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

Daesh is doomed, Canada’s top general says during dramatic visit to Iraq

Bruce Campion-Smith writes for The Toronto Star:

Abandoned villages, a shattered bridge, hidden bombs and a steady stream of fighters headed to the frontline.

That’s the scene that greeted Canada’s top general as he paid a dramatic visit to northern Iraq Thursday to the area where Canadian special operations forces soldiers are aiding Peshmerga fighters.

Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of defence staff, said the Islamic State is doomed to defeat and predicted that Canadian forces and their Peshmerga allies will play a key role in the coming battle for Mosul, the Iraqi city that remains a key extremist stronghold.

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Iraqis flee Islamic State only to find themselves detained

Sofia Barbarani writes for IRIN:

In early April, they risked their lives to flee the so-called Islamic State. But after walking 11 hours from their hometown of Hawija in northern Iraq to the relative safety of Kurdish-controlled territory, Mustafa and his exhausted family of six found no freedom.

Since being transported by truck from northern Kirkuk to Nazrawa camp, south of the city, they haven’t been allowed to leave. They are now stuck, among some 2,200 inhabitants of a camp critics say has become a de facto detention centre for Sunni Arabs.

Iraq’s internally displaced are citizens of the country, and retain the right to move freely inside the country. However, having lived under IS for nearly two years, the more recently displaced are viewed as being potentially supportive of IS.

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Kurds, Shi’ites agree to withdraw forces from north Iraq town after clashes

Reuters reports:

Senior Kurdish and Shi'ite Muslim leaders agreed on Wednesday to withdraw their forces from a northern Iraqi town in a bid to end violence that has killed more than 10 people in recent days.

The clashes in Tuz Khurmato, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, marked the latest violence in the town since Islamic State militants were driven back in 2014 by Kurdish peshmerga and Shi'ite militia, nominal allies against the Sunni militants.

Mayor Shalal Abdul said that under the deal, local police would take control of Tuz Khurmato - home to Kurds, Shi'ite Turkmen and Sunni Arabs.

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US military uses controversial ‘roof knock’ tactic in Iraq to try to warn civilians before bombing raids

Yeganeh Torbati and Idrees Ali write for Reuters:

The United States borrowed an Israeli military tactic known as "roof knocking" to try to warn civilians before it dropped a bomb targeting Islamic State fighters in Iraq this month, but a woman was killed in the attack, a U.S. military official said on Tuesday.

The controversial tactic consists of firing a warning missile above or near an intended target, to give residents time to flee before the real strike.

The Israeli military used such "roof knocks" in the 2014 Gaza war, but a United Nations commission found in 2015 that the tactic was not effective, because it often caused confusion and did not give residents enough time to escape.

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Biden Presses Iraq to Not Let Political Chaos Upend Gains

Josh Lederman reports for AP:

Vice President Joe Biden pressed Iraq on Thursday not to let its crippling political crisis upend hard-fought gains against the Islamic State group as he returned to the country that's come to symbolize America's relentless struggles in the Middle East.

Biden slipped into Baghdad on an unannounced trip, his first to Iraq in nearly five years. Officials said the stop was planned before Iraq's political system descended into turmoil, hindering U.S.-led efforts to defeat extremists who control parts of both Iraq and Syria. Sitting down with Iraq's beleaguered leaders, he praised them for working "very, very hard" to construct a new Cabinet and touted progress wresting back territory from IS.

"It's real, it's serious, and it's committed," Biden said as he met with Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri, a Sunni politician facing calls from his colleagues to resign.

Still, the anxious undertones of Biden's brief visit were clear from the moment he stepped off a military transport plane into blistering heat after an overnight flight from Washington. White House staffers donned body armor and helmets as Biden was whisked by helicopter to the relative safety of the heavily fortified Green Zone, reminders of the dire security situation even in Iraq's capital.

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Women widowed by ISIL find hope and support in Iraq

UNFPA reports:

Nadyia had to make a decision. Shortly after members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized control of Tall Afar, in north-western Iraq, she says the militants forcibly removed her husband from their home. She could not be certain of his fate – and says she is not to this day; however, judging from what she did know of ISIL’s brutality, she presumed that his abductors murdered him.

She also knew that ISIL employs sexual and gender-based violence as a tool of war and forces women and girls into sex slavery. And so Nadyia felt she had no choice but to flee Tall Afar with her five-year-old daughter – despite the fact that her child suffered from a heart condition. As they travelled the 600 kilometres to safety in Karbala, largely on foot, through combat-ridden terrain, the physical exertion aggravated her daughter’s condition.

Nadyia managed to collect enough money to buy her medication, but it proved insufficient, and shortly after they arrived in Karbala, her daughter died. “We came alone with no hope and to an unknown fate,” says Nadyia. “I lost my husband there, and I lost my only child here.”

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Iraqi photographers to exhibit their work at London art fair for first time

Tom Seymour writes for the British Journal of Photography:

The Ruya Foundation is to bring 12 Iraqi artists, many of them working in photography as the only medium accessible, to London - the first opportunity for many of them to engage with the international art market.

A group of contemporary Iraqi photographers, most of whom live and work in Iraq, are to have their work exhibited and made available for acquisition at Art16 art fair in London.

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Baghdad shuts down Al Jazeera in Iraq

Rudaw reports:

Al Jazeera’s Baghdad bureau has been ordered shut down by the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission (CMC), which also banned the network’s journalists from working in Iraq.

Al Jazeera reported that they received a letter from CMC on Wednesday saying that their license was withdrawn because of “violations of the official codes of conduct and broadcasting rules and regulations.”

The network released a statement in response to the CMC’s decision denying that they have violated any professional journalism standards and saying it was “shocked” by the decision.

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Photos: An abandoned school in Iraq has become a city of refugees

Diego Cupolo writes for Quartz:

Displaced by war and unable to find room in overcrowded refugee camps, Iraq’s Yazidis are increasingly taking shelter in abandoned buildings. Living in the concrete skeletons of unfinished structures and shielded from the rain by little more than a patchwork of tarps, countless families from this embattled ethnic minority struggle daily for access to clean water and basic services.

In Sharya, Iraq, where a refugee camp of 17,000 is filled to capacity, displaced Yazidi families can be found living throughout the ruined town, occupying everything from handmade structures to a large school building that was never completed. At least 500 people now live in the school, whose owner is rumored to have fled to Europe.

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Iraq Army Renews Mosul Offensive

Sharon Behn writes for Voice of America:

Iraqi forces renewed their offensive toward the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul on Wednesday, pushing their way into villages on the southeastern outskirts of the city under cover of heavy coalition airstrikes.

The offensive had stalled out for several weeks after Iraqi forces met stiff resistance after managing to retake just three out of an original target of eight villages from Islamic State fighters.

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