On 7 June, 2020, Dr. Husham Al-Hashimi, a prominent Iraqi expert on jihadi groups in the Middle East, including ISIS, was shot by unknown gunmen in front of his home in central Baghdad. He died later in Ibn Al-Nafees Hospital in Baghdad after he was seriously wounded during the attack.
Hisham al-Hashimi, 47, appeared frequently on local and foreign media outlets as an analyst, especially during Iraq’s battle against ISIS. He was also an expert voice on Iraqi politics and Shiite extremist groups and had served as an adviser to previous Iraqi governments.
The motive behind his assassination is so far unclear, but similar targeted killings were frequent during the height of Iraq’s sectarian war.
In a television interview after the killing, the President of the Iraqi Citizenship Party, Sheikh Ghaith al-Tamimi, accused the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades of being behind the assassination. He claimed that al-Hashemi had sent him a string of messages via WhatsApp indicating he had received threats from Hezbollah days before his assassination. Later, he published screenshots of the discussion on social media.
Al-Hashimi was a vocal critic of Iraq’s political elite and discussed corruption in the country on his social media accounts. He appeared to have tweeted moments before he was killed, in a post about the sectarian and ethnic divisions in Iraqi politics.
News of his death shocked many in the Middle East and beyond
He was a writer, observer, and commentator on current affairs, with frequent TV appearances on major Iraqi and Arab channels. He published three books: “Daesh’s World,” “Daesh, A Look From the Inside,” and “Extremism.” He had more than 1,000 articles and research papers published in Iraqi, Arab, and foreign journals on security and extremist groups.
Dr. Al-Hashimi worked closely with many of the world’s leading think tanks and research centers, such as the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, the American University in Iraq Sulaymaniyah, Al-Rafidain Centre for Dialogue, and al-Nahrain Center for Strategic Studies.
Dr. Al-Hashimi had also advised many different Iraqi organisations, such as the National Reconciliation Team at the prime minister’s office, the speaker of parliament, and UNAMI.
Since then 4 people, including a police officer, have been arrested for the killing.