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

Iraqi army comes under attack in Haditha

Bill Roggio writes for the Long War Journal:

The Islamic State's Anbar Division released a series of photos that purport to document the overrunning of Iraqi Army bases in the city of Haditha. Nineteen photographs captioned with "Charging at a number of barracks of the Savafid army in the city of Haditha" were released yesterday on the jihadist group's Twitter feed.

At least one military outpost appears to have been overrun in the attack. The exact location of the base was not disclosed. The photographs show a convoy of Islamic State technicals, or pickup trucks with machine guns mounted in the beds, advancing through the desert, stopping, and taking up position to fire on the outpost. The Islamic State deployed at least one mortar team during the attack.



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ISIS burns 1,800-year-old church in Mosul

Al Arabiya reports :

Militants from the radical jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have set fire to a 1,800-year-old church in Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul, a photo released Saturday shows.

The burning of the church is the latest in a series of destruction of Christian property in Mosul, which was taken by the Islamist rebels last month, along with other swathes of Iraqi territory.

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Iraq president Talabani returns after long absence

Reuters reports:

President Jalal Talabani returned to Iraq on Saturday for the first time since he suffered a stroke a year and a half ago and was flown abroad for medical treatment, state television said.

During Talabani's absence, Sunni insurgents have overrun a large area of Iraq and negotiations are currently underway to form a new power-sharing government that would replace him as president.

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U.N. accuses Islamic State of executions, rape, forced child recruitment in Iraq

Dominic Evans and Maggie Fick write for Reuters :

The United Nations accused Islamic State fighters in Iraq of executions, rape and forced recruitment of children during a campaign to seize much of northern Iraq, part of a conflict it said has killed almost 5,600 civilians this year.

In a report, the U.N. focused on a range of violations committed against civilians, particularly by the Islamic State, though it also said Iraqi forces and allied fighters had not taken precautions to protect civilians from violence.

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Baghdad bombings kill dozens

The Associate Press reports :

A series of bombings, including three in the space of less than 10 minutes, killed at least 24 people across Baghdad on Saturday, shaking the fragile sense of security the capital has maintained despite the Sunni militant offensive in northern and western Iraq.

The attacks are among the most significant in Baghdad since insurgents led by the Islamic State captured Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul last month at the start of its advance across the country. After the fall of Mosul, the government moved aggressively to try to secure Baghdad in response to fears it might fall as well, and the city has seen few major attacks in recent weeks.

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Jihadist ultimatum sparks Christian exodus from Iraq’s Mosul

AFP reports:

Thousands of Christians abandoned their homes and belongings to flee the Iraqi city of Mosul Friday following an ultimatum by jihadists who overran the region last month and proclaimed a caliphate.

As militants attempted to break government defences in strategic areas and edge closer to Baghdad, Christians joined hundreds of thousands of Shiite and other refugees into Kurdistan. Their flight to the safety of the neighbouring autonomous region coincided with the expected homecoming of Iraq's Kurdish president, Jalal Talabani, after 18 months of treatment in Germany.

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Farm project may switch from Mosul to Kurdistan

Rudaw reports :

Part of a foreign-funded project to improve agriculture in Iraq may be switched from Mosul to the Kurdistan Region after the country’s second-largest city fell to Islamist insurgents last month.

A key stage of the Iraq Conservation Agriculture Programme, launched in 2005, was abandoned in Mosul shortly after the arrival of the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  The International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), which runs the programme, is now considering moving it to the safety of autonomous Kurdistan, according to the organization’s Dr. Stephen Loss.

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Iranian commanders on front line of Iraq’s fight

Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Hamza Hendawi report for the Associated Press:

A powerful Iranian general has emerged as the chief tactician in Iraq's fight against Sunni militants, working on the front lines alongside 120 advisers from his country's Revolutionary Guard to direct Shiite militiamen and government forces in the smallest details of battle, militia commanders and government officials say.

The startlingly hands-on role of Iranian Gen. Ghasem Soleimani points to the extent of the Shiite-led Iraqi government's reliance on its ally Tehran. It also strikes a strong contrast with the more methodical, cautious approach of the United States, Iran's rival for influence in Iraq. Shiite fighters have come to idolize the Iranians who have moved into the heat of battle alongside them - with two Iranian advisers killed in fighting - while government officials grumble the United States has failed to come to their aid.

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In Iraq, Syria, militants try to govern as a state

Zeina Karam and Bassem Mroue report for the Associated Press:

Across the broad swath of territory they control bridging Syria and Iraq, extremist militants from the group known as the Islamic State have proven to be highly organized administrators. Flush with cash, they fix roads, police traffic, administer courts, and have even set up an export system of smuggled crude from oil fields they have seized.

But the extremists - a mix of Iraqis and Syrians but also foreign fighters from Arab countries and non-Arab regions like the Caucasus - run the risk of provoking a backlash from the people they have come to rule.

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Islamic state overwhelms Iraqi forces at Tikrit in major defeat

Mitchell Prothero reports for Mcclatchy:

Islamic State gunmen overran a former U.S. military base early Friday and killed or captured hundreds of Iraqi government troops who’d been trying to retake Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, the worst military reversal Iraqi troops have suffered since the Islamist forces captured nearly half the country last month.

The defeat brought to an end a three-week campaign by the government in Baghdad to recapture Tikrit, which fell to the Islamic State on June 11. Military spokesmen earlier this week had confidently announced a final push to recapture the city.


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