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

ISIS is waging a ‘water war’ in Southern Iraq

Joanna Paraszczuk writes for Radio Free Europe :

In the 1990s, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein drained the marshes of southern Iraq in order to punish the indigenous Shi'ite tribes that opposed him after the first Gulf War. The desiccation of the marshes destroyed wildlife and the livelihoods of the local people who herded water buffalo there. In 2003, the marshes were re-flooded and and many local buffalo breeders returned to the area.


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Kurdish bond opens new front in autonomy battle with Baghdad

Khalid Al Ansary, Isobel Finkel, and Caroline Alexander write for Bloomberg News:

An Iraqi official said the Kurds who govern the north of the country have no right to sell their own bonds, opening a new dispute between the Baghdad government and the breakaway region. The Kurdistan Regional Government says it has hired Goldman Sachs International and Deutsche Bank AG to gauge interest in a sale of dollar bonds, and meetings with international investors are scheduled this week. “How can they issue them? Who will guarantee them?” Muneer Mohammed Omran, director general of the central bank’s investor department in Baghdad, said by phone. “They’re not allowed to issue international bonds, this is a federal measure. Only the federal government can do that.”

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Saddam is long gone, but his minefields still maim and kill

Matt Cetti-Roberts writes for War Is Boring:

In the spring sunshine on the rolling green pastures along the Iraqi border with Syria, a Kurdish man scans the ground between two red flags. Under the surface, deadly mines lie in wait. As he moves his Vallon mine detector across a patch of grass, the man’s headphones squeal into his ear. He's found a contact.

We’re near the village of Shilkye, and we’ve come to observe a team from the Mines Advisory Group, one of the most experienced demining non-governmental organizations working in the region. Founded by former British Army Royal Engineer Rae McGrath, MAG has been clearing mines across the world since 1989. The deminers have worked in Kurdistan since 1992, continuing even during the 1996 Kurdish civil war.

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Iran gas exports to Iraq delayed again by security concerns

Reuters reports:

Iran's plans to export natural gas to Iraq have been pushed back indefinitely, an Iranian official was quoted as saying on Saturday, blaming the poor security situation in Iraq for the delay. The oil-producing neighbours signed an agreement in 2013 under which Iran would start exporting gas to Iraq to feed three power plants in Baghdad and Diyala. But two years later, exports have still not begun.

"The lack of security and presence of Daesh (Islamic State) is behind the delay of gas exports to Iraq," Ali-Reza Kameli, head of the National Iranian Gas Exports Company, was quoted as saying by Shana, a news agency linked to Iran's Oil Ministry.

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Iraq forces made ‘unauthorised’ withdrawal from Ramadi: PM

AFP reports :

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Saturday that Iraqi forces made an "unauthorised" withdrawal from Ramadi last month, leading to the Islamic State group's takeover of the Anbar provincial capital. "The withdrawal of the forces from Ramadi was unauthorised -- the orders were the opposite. The forces had to resist, and if they had resisted, we would not have lost Ramadi," Abadi said in televised remarks.

Ramadi fell to the jihadist group in mid-May after government forces had held out against militants there for more than a year.

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Who lost Iraq?

Politico writes:

For a brief, happy — and misguided — moment, most Americans stopped thinking about Iraq. After withdrawing the last U.S. troops in 2011, President Barack Obama declared the country “sovereign, stable and self-reliant.” No such luck. Iraq plunged back into chaos as the Islamic State stormed the region last year, and the fall of Ramadi in May revived questions about how, and whether, the country can be salvaged.

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The ultimate ‘what if': a world where America never invaded Iraq

Robert Farley writes for the National Interest:

Every player of the popular video game Civilization knows to hit the save button before engaging in the risky, stupid invasion of foreign country. In the case of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it became apparent after the first few months that the war was not working out as its framers had envisioned. The failure to find weapons of mass destruction was only the icing, so to speak, on the disaster of failed reconciliation, state collapse, and executive incompetence. What if we had “saved game” before we invaded Iraq? What would America’s strategic options look like today?

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After years of neglect, Basra’s British cemetery is football field

Mustafa Sadoun reports for Niqash:

A woman wearing a black coat and carrying a black bag roams this cemetery without any graves. There are also some young boys playing football in this dusty yard, surrounded by a fence with a small gate. This is Basra's British cemetery.

The cemetery, located in the Hakimiyah district of Basra, is home to the bodies of British servicemen who died in Iraq during the British occupation of the country during World War I. According to British records there are 2,551 burials from World War I and a further 365 from World War II, as well as graves of other nationalities. Previous to Iraq's attack on Kuwait in 1991, special teams from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission would come from there regularly to keep up the cemetery’s maintenance. However since then, the cemetery has been badly neglected.

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Iraq’s security forces need US military support

Norman Ricklefs writes for Gulf News:

Iraq faces an existential crisis. Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) controls almost a third of Iraq, and most of its Sunni population. When people ask me whether I think Iraq will break up in the future, I tell them that it already has. The question is whether the international community is prepared to allow the status quo to remain or whether we intend to roll back the gains of Daesh. And if we intend to roll back those gains, what role should the US military play?

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KRG seeks $5 billion lifeline

Mohammed A. Salih writes for Al Monitor:

Burdened by a severe budget deficit and an ongoing war against the Islamic State (IS) along a frontier of over 1,000 kilometers (621 miles), Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is seeking to borrow up to $5 billion from private international banks.

The move has sparked an uproar among Kurds, demonstrated by the weak support the move garnered during a parliament session to pass the loan bill. It only secured 39 votes during the session June 2, attended by only 59 out of the 111 members of parliament. That is one of the lowest approval rates, if not the lowest, of any legislation passed in the Kurdish parliament since its establishment in 1992, a number of members of parliament and officials told Al-Monitor. On June 16, the parliament put to vote four other articles of the law as it had become clear that the legal quorum was not reached for voting on those articles during the June 2 meeting, Izzat Sabir, head of the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee in the Kurdistan parliament, told Al-Monitor.


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