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

UK: British Warplanes Bomb IS to Support Iraqi Push on Mosul

Menelaos Hadjicostis writes for AP:

British Tornado and Typhoon aircraft stationed at a U.K. air base in Cyprus are pounding Islamic State targets ahead of a major offensive by Iraqi security forces next month to recapture the key northern city of Mosul from IS militants, a senior Royal Air Force officer says.

Air Commodore Sammy Sampson said Iraqi forces are confident they can retake the country's second-largest city from IS and that British warplanes will provide the needed support to get the job done.

"We'll stand by them. We'll support them. We will make it do-able for them," Sampson told reporters Thursday on a guided tour of the RAF Akrotiri base's operations.

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AP Exclusive: Iraq oil fires could jeopardize Mosul mission

AP reports:

A fire at one of Iraq's oil fields could hinder military and humanitarian efforts as operations to recapture the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul get underway.

Black smoke continues to billow into the air from the Qayara oil field, damaged by IS militants last month as they fled the town, creating health risks for civilians and troops amassing there. The fires are also clogging up the skies in the area, where critically important airstrikes and aerial reconnaissance missions are taking place almost daily.

Located on the west bank of the Tigris River, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of Mosul, Qayara has since become an important staging ground for military and humanitarian efforts ahead of the Mosul operation since it was recaptured by Iraqi forces last month.

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The Latest: UN to Help Iraq Tackle Sexual Violence

Edith M. Lederer reports for AP:

The United Nations and Iraq signed an agreement Friday aimed at helping the Baghdad government tackle sexual violence in conflict, an issue that made headlines following the capture and rape of Yazidi women by Islamic State extremists in 2014.

Zainab Hawa Bangura, the U.N. special envoy for sexual violence in conflict, and Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaffari, signed the joint communique on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting.

She said the U.N.-Iraq collaboration will especially focus on challenges Iraq faces with accountability for sexual violence and bringing perpetrators to justice. To date, there have been no trials.

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U.S. forces are using white phosphorus munitions in Iraq but it’s unclear exactly how

Thomas Gibbons-Neff reports for The Washington Post:

U.S. forces are using white phosphorus munitions in their fight against the Islamic State based on pictures and videos posted online by the Pentagon, but it is unclear exactly how the controversial armament is being employed.

White phosphorus shells are intended to make smoke screens or signals for advancing troops. When launched against soldiers and civilians, however, the munition can cause severe burn wounds that can be dangerous for medical personnel treating the injured.

International humanitarian law stipulates that white phosphorus munitions should only be used in areas devoid of civilians. Even using it against enemy combatants has raised concerns, given that the munitions can cause horrific injuries.

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Abadi orders weapons caches out of Baghdad in wake of deadly blast

Sarah al-Qaher writes for Al-Monitor:

A weapons depot exploded in a residential area east of Baghdad on Sept. 2, killing four people and injuring 11 others. The depot belonged to a militia affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

Though no one has claimed responsibility yet, on Sept. 16, Muqtada al-Sadr, head of the Sadrist movement and Saraya al-Salam faction within the PMU, accused unnamed militias of responsibility for this incident and said that some militias keep their arms depots in residential areas intentionally to ensure their domination over these areas.

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The Coming Crisis in Mosul

Dexter Filkins writes for The New Yorker:

A humanitarian catastrophe is looming over northern Iraq. As many as a million people are expected to stream out of Mosul when Iraqi government forces, backed by the United States, move to retake the city from isis. The much anticipated military operation could begin as early as next month, but aid workers here say they do not have anywhere near the resources, money, or manpower to deal with the expected human tide.

“It’s a nightmare—a disaster heading our way,’’ Alex Milutinovic, the director of the International Rescue Committee in Erbil, told me. “The Iraqi government is determined to destroy isis, but it is impossible to accommodate the number of refugees the military operation is going to produce.”

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Why Iraq’s Yazidis are upset over new film depicting IS massacres

Saad Salloum writes for Al-Monitor:

"The Dark Wind," a film directed by Hussein Hassan, sparked a large-scale objection among Yazidis at this year's Dahuk International Film Festival.

The film was screened the first day of the festival, held Sept. 9-16 in Dahuk, Iraqi Kurdistan, despite protesters' claims that the film presents a bad image and twists facts about Yazidi women who were captured by the Islamic State (IS) and escaped its grip.

The Yazidi community had previously objected to the film and demanded that changes be made. Yet, the director did not respond to their call, Qader Hassan, a Yazidi activist, told Al-Monitor. He said the Yazidi Lalish Dahuk cultural center asked permission to watch the entire film before the festival, following which "we expressed reservations to the director [who attended the cultural center showing] and asked him to delete offensive scenes. He did not delete them, although he promised to do so.”

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Britain ramps up humanitarian aid in Iraq ahead of Mosul offensive

Lin Taylor writes for Reuters:

Britain said on Thursday it will give 40 million pounds ($52.26 million) in humanitarian aid to Iraq, anticipating a wave of displaced people as government forces prepare to recapture the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State.

The advance on Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city which fell in 2014 to the militant group, could begin as soon as next month.

The United Nations says the Mosul offensive risks triggering a major humanitarian crisis, with one million or more people potentially fleeing the city.

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Iraqi Prime Minister optimistic about Mosul liberation

Mick Krever reports for CNN:

Mosul will be easier to liberate from ISIS than other cities that have already been recaptured by the Iraqi military, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi predicts.

"Mosul is supposed to be easier than these other cities outside Mosul, which we've been liberating -- because these are the outskirts," Abadi told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday in New York, where he was attending the United Nations General Assembly.

"They're supposed to be more pro-Daesh than the city itself," he added, using another name for ISIS.

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‘No tolerance’ for repeat of abuses in upcoming Iraq campaign: U.S. envoy

Yara Bayoumy writes for Reuters:

The U.S. envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition said on Wednesday there would be "no tolerance" for sectarian torture and other abuses resulting from the planned offensive to recapture the group's de-facto Iraqi capital of Mosul.

Brett McGurk, speaking at a meeting on the sidelines of the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders, said the coalition was already taking steps to ensure there would be no repeat of the abuses seen in the wake of the recapture of Iraq's Falluja in June, when Shi'ite militias detained, abused and tortured scores of Sunni civilians. Improved screening of people fleeing the city was crucial, he said, to ensure that ordinary residents received assistance and did not face abuses.

"We must make sure the screening process in Mosul is done professionally with some third-party observers at the screening centers, that is what we hope to have," McGurk told the meeting.

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