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

ISIS Kills Dozens in Iraq in New Round of Bombings

Falih Hassan and Omar Al-Jawoshy write for The New York Times:

Islamic State fighters extended their barrage of suicide bombings in Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 20 Iraqi soldiers and tribal fighters outside the western regional capital of Ramadi, and five policemen in a coordinated attack outside the Abu Ghraib district of Baghdad, officials said.

The new attacks came a day after the Sunni terrorist group staged a deadly wave of bombings in Baghdad, including one in which dozens were killed at a crowded market in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City. Even as the Iraqi security forces have made progress in taking back territory from the group in recent months, the Islamic State has seemed to step up its calculated bomb plots.

ISIS militants unleashed a wave of car bombs while fighting against soldiers, policemen and Sunni tribal allies of the government north of Ramadi, in a counteroffensive against Iraqi forces that had taken back that city and other areas of Anbar Province in recent months.

Click here for the entire story

Iraq says Islamic State control shrinks to 14 percent of its territory

Reuters reports:

Iraq said on Wednesday its U.S.-backed military campaign against Islamic State had retaken around two-thirds of the territory seized by the militants in their lightning sweep across the country's north and west in 2014.

"Daesh's presence in Iraqi cities and provinces has declined. After occupying 40 percent of Iraqi territory, now only 14 percent remains," government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said in a televised statement, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

That calculation appeared rosier than recent estimates from Washington. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Alhurra TV late last month that Islamic State had lost 44 percent of the territory it had held in Iraq.

Click here for the entire story

Mosul: suspicion and hostility cloud fight to recapture Iraqi city from ISIS

Martin Chulov writes for The Guardian:

At the bottom of a hill near the frontline with Islamic State fighters, the Iraqi army had been digging in. Their white tents stood near the brown earth gouged by the armoured trucks that had carried them there – the closest point to Mosul they had reached before an assault on Iraq’s second largest city.

For a few days early last month, the offensive looked like it already might be under way. But that soon changed when the Iraqis, trained by US forces, were quickly ousted from al-Nasr, the first town they had seized. There were about 25 more small towns and villages, all occupied by Isis, between them and Mosul. And 60 miles to go.

Behind the Iraqis, the Kurdish peshmerga remained dug into positions near the city of Makhmour that had marked the frontline since not long after Mosul was seized in June 2014. The war had been theirs until the national army arrived. The new partnership is not going well.

On both sides, there is a belief that what happens on the road to Mosul will not only define the course of the war but also shape the future of Iraq. And, despite the high stakes, planning for how to take things from here is increasingly clouded by suspicion and enmity.

Click here for the entire story

Iraqi Parliament Fails Again to Vote on New Cabinet

Asa Fitch and Ghassan Adnan write for The Wall Street Journal:

Iraq’s parliament failed to vote Tuesday on a cabinet proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, deepening a months long political crisis that has tested the premier’s leadership.

Kurdish political parties joined an influential Sunni Muslim bloc and followers of the radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in staying away from parliament. A simple majority of the 328-member body—or 165 lawmakers—was needed to conduct a vote.

“We don’t know where this country is heading,” said Aziz Khadhum Alwan, a Shiite Muslim lawmaker who arrived Tuesday at the parliament building in the capital Baghdad only to find it nearly empty.

Click here for the entire story

In remote corner of Iraq, an unlikely alliance forms against Islamic State

Isabel Coles writes for Reuters:

They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq.

The unlikely alliance between an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organization and an Arab tribal militia in northern Iraq is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order.

Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win.

"Chaos sometimes produces unexpected things," said the head of the Arab tribal force, Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba. "After Daesh (Islamic State), the political map of the region has changed. There is a new reality and we are part of it."

Click here for the entire story

How Rival Gardens of Eden in Iraq Survived ISIS, Dwindling Tourists, And Each Other

Jennifer Percy writes for Atlas Obscura:

Thirty-five miles north of Mosul, Iraq, about an hour’s drive from Islamic State territory, was the Garden of Eden. I stood with my interpreter, Salar, a local Iraqi journalist. “See that smoke between the mountains,” Salar said, pointing in the distance. “It’s an oil fire.” The thick plume of smoke marked the entrance to the site. Flames burst from a pipe stuck deep in the earth beneath which lay 25 billion barrels of crude oil worth more than $1 trillion. “These oil explorers think about holy places,” he said. “The more oil, the holier the land.”

But this isn’t the only Garden of Eden. It’s not even the only Garden of Eden in Iraq’s Nineveh plains, the war-torn province through which I was traveling.

Click here for the entire story

ISIS claims massive bombing in Baghdad

CBS News reports:

A massive car bomb tore through a commercial area Wednesday in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad, killing dozens of people and leaving many more wounded as Islamic extremists again brought their fight to Iraq's capital.

Two police officers said the explosives-laden car went off Wednesday morning at a crowded outdoor market in Baghdad's eastern district of Sadr City.

An official at the Iraqi Ministry of Health told CBS News that at least 40 people were killed and 61 more injured. There were fears the death toll could still rise.

Shortly after the explosion, the Sunni extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which sees Shiite Muslims as apostates, claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement.

Click here for the entire story

Under Reform Mantle, Shiite Cleric Fractures Iraqi Politics

Susannah George writes for AP:

After more than a decade of dipping in and out of Iraqi politics, Muqtada al-Sadr, the young Shiite cleric who first made his name fighting U.S. forces in post-2003 Iraq, is leveraging his enduring popular appeal to again roil Iraq's political order.

On April 30, when his supporters invaded the highly fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital and overran the parliament building to demand political reforms, it marked a dramatic escalation of a long-simmering standoff between Iraq's powerful political blocs.

While al-Sadr's most recent show of force has been playing out in central Baghdad, the core of support that fuels his power lies on the city's northeastern edge. In Sadr City — the Shiite dominated neighborhood renamed after the cleric's family in 2003 — al-Sadr's support doesn't stem from how he's played his political hand but from his lineage.

Click here for the entire story

Iraq sells $1.3 billion in local bonds to plug public deficit

Reuters reports:

Iraq's central bank on Tuesday said it started selling local bonds worth 1.5 trillion Iraqi dinars ($1.29 billion), as part of an effort to plug a government deficit caused by tumbling oil prices and the costs of fighting an Islamic State insurgency.

It is the first local bonds sale to the public since 2003, when Saddam Hussein was overthrown. Iraq already issues Treasury bills to domestic banks and has international bonds outstanding.

Click here for the entire story

Italian defense minister in Iraq for Mosul dam talks

Reuters reports:

Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Monday to discuss logistics for deploying 450 troops near the front line with Islamic State to protect workers carrying out repairs to the Mosul dam.

Pinotti met in Baghdad with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, according to a statement from his office. She later traveled to Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital 115 km (70 miles) east of Mosul dam, Italian defense forces said.

Italy has about 750 soldiers in Iraq, mostly training Iraqi army and police in Baghdad and Erbil, but the new troops will be deployed not far from Islamic State-held Mosul, less than 20 km away from the dam, in a potential combat zone.

The Iraqi government signed a $296-million contract in February with Italy's Trevi Group to make badly needed upgrades to the 3.6-km-long (2.2-mile) Mosul dam, which has suffered from structural flaws since it was built in the 1980s.

Click here for the entire story

Page 4 of 480« First...23456...102030...Last »