A French writer discussed the assassination of Iraqi political analyst and security expert Hisham Al-Hashemi last July and other activists, and said that these operations caused terror in the hearts of academics, researchers and journalists and pushed them to flee the country.
Journalist Jean-Pierre Perrin - in a report published by the French website MEDIAPART - said that the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades is the main suspect in this case, but Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi does not have the courage to mention the party involved in the assassinations.
On the sixth of last July, the killers were waiting for Al-Hashemi, and the video surveillance cameras showed that his assassination was carried out by gunmen who were on a motorcycle using pistols equipped with a silencer, in a way that did not give the victim a chance to save his life.
Although he has been subjected to numerous threats by pro-Iranian factions due to its criticism on several occasions for its involvement in corruption cases and its control of the state's agenda; Al-Hashemi refused the request for police protection, believing that it was just fake threats. In fact, never before had a thinker like him been assassinated in cold blood by the men of these factions, so his murder represented a turning point in Iraq.
Al-Hashemi was a former political prisoner under Saddam Hussein, and gained international fame thanks to his research on issues related to extremist groups, especially the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, and authored 3 reference books in Arabic, including "ISIS from within."
Al-Hashemi was the first to shed light on the role that former heads of intelligence during Saddam Hussein's era played in the making of ISIS. He also headed the national program for combating terrorism at the Akkad Center for Strategic Studies in Baghdad, and cooperated with the most prominent British and American research centers, and brought him good relations with the Prime Minister Current Mustafa Al-Kazemi.
The 4-person assassination squad was arrested, thus identifying the sponsors of the crime. For his part, the director of a large public works company in Baghdad (who requested anonymity for security reasons) said, "Kataib Hezbollah is responsible for the assassination, but neither the government nor anyone else dares to say that."
🔹- The family of the martyr Tahseen Osama: We call on Al-Kazemi to send someone to represent us, and we will tell him who killed Tahseen. @ MAKadhimi pic.twitter.com/3UPffYZJLi
- Ian Al Murjan (@ayan_zk) August 24, 2020
A series of assassinations
After Al-Hashemi, the assassinations targeted leading figures in civil society, including the prominent activist Tahseen Osama al-Khafaji (30 years old) who was killed in Basra on August 14, and his assassination sparked a wave of anger in the country.
In the same manner used in carrying out previous assassinations, the Iraqi civilian activist, Reham Yaqoub, was killed on 19 August. Reham participated in the protests denouncing the contamination of drinking water in 2018. This damaged the health of thousands of people, but she was not a pioneering activist at the time.
Nevertheless, her name appeared on one of the "black lists" circulating in the city to refer to the activists involved in what has been described as the US plot against the country. Consequently, her family negotiated to remove her name from the list in exchange for her withdrawal from all political activities, but that was not enough to save her life.
The writer quoted an expert in the Shiite movements and the Iraqi left, Benedict Robin D'Cruz from the University of Edinburgh, that "for the Iraqi armed groups loyal to Iran, the fact that Reham has gained an important position in civil society is sufficient reason to extinguish their breath, especially since political action is not the only threat to these groups, which She cannot tolerate a young Iraqi woman determined to reject the system of violence and corruption that plagues the country, and seeks to spread a lifestyle that is not in line with the aspirations of these groups.
The researcher adds that Reham comes from a social background similar to the rest of the activists who organized the protests. By killing her, these groups send a message to this milieu that anyone who gains importance and becomes a symbol of resistance will face the same fate. "
To escape by herself, journalist and activist Arwa al-Amiri left the country after receiving death threats. The killing of Reham and other activists coincided with Kazemi's first official visit to Washington.