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

Iraqi cleric Sadr calls for protest against Maliki’s comeback

Reuters reports:

Powerful Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday called for a demonstration against a Iraqi court ruling that returns his bitter rival, ex-prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, to a vice-presidential position.

The ruling announced on Monday by Iraq's supreme court is "an attempt to bring back corruption", Sadr said in a statement on his website. He called for a protest to take place after the Shi'ite Muslim Ashura day of mourning on Wednesday, without setting a date.

Maliki took one of three ceremonial vice-presidencies two years ago, after he failed as prime minister to stop Islamic State fighters from sweeping across the country and was pressured to step down by both the United States and Iran.

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Statement by an IMF Mission on Iraq

IMF reports:

Mr. Christian Josz, Mission Chief for Iraq, issued the following statement:

“The Iraqi authorities have made good progress towards completing the first review of the SBA.

“Once agreed upon additional information has been provided and agreed prior actions have been implemented, the IMF Board will consider the first review of the SBA, likely in November or December.

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Battle to banish Islamic State from Mosul could become a mess

Loveday Morris writes for The Washington Post:

The battle plans to oust the Islamic State from the city of Mosul are in place, but an uneasy mix of forces fighting against the militants could delay the fight or ignite separate conflicts.

Preparations for the offensive have sped up in recent weeks, after officials in Baghdad and the Kurdish regional government agreed on a detailed military plan to retake the northern city. But thornier issues are still being worked out, such as the role of Iraq’s Shiite militias and the question of who will control the land after it is retaken.

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Iraqi forces deploy to guard huge Shiite pilgrimage

AFP reports:

Thousands of Iraqi security personnel guarded areas in and around Karbala on Tuesday to protect hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims flocking to the shrine city for annual mourning rituals.

Shiites in Iraq have come under frequent attack by Sunni extremists of the Islamic State group who regard them as heretics and who still control some territory in Anbar province, to the west of Karbala, though attacks in the city itself are rare.

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Isis booby-trapped drone kills troops in Iraq, officials say

Reuters reports:

A booby-trapped drone launched by Islamic State militants killed two peshmerga fighters and wounded two French soldiers this month north of the Isis-controlled city of Mosul, French and Kurdish officials have said.

The drone exploded when peshmerga fighters tried to lift it after it crashed, said Jabbar al-Yawar, secretary general of the autonomous Kurdish region’s defence ministry. “It seems it was booby-trapped.”

Le Monde reported on Tuesday that the drone had been intercepted in flight on 2 October and exploded near the Kurdish and French soldiers when it hit the ground. It was unclear, the French paper said, whether the drone was remotely detonated or carried a timed bomb.

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US tries to defuse Iraq-Turkey war of words over Mosul

AFP reports:

As Turkey and Iraq traded insults over the Turkish troop presence outside Mosul on Tuesday, the United States urged its allies to resolve the spat before a major offensive on the city.

Iraq is preparing to fight to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State group with support from the United States and a broad -- though sometimes fractious -- coalition of international partners.

But recent preparations for the looming offensive have been overshadowed by tensions between Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

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Kurds in Iraq say committed to investigating alleged abuses

Reuters reports:

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq said on Tuesday it is committed to investigating claims of abuses in areas occupied by both Kurds and Arabs, in response to an Oct. 10 report by Reuters.

The story (www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/mideast-crisis-kurds-land/) detailed the case of a Kurd who said he had occupied a house formerly owned by an Arab family in the town of Zumar, after Kurdish Peshmerga fighters dislodged Islamic State militants from the region.

The report also said that some Arabs had been stopped from returning to their homes in the town near Mosul.

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Turkey’s President Tells Iraqi Leader to ‘Know His Place’

AP reports:

Turkey can't be excluded from a possible operation to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul, Turkey's president said Tuesday, telling Iraq's leader to “know his place.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks were likely to add to tensions between the two neighbors, which are key U.S. partners in the fight against the Islamic State group.

In a speech delivered in Istanbul, Erdogan also said Turkish troops wouldn't withdraw from a base near Mosul, saying the Turkish army wouldn't take orders from Baghdad. Turkey is training anti-IS fighters to help retake Mosul from the extremist group.

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Ex-PM Maliki making comeback as Iraq’s most powerful man

Ahmed Rasheed and Maher Chmaytelli writes for Reuters:

Nuri al-Maliki is once again positioning himself as Iraq's most powerful man, poised to return as kingmaker in a fight for influence that could decide Iraq's fate as a unified country after the coming battle to recapture Mosul from Islamic State.

Two years after he was pressured to leave office by both the United States and Iran for failing to stop Islamic State fighters from sweeping across the country, the former prime minister still leads a powerful Shi'ite parliamentary bloc.

In recent weeks his followers have been using their authority in parliament to dismantle the cabinet of his successor, Haidar al-Abadi.

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A gastronomic exploration into the history and origin of Iraqi food

Rym Ghazal writes for The National:

Gourmet prince Ibrahim ibn Al Mahdi, the half-brother of Abbasid Caliph Harun Al Rashid (763-809), once wrote: "On a hot summer day, the cook brought us a dish of shabbut (carp) fish, a golden kid-roast resembled.

The fish dish mentioned above is one of the 600 traditional dishes featured in Ibn Sayyar Al Warraq’s 10th-century cookbook, Kitab Al-Tabikh (Book of Dishes) – quite possibly the world’s oldest and most comprehensive Arabian cookbook, which details ancient dishes served in Baghdad court.

"Iraqi cuisine is one of the oldest cuisines in the world," says Dubai-based Iraqi chef Raghad Al Safi, author of The Iraqi Table, which was published by Motivate Publishing in 2016.

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