הישאם אל-האשמי, מומחה עיראקי ומבקר של איראן. ב-2019
Hisham al-Hashimi
Photo: AFP
Hisham al-Hashimi

Prominent Iraqi critic of Iran, proxy groups shot dead in Baghdad

Advisor to Iraqi government, U.S. coalition in Iraq shot dead by motorcycle rider outside his home after receiving threats from Iran-backed militias; no group claimed responsibility for assassination

Associated Press |
Published: 07.07.20 , 09:40
An Iraqi analyst who was a leading expert on the Islamic State and other armed groups was shot dead in Baghdad on Monday after receiving threats from Iran-backed militias.
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  • Gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on Hisham al-Hashimi, 47, outside his home in the Zeyouneh area of Baghdad, a family member said, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons. The family member heard five shots fired.
    הישאם אל-האשמי, מומחה עיראקי ומבקר של איראן. ב-2019הישאם אל-האשמי, מומחה עיראקי ומבקר של איראן. ב-2019
    Hisham al-Hashimi
    (Photo: AFP)
    Security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said he was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
    Al-Hashimi was a well-connected security analyst who appeared regularly on Iraqi television and whose expertise was sought out by government officials, journalists, and researchers.
    Weeks before his death, al-Hashimi had told confidantes he feared Iran-backed militias were out to get him. Friends had advised him to flee to the northern city of Irbil, in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
    He rose to prominence as an expert on the inner workings of IS and even advised the U.S.-led coalition during its yearslong battle with the extremists.
    זירת הרצח של הישאם אל-האשמי בבגדדזירת הרצח של הישאם אל-האשמי בבגדד
    The scene of al-Hashimi's murder
    (Photo: AP)
    After Iraq declared victory over IS in December 2017, he increasingly turned his attention to the Iran-backed militias that helped to defeat IS and now wield considerable power in the country. He was an outspoken critic of some of these groups, which have thousands of heavily armed fighters.
    News of his killing spread quickly, with fellow researchers, journalists, and others taking to social media to express their condolences.
    The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, expressed shock at the assassination and said the UN strongly denounces the “cowardly act.” In a tweet, she called on the Iraqi government to quickly find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
    British Ambassador to Iraq, Stephen Hickey, said he was “devastated and deeply saddened” by the news of al-Hashimi's death. “Iraq has lost one of its very best - a thoughtful and brave man,” he tweeted.
    Iraqi militiamen march and chant anti U.S. slogans while carrying a picture of Soleimani, left and al-Muhandis, with Arabic that reads 'our martyr leaders' Iraqi militiamen march and chant anti U.S. slogans while carrying a picture of Soleimani, left and al-Muhandis, with Arabic that reads 'our martyr leaders'
    Iraqi militiamen march and chant anti-U.S. slogans while carrying a picture of Iranian generalQassem Soleimani, left and milita leader al-Muhandis, both assasinated by U.S., with Arabic that reads 'our martyr leaders'
    (Photo: AP)
    Iraqi researcher Fanar Haddad said al-Hashimi was a “strikingly bright mind and a true gentleman,” calling his death a “major loss and an unforgivable crime.”
    Asked what al-Hashimi's death might signify to critical analysts, he said, “Critical voices are liable to be silenced if and when deemed necessary.”
    Political analyst Ihsan al-Shammari, a colleague of al-Hashimi, said those who killed him wanted to “silence the voices that disagree with their opinion” and blamed the shooting on the proliferation of armed groups in the country.
    Many saw his death as a worrying sign as the government struggles to rein in the militias.
    The Iran-backed groups have been blamed for a spate of recent rocket attacks targeting U.S. interests. Authorities launched a raid last week in which they detained 14 members of the powerful Kataib Hezbollah group in Baghdad, but all but one were released just days later, in what was widely seen as a capitulation by the government.
    Mustafa al-Kahdimi, Iraqi Prime Minister-designate speaks to members of the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad Mustafa al-Kahdimi, Iraqi Prime Minister-designate speaks to members of the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad
    Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, speaking to members of the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad
    (Photo: AP)
    In a statement, Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi said Iraqi security forces would “spare no effort” in pursuing his killers.
    “We will work with all our efforts to confine arms to the state, so that no force will rise above the rule of law," the statement said.
    In some of his final tweets before he was killed, al-Hashimi lamented the country's bitter divisions and the corruption plaguing its political system.
    “The rights, blood and dignity of Iraqis have been lost, and their money gone into the pockets of corrupt politicians," he tweeted Sunday.
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