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

Why westerners are fighting for ISIS

Francesca Trianni writes for Time:

A growing number of Westerners are joining the Islamist militant group—but why? The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is gaining notoriety for its barbaric methods, after videos showing beheadings and mass killings surfaced online. Meanwhile, the group has been attracting an increasing number of foreign fighters coming from the West, analysts say. But why are so many foreigners joining ISIS’ fighting ranks? Among a range of explanations, one of them is that, compared to other jihadist groups like al-Qaeda, ISIS is extremely welcoming to foreigners, said Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist at the University of Oklahoma.


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In Amerli, an unusual alliance defeated Islamic radicals. Don’t count on that lasting

Greg Jaffe writes for the Washington Post:

For weeks, Iraqi Kurdish fighters had joined an unusual alliance to free this dusty highway town besieged by Islamic State fighters. Shiite militias, Iranian trainers and U.S. military pilots had all contributed, finally wresting the city from the Sunni extremists and saving the 15,000 residents from starvation or brutal slayings.

But on Friday, as the Kurdish pesh merga fighters approached the city to greet the residents they helped save, they were treated less like liberators and more like intruders. “Pesh merga forces are not allowed to enter this city!” yelled a Shiite militiaman with Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi group. He waved his rifle at them and the pesh merga retreated.

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Unsavoury allies: The war against jihadists

The Economist writes:

There was never any doubting the brutality of Islamic State (IS), the jihadist group that has swept across large parts of Syria and Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate. Its war has been accompanied by a stream of gory video recordings of mass-executions and ethnic cleansing. As America has joined the fight against IS, deploying bombers and drones to help Iraqi allies push back the jihadists, the group has started to kill Western hostages it had hitherto held for ransom.

On September 2nd it released a gruesome video of the beheading of Steven Sotloff, an American journalist, supposedly in response to America’s “arrogant foreign policy”. It was the second such atrocity in a fortnight; last month another American journalist, James Foley, was killed in exactly the same way. IS threatens to behead a British captive next.

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ISIS in Iraq: Canada to send special ops forces as advisers

The CBC reports :

Canada's next contribution to the fight against ISIS in Iraq will be "several dozen" members of the Armed Forces, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today — and CBC News has learned that includes special operations forces.

The contingent of special operations forces will work closely with U.S. forces but remain under full command of Canada's Chief of Defence Staff. The forces will come from the Special Operations Regiment. No specifics were available on what type of work they'd be doing, but Harper has said the Canadian Forces deployed to Iraq won't be involved in combat.

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Iraq attacks kill 17 as mass grave found

Sameer N. Yacoub reports for AP:

A series of attacks across Iraq on Friday killed 17 people, including four Shiite militiamen and a Sunni tribal chief, while a mass grave in the north was found to contain the bodies of 15 Shiite truck drivers killed by Sunni militants. Police officials said the deadliest attack happened when a car bomb went off on a commercial street in Baghdad's mainly Shiite Zafaraniyah district, killing seven people and wounding 15 others. Several shops were damaged.

South of Baghdad, a roadside bomb targeted a Shiite militia convoy, killing four fighters and wounding seven in the area of Iskandariyah. Shiite militiamen have joined with Iraq's armed forces in their battle against the extremist Islamic State group, which has seized large swaths of land as well as cities and towns in the country's north and west.

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Obama recruits 9 allied nations to combat ISIS

Helene Cooper writes for the New York Times :

President Obama escalated the American response to the marauding Islamic State in Iraq and Syria on Friday, recruiting at least nine allies to help crush the organization and offering the outlines of a coordinated military strategy that echoes the war on terror developed by his predecessor, George W. Bush, more than a decade ago.

In his most expansive comments to date about how the United States and its friends could defeat ISIS, a once-obscure group of Sunni militants that has now upended the Middle East and overshadowed Al Qaeda, Mr. Obama said the effort would rely on American airstrikes against its leaders and positions, strengthen the moderate Syrian rebel groups to reclaim ground lost to ISIS, and enlist friendly governments in the region to join the fight.

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Australia considering ‘general request’ on military action in Iraq

Daniel Hurst writes for the Guardian:

Australia has received a “general request” surrounding a potential military role in Iraq and is “considering what we may be able to make available”, Tony Abbott has told parliament. The prime minister raised the prospect of a greater role for Australia in countering the advance of Islamic State (Isis) in an update on Wednesday.

He did not elaborate on the nature of the general request, but the government has previously signalled that it was prepared to consider making Australian Super Hornets available for US-led air strikes on Isis targets in Iraq. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has participated in humanitarian airdrops of supplies to Iraqi people trapped by Isis. The ADF also announced on Wednesday that it had completed a mission to deliver arms for use by Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting Isis in northern Iraq.

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Obama sending 350 more military personnel to Iraq

Youssef Boudlal reports for Reuters:

President Barack Obama has authorized sending 350 more military personnel to Iraq protect U.S. facilities and personnel in Baghdad, the White House said Tuesday night. The moves comes at the recommendation of the Defense Department, but the additional personnel will not be serving in a combat role, the White House said in a statement. Most are from the Army and some are Marines, the Pentagon said in a statement.

"The president has made clear his commitment to doing whatever is required to provide the necessary security for U.S. personnel and facilities around the world. The request he approved today will allow some previously deployed military personnel to depart Iraq, while at the same time providing a more robust, sustainable security force for our personnel and facilities in Baghdad," the White House said.

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Islamic State’s execution videos are sly propaganda written in blood

Rob Crilly writes for Al Jazeera:

The condemned man kneels in an orange jumpsuit, just like before. Behind him stands an executioner dressed all in black, a leather holster over one shoulder. The killer’s face is covered, and he holds a knife in his left hand, just like before. The message is clear: This is a ritual. We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again. And again.

The video released on Tuesday by the Islamic State depicting the murder of American journalist Steven Sotloff bears startling similarities to the one released two weeks earlier that captured the last moments of James Foley, down to the London accent of the murderer. He goes out of his way to make it clear that although U.S. and British intelligence agencies are using sophisticated voice recognition technology to trace his identity, he has returned to wield the knife.

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Steven Sotloff, journalist held by ISIS, was undeterred by risks of job

Rick Gladstone and Shreeya Sinha write for the New York Times:

Steven J. Sotloff, a 31-year-old freelance journalist, self-described “stand-up philosopher from Miami,” immersed himself in the tumult of the Middle East for years, repeatedly venturing into some of the most hazardous conflict zones. He reassured friends that he knew the risks as he wrote for publications that included Time magazine, The Christian Science Monitor and World Affairs Journal. The risks caught up with him a year ago when he was abducted in northern Syria as he reported on the civil war that is still convulsing that country, the most dangerous place for journalists, with more than 70 killed and 80 kidnapped since the conflict began.


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