrorists that they seek to stop the pace of democracy with which the majority of Iraqi people are desperate to have.
H M, London
The vast majority of Iraqis want peace, democracy, freedom and self determination. Nothing is going to stop the Coalition and the new Iraq achieving this. The consequences of failure in Iraq would be too terrible to contemplate. My thoughts are with Mr Salim's family.
Roger Morgan Freedlan, England
There is no handover. The 130,000 American soldiers there are to be increased to 150,000. USA is building 14 bases. The UK is augmenting its force by 5,000. There are 30,000 mercenaries; two companies in the UK are major suppliers. Blair hopes to secure a few crumbs for British business. In my view, the idea of a puppet regime is to "legally" hand over Iraqi assets to USA corporations.
Dr Yousef Abdulla, Orpington, UK
Plans to hand over power? Which plans?! Things are getting messier by the day...
Hugo, Paris, France
Where is the authority and influence of a non permanent presidency like that of the American imposed Governing council? If the handover is delayed it is for some other reason and not as a result of the death of Salim. Unfortunately he became a victim of circumstances. The sooner America jumps out of the mess they have created and allows the UN to steer the affairs in Iraq the better.
Issah Fuseini, Tamale, Ghana
We need their oil. Even people in senior positions are letting the "O" word slip into their briefings and interviews. Was it about liberation? WMD? No of course not! We need their oil. Handover, defeat... these are red herrings.
Nothing will derail the "handover of power" - the political collateral is too high for the US right now. That being said, Salim's death may lend the remaining Council members some credibility, converting them from US appointed stooges into men of principle who refuse to bow before terrorists. Properly marketed, that idea could be persuasive to some Iraqis.
Mike, London, UK
What a terrible tragedy! A man who gave his life to serve his country whose life ended so savagely. Maybe people should think at how these people on the Governing Council are risking their lives just to try and get power over to the Iraqis instead of criticising them!. If the perpetrators of these acts think this will waver the Iraqi resolve they are wrong.
Zahra Ridha, London UK (Iraqi descent)
I don't think the killing will delay the handover because the US will want to get out of Iraq as soon as possible, the last thing the Bush administration will want to do is delay the handover.
Matthew, Stockport, UK
Iraqis have the misfortune of being hated and targeted by everyone. Islamists and Arab nationalists hate Iraqis because they see them as US collaborators, while the coalition troops attack Iraqis while they are trying to retaliate against the previous group and do not know how to differentiate the foreign fighters form the Iraqis. We need less ignorance and more support to get anywhere near a stable country.
Dilnareen, Koya, Iraq
It is easy to be disheartened when one's country is being wounded day after day. We need to keep to the handover deadline and show how these criminals are killing their own countrymen for idiotic reasons and that this sort of Saddam-style nonsense will have no place in the new Iraq.
Sinan, Iraqi in New Zealand
The 30 June handover is a joke being told to the world again and again. What did the Americans accomplish until now? The killings will go on for quite some time.
Fouzan Majid, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
All the parties working to create a new democratic Iraq must stiffen their resolve. If anything, the process ought to be speeded up; it is quite clear that there are many Iraqis that don't want the coalition there and the sooner Iraq is a democratic republic, the sooner we can leave.
Keith, Bristol, UK
In strictly strategic terms, the US could withdraw now. Iraq as a potential force in the Arab world as been destroyed. In future, the Iraqis will have to sell every drop of their oil at any price to avoid plunging deeper into chaos. The only reason for the US to be on the ground is that a pull-out at this stage will be perceived (wrongly, as I think) as a defeat. But the handover would provide a nice face-saver to just get out, before the costs of the war become a decider in the November election.
Nico Machiavelli, Florence Italy
His death will have no discernable effect on the so-called handover whatsoever. A non-elected leader does not have much legitimacy anyway, even in democracies (for example a vice-president forced to replace a president). If this man had been elected there would now be a crisis. As it is, the coalition will just select another leader. The charade of "handover" will go on.
Ryan, Paris, France
Ryan, Paris: Optimism may be difficult in these times, but brave people (including Mr Salim) are making the ultimate sacrifice with the desire to improve our world. We should all show him and the Iraqi people their due amount of respect.
Jeff, Dallas USA