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

Mobile magistrates are Iraq’s new frontline fighters

Eva Huson writes for IRIN:

“My apologies, I have to go,” Khalid al-Shimari proffers as he races to his car, gravel scrunching under his feet. In the pocket of his blazer a ringtone sounds for the umpteenth time. “My court needs me,” he explains, pulling open the car door. His driver accelerates away.

Al-Shimari, 47, is a judge. Having just handled a host of important administrative tasks, he is speeding out of Chamakor, a camp for displaced Iraqis some 40 kilometres east of the recently liberated city of Mosul.

Since so-called Islamic State took over Mosul in June 2014, his court has operated out of the nearby district of Hamdaniya. Not only is al-Shimari a judge in exile and an internally displaced person himself, but since December he is also one of Iraq’s most in-demand professionals: a mobile magistrate.

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Iraqis hold suspected militants in cramped, stifling prison

Bram Janssen and Salar Salim report for AP:

Hundreds of suspected Islamic State members swept up by Iraqi forces in Mosul are being held in a cramped and stifling prison just outside the city.

Associated Press reporters visiting the facility saw more than 100 prisoners packed into a dark room, lined up shoulder to shoulder on the floor. There was no electricity or ventilation, despite daytime temperatures well over 110 degrees F (45 C).

The Iraqi officer who oversees the facility said it currently holds some 370 prisoners. He says authorities were overwhelmed with detainees as Iraqi forces cleared the last neighborhoods of the city earlier this month at the end of a grueling nine-month campaign.

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Iraq troops ‘detain German girl who joined IS’

BBC News reports:

German prosecutors are investigating whether a 16-year-old German girl is among a group of suspected members of so-called Islamic State held in Mosul.

She was reportedly found by troops in a tunnel under the Iraqi city on Thursday along with 19 other foreigners.

Officials are trying to confirm if she is the same girl who went missing from the German town of Pulsnitz last year.

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Pache, a stew of sheep and cow innards, may not look appetizing, but the people of Mosul adore it

Nabih Bulos writes for LA Times:

The annals of food preparation have no lack of the gruesome. Still, it’s hard to envision a more macabre process than the one that yields pache (pronounced PAH-tshe), the piece de resistance of Mosul’s unique cuisine.

The Iraqi city, where the government recently declared victory over Islamic State militants, is famous all over Iraq for its pancake-like version of kibbeh (a patty of bulgur and spiced meat with raisins) and dolma (an especially fatty take on the stuffed-grape-leaves dish). But it’s the city’s version of pache, a veritable witch’s brew of sheep and cow offal, that has Muslawis crowding the city’s restaurants, even as the thumps and crashes of battle can be heard nearby.

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UN envoy warns that Iraq faces major challenges after Mosul

Edith M. Lederer writes for AP:

The U.N. envoy for Iraq warned Monday that the road ahead for the Mideast nation is “extremely challenging” following the liberation of Mosul, stressing that freeing other territory controlled by Islamic State extremists won’t be easy.

Jan Kubis told the Security Council that supporters of the militant group are also continuing “their vicious terrorist activities against civilians in Iraq and beyond.”

With the liberation of Mosul declared on July 10 by Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the country’s coalition-backed forces must now reclaim other IS-controlled territory in parts of Ninawa and Anbar governorates, in Hawija in Kirkuk governorate and in pockets elsewhere, he said.

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As Islamic State militants routed in Iraq, their families fear reprisals

Isabel Coles writes for Reuters:

Their husbands, sons and brothers are dead, but the women and children Islamic State militants left behind will live to pay the price for their actions.

As Islamic State's days of ruling over vast swathes of Iraq come to an end, questions are emerging about what to do with their families.

For now, many of them are effectively imprisoned in a rubbish strewn encampment east of Mosul, where the last people to be displaced from the city have been taken.

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Who Gets to Own Iraq’s Religious Heritage?

Sigal Samuel writes for The Atlantic:

The revelation that Hobby Lobby bought thousands of ancient artifacts smuggled out of Iraq provoked astonishment and anger. The craft-supply chain has agreed to pay a $3 million settlement and forfeit the cuneiform tablets and clay bullae to the U.S. government. But the story doesn’t end there. “The government will post a notice online giving the artifacts’ owners 60 days to submit claims,” The New York Times reported. “After that, the Iraqi government can submit its own claim. The Justice Department will ultimately decide where the items go.”

Beneath this sensational story lies a deeper question about ownership. Although Hobby Lobby’s purchase of the artifacts predates the rise of the Islamic State, a fascination with Iraqi antiquities has been thrown into sharp relief by the battle against ISIS, which profits off the black market in pillaged goods. And now that the Iraqi prime minister has declared Mosul recaptured, the question arises: How will the ancient heritage sites in and around the city get rebuilt—and who gets to make those decisions?

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Exclusive: Islamic State leader Baghdadi almost certainly alive – Kurdish security official

Reuters reports:

A top Kurdish counter-terrorism official said on Monday he was 99 percent sure that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was alive and located south of the Syrian city of Raqqa, after reports that he had been killed.

"Baghdadi is definitely alive. He is not dead. We have information that he is alive. We believe 99 percent he is alive," Lahur Talabany told Reuters in an interview.

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After Islamic State defeat, a daunting search for bodies in Mosul’s rubble

Louisa Loveluck writes for The Washington Post:

The streets of Mosul’s Old City are littered with bodies, tangled between shattered stones and remnants of the lives they left behind.

In the baking summer heat, exhausted rescue crews are now sifting through the debris of the toughest battle against the Islamic State in what became its final redoubt in the city.

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Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’

Tim Arango writes for The New York Times:

Walk into almost any market in Iraq and the shelves are filled with goods from Iran — milk, yogurt, chicken. Turn on the television and channel after channel broadcasts programs sympathetic to Iran.

A new building goes up? It is likely that the cement and bricks came from Iran. And when bored young Iraqi men take pills to get high, the illicit drugs are likely to have been smuggled across the porous Iranian border.

Across the country, Iranian-sponsored militias are hard at work establishing a corridor to move men and guns to proxy forces in Syria and Lebanon. And in the halls of power in Baghdad, even the most senior Iraqi cabinet officials have been blessed, or bounced out, by Iran’s leadership.

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