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

Finding a path back to Iraq, and toward securing women’s freedom

Somini Sengupta writes for the new York Times :

YANAR MOHAMMED runs a secret network of safe houses in her native Iraq. The women who come through its doors are honor-killing runaways, rape survivors, war widows and assorted others who have been to the cliff edge of hell and back.

The shelters are meant to give them a second chance in life. Running the shelters gave her a second chance, too. Ms. Mohammed left Iraq more than 20 years ago with her husband and their young son, and she tried for several years to settle into a life of quiet and comfort in Toronto. Exile did not settle well with her, however. “Have you ever been kicked out of your house?” she said in a recent interview. “Do you know what that feels like? You try one way or the other to get your place back.”

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Sweden suspends flights to northern Iraq over security concerns

Reuters reports:

Sweden has suspended all flights to northern Iraq because of concerns about increased military activity in the area, the country's transport agency said on Friday. Iraq closed its northern airspace for at least 48 hours earlier this week because of military traffic from Russia's air campaign in neighbouring Syria.

Commercial routes from the Middle East and Europe were disrupted, as were reconnaissance and resupply flights for the U.S.-led coalition that has been bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria for more than a year, separately from the Russian campaign.

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In the fight against the Islamic State, Iraq’s leader begins to look shaky

Loveday Morris writes for the Washington Post:

In a mansion tiled with salmon-pink marble, Sunni politician Osama al-Nujaifi greets visitors in an expansive meeting room. From a chair flanked by the national flag, he insists he is still vice president of Iraq — even though Iraq’s prime minister says he is not. Nujaifi’s position and Iraq’s two other vice presidencies were eliminated by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in purported cost-cutting measures announced this summer. But there is little change at Nujaifi’s office. His staff is still paid, he said, and he is working as normal.

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Daesh militants kidnap 36 people in Iraq

Al Bawaba reports:

Daesh terrorists have abducted three dozen people in Iraq’s northern province of Salahuddin. An Iraqi security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the terrorists raided Sadira Village on the outskirts of the city of Shirqat, located some 300 kilometers (190 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, on Wednesday, and kidnapped 36 people, the Arabic-language al-Forat news agency reported.

The source added that Daesh militants said the people cooperated with security officials, and took the victims to an unknown location. The development came two days after Daesh killed ten people in the Zab district, located 95 kilometers (59 miles) west of the provincial capital, Kirkuk, on Monday after accusing them of attempting to escape militant-held areas instead of joining the ranks of the terror group.

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Iraq: security forces detain, abuse protesters

Human Rights Watch reports:

Iraqi security forces punched, kicked, detained, and interrogated protesters in Baghdad’s “Green Zone” on November 17, 2015. Law enforcement officials have not contacted the victims, despite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s order to investigate, and authorities have not responded to requests for information about the investigation’s status.

Activists who had been holding weekly protests against alleged corruption announced plans to present a petition to the parliament, in the Green Zone, on November 17. At their gathering place a few hundred meters away, security forces punched and kicked several protesters, took three of them away for interrogation, and detained about 30 for two hours, three of the 30 reported. Prime Minister al-Abadi the same day ordered an immediate investigation into claims of abuse and to hold accountable those “transgressing on the right to peaceful demonstration.”

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France wrongly accused of bombing school in Iraq’s Mosul ‘killing 28 children’

Mary Atkinson writes for the Middle East Eye:

Rumours of a French air strike on a school in Islamic State controlled Mosul that killed over two dozen children quickly spread on Wednesday, but journalists and locals have denied the attack took place. A report by the Arabic-language outlet Al Quds was shared widely on Twitter. It said that France had bombed on Tuesday night a school in Mosul, IS's de facto capital in Iraq, killing 28 children. The report led to Egypt's grand mufti, Shawki Allam, putting out a statement condemning the alleged strike.

“This French military operation that targeted innocent civilians, children, is a mark of shame on France. It is no less abhorrent than the way terrorist organisations target innocents,” he said. The religious leader also called it a violation of the Geneva Convention and expressed condolences to the relatives of those killed.


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Islamic State unfazed by losses in Iraq, Syria

Jeff Seldin writes for NPR:

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution.

The wounds of the attacks on Paris are still raw in the West, where mourning is quickly being replaced by renewed fears and stepped-up security. Current and former intelligence officials, like former CIA director James Woolsey, warn this is the new reality.

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ISIS used tunnels to hide under besieged Iraq city

CBS News reports:

Under the Iraqi town of Sinjar, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants built a network of tunnels, complete with sleeping quarters, wired with electricity and fortified with sandbags. There, they had boxes of U.S.-made ammunition, medicines and copies of the Quran stashed on shelves. The Associated Press obtained extensive video footage of the tunnels, which were uncovered by Kurdish forces that took the city in northwestern Iraq earlier this month after more than a year of ISIS rule.

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Turkey risks provoking next world war – Iraq’s Vice President Maliki

RT writes:

Turkey could bring the world to the brink of the next global conflict, Iraq’s vice President Nuri al-Maliki said in the wake of the downing of a Russian bomber by Turkish air forces. "Erdogan's double standards and aggressive policies are threatening a new world war," al-Maliki said in a statement as he criticized the policies of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, AFP reported.

The Iraqi politician, who is a former prime minister of the country, also accused Turkey’s leader of hypocrisy as he commented on Turkey’s claims of a short violation of Turkish airspace by the Russian warplane which was downed by the country’s air forces.

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I’m a refugee from Iraq, and I’m tired of being a pawn in a political debate

Zainab Dabbagh writes for Vox:

The first time I came to America, I was a student, filled with excitement about living in a place I knew through my favorite television shows. The second time, I was a refugee, fleeing my home country of Iraq after the rise of ISIS.

These two experiences could not be more different: When I was a student a decade ago, people asked me questions born out of ignorance — it was clear that my new friends knew very little about what it was like to be Muslim or Arab, and they wanted to learn more. But now the innocent ignorance I observed in my classmates has evolved into menacing attitudes that present physical danger to Arabs and Muslims, refugees and Americans alike. What was once curiosity has turned into hatred and fear.

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