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

How Iraq became Obama’s war

Jeff Greenfield writes for the Daily Beast:

It’s so familiar. A re-elected President finds himself buffeted by violence abroad and hostile political winds at home. Poll numbers drop; the midterm elections loom as a specter that threatens irrelevancy if not impotence in the last two years—“lame duckers” on steroids. And once again, the cry of “second term curse!” is heard in the land.

Which means it’s time to revisit an argument I offered just before Barack Obama was sworn in for that second-term: again and again, it turns out that the afflictions attacking a second-term Chief Executive are rooted in what happened in his first term. Only this time, those second-term woes threaten a “third-term” hope of another second-term President.

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Insurgents in Iraq seizing advanced weaponry

Matt Bradley reports for the Wall Street Journal:

As Iraqi soldiers dug in three weeks ago to defend the northwestern city of Tel Afar, they were shocked to see waves of Islamist militants coming to battle in Iraqi military vehicles.

The line of Humvees, along with a number of powerful mortars, appeared to have been stolen by the insurgents only days earlier when they seized a sprawling base near the northern city of Mosul, said Ammar Tuma, a member of parliament's Security and Defense Committee who received regular updates from the battle.

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Iranian pilot killed in Iraq defending shrine

VOA reports:

An Iranian pilot was killed defending Shi'ite Muslim holy sites in neighboring Iraq, Iran's state news agency said, in the first official report of an Iranian death related to an upsurge in violence there since June.

Shoja'at Alamdari Mourjani, who was buried in the Iranian city of Shiraz on Friday, was killed while fighting Sunni jihadists in Samarra, north of Baghdad, it said.

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Iraq chaos fuels Kurds’ independence dreams, but hurdles remain

Isabel Coles reports for Reuters:

A grave, freshly dug and adorned with pebbles, is the modest tribute to one more sacrifice in the long history of struggle for an independent Kurdish state.

Hogir Fathi was looking forward to home leave in his village in autonomous Kurdistan when the 24-year-old, a fighter in the Iraqi region's peshmerga forces, was killed by a bomb while on the frontline against Islamist militants who last month drove the Iraqi army from most of the north outside the Kurdish zone.

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Top Iraqi general killed in mortar attack

Alissa J. Rubin and Suadad al-Salhy write for the New York Times:

The general commanding the Iraqi Army’s Sixth Division was killed in a mortar attack Monday morning west of Baghdad, according to officers in the division and a counterterrorism official.

Brig. Gen. Najim al-Sultani was killed in or near the town of Garma, which is close to Falluja, a city that has been held by Sunni militants for most of this year. In recent weeks, Iraqi troops bolstered by militia groups have been trying to reclaim the city.

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Iraqi parliament delays session until August

Al Jazeera reports:

Iraq's newly elected parliament has postponed its next session until August 12, state television said, amid political deadlock over choosing a new prime minister.

Parliament met last Tuesday for the first time since its election in April and had planned to meet again this Tuesday. The office of acting parliamentary speaker, Mehdi al-Hafidh, confirmed to the Reuters news agency that the session had been postponed but did not give further details. He said parliament would soon issue a statement.

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Maliki urges Iraq’s neighbors to join fight against Islamists

Mitchell Prothero Mcclatchy reports for the Miami Herald :

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki called Wednesday for support from neighboring countries in his government’s struggle against Islamist insurgents, saying the formation of an Islamic caliphate in much of Iraq and Syria threatens the entire region.

The declaration of the caliphate by the radical terrorist group Islamic State and the call by its leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, for Muslims the world over to join it in a holy war puts every nation in the region “within a red circle,” Maliki said.

 

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Obama discusses Iraq threats with Saudi Arabian King Abdullah

Annika McGinnis reports for Reuters:

U.S. President Barack Obama discussed Iraq and the violent rise of a Sunni insurgent group there in a telephone call on Wednesday with Saudi Arabian King Abdullah, the White House said.

Obama thanked the Saudi king for his $500 million pledge to help Iraqis displaced by an upsurge in violence as militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant seized provinces in the north and west of Iraq, it said in a statement.

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Kurdish president doubts Iraq will remain as is

Ali Javanmardi reports for the VOA Persian service:

VOA Persian Service reporter Ali Javanmardi interviews Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish regional government.

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Iraq’s prime minister calls for unity against militants, offers amnesty

Maria abi-Habib and Ali A. Nabhan report for the Wall Street Journal:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in a national address on Wednesday that finding a political solution to the country's crisis and sectarian tensions wasn't as important as rallying behind his government in its fight against militant extremism.

Mr. Maliki also issued an amnesty for Sunni tribes helping the extremist group now calling itself Islamic State capture hundreds of miles of territory across Iraq.

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