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

Thousands in Iraq pay homage to victims of Baghdad protest

AFP reports:

Thousands of Iraqis, mostly supporters of prominent cleric Moqtada Sadr, gathered in Baghdad Tuesday to pay their respects to seven people killed last week during a protest for electoral reform.

Wearing black and waving Iraqi flags, the crowd laid flowers on mock coffins during a large but peaceful ceremony in the Iraqi capital's Tahrir square, where Saturday's deadly rally also took place.

"What happened was a tragedy but it was for the country and for the fight against corruption," said Gailan Kadhem, a 22-year-old man.

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Iraq forces foil IS attempt to flee to Syria: spokesman

AFP reports:

Iraqi forces have thwarted an attempt by around 200 jihadist fighters to flee their bastion of Tal Afar towards Syria, west of the city of Mosul, a security spokesman said Monday.

Forces from the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation), a paramilitary organisation dominated by Shiite militia groups, said the Islamic State group used tanks in their bid to break out of Tal Afar.

"The attack by the Daesh (IS) terrorist gangs started at around 7:00 pm (1600 GMT on Sunday), the fighting lasted around six hours," their spokesman Ahmed al-Assadi told AFP.

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After Islamic State defeat, broken Iraqi farmers weigh heavy losses

Michael Georgy and Maha El Dahan write for Reuters:

Sami Yuhanna was making a decent living as a wheat farmer until a jihadist put a gun to his head and declared his land in Iraq's Nineveh province the property of Islamic State.

An army offensive has cleared the militants from the eastern half of the provincial capital, Mosul, and nearby towns and villages like Qaraqosh, home to Yuhanna's fields.

But the terror and mismanagement that characterized their two-year rule after seizing Iraq's agriculture heartland has devastated farmers and exacerbated the country’s food security problem.

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Analysis: Baghdad’s bloody protests mark resumption of Shi’ite power struggle

Maher Chmaytelli writes for Reuters:

Bloody protests in Baghdad over the weekend by followers of influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr signal the resumption of a power struggle between Iraq's Shi'ite leaders which had been put on hold to focus on the war against Islamic State.

With Iraqi forces all but certain to defeat Islamic State in Mosul this year, Sadr has begun mobilizing his supporters ahead of two elections, for provincial councils in September and the crucial parliamentary vote, by April 2018.

His main rival is former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a pro-Iranian politician who started positioning himself last year as a possible kingmaker or even for a return to the premiership itself.

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Trump moves spark Iraqi anger, calls against future alliance

Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Susannah George write for AP:

Reverberations from President Donald Trump’s travel ban and other stances are threatening to undermine future U.S.-Iraqi security cooperation, rattling a key alliance that over the past two years has slowly beaten back the Islamic State group.

Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, has sought to contain any backlash from public anger sparked by Trump’s executive order banning Iraqis from traveling to the U.S. Also breeding resentment and suspicion are Trump’s repeated statements that the Americans should have taken Iraq’s oil and his hard line against Iran, a close ally of al-Abadi’s government.

Al-Abadi and Trump spoke Thursday night for the first time since Trump’s inauguration. The U.S. leader, who has pledged a stronger fight against IS militants, promised increased help for Iraq against terrorism, and al-Abadi asked him to remove Iraq from the travel ban, according to an Iraqi official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the telephone call.

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Inter-Shi’ite tension mounts in Baghdad after clashes

Huda Majeed and Ahmed Rasheed write for Reuters:

Tension between Iraq's Shi'ite leaders mounted on Sunday as the toll from protests in central Baghdad on Saturday increased to six killed, five demonstrators loyal to the fiery cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and one policeman.

At least 174 other protesters were injured in clashes that pitted police and Sadr's followers who had gathered to demand an overhaul of a commission that supervises elections, ahead of a provincial poll due in September.

The clashes broke out as the protesters attempted to cross the bridge that links Tahrir Square where they had gathered and the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings, embassies and international organizations.

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Fireballs and booby traps: On the front lines with the oil workers battling ISIS

Peter Holley writes for The Washington Post:

The flames exploded into the sky like a volcanic eruption, blanketing a swath of the Iraqi countryside in a noxious haze of black smoke.

Some of the men sprinted toward their vehicles; others took cover in corrugated tin sheds, where they patiently waited for the wind to change direction so they could return to the work without being burned alive.

It was just another day in the life of an Iraqi oil worker.

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US-led coalition targets top ISIS figure in Iraq strike

Ryan Browne and Paul Cruickshank write for CNN:

The Pentagon announced Friday that a US-led coalition strike in Iraq targeted Rachid Kassim, an ISIS operative tied to numerous terrorist plots in Europe.

"Coalition forces targeted Rachid Kassim, a senior ISIS operative, near Mosul in a strike in the past 72 hours," US Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway said.

The Pentagon said it is still assessing the results, but a senior US defense official told CNN that it was "likely successful."

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Suicide bombings kill 10, wound 33 in Mosul, Baghdad

Reuters reports:

At least 10 people were killed and 33 wounded on Friday, in a series of suicide bombings that hit Baghdad and parts of Mosul recently recaptured from Islamic State, medical and security sources said.

The militant group, which still controls significant parts of Iraq and Syria, claimed the attacks in online statements.

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Going Home to Falluja, a City Slipping Back Into Turmoil

David Zucchino writes for The New York Times:

Iraqi forces had taken Falluja from the Islamic State months before, and Sabah Rashid was more than ready to return home. But the police warned him not to go.

Fleeing Islamic State fighters had rigged bombs all through his south Falluja neighborhood, and these had still not been cleared, they told him. Insurgent corpses were said to lay unrecovered.

Mr. Rashid, 30, a determined sort, moved back into his ransacked house anyway — he and his family fled the Islamic State three years ago and did not want to wait. Last week, they were camped out in their sagging house with no heat, electricity or running water. They boiled water on a wood fire. And they waited with mounting frustration for promised government aid.

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