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

Meet the female peshmerga forces fighting IS

Shaida al-Ameen writes for Al Monitor:

Kurdish female peshmerga fighters have been active during battles against the Islamic State (IS). According to the female troops’ leaders based in the Sulaimaniyah governorate, Kurdish female fighters have been on the front lines in the battles against IS.

The military participation of women is not something new in the history of Kurds. At first, few women joined the ranks of fighters, while some used to dress up as men. However, when women had been allowed to enroll in the army, they used to provide services outside the battlefield such as medical aid and administrative and communication tasks. Their army work was limited to the support of war efforts, not combat-related duties.

 

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How Haider al-Abadi became Iraq’s next prime minister

Ali Hashem writes for Al Monitor:

The 48 hours preceding the Aug. 11 appointment of Haider al-Abadi as Iraq’s prime minister-designate were decisive. Efforts to convince a defiant Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to resign were at their peak, even if they passed in vain.

Maliki wasn’t ready to accept any compromise or other points of view. He was aware a substitute had been chosen, yet he wanted to fight until the last possible moment. He believed that each vote he had gained in the election deserved its own battle. Maliki was desperate to keep his reign alive, while his friends and foes struggled to make him quit.

 

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US unlikely to undertake Yazidi rescue mission in Iraq

Al Jazeera reports:

A U.S. mission to evacuate Iraqi civilians trapped on a mountain by Sunni militant fighters is “far less likely” after a U.S. assessment team sent there on Wednesday found the humanitarian situation not as grave as expected, the Pentagon said.

A team of U.S. military and humanitarian aid personnel sent to Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq to assess the situation of thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority found far fewer people than previously feared and in better condition than expected, the Pentagon said in a statement. "Based on this assessment," the Pentagon said, "an evacuation mission is far less likely."

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Back to Iraq

The Economist writes:

AMERICA’S last two presidents have got things wrong in Iraq in opposite ways. George W. Bush went into the country in 2003 guns blazing, with 148,000 soldiers and too little thought of how to stabilise it after Saddam Hussein had been defeated. The consequences were disastrous.

Barack Obama took a different approach. Americans, he reckoned, were not capable of bringing peace to this complex, violent and distant place. He allowed the troops’ mandate in the country to run out with insufficient attention to what might follow, and then applied the same logic in Syria where he did little to support moderate opponents of Bashar Assad. His policy aided the rise of the Islamic State (IS), a Sunni terrorist group, that has taken territory in Syria and Iraq.

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Maliki agrees to relinquish power in Iraq

Tim Arango reports for the New York Times:

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said Thursday night that he had agreed to relinquish power, state television reported, potentially ending a crisis in which his deployment of extra security forces around the capital had raised worries of a military coup.

While the country is not at peace, Mr. Maliki’s decision appeared to pave the way for the first truly peaceful transition of power, based on democratic elections and without the guiding hand of American military forces, in modern Iraq’s history.

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Obama adviser: Jihadists’ caliphate ‘absurd’

Thomas Joscelyn writes in the Weekly Standard :

On June 29, 2011, John Brennan, who was then a senior adviser to the president and is currently the CIA director, explained the Obama administration’s counterterrorism strategy.

“Our strategy is…shaped by a deeper understanding of al Qaeda’s goals, strategy, and tactics,” Brennan claimed. “I’m not talking about al Qaeda’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate. That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counterterrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen. We are not going to elevate these thugs and their murderous aspirations into something larger than they are.”

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Iran endorses Haider al-Abadi as Iraq’s new prime minister, spurning Nouri al-Maliki

Loveday Morris writes for the Washington Post:

Iran endorsed Iraq’s new prime minister-designate on Tuesday, dealing a devastating blow to Nouri al-Maliki as even the incumbent’s most loyal militia turned its back on him.

After eight years in office, Maliki has refused to step aside as Iraq’s prime minister, vowing to fight the nomination Monday of Haider al-Abadi to form a new government. But he was left with nowhere to turn for support Tuesday as he lost the backing of Tehran, which wields significant influence over Iraqi politics. Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a militia that has supported Maliki in the past, also said it supported the decision of Iraq’s Shiite politicians to nominate Abadi.

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What Iraq’s Kurdish peshmerga really need

Michael Knights writes for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy :

Prior to August 1, the Iraqi Kurds had not felt the full brunt of attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, which now styles itself "the Islamic State"). Yet after a string of powerful ISIS strikes on Kurdish peshmerga units between Mosul and the Syrian border, the Kurdistan Regional Government's forces are fully engaged. On August 5, KRG president Masoud Barzani stated, "We have decided to go on the offensive and fight the terrorists to the last breath."

The United States should certainly support its historic allies, the Iraqi Kurds, in this fight. However, amid a clamor of voices calling for Washington to arm the peshmerga, it is important to draw lessons from the recent fighting that highlight the Kurdish military's more pressing needs.

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Heeding the wisdom of Iraq’s first king

Ali Allawi writes in the New York Times:

As the world watches Iraq’s seemingly endless cycle of violence with horror, it’s worth recalling that it wasn’t always like this. Iraqis weren’t always held hostage to megalomaniacal tyrants, strongmen or one-party rule. Nor were they led by the mostly venal and incompetent bunch that passes for our current political class.

Electoral democracy shorn of constructive leadership in an environment of degraded institutions and appalling ethical standards is a recipe for unaccountable government, unimaginable levels of corruption and the exacerbation of conflict and divisions.

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The U.S.’s timid third Iraq war

Mark Thompson reports for Time:

Air strikes may help, but on their own they won’t turn the tide against ISIS. The contrasting views of two senior U.S. military leaders on the effectiveness of American air strikes against jihadist targets in northern Iraq could hardly have been more stark

“Very effective,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters Monday in Sydney, Australia.“Very temporary,” Army Lieut. General William Mayville, the director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said later in the day at the Pentagon.

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