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

Bound by bridge, 2 Baghdad enclaves drift far apart

Alissa J. Rubin reports for the New York Times:

Al Imams Bridge spans the Tigris River between two of the oldest communities in Baghdad — one Sunni, the other Shiite — and on Ramadan evenings it can seem as if the mosques near either bank are calling to each other as their muezzins sing prayers.

But the two neighborhoods, the Sunni Adhamiya and the Shiite Kadhimiya, once inextricably joined in the imagination of Baghdad residents, are drifting further and further apart.

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A nation in peril – Iraq’s struggle to hold together

Dominic Evans reports for Reuters:

Salman Khaled has already lived through Baghdad's sectarian disintegration; with Iraq now splintering into Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish regions, he says this time the survival of the country is at stake.

"Things are really tense and it could get worse," said the 23-year-old Sunni Muslim student. "If the politicians continue as they are doing now, we are on the path to separation."

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For some Iraqi youths, ethnic divisions just skin deep

Abigail Hauslohner reports for The Independent:

To get to Dante's lair, you have to walk down an alley, up the stairs and along a corridor of a dilapidated shopping centre in Baghdad's central Karrada district.

Inside a dimly lit room there on a sweltering night, a group of tough-looking young men and teenagers are gathered around a comrade who was struggling to remain stoic despite the pain.

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Maliki visits Iraq’s former president in Sulaimani

Rudaw reports :

Despite local opposition to his visit, Iraq’s embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki arrived at Sulaimani today to see former president Jalal Talabani after his return from Germany.

The visit comes at a time that relations between Erbil and Baghdad are at all time low due to serious disputes between both governments over oil and gas issues and the autonomous region’s share of the federal budget that has been blocked by Baghdad since January. Talabani, secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Iraq’s former president returned from medical treatment in Germany last week.

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Sistani: Iraq leaders must not cling to power

Al Jazeera reports:

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's top cleric, has called on political leaders to refrain from clinging to their posts, in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has defied demands that he step aside.

Speaking through an aide who delivered a sermon after Friday prayers in the holy city of Kerbala, Sistani said leaders should show flexibility so that political deadlocks can be broken and Iraq can confront dangers and terrorism. Last month, Sunni fighters from the Islamic State staged a stunning sweep through northern and western Iraq, posing the biggest challenge to Maliki's Shia-led government since the departure of US forces in 2011.

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House to Obama: no troops to Iraq without our ok

AP reports :

The House overwhelmingly passed a resolution Friday that would bar President Barack Obama from sending forces to Iraq in a "sustained combat role" without congressional approval, a bill with greater symbolic than legal effect.

The nonbinding measure hasn't been debated in the Senate. Its language opens up several questions related to the Constitution's separation of powers between executive and legislative branches, even if Obama and his top military advisers already have ruled out sending combat troops to help Iraq fight extremist insurgents.

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Sunni politician seized in Iraq by gunmen released

Sameer N. Yacoub reports for AP:

Gunmen in Iraq seized and later released a prominent Sunni politician, officials said Saturday, as confusion remained over who abducted the lawmaker.

Riyadh al-Adhadah, head of the Baghdad Provincial Council, returned to his home a day after gunmen abducted him and four of his bodyguards, said Ghalib al-Zamili, a member of the council. The bodyguards also were released, according to a police officer who declined to be named because he is not authorized to brief journalists.

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Fleeing atrocities, Iraqi Turkmens turned away at Turkish border

Tulin Daloglu writes for al Monitor:

After 2005, when sectarian strife started to slowly rip apart Iraq, the plight of Turkmens has been the most ignored tragedy — even in Turkey. With the Islamic State (IS) taking control of Mosul and Tal Afar early June, Turkmens are once again left without support to face their own destiny.

 

 

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US officials, lawmakers clash over Iraq policy

AP reports :

Senior U.S. officials and lawmakers butted heads Wednesday over the American response to Iraq's expanding Sunni insurgency, with Republicans saying drone strikes should have been authorized months ago and even Democrats questioning the Obama administration's commitment to holding the fractured country together.

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Attack on prisoner convoy kills 60

Sinan Salaheddin reports for AP:

Gunmen attacked a prisoner convoy north of Baghdad on Thursday, setting off a gunbattle with troops in which 52 prisoners and eight soldiers were killed, officials said.

The dawn attack began with militants firing mortar rounds on Iraqi army bases in the town of Taji, where suspects were being held on terrorism charges, prompting officials to evacuate the facilities, fearing a jailbreak.

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