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

Who is fighting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq?

AFP reports :

A breakdown of the main forces fighting Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria, after operations by warplanes from France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier were launched on Monday: Syrian and Iraqi armies -

- SYRIA: The Syrian army numbered 178,000 troops in 2015, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Syria's army has been roughly halved from its pre-war strength by deaths, defections and increased draft dodging. In its fight against rebels and jihadists, it relies on militias, which boast 150,000 to 200,000 members.

- IRAQ: The army counts 177,600 men, according to the IISS. After the US invasion in 2003, the Americans dissolved the army, which was then 450,000 strong, and rebuilt a new force, which collapsed in June 2014 when faced with the IS.

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France strikes IS in Iraq from newly deployed carrier

AFP reports :

Aboard Charles de Gaulle Aircraft Carrier (AFP) - France launched air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq on Monday in the first sorties from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, newly deployed in the eastern Mediterranean.

"We carried out strikes in Ramadi and Mosul in support of ground forces that were pushing against troops of (the Islamic State group)," said army chief of staff General Pierre de Villiers, aboard the carrier. He said planes from the Charles de Gaulle would launch strikes against IS targets in Syria, including command and recruitment centres as well as oil facilities, in "a matter of hours or days".

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Canadian airstrike alleged to have killed 10 civilians in Iraq

Timothy Saws reports for the CBC:

Canada's military is facing fresh allegations its bombs may have killed civilians in northern Iraq, CBC News has learned. According to local Iraqi media reports, 10 civilian workers were allegedly killed and as many as 20 others injured after an airstrike by Canadian warplanes last week in Mosul.

The Department of National Defence confirms on its website that two of its CF-18 Hornets struck an "ISIS weapons production facility in the vicinity of Mosul" on Nov. 19. However, in a written statement to CBC News, Canadian Forces Maj.-Gen. Charles Lamarre said the Canadian strike was reviewed and "did not reveal any information to suggest that civilians had been harmed or killed."

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Iraq closes northern airspace over missiles launched at Syria

Reuters reports:

Iraq closed its northern airspace to all flights on Monday for at least two days due to military traffic from Russia's air campaign in neighbouring Syria. The closure was expected to affect domestic commercial routes to Erbil and Sulaimaniya as well as international flights from Turkey, Jordan, the Gulf and Austria.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, which launches reconnaissance and resupply flights from Erbil, said all military traffic had also been halted. Iraq's civil aviation authority said in a statement that flight suspensions were made "to protect travellers and because of the crossing of cruise missiles and bombers in the northern part of Iraq launched from the Caspian Sea".

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Rising Syrian soccer star now waiting tables in Iraq

AP reports:

For a while, it seemed Nosheen Hanaan's dream was coming true: The budding star qualified to be goalie on Syria's national soccer team at the age of 18 after earning a reputation for his fierce blocking on al-Hurriya, a league team from the northern city of Aleppo. But that dream crumbled as Syria descended into war. Today, 23-year-old Hanaan is a refugee and works as a waiter in a popular hotel restaurant in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil. The war, now in its fifth year, has wrecked almost every aspect of life in Syria -- and sports and beloved soccer have not been spared.

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After KRG formally welcomes Jews back to Iraq, will their numbers increase?

Mustafa Saadoun writes for Al Monitor:

Many Iraqi Jews forced from their country or displaced following persecution and dispossession more than six decades ago still dream of returning to their homeland. They retain a nostalgia for their temples and the streets where they grew up. It may be difficult or ultimately impossible for a large number of them to turn this dream into reality, but some have begun to return thanks to a law recently passed in Iraqi Kurdistan. Last month, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced the opening of a Jewish representation office at the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, increasing the number of officially recognized religions to seven. The others are Islam, Christianity, Yazidism, Yarsanism, Alawism and Kaka’ism.

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Obama says he’s made clear he doesn’t want ‘feel good’ intelligence on Iraq and Islamic State

AP reports:

President Barack Obama says he has repeatedly made clear to intelligence officials that they should never shade their assessments to produce a "feel good story."

Obama was asked at a news conference in Malaysia about a New York Times report that said military analysts felt their supervisors were eager to paint a more optimistic picture than warranted about training Iraqi troops and combating the Islamic State. Obama says he's made clear that "I never want them to hold back." He said he has left it up to the inspector general to determine what has happened.

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Canada’s Iraq conundrum

Levon Sevunts reports for Radio Canada International :

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised a lot of eyebrows when just hours after the bloody attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and turned the world’s attention squarely on fighting ISIS, he stuck by his election promise to not only end Canada’s bombing mission in Iraq and Syria, but pull out the Canadian fighter jets before the March 2016 deadline authorized by the previous Conservative government.

“In the aftermath of the Paris attacks and with the Liberal government now having a very comfortable majority running the Canadian government, I thought the appropriate thing would have been to rethink that policy,” said Wesley Wark, a leading Canadian expert on national security and terrorism.

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US air strike on IS in Iraq ‘killed civilians’

BBC reports :

A US air strike aimed at an IS checkpoint is likely to have killed four civilians, possibly including a child, the US military has said. On Friday the military released the findings of an investigation into the incident, which took place in March.

Investigators concluded the checkpoint was a valid target and the attack did not violate international laws. The US has rarely acknowledged civilian deaths in the fight against IS and the announcement brings the total to six.

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Moscow ‘approves arms sale’ to Iraq

The Middle East Monitor reports:

The Iraqi parliament’s security and defence committee this weekend announced that Moscow had approved the sale of Russian arms to the war-torn country. Notably, the move comes one month after the Iraqi government gave Russia the green light to target convoys sent into Iraqi territory from Syria by the Daesh militant group.

Committee member Shakhwan Abdullah told Anadolu Agency on Saturday that the transaction - which will be made on credit -- came as a result of earlier talks between committee members and their counterparts in the Russian State Duma Council and other senior Russian officials.

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