Iraq Oil Report's Daily Brief compiles the most important news and analysis about Iraq from around the web.

Abadi’s office denies claims Baghdad agreed to assist Kurds financially, politically

Karzan Sulaivany reports for Kurdistan 24:

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's media office on Sunday denied claims made by a Kurdish official that Baghdad would guarantee financial and political concessions if they postponed the Sep. 25 referendum.

Mala Bakhtiar, the executive secretary of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) politburo, told Reuters the Federal Government of Iraq was prepared to assist Kurds financially and politically for them to delay the vote.

Click here for the entire story

Iraqi forces close in on IS-held town west of Mosul

Balint Szlanko writes for AP:

Iraqi forces made significant progress as they closed in on the Islamic State-held town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, the U.S.-led coalition and an Iraqi military spokesman said Monday.

U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a coalition spokesman, told The Associated Press that Iraqi forces have retaken some 250 square kilometers (95 square miles) from the extremist group since the operation began early Sunday, though they have not yet pushed into the town itself.

"As we get into the urban areas — as we saw in Mosul and Raqqa — that's where we'll see the pace slow down, that's where (IS) have placed their defenses," he said.

Click here for the entire story

Iraq’s Kurds might put off independence vote in return for concessions from Baghdad: official

Maher Chmaytelli writes for Reuters:

Iraq's Kurds may consider the possibility of postponing a planned Sept. 25 referendum on independence in return for financial and political concessions from the central government in Baghdad, a senior Kurdish official said.

A Kurdish delegation is visiting Baghdad to sound out proposals from Iraqi leaders that might convince the Kurds to postpone the vote, according to Mala Bakhtiar, executive secretary of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Politburo.

The United States and other Western nations fear the vote could ignite a fresh conflict with Baghdad and possibly neighboring countries, diverting attention from the ongoing war against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria.

Click here for the entire story

ISIL’s smouldering footprint in Qayyara

Dorian Geiger writes for Al-Jazeera:

Billowing clouds of smoke cloaked the sun, orange flames sprang dozens of feet into the sky, and the stench of petrol hung in the air. Everywhere Muhamed Oussama looked, it was apocalyptic.

For several months, this was the daily grind for Oussama, a 38-year-old Iraqi firefighter from Kirkuk.

Oussama, who works for the firefighting division of the Iraqi civil defence department, was one of hundreds of Iraqi firefighters on the front lines, extinguishing dozens of massive oil fires that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) set last summer during the group's retreat from Qayyara to Mosul. The infernos transformed the oil-rich Qayyara region and its countryside into a fiery hellscape.

Click here for the entire story

Revived After Mosul, Iraqi Forces Prepare to Battle ISIS in Tal Afar

Helene Cooper writes for The New York Times:

Iraq’s security forces, which suffered huge casualties in the nine-month-long slog to take back the city of Mosul, are replenished enough to begin the fight for the Islamic State stronghold of Tal Afar — one of the last urban areas held in Iraq by the militant extremist Sunni group, American defense officials said Friday.

But the estimated 1,000 Islamic State fighters who are believed to be there could make a brutal and bloody last stand, the officials said, because Tal Afar has been encircled by Iraqi and Kurdish forces, making it difficult for the fighters to flee in large numbers.

In Mosul, Iraqi soldiers “took severe casualties” in the battle to retake the city, which began in October and did not end until July, said Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the head of United States Central Command. But, he added, “I think they are ready,” one month after hostilities ended there, to launch the next big fight.

Click here for the entire story

Iraqi ship sinks after collision, at least four sailors dead: state TV

Reuters reports:

An Iraqi ship sank on Saturday after a collision with another vessel in Iraq's territorial waters, killing at least four sailors, Iraqi state television reported.

Diving support vessel al-Misbar had 21 sailors on board, of which 10 were rescued, the Baghdad-based channel said, citing a statement from the transportation ministry.

Click here for the entire story

The Islamic State May Be Failing, But Its Strategic Communications Legacy Is Here To Stay

Colin Clarke and Charlie Winter write for War on the Rocks:

No insurgency in recent memory has enjoyed as much sensationalist news coverage as the Islamic State, which has consistently been referred to as the “most powerful,” “most dangerous,” and “most barbaric” terrorist outfit since its 2014 blitz across Iraq and Syria. But as the vast gains made against the organization in the last two years show, it was never as invulnerable as it was made out to be.

Now the Islamic State’s caliphate is collapsing: Its territories are shrinking, its manpower is dwindling, and its cash reserves are hemorrhaging. By this time next year, the group as we know it today may be barely recognizable. But its legacy will live on virtually, because the superlatives were justified in at least one regard: its information operations.

Click here for the entire story

War in the Arab world has devastated the region’s heritage

The Economist reports:

The Middle East is used to ruins. A millennium ago the “mad caliph” of Cairo, Hakim, ordered the levelling of all churches, including the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Jesus’s burial site. The Mongols sacked Baghdad in 1258, causing the Tigris to flow black from the ink of discarded books. Tamerlane spared nothing but hospitals and mosques as he went on what a contemporary chronicler called a “pilgrimage of destruction” across the region’s great cities. “She is empty, and void, and waste,” wailed Nahum, the biblical prophet, foreseeing the ruin of Nineveh at the hands of the Babylonians.

Still, the desolation of the past three years is probably the worst on record. According to the UN, half of the old city of Mosul, in Iraq, and a third of the old city of Aleppo, in Syria, are rubble. Hundreds of minarets, monasteries and monuments have been toppled. Of the world’s 38 endangered cultural-heritage sites, 22 are in the Middle East, says UNESCO, the UN’s cultural arm. “It’s Europe after the second world war,” says Michael Danti of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), which tracks the destruction.

Click here for the entire story

US helping clear ‘historic’ amount of explosives in Mosul

Lolita C. Baldor writes for AP:

The wires protruding from the small, misshapen stuffed animal revealed the deadly booby-trap tucked inside.

For the people of Mosul, the sophisticated bomb was a reminder of how difficult it will be to return to homes littered with hidden explosives by Islamic State militants and dotted with the remnants of undetonated bombs dropped by the U.S.-led coalition that still could blow up.

On Thursday, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said for the first time that the American military will help contractors and other officials locate unexploded bombs dropped by the coalition. U.S. Embassy officials have asked the coalition to declassify grid coordinates for bombs dropped in Iraq to help clear the explosives.

Click here for the entire story

Iraq acknowledges abuses committed against civilians in Mosul campaign

Reuters reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office said on Thursday a unit of the security forces committed "abuses" against civilians during the offensive to oust Islamic State (IS) insurgents from the city of Mosul.

His government began an investigation in May into a report by German newsmagazine Der Spiegel that included images of apparent torture taken by a freelance photographer embedded with the Interior Ministry's elite Emergency Response Division (ERD).

"The committee has concluded ... that clear abuses and violations were committed by members of the ERD," a statement from Abadi's office said. It added that the perpetrators would be prosecuted.

Click here for the entire story

Page 1 of 61512345...102030...Last »