In other news, AL-MONITOR notes:
Notable Iraqi security analyst Hisham al-Hashimi was assassinated in Baghdad today, according to multiple reports.
On Monday, Agence France Presse reported that Hashimi was walking out of his Baghdad home when three gunmen on two motorcycles shot and killed him at close range.
Hashimi was a known and respected commentator on Iraqi affairs who was particularly knowledgable on the Islamic State. Just about an hour before his death, he tweeted that division in Iraq was the result of the ethnic and religious quota system put in place following the 2003 US invasion. The tweet, which some shared after his death, has now been liked more than 11,500 times.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: On Monday, Iraq tragically lost a patriot, prominent scholar, and journalist when Hisham al-Hashimi was brutally assassinated in front of his home in Baghdad.
Dr. Hashimi had devoted his life to a free and sovereign Iraq, and gave voice to the aspirations of the Iraqi people. In the days leading up to his death, he was repeatedly threatened by Iran-backed armed groups.
And the United States joins partner nations in strongly condemning his assassination, and call for the Government of Iraq to bring to justice the perpetrators of this terrible crime and bring them swiftly to justice.
Protesters held signs which read: "They assassinated the voice of truth with a fake bullet", and on social media videos circulated of TukTuk drivers sounding their horns outside his home in a show of solidarity and support.
The killing triggered fears that Iraq could enter a violent phase, as tensions between pro-Iranian factions and the government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi increase.
"Do not cry. Your father was a hero, you'll grow up and become really proud of him," Mr Al Kadhimi told Al Hashmi's four children as he visited their home to pay his condolences.
"The world is proud of him, everyone, whether they are in Iraq or out, they are proud of him because he used to challenge terrorism in order to build a better future for you."
He told the boys that he would be responsible for them, ensuring they got a good education and were supported. "I will be your father and brother," he said.
Hashemi’s killing appears to be a new challenge, said Iraqi politician Raed Fahmi.
“This is a political assassination that represents both the silencing of freedom of speech and a challenge to the government, its prime minister and any reform plan,” he said.
Other Iraqi activists said they had long feared being targeted for speaking out against Iran-backed groups.
“This could have been any one of us. Our friends have already been notified to leave immediately,” said Omar Mohammad, a historian who documented atrocities in Mosul under ISIS.
“If (Kadhimi) will not take a strong step, civil life in Iraq will vanish. But I’m afraid he won’t do it. It’s a suicidal mission,” he told AFP.
The top U.S. general in the Middle East predicts that a small amount of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future.
“I believe that going forward, they’re going to want us to be with them,” U.S. Central Command head Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told reporters Tuesday after he met with Iraq’s new prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, according to The Associated Press.
“I don’t sense there’s a mood right now for us to depart precipitously. And I’m pretty confident of that.”
Since the parliament’s call for the US ouster, Iraq has gone through multiple PMs, and the post is now held by a pro-US official, which may add to the US sense that they can continue to push allies to keep troops there.
Receiving a number of Arab countries’ ambassadors to Iraq, Salih stressed that Iraq maintains its sovereignty and “reiterated that Turkey has to suspend its military violations on the Iraqi soil,” according to a statement from his office.
Picture this: A woman is home alone in Diyarbakir province in Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast. At 5 a.m., 100 policemen from counterterrorism and special forces units storm the apartment, instructing the neighbors to stay inside and not communicate with anyone. Then they sledgehammer the door and unleash two police dogs to attack Sevil Rojbin Cetin. But that is only the beginning.
Cetin is an activist in women’s movements and a former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) mayor, elected in 2014 and replaced by a government appointee in 2016.
Cetin was interrogated for 3½ hours in her apartment while her legs were bleeding from multiple dog bites. The apartment was turned upside down, while she was blindfolded and beaten.
She was stripped half naked with her hands tied, while photos were taken of her. The physical and sexual torture was coupled with verbal abuses; a gun was held to her head. “At one point she was taken to the balcony and the officer told her, ‘If your apartment was on the 5th floor, you would have jumped by now and we would not have to deal with you,” said Meral Danis Bestas, a pro-Kurdish HDP lawmaker.
Cetin’s Attorney Gulistan Ates, who took photos of her injuries after the ordeal and shared them with the press, was called to the police station and an investigation has been launched against him.