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

Defectors: ISIS is killing Muslims, not protecting them

Peter R. Neumann reports for CNN:

Much has been written about the young men and women who join the Islamic State. We are familiar with their biographies and pathways, backgrounds and motivations. But virtually nothing is known about those who quit: the "defectors" who didn't like what they saw, abandoned their comrades and fled the Islamic State. Yet their stories could be key to stopping the flow of foreign fighters, countering the group's propaganda and exposing its lies and hypocrisy.

For a short paper, I collected all published stories about people who have left the Islamic State and spoken about their defection. I discovered a total of 58 -- a sizable number but probably only a fraction of those who are disillusioned or ready to leave.

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HRW: Shiite militias violated laws of war in Tikrit battle

Rudaw reports :

Pro-Iraqi government Shiite militias were in violation of the laws of war in retaking the city of Tikrit from ISIS militants in March and April 2015, according to a report released Sunday by Human Rights Watch.

“Militiamen deliberately destroyed several hundred civilian buildings with no apparent military reason after the withdrawal of the extremist armed group Islamic State, also known as ISIS, from the area,” HRW said in a press release promoting the report. The 60-page report, “Ruinous Aftermath: Militia Abuses Following Iraq’s Recapture of Tikrit,” used satellite imagery to confirm eyewitness accounts. After ISIS fled Tikrit, “Hizbollah Battalions and League of Righteous forces, two of the largely [Shiite] pro-government militias, abducted more than 200 Sunni residents, including children, near al-Dur, south of Tikrit,” according to the release. “At least 160 of those abducted remain unaccounted for.”

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Iraq tries to help shake stigma of orphans

Wassim Bassem writes for Al Monitor:

On March 30, a police station in Babil received an anonymous tip about an infant who had been thrown in the garbage. A patrol dispatched to the location found a baby in a cardboard box covered with a cloth. Officer Ahmed Hassan took the infant to a hospital where medical tests revealed the child had been born just a few hours earlier. This incident certainly isn't the first of its kind. Every now and then, babies are abandoned in different areas of Iraq. In May 2011, a newborn was found in a hospital in Irbil with the word "foundling" written on his body. In 2012, a baby girl was found in a garbage dump in Kirkuk.

Despite the recurrence of such incidents, there are no accurate statistics on the number of abandoned babies in Iraq. “A lot of children die without us knowing anything about their origins,” Fadel Abbas, a police officer in Babil, told Al-Monitor on Aug. 30. Babil is about 60 miles south of Baghdad.


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Iraq: former VP Allawi calls for Abadi’s removal

Hamza Mustafa reports for Asharq Al Awsat:

Iraq’s former vice president Iyad Allawi, whose post was canceled by Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, has called for Iraqi MPs to remove the PM. Abadi canceled Iraq’s three vice president posts in August as part of a drive to weed out corruption and trim a bloated governmental apparatus. The move, part of a response to growing discontent on the Iraqi street and ongoing protests, has now met with opposition from the three former post-holders, Allawi, Nuri Maliki and Osama Al-Nujaifi, with the latter two declaring the move unconstitutional.

On Friday Allawi publicly called on the National Alliance bloc in the Iraqi parliament, which includes the ruling Islamic Da’wa Party headed by Abadi, to remove the PM from power and pave the way for fresh elections to decide on a replacement.


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With fight against the Islamic State in Iraq stalled, U.S. looks to Syria for gains

Missy Ryan and Greg Jaffe write for the Washington Post:

With the offensive to reclaim territory from the Islamic State largely stalled in Iraq, the Obama administration is laying plans for a more aggressive military campaign in Syria, where U.S.-backed Kurdish forces have made surprising gains in recent months.

The effort, which would begin by increasing pressure on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, marks an important shift in an administration strategy that for most of the past year has prioritized defeating the militant group in Iraq and viewed Syria as a place where there were few real prospects for battlefield success.

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Iraq: deadly bombing strikes Baghdad

Reuters reports:

A car bomb killed at least 12 people and injured 42 others on Monday in Ameen, a Shiite district in eastern Baghdad, the police and medical sources said. No group immediately claimed responsibility, but Shiite areas are often targeted by Sunni Muslim militants from the Islamic State. The government is trying to dislodge the insurgents from large swaths of Iraq’s north and west, but its advances have been slow, particularly in Anbar Province in the west. A wave of kidnappings and attacks has targeted both officials and civilians in Baghdad. Earlier in the day, gunmen shot and killed a local official along with his son and nephew in the town of Tarmiya, about 15 miles north of Baghdad, the police and medics said.

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Iraq facing Cholera outbreak as public services deteriorate

Edward Yeranian reports for VOA:

Iraq is experiencing a marked increase in the number of cases of cholera, due to poor sanitation, unclean drinking water and the country's deteriorating electricity network. Public service messages explain to Iraqis the dangers of cholera, how it is spread, and what its symptoms look like. Iraqi officials report over 120 cases of cholera in recent days in the capital Baghdad, nearby Abu Ghreib, and Najaf.

Dr. Mekki Baribar, head of the department of infectious diseases in Diwaniya province, told Alhurra TV that cholera normally manifests itself with heavy diarrhea, but with no pain, no blood in the stool and no fever.  He said it occurs suddenly after contamination from food or water.

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Report says Iraq’s Shia militias laid waste to Tikrit after kicking out the Islamic State

Atoosa Moinzadeh writes for VICE News:

Shia militias backed by the Iraqi government deliberately destroyed hundreds of homes and shops in Tikrit after retaking the city from Islamic State (IS) militants in March and April of 2015, according to a report released Sunday by Human Rights Watch.

The 60-page report uses satellite imagery to document the damage done to Tikrit and several nearby towns. The destruction was carried out with no apparent military reason after IS withdrew from the area, Human Rights Watch said.

IS seized Tikrit, which lies between Baghdad and Mosul and is famous for being Saddam Hussein's hometown, in June 2014. Some residents told Human Rights Watch that they initially welcomed the militants after years of alienation by the government of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. But IS committed numerous human rights abuses during its occupation, forcing many people to flee the city and its surrounding areas.

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Iraq political dissaray slows Ramadi campaign

Jim Michaels writes for USA Today:

Political disarray in Iraq appears to be undermining a critical offensive to retake Ramadi, a key city in Iraq’s Sunni heartland that was seized by Islamic State militants nearly four months ago.

Iraq’s government is relying on a patchwork of militias and government forces, some with competing loyalties, to conduct military operations, making it nearly impossible to achieve a unified effort, analysts and Iraqi officials said. “The underlying problem is the Iraqis have a sort of smorgasbord approach to military operations,” said James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

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Some Iraqis ditch fight against Islamic State for life in Europe

Saif Hameed and Stephen Kalin report for Reuters:

Some Iraqi soldiers are abandoning their posts and joining a wave of civilian migrants headed to Europe, raising new doubts about the cohesion of the country's Western-backed security forces in the fight against Islamic State militants.

Interviews with migrants and an analysis of social media activity show scores of fighters from the national army, police and special forces as well as Shi'ite militias and Kurdish peshmerga have left in recent months or plan to go soon.

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