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STOCKHOLM - Skyline International is deeply shocked by the assassination of the prominent Iraqi security expert and researcher Hisham Al-Hashimi by unidentified shooters in the capital, Baghdad, two days ago. He is another victim of uncontrolled weaponry crimes in Iraq.

The STOCKHOLM-based international foundation states that the Iraqi authorities must put an end to the uncontrolled weaponry and to hold the perpetrators to account to stop the organized assassinations of academics, advisers, journalists, activists, and bloggers that have for several months in Iraq.
Al-Hashimi, 47, was a leading Iraqi expert on armed groups. He has publications on the proliferation of armed groups in Iraq, such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda. 

He also wrote more than 500 articles and research papers in Arabic and English and published for Iraqi and foreign publications journals. He worked as an adviser for the Iraqi government on several occasions, and he was active on social media. He openly criticized the current policies of the Iraqi government regarding armed groups and the lack of control of weapons in Iraq. 

The killing of Al-Hashimi is an attempt to suppress the right to freedom of opinion and expression and a public message to the Iraqi people and the elite figures and intellectuals. 

Especially Al-Hashimi was killed after an interview criticizing the local armed factions for bombing the Green Zone in the capital Baghdad.

This assassination represents a full-fledged crime that requires the Iraqi authorities to seriously investigate the issue and identify the involved parties and perpetrators. These criminals must face justice since the number of kidnappings and assassinations keeps rising in Iraq, especially after the outbreak of the widespread protests last October. Moran than 500 people have been killed since the protests began.    

Skyline foundation warns that the targeted killings are becoming the new norm against dissidents and opposition figures. According to analysts, behind these attacks are Shiite militias such as Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq, who are allegedly retaliating against US operations in the country. So far, Kataib Hezbollah has neither denied nor claimed the attack. 

Finally, Skyline welcomes the Iraqi judiciary's announcement to form an investigation commission specialized in this kind of crime. It also warns that failing to bring justice would only encourage perpetrators to continue with this campaign of terror that is targeting high ranking officials as well as the Iraqi people just for sharing their views and opinion. Iraq is at a turning point and needs to address this matter firmly and without hesitation.