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

Starving civilians and suicide bombings: The terrible truth of liberating Mosul

Tom Westcott writes for IRIN:

Large military vehicles were never supposed to be part of the battle for the Old City – its ancient streets are too narrow. But the intensity of the airstrikes in the final stages of the offensive against so-called Islamic State has been so great that armoured bulldozers now plough their way through.

Iraq’s armed forces are still battling for the final area of the city held by IS, known in Arabic by the acronym “Daesh”.

The extent of the destruction is shocking. Most buildings are just empty facades, many flattened to rubble. When a group of civilians – mostly women and children – appears beneath rising pillars of smoke from the battlefield beyond, their presence is like a miracle. It seems inconceivable anyone could have made it out of this terrible landscape alive.

Click here for the entire story

As Mosul battle ends, struggle over Iraq’s future intensifies

Samia Nakhoul writes for Reuters:

After almost nine months of fierce fighting, the campaign to recapture Mosul from Islamic State is drawing to a bitter end in the ruins of the city's historic quarter, but the struggle for Iraq's future is far from over.

Aside from Mosul, across the border in Syria a battle is raging to dislodge IS from Raqqa, the second capital of its self-declared caliphate. Fighting will push down the Euphrates valley to Deir al-Zour, the jihadis’ last big urban stronghold.

But the fall of Mosul also exposes ethnic and sectarian fractures that have plagued Iraq for more than a decade.

Click here for the entire story

What the Largest Battle of the Decade Says About the Future of War

Ben Watson writes for Defense One:

Click here for the entire story

No Escape From Mosul, and Unlikely Chance of Surrender

Michael R. Gordon writes for The New York Times:

Perched on a rooftop near the ruins of the Al Nuri Grand Mosque, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi used a rock to sketch out the endgame for Mosul.

The Islamic State was down to perhaps 150 fighters, hemmed in on all sides, defending a bastion that seemed to be shrinking by the day, said the general, a senior commander in Iraq’s counterterrorism service.

On a visit to the old city of Mosul on Wednesday with General Saadi and his men, it was clear that the militants’ resistance was still fierce and often fanatical, even by the Islamic State’s macabre standards.

Click here for the entire story

Iraqi Kurdish leader says no turning back on independence bid

Samia Nakhoul, Maher Chmaytelli and Stephen Kalin write for Reuters:

Iraq's Kurdish leader said on Thursday that there was no turning back on a bid to achieve an independent Kurdish state, but he would pursue it through dialogue with Baghdad and regional powers to avoid conflict.

Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), told Reuters in an interview that the timetable for independence after a Sept. 25 vote on the issue was "flexible but not open-ended". He expected a "yes vote".

The vote could turn into another regional flashpoint, with Turkey, Iran and Syria, along with Iraq the states with sizeable Kurdish populations, all resolutely opposed to an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq. But Barzani played down such fears.

Click here for the entire story

Hobby Lobby Agrees to Forfeit 5,500 Artifacts Smuggled Out of Iraq

Alan Feuer writes for The New York Times:

The packages that made their way from Israel and the United Arab Emirates to retail outlets owned by Hobby Lobby, the seller of arts and craft supplies, were clearly marked as tile samples.

But according to a civil complaint filed on Wednesday by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, they held something far rarer and more valuable: ancient clay cuneiform tablets that had been smuggled into the United States from Iraq.

Prosecutors said in the complaint that Hobby Lobby, whose evangelical Christian owners have long maintained an interest in the biblical Middle East, began in 2009 to assemble a collection of cultural artifacts from the Fertile Crescent. The company went so far as to send its president and an antiquities consultant to the United Arab Emirates to inspect a large number of rare cuneiform tablets — traditional clay slabs with wedge-shaped writing that originated in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago.

Click here for the entire story

Basic infrastructure repair in Mosul will cost over $1 billion: U.N.

Stephen Kalin writes for Reuters:

Mosul's basic infrastructure will cost more than $1 billion to repair after the U.S.-backed Iraqi offensive to retake the city from Islamic State, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday.

Iraqi commanders have predicted final victory in Mosul this week after a grinding eight-month assault on the once two-million-strong city which has pushed Islamic State into an area no more than 300 meters (yards) by 500 meters beside the Tigris.

Advances remain hard-won and the assault has destroyed at least six districts out of 44 in western Mosul.

Click here for the entire story

ISIS will lose Mosul and Raqqa. What happens next?

Ishaan Tharoor writes for The Washington Post:

The jihadists of the Islamic State are finally being driven out of their two main bastions: The northern Iraqi city of Mosul and the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa. For some three years, their ability to control these two urban centers, particularly Mosul, served as warped validation of their ambitions to build a modern-day caliphate.

Now, after months of airstrikes and a prolonged U.S.-backed offensive, the jihadists are in retreat. Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi hailed the recapture of Mosul's historic Great Mosque of al-Nuri, which had been tragically reduced to rubble by the militants, as the "end" of the jihadists' "state of falsehood." It was from that site in 2014 that the Islamic State declared the advent of its caliphate. Iraqi forces are in what seems the final stages of an intense house-by-house battle to reclaim the last streets of the city still occupied by the militants.

Click here for the entire story

Tensions rise between Iraqi forces and civilians in Mosul

Susannah George reports for AP:

"Don't stop!" the Iraqi special forces lieutenant yelled as a wave of fleeing civilians trudged past his position in Mosul's Old City in the scorching heat. "Don't pretend you're tired! Keep going!" Nearby, dozens of women and children, their hands raised, dropped their bags for security forces to search. Keeping the crowd at a distance, the soldiers yelled at the women to roll up their sleeves and empty everything they were carrying.

"We know you're Daesh," the soldiers said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

Tensions have escalated in the final days of the battle for Mosul, as suicide bombings carried out mostly by women hiding among groups of civilians target Iraqi forces closing in on the last few hundred square meters (yards) of territory IS controls. At least one such attack struck Wednesday.

Click here for the entire story

Iraq slows advance on last IS pocket in Mosul packed with civilians

Maher Chmaytelli and Stephen Kalin write for Reuters:

Iraqi forces slowed their advance on Tuesday through the last streets in Mosul controlled by Islamic State where militants and civilians are packed in densely together, a commander said.

While Iraqi commanders predicted final victory in Mosul this week, U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces announced they had begun an assault on Islamic State's Syrian redoubt in the Old City of Raqqa.

The Iraqi military has pushed insurgents into a shrinking rectangle no more than 300 by 500 meters beside the Tigris river in Mosul; but the resistance has been fierce.

Click here for the entire story

Page 30 of 632« First...1020...2829303132...405060...Last »