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

Solving Iraq’s constitutional problems: the hard way

Gary Anderson writes in the Small Wars Journal:

The armed forces of the Caliphate, formerly known as ISIS, have finally resolved most of the issues left unresolved when the Iraqis wrote their constitution in 2005. A public administration professor told a class I was attending that; “if you don’t run your country, someone will. Nuri al-Maliki just found that out the hard way.

In 2005, I ran a simulation of the constitutional convention for the JCS as part of my work on a DOD Red Teaming contract. The purpose of the simulation was to attempt to identify the issues that would derive from the actual convention which was scheduled to occur the following month. We put together teams of Iraqi expatriates which represented the major ethnic and sectarian factions in Iraq. The three teams represented the major factions; Sunni, Shiite, and Kurds. We broke the Shiite group into two sub teams. We asked one Shiite group to take the position of the moderates who ran the existing provisional government, and another to take the pro-Iranian hard line of clergy such as Muqtada Sadr. The United States had put the proverbial gun to the Iraqis’ heads and gave them a time limit to come up with something resembling a constitution, so we gave our players one as well. Our Iraqis had three days to produce a product.

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Tears, and anger, as militants destroy Iraq city’s relics

Tim Arango reports for the New York Times:

When the Sunni extremists ruling Mosul destroyed the shrine of a prophet whose story features in the traditions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism — the most important of nearly two dozen marked for destruction by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in the first seven weeks of its reign — small groups of residents gathered to mourn.

“We were crying when they detonated it,” said Abdulmalik Mustafa, a 32-year-old unemployed man who lives near the site, believed to be the tomb of the biblical prophet Jonah, which was razed last week. “We couldn’t believe that the history of Mosul has disappeared. I wanted to die.”

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Iraq offers aid to those displaced by militants

Sameer N. Yacoub reports for AP:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday his government has allocated more than $850 million to assist those displaced by last month's militant takeover of much of the country, and called on Sunnis remaining in those areas to take up arms against the insurgents.

He spoke in a weekly address delivered hours before car bombs in two mostly Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad killed 23 people and wounded scores more as residents tried to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

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Hezbollah man dies on ‘jihad duty’ in Iraq

Al Jazeera reports:

A Hezbollah commander has been killed on "jihad duty" in Iraq, the group's TV channel has said, indicating the Lebanese group that is already fighting in Syria's civil war may be involved in a second front in the region.

Sources in Lebanon told the Reuters news agency on Thursday that the Hezbollah commander Ibrahim al-Hajj was killed in a battle in Tal Afar near Mosul, a city in northern Iraq seized last month by the Islamic State group. Hajj, described as a technical trainer, was buried in the village of Qilya in the Bekaa Valley on Wednesday, a Hezbollah official told Al Jazeera's Beirut bureau. Pictures and videos posted on social media showed the funeral procession.

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Chinese citizens fighting in Iraq raises alarm bells

Reuters reports:

Muslim extremists from China’s far western region of Xinjiang have gone to the Middle East for training and some may have crossed into Iraq to participate in the upsurge of violence there.

China has repeatedly expressed concern about the upsurge in violence in Iraq and the march of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has seized much of the north of the country as Baghdad’s forces there collapsed.

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After Iraqi army crumbles, Maliki turns to state TV

Maggie Fick reports for Reuters:

State television is working overtime to persuade Iraqis to help Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki confront an al Qaeda offshoot that has seized wide tracts of the country, but its unifying call has been blunted by his sectarian reputation.

Since the humiliating loss of much of Iraq's north to Islamic State insurgents, the official Iraqiya channel has been churning out patriotic videos of marching soldiers, heavily-armed commandos and even singers and actors to rally the public behind the government.

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China vows to maintain Iraq investments as violence continues

Bloomberg reports:

Chinese companies remain undeterred by recent violence and will keep investing in Iraq’s energy sector, China’s Middle East envoy said today.

Iraqi leaders told China they welcomed its investment and will step up security for Chinese companies, Ambassador Wu Sike said at a Beijing briefing that followed a visit to the country.

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Police find 15 corpses in Baghdad in bloody start to Eid

Michael Georgy reports for Reuters:

Iraqi police on Monday found the corpses of 15 people, including three women shot in the head in militia-style killings, a bloody start to the holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, security sources said.

Fears have been growing of a relapse to the dark days of sectarian civil war which peaked in 2006-2007 since Sunni militants seized large swathes of the north last month, building on gains by comrades made in the west of Iraq.

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Bound by bridge, 2 Baghdad enclaves drift far apart

Alissa J. Rubin reports for the New York Times:

Al Imams Bridge spans the Tigris River between two of the oldest communities in Baghdad — one Sunni, the other Shiite — and on Ramadan evenings it can seem as if the mosques near either bank are calling to each other as their muezzins sing prayers.

But the two neighborhoods, the Sunni Adhamiya and the Shiite Kadhimiya, once inextricably joined in the imagination of Baghdad residents, are drifting further and further apart.

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A nation in peril – Iraq’s struggle to hold together

Dominic Evans reports for Reuters:

Salman Khaled has already lived through Baghdad's sectarian disintegration; with Iraq now splintering into Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish regions, he says this time the survival of the country is at stake.

"Things are really tense and it could get worse," said the 23-year-old Sunni Muslim student. "If the politicians continue as they are doing now, we are on the path to separation."

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