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

Iraqi cleric calls for big protest following Ramadan

Kurdistan24 reports:

On Sunday, Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr asked people to hold a big protest in Baghdad after the holy month of Ramadan against the federal government of Iraq.

Sadr’s office released a statement calling people to prepare for a protest involving a million demonstrators in Baghdad following the Islamic month of fasting.

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A personal quest to document IS massacre of Iraqi Yazidis

The Associated Press reports:

The walls and even the windows of Bahzad Farhan Murad's office are covered with lists. They name the thousands of people who were killed or are still missing after the Islamic State group launched an attack on unarmed Yazidi communities in northwestern Iraq nearly two years ago.

The 28-year-old Yazidi has been documenting crimes against his community ever since the August 2014 attack. He is collecting data on as many victims as he can, gathering information on the men who were executed in groups, the women who were captured and forced into sexual slavery, the children who were indoctrinated in extremist training camps. To date, he has conducted hundreds of interviews and produced detailed files on over 2,400 victims.

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Iraqi forces retake land claimed by ISIS south of Mosul

Isabel Coles reports for Reuters:

Iraqi troops advanced against Islamic State south of Mosul on Sunday as the US-led coalition intensifies its campaign against the militants on multiple fronts across their self-proclaimed caliphate.

Officers involved in the operation said Iraqi forces had moved towards the village of Haj Ali in tanks and armoured vehicles under cover of coalition airstrikes and artillery fire, capturing another village on the way.

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Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney to defend Yazidi women, ISIS sex slaves

Lin Taylor reports for Reuters:

International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney will defend Yazidi women who have been victims of sexual slavery, rape and genocide by Islamic State militants in Iraq, her law firm said on Friday.

Clooney, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London, is seeking to prosecute the Islamist group through the International Criminal Court for their crimes against the Yazidi community.

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Captured in Iraq, Northern Va. man regrets choosing ISIL

J.J. Green reports for WTOP:

Mohamad Jamal Khweis, 26, was prepared to become a suicide bomber and attack America when he left his life in the D.C. suburbs in 2015. He was headed for what he was led to believe was paradise, but after a circuitous sequence of events, he had second thoughts.

Khweis, of Alexandria, Virginia, was charged in federal court Thursday in the Eastern District of Virginia with “providing and conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization,” as stated in the criminal complaint against him.

Khweis was detained by Kurdish Peshmerga military forces on March 14 in northern Iraq after leaving an ISIL-controlled neighborhood in Tal Afar, Iraq.

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A desperate woman’s email from Iraq reveals the high toll of Obama’s low-cost wars

Greg Jaffe and Loveday Morris report for The Washington Post:

On small video screens inside their cockpits, the U.S. pilots spotted their target, an Islamic State checkpoint just south of the Iraqi city of Mosul.

In grainy black and white, they could see the enemy manning the barricades and a guard shack. As they prepared to launch their attack, the pilots noticed a potential complication: Two cars approached the checkpoint and stopped. The drivers appeared to be talking with Islamic State fighters.

Other cars moved through the checkpoint, but these two vehicles remained on the side of the road. Five minutes passed. Then 10. Nearly 40 minutes had gone by and the two vehicles still had not moved.

Running low on fuel and time, the pilots concluded that the people in the cars were allied with the militants and asked for permission to strike. After a brief discussion with their headquarters in Qatar, they got their reply: “You’re cleared to execute.”

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After more than $1.6 billion in U.S. aid, Iraq’s army still struggles

Loveday Morris and Missy Ryan report for The Washington Post:

In the days before his death last month, Col. Ihab Hashem al-Araji confided that his battle against the Islamic State too often felt like a suicide mission, despite the more than $1.6 billion in U.S. arms and training that has flowed to the Iraqi army over the past two years.

He had even begun taking a white funeral shroud to the battlefield with him.

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Kurdish militant group claims Istanbul bombing, warns tourists not safe

Erin Cunningham reports for The Washington Post:

A Kurdish militant group on Friday warned foreign tourists that they are no longer safe in Turkey as its fighters target security forces in cities across the country.

The warning from the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) came as the group also claimed a car bomb attack in central Istanbul earlier this week, raising fears the country's largest city and economic powerhouse could become the scene of more carnage.

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U.S., Iraqi officials can’t confirm report Islamic State leader Baghdadi wounded

Reuters reports:

U.S. and Iraqi officials fighting Islamic State said on Friday they could not confirm a report by an Iraqi TV channel that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been wounded in an air strike in northern Iraq.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the radical Islamist militants, Colonel Chris Garver, said in an email that he had seen the reports but had “nothing to confirm this at this time”.

Kurdish and Arab security officials in northern Iraq said they also could not confirm the report.

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Funding is running out to help people fleeing Fallujah, UN relief official warns

The UN News Centre reports:

The United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Iraq said today she is deeply concerned by the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the besieged city of Fallujah, warning that funding is insufficient to continue to carry out the massive relief operation that is currently under way.

“Humanitarians are working around the clock to provide assistance. We want to do more, and need to do more to ensure families have shade, shelter, health care, food, and water,” said Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.

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