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

Ahead of curfew ending, bombs kill 37 in Iraq’s capital

AP reports:

Ahead of Baghdad ending a decade-old nightly curfew, bombs exploded across the Iraqi capital Saturday, killing at least 37 people in a stark warning of the dangers still ahead in this country torn by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group. The deadliest bombing happened in the capital’s New Baghdad neighborhood, where a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a street filled with hardware stores and a restaurant, killing 22 people and wounding at least 45, police said.

“The restaurant was full of young people, children and women when the suicide bomber blew himself up,” witness Mohamed Saeed said. “Many got killed.” After the blast, bloody water mixed with olives and other debris from the restaurant as authorities tried to clean.

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Vian Dakhil: Iraq’s only female Yazidi MP on the battle to save her people

Abigail Haworth writes for the Guardian:

The young Yazidi woman in a blue headscarf says her name is Hana. She is 18. She is standing in the muddy courtyard of her new temporary home – an abandoned, unfinished building outside the Iraqi-Kurdish town of Zakho. Beside her is Vian Dakhil, a politician from the same religious minority. Hana is speaking rapidly and clutching Dakhil’s hand as though she’s terrified this local heroine has something far more important to do than listen to her story.

Hana was abducted by Islamic State (Isis) last August. Heavily armed, black-clad militants stormed her village and shot dead her father, four brothers, two uncles and six cousins. They then separated her from her older female relatives. “They drove me away in a truck with other unmarried girls. Two fighters took me and held me prisoner in their house. They beat me and gave me scraps to eat.” After 36 days, Hana escaped when one of her captors left a window unlocked. “It was like a suicide mission, but I didn’t care. I ran for three days and nights to get away.”

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Six U.S. residents charged with aiding terrorists in Iraq and Syria

Daniel Politi reports for Slate:

Six Bosnian immigrants living in the United States have been charged with sending money and military equipment to terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Federal prosecutors say the six people operated a network across three states to support terrorists. The Los Angeles Times explains:

According to the indictment, the group collected and donated money to be transferred to intermediaries in Syria and Iraq or used to purchase U.S. military uniforms, combat gear and tactical equipment to be sent abroad. The group used Western Union and PayPal to complete the transfers, which ranged from $250 to about $1,800, the indictment says. Sedina Hodzic also shipped six boxes of military and tactical supplies to Turkey via the U.S. Postal Service, it says.

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US invasion of Iraq helped create ISIS – former UN chief

RT reports:

Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general, said the US-led invasion of Iraq was a mistake and helped to create the Islamist State militant group. He also blamed regional powers for making the conflict worse. “I was against this invasion and my fears have been founded. The break-up of the Iraqi forces poured hundreds if not thousands of disgruntled soldiers and police officers onto the streets,” Kofi Annan told the Munich Security Conference on Sunday. He added that some of these former security force members went on to join the Islamic State.

“The aim of creating democracy without the existing institutions ushered in corrupt sectarian governments,” Annan said. He added that the country has been unstable ever since and this has proved the perfect breeding ground for Sunni radical Muslims, who have become affiliated with the Islamic State.

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Shiite militia drives back Islamic State, but divides much of Iraq

Kareem Fahim reports for the New York Times:

At their victory rally, the Shiite militiamen used poetry, song and swagger to sweeten their celebration of an ugly battle. More than a hundred fighters from the militia, the Badr Organization, had been killed in the farms and villages of Diyala Province in recent fighting against the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State. During the battle, thousands of residents had been forced from their homes — including Sunni families who accused Shiite paramilitary groups like Badr of forced displacement and summary executions.

But the militias had pushed the Islamic State back from key areas in a crucial battle. So last Monday, the Badr Organization convened in a mosque at Camp Ashraf, its base in Diyala, to celebrate its “liberation” of the province — and to serve notice that it was the vanguard force battling the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

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ISIS selling, crucifying, burying children alive in Iraq: U.N.

Stephanie Nebehay reports for Reuters :

Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are selling abducted Iraqi children at markets as sex slaves, and killing other youth, including by crucifixion or burying them alive, a United Nations watchdog said on Wednesday. Iraqi boys aged under 18 are increasingly being used by the militant group as suicide bombers, bomb makers, informants or human shields to protect facilities against U.S.-led air strikes, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said. “We are really deeply concerned at torture and murder of those children, especially those belonging to minorities, but not only from minorities,” committee expert Renate Winter told a news briefing. “The scope of the problem is huge.”

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Baghdad curfew ended by Iraq PM Haider al-Abadi

BBC reports :

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered a night-time curfew in place in Baghdad for years to be lifted beginning on Saturday. The announcement came after Mr Abadi was briefed by security services. Iraq has long used curfews to try to curb violence, and analysts say the latest move marks a major policy shift.

While Baghdad is still hit by regular suicide bombings, the threat to the capital from Islamic State (IS) militants is viewed to have subsided. Iraq's army is battling IS militants who have seized large swathes of territory outside of Baghdad. In the city itself, at least 10 people were killed as a series of explosions rocked the capital on Tuesday.

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Jordan considers expanding role in coalition to hit Islamic State in Iraq

Julian E. Barnes and Felicia Schwartz report for the Wall Street Journal:

Jordan is considering airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq, officials in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the jihadists said Wednesday, a day after the extremist group released a video showing a captured Jordanian pilot being burned to death. Strikes on Iraq would significantly expand the kingdom’s military involvement in the coalition’s campaign and mark the first time an Arab member conducts bombings outside of Syria.

The Royal Jordanian Air Force in recent days has begun rehearsals for a large-scale attack on Islamic State forces. But the initial wave of reprisal strikes, which will include Jordanian and U.S. warplanes, is being focused on targets in Syria, coalition officials said. Any strikes in Iraq would come later.

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Official: U.S. Military moved search and rescue assets to Northern Iraq

Barbara Starr reports for CNN:

The U.S. military has moved some search and rescue assets into Northern Iraq, a U.S. official said on Wednesday. The move was described as part of a constant rebalancing of search and rescue assets that are moved depending on the evolving airstrike mission. The source did not suggest it was a response to United Arab Emirates concerns about proximity of rescue assets and did not say when this latest rotation happened.

The reshuffling comes after news that UAE had suspended participation in coalition strikes out of concern that search and rescue assets were not placed close enough to ensure a timely effort to rescue, a claim disputed by U.S. military officials.

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Britain must play a greater role in fighting Islamic State in Iraq, say MPs

Ewen MacAskill reports for the Guardian :

Britain needs to play a greater role in the fight in Iraq against Islamic State, according to a scathing report published on Thursday by the cross-party Commons defence committee, which describes the UK contribution so far as “strikingly modest”.

Against a background of widespread public horror over Isis’s brutal murder of the Jordanian pilot Muadh al-Kasasbeh, MPs express dismay over Britain’s limited involvement and contrasts this position unfavourably with allies such as the US, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia.

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