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

Bloom Properties delays plan for homes in Iraq

Lucy Barnard reports for the National:

Bloom Properties says it has slowed down plans to build 40,000 homes in Iraq because of conflict in the country. Bloom, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi’s National Holding, said yesterday that although it had completed all design work and won the necessary approvals to build the homes in the holy city of Karbala, it had decided to postpone construction until the situation in Iraq had stabilised.

In March 2013, at a ceremony attended by then Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al Maliki, Bloom signed a contract with the Iraqi authorities to start work on developing the Shores of Karbala housing project. The development is planned to be divided into four districts and includes hotels, offices, markets, clinics, schools and mosques.

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Security experts argue for increased military action in Iraq, Syria

Leo Shane III writes for the Military Times:

A pair of former presidential national security advisers on Wednesday pushed lawmakers to increase airstrikes in Iraq and Syria with possible boosts in U.S. ground forces in the fight against the Islamic State group. But they also argued that moves to limit or halt the flow of refugees from those countries to America send the wrong message to would-be allies in the region, feeding into Islamic State propaganda of a religious war against the West.

“If there are fixes at all in this, they will not be quick,” warned Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to both Iraq and Afghanistan. “Military actions can establish a contest that is more favorable to a political solution than is there right now.”

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US just behind Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq in ISIS supporters on Twitter

The New York Post reports:

Startling data was released Wednesday morning showing Twitter support for ISIS is running high in the US, according to a Brookings Institute survey. The US is ranked fourth in favorable tweets supporting ISIS, behind Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq. The survey comes as the hacking group Anonymous said it has taken down 5,500 Twitter accounts tied to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Tuesday.

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Iraq Vet: We created ISIS—now we need a plan to defeat it

Alexander Lemons writes for Time:

Armchair generals, presidential candidates, military generals and our foreign policy officials are out in force in the wake of the Paris attacks offering angry responses. It’s difficult to watch the cacophony. I learned too much while fighting in Iraq over three tours not to offer a plea: Have we learned nothing in the last 14 years? Virtually all of the rhetoric from Main Street to Washington is to double down on a failed strategy.

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Iraq’s Nujaifi files court case to keep vice presidency

AFP reports :

Iraqi politician Osama al-Nujaifi filed a court case seeking to remain vice president, a position the prime minister sought to abolish during a reform drive, a judicial statement said Tuesday.

It is the latest in a series of challenges to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's reform efforts, which have run into problems due to the endemic nature of corruption in Iraq and the fact that officials are limiting their own privileges by implementing some changes. The vice presidential positions, which came with large salaries and security details but few responsibilities, were most recently held by Nujaifi, a former parliament speaker, and ex-premiers Nuri al-Maliki and Iyad Allawi.

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ISIS in Iraq: The ongoing fight for territory and legitimacy

Daniella Peled writes for Haaretz :

In early June 2014, the Islamic State onslaught on Iraq’s second city Mosul caught most observers by surprise.
Mosul, with a population of 1.8 million, was overrun in just a few days, even though an estimated 800 Islamic State fighters were hugely outnumbered by around 30,000 Iraqi soldiers. The army simply turned and fled. Reports that ISIS stole some $430 million from Mosul financial institutions have never been confirmed, but the group was certainly able to loot vast quantities of U.S.-supplied Iraqi army equipment and military hardware.

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Japan expands footprint in Iraq with KRG office

Frances Martel writes for Breitbart:

In a meeting with Kurdish Foreign Relations Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, Japanese Ambassador to Iraq Fumio Iwai announced the new planned office, which will allow Japanese officials to work more directly with the Kurdish government without having to go through its embassy in Baghdad, or the Shiite Arab government operating there. As Iraqi Kurdistan is not a full state, Japan cannot open an embassy in Erbil, though the autonomous region has expanded its influence significantly as it has become the most reliable bastion of resistance against the Islamic State (ISIS).

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Paris Attacks: ISIS losing territory in Iraq and Syria

Suman Varandani writes for The International Business Times:

The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, is losing territory after the American-led military operations in Iraq and Syria. Kerry’s comments came after his talks with French President Francois Hollande about last week’s terror attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people.

“We agreed to exchange more information and I’m convinced that over the course of the next weeks, Daesh [ISIS] will feel greater pressure. They are feeling it today. They felt it yesterday. They felt it in the past weeks. We gained more territory. Daesh has less territory,” Kerry said, according to the Guardian.

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Victory at Iraq’s Sinjar aided by Islamic State withdrawal

Susannnah George reports for AP :

The ousting of Islamic State group forces from the Iraqi town of Sinjar is being touted by Kurdish leaders as a major military victory. But commanders on the ground say the extremists largely withdrew, fleeing during a pause in airstrikes.

The capture of Sinjar by U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters last week did mark a significant gain against the extremists, cutting off a main supply route between Islamic State group territories in Iraq and Syria. The fighters' apparent escape suggests the Kurds' priority was to seize the town —both for its strategic and symbolic value — not trap and crush the IS forces in it outright. IS's tactical retreat also points to the pragmatism that the group can show when badly outgunned — a contrast to other cases when its jihadis fight to the death, usually during offensives when they aim to wreak as much damage as possible before being killed.

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Up to 30,000 foreign fighters have gone to Syria and Iraq since 2011 – report

Richard Norton-Taylor reports for the Guardian:

Up to 30,000 foreign fighters from as many as 100 countries have travelled to Syria and Iraq since 2011, according to an independent analysis. Half came from neighbouring countries and north Africa, and a quarter from Europe and Turkey, says the Global Terrorism Index, drawn up by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) thinktank.

The flow of foreign fighters does not appear to be diminishing, with more than 7,000 arriving in the first six months of 2015.

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