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

Children of caliphate face stateless future

Zohra Bensemra and Stephen Kalin report for Reuters:

After seizing large parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in 2014, Islamic State imposed its strict interpretation of Islamic law and began to establish the basic frameworks of statehood such as taxes and regulation.

But that project is collapsing in the face of a military campaign in Iraq to crush the militants, with unexpected consequences for ordinary people escaping their grip.

Births in Islamic State-controlled areas were registered with authorities that are not considered valid outside that shrinking territory - or not registered at all.

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‘Take cover!’ Tackling IS car bombs in Iraq

AFP reports:

It only takes a split second for the expression on the Iraqi soldier's face to transform from relaxed contentment to absolute terror. "Car bomb!"

The scream slices across the otherwise quiet afternoon in Karkukli, a heavily damaged eastern district of Iraq's second city Mosul.

IS has repeatedly turned to suicide car bombings as part of its defence against Iraqi forces since the operation to retake Mosul was launched four weeks ago.

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Islamic State kills civilians in Mosul to deter support for army

Dominic Evans and John Davison report for Reuters:

Islamic State has summarily killed 21 civilians in Mosul it accused of collaborating with U.S.-backed security forces, which said their offensive to recapture the city from the jihadists had made further advances.

The killings, reported on Tuesday by a medical source, indicate that the ultra-hardline group has maintained its ability to police Mosul, more than four weeks after the start of the offensive on the northern Iraqi city.

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In eastern Mosul, civilians clamor for food, cigarettes

Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Mstyslav Chernov write for AP:

Explosions and gunfire rattled parts of eastern Mosul and Islamic State militants fired mortars from apartment windows Tuesday as Iraqi special forces waged fierce urban combat in the country's second-largest city.

Hundreds of civilians filled the streets clamoring for food and cigarettes in recently retaken neighborhoods where supplies were running low. Some of the troops handed over their own rations.

Iraqi forces say they have largely cleared the neighborhoods of Zahra and Qadisiya in eastern Mosul after pushing into the area Nov. 4. The operation to retake the militant-held city began Oct. 17 and troops made swift progress before their advances slowed once they pushed into more densely populated areas.

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During Mosul Offensive, Kurdish Fighters Clear Arab Village, Demolish Homes

Margherita Stancati and Ali A. Nabhan write for The Wall Street Journal:

Before dawn on Oct. 21, as Iraqi forces pressed their offensive against Islamic State in nearby Mosul, more than a dozen militants from the group entered this mostly Arab village in Kirkuk province and claimed control in a message blared through the mosque’s loudspeaker, say eyewitnesses. Hours later, Kurdish fighters who intervened to liberate the village expelled its residents and began demolishing their homes.

Kurdish forces in Iraq are taking a lead role in fighting Islamic State. But in the process, the Kurds are evicting hundreds of Sunni Arabs and destroying their houses, say residents, local officials and rights groups. That practice has fueled resentment among the local Arab population and risks breathing new life into the insurgency just as a U.S.-backed government offensive pushes into Mosul, the Sunni extremist group’s last major stronghold in Iraq.

“They are forcing the Arabs out of the village,” said a Qotan resident, Ismail al Anizi, speaking on the edge of the village of some 100 houses, almost all of them now flattened, including his own.

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Battle with IS leaves melting pot Iraq town in ruins

Max Delany writes for AFP:

Dilshad Salim stares in disbelief at the devastated ruins of his hometown Bashiqa in northern Iraq several days after Kurdish forces took it back from the Islamic State jihadist group.

Once a bustling community on the road leading to Turkey, it was a melting pot of different ethnic groups and beliefs that was famed for its olives and local liquor arak.

Now it is a ghost town of mangled buildings and rubble -- flattened by ferocious air bombardments and fighting to reclaim it from the jihadists.

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Suicide bomber kills six near Iraq’s Kerbala at start of Shi’ite ritual

Reuters reports:

A suicide bomber killed six people near Iraq's holy city of Kerbala on Monday at the start of a major Shi'ite Muslim ritual, an attack claimed by the hardline Sunni militants of Islamic State.

The bomber blew himself up west of the city where hundreds of thousands of Shi'ites were gathering to mark Arbaeen, which comes at the end of a 40-day mourning period for Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad.

Security forces killed five of the bomber's accomplices before surrounding him in a house where he detonated the device in the rural area of Ain al-Tamr, the ministry added.

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Arab Homes Destroyed After ISIS Battles

Human Rights Watch:

Security forces of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government have unlawfully destroyed large numbers of Arab homes, and sometimes entire villages, in areas retaken from the Islamic State, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 80-page report, “Marked With An ‘X’: Iraqi Kurdish Forces’ Destruction of Villages, Homes in Conflict with ISIS,” looked at destruction of homes between September 2014 and May 2016 in disputed areas of Kirkuk and Nineveh governorates, areas nominally under Iraqi government jurisdiction but under Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) control. The destruction, which took place after KRG Peshmerga forces routed Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters, targeted Arab homes while leaving Kurdish homes intact. KRG leaders have maintained that these are historically Kurdish areas that they intend to incorporate into the Kurdistan region.

Human Rights Watch documented additional cases of unlawful home demolitions carried out in late October 2016. Details appear at the end of the news release.

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Iraqis Push Deeper Into Islamic State’s Mosul Stronghold

Yaroslav Trofimov and Ali A. Nabhan write for The Wall Street Journal:

Iraqi troops pushed deeper into the country’s second largest city on Sunday, securing densely populated areas as commanders said Islamic State resistance began to buckle.

“The first neighborhoods were the hardest because Daesh desperately fought to retain them. Now, as we go forward, I expect the battle to get easier,” said Brig. Gen. Maan al Saadi, the commander of the 2nd Group of Iraqi Special Operations Forces, which are spearheading the Mosul offensive. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the terrorist group.

“The enemy is collapsing and losing control, and we are now taking only two days to seize a neighborhood where we planned to be fighting for four days,” he said.

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Iraq Says Islamic State Driven From Nimrud, Town Near Famed Ancient Ruins

AP reports:

The Iraqi army said Sunday that troops have driven Islamic State militants out of the town of Nimrud, south of Mosul, near the site of famed ancient Assyrian ruins that were reportedly destroyed by the extremists.

Iraq’s special forces meanwhile battled militants in the city of Mosul itself, where they struggled to advance against waves of suicide car bombs.

Troops are converging from several fronts on Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and the biggest urban area under Islamic State control, as part of an offensive launched last month. The special forces have advanced the furthest so far, and hold a handful of districts on the city’s eastern edge.

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