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

Kerry visits Iraq, showing support for embattled PM

Arshad Mohammed reports for Reuters:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Iraq on Friday to show support for its prime minister who is grappling with a political crisis, a collapsing economy and a fight to retake ground from Islamic State militants.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi last week unsettled Iraq's political elite with a proposed cabinet reshuffle that aims to curb entrenched corruption by replacing long-time politicians with technocrats and academics.

His aim is to free Iraqi ministries from the grip of a political class that has used the system of ethnic and sectarian quotas instituted after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to amass wealth and influence.

U.S. officials fear the political unrest may harm Iraq's efforts to retake territory it has lost to Islamic State militants, notably its second city of Mosul, seized when parts of the Iraqi army collapsed in 2014.

Click here for the entire story

Iraqi PM’s nominee as finance minister withdraws candidacy

Reuters reports:

Ali Allawi, whom Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi nominated last week to serve as finance minister in a new technocratic government, withdrew his candidacy on Wednesday, citing "political interventions and partisan bickering".

Allawi is at least the second ministerial candidate to pull out. The nominee for oil minister withdrew on Friday, apparently because he had not been formally put forward by the main Kurdish groups.

Click here for the entire story

How religious movements gained the upper hand in Iraqi protests

Adnan Abu Zeed writes for Al-Monitor:

After weeks of protests in the streets of Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on March 31 handed the parliament his plan for major ministerial changes to fight corruption. The pressure recently brought to bear on Abadi grew from an unusual, arm's-length alliance between religious and secular groups.

In July, religious groups in Iraq such as the Sadrist movement allied with nonreligious civil movements to take to the streets and call for governmental reform, accountability of corrupt officials and improved services. These protests were termed secular because they criticized the clergy’s interference in politics and called for separation of church and state.

Click here for the entire story

The Return of Moqtada al-Sadr, an Iraqi Operator

Jon Lee Anderson writes for The New Yorker:

Beyond the gruesome military showdown with ISIS, politics in Iraq, such as it exists, revolves around a small cabal of former insurgents. All of them were political players long before the U.S. invasion of 2003, and they variously endured imprisonment, torture, exile, assassination attempts, and all-out warfare for their opposition to Saddam Hussein, and then survived to compete for the spoils of power. Some gained control of vast resources through their authority over lucrative government ministries. Some command their own militias as well as portions of the country’s security forces. The original list of players included the Kurdish leaders Jalal Talabani and Mustafa Barzani, the secular Shiite politicians Iyad Allawi and the late Ahmad Chalabi, the Shiite Islamists Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Nuri al-Maliki, and the late clerical Shiite brothers Muhammad Bakr and Abdulaziz al-Hakim. One of the most intriguing additions to this group is the radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, an arriviste of forty-two who has never held elected office but who now commands thousands and has established himself as a key power broker in the country.

Click here for the entire story

Mines threaten lives and limbs of poor residents in Kurdistan village

Rudaw reports:

On rainy days, Ali Ibrahim leaves his home early in the morning to search for mines washed down from the mountains to the Raparin district where he lives with his family.

“I search around my house for mines rolling down from the mountains after rains, because the landmines are only 100 meters away from where we live,” Ibrahim told Rudaw.

In Raparin, 36 million square meters of land are filled with mines and unexploded ordnance from the time of Saddam Hussein’s regime. There are no warning signs that would perhaps minimize the risk of residents stumbling into minefields.

Click here for the entire story

Will Shiite alliance in Iraq continue to survive?

Ali Mamouri writes for Al-Monitor:

The current sectarian-based political system in Iraq is made up of three major alliances, namely Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish. These alliances have, however, taken apart the Iraqi society, due to their political differences, and have failed to save themselves from internal divisions. Although the Shiite alliance is the strongest, representing 60-65% of Iraqis, it suffers from internal divisions and disagreements.

Shiite political parties and currents organized themselves in parliament under the Iraqi National Alliance. This alliance would not have been able to survive if the fear from the other sects, specifically the Sunnis, did not exist among the Shiites. Its unity, however, has started to lose vigor following the economic crisis and demands to bring about reforms. These demands began with a series of popular demonstrations in July 2015, which were initiated by the civil movements and witnessed extensive participation from the Sadrists.

Click here for the entire story

Iraqi widows, mothers and girls face heightened risks in displaced camps

Sofia Barbarani writes for Thomson Reuters Foundation:

Fearing for the safety of her four children in battles between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants, Umm Rayyad left everything she once owned and last month fled her hometown of Khurbardan, in northern Iraq.

The start of a military campaign to retake Iraq's second-largest city Mosul has seen the Iraqi army pushing westward towards the Tigris River. The northern city has been controlled by Islamic State, also known as ISIS, since June 2014.

Clashes between the two sides have caused a fresh wave of displacement with 2,000 civilians forced from their home since the latest escalation in violence on March 24.

Click here for the entire story

Iraqi Shi’ite paramilitaries say will join offensive to retake Mosul

Maher Chmaytelli writes for Reuters:

An Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary group said it will join government forces preparing to fight Islamic State for Mosul despite objections of politicians who fear this could instigate sectarian bloodshed in the mostly Sunni Muslim city.

A much-touted government offensive to retake Iraq's largest northern city two years after its seizure by the Sunni Islamist insurgents has made a faltering start, casting doubt on the army's ability to do so without more ground support.

The campaign will require the participation of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a coalition of mostly Shi'ite Muslim militias, said a spokesman for Asaib Ahl al-Haq, one of its most powerful factions.

Click here for the entire story

The Islamic State’s Scorched Earth Strategy

Peter Schwartzstein writes for Foreign Policy:

From the moment Islamic State fighters surged into the Iraqi city of Mosul and then pushed deep into Kurdish-held territory in the summer of 2014, residents of Dibis have looked at their prized forest as more of a curse than a blessing.

This village, located in the hills southeast of the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Erbil, once used the forest as a picnicking spot. Now, its dense foliage was being used by jihadis for attacks on the town. Local peshmerga commanders feared their foes might replicate tactics they’d used elsewhere, torching trees to shroud their target in smoke, rendering airstrikes useless.

The town’s defenders were right — the jihadis would eventually use the forest as a weapon. But their strategy was different than what the peshmerga expected: Rather than use the foliage as cover for a military advance, Islamic State fighters used it as part of a scorched-earth strategy designed to make the area unlivable for its inhabitants.

Click here for the entire story

Remembering the Kurdish uprising of 1991

BBC News reports:

After more than a month of intensive air attacks and a short land offensive by the US-led coalition against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the Gulf War of 1991 drew to a close. The goal to liberate Kuwait following Iraq's invasion in August the previous year had been met, yet Saddam remained in power and turned his wrath on the Kurd and Shia communities.

Photographer Richard Wayman had worked with many of the Kurdish groups active in Iraq and Turkey during the 1980s and decided he needed to be there. Here, he recounts his time covering the uprising of 1991.

Click here for the entire story

Page 20 of 481« First...10...1819202122...304050...Last »