The killing of analyst Hisham al-Hashemi in Baghdad yesterday is a great loss for Iraq. Al-Hashemi, one of Iraq’s last independent thinkers received threats prior to his death from pro-Iran Kata’ib Hezbollah. His assassination is a warning that a further security upheaval awaits Iraq, similar to what Lebanon faced in 2005 following the assassination of journalist Samir Kassir. The arrest and prosecution of al-Hashemi’s killers will ultimately be a litmus test for new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi in terms of his capability to crack down on Iraq’s powerful and unruly militias.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi uses his mobile phone at his office in Baghdad, Iraq May 9, 2020. Picture taken May 9, 2020. (Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office via Reuters.)