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

At least 35 killed in attack on Shi’ite mausoleum north of Baghdad

Reuters reports:

Islamic State claimed a triple suicide attack on Thursday evening near a Shi'ite mausoleum north of Baghdad, which killed at least 35 people and wounded 60 others, according to Iraqi security sources.

The attack on the Mausoleum of Sayid Mohammed bin Ali al-Hadi reignited fears of an escalation of the sectarian strife between Iraq's Shi'ites and Sunnis.

The Shi'ite form a majority in Iraq but Sunnis are predominant in northern and western provinces, including Salahuddin where the mausoleum is located.

Prominent Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his militia, the Peace Brigade, to deploy around the mausoleum, near Balad, about 93 kilometers (58 miles) north of Baghdad.

Sadr's militia is also deployed in Samarra, a nearby city that houses the shrine of Imam Ali al-Hadi, the father of Sayid Mohammed whose mausoleum was attacked on Thursday.

Click here for the entire story

Will Shiite power struggle turn into armed conflict in Iraq?

Mustafa Saadoun writes for Al-Monitor:

Most Shiite political parties in Iraq have their own armed groups, enjoying influence on the Iraqi street and engaging in the war against the Islamic State. Yet these groups all have different religious authorities and funding sources, and their stances towards domestic and foreign issues also differ.

Concern is widespread in Iraq over potential fighting among armed Shiite groups, and the potential for the political crisis within the Shiite alliance to exacerbate. Such conflicts could lead to a major crisis with great human and material losses that could further aggravate the deteriorating situation.

Recently, a dispute over the management of religious shrines flared up. On June 25, Al-Khaleej quoted Muhammad al-Rubeii, a leader of the Muqtada al-Sadr Peace Brigades, as saying that the Badr Organization, led by Hadi al-Ameri, is implementing foreign agendas (a reference to Iran) to exert military and administrative control over the city of Samarra, home to the shrine of Al-Askari.

The dispute over the management of the shrine between the Shiite and Sunni endowments continues. Because Samarra is a Sunni-majority city, the dispute is worsening the recent row among Shiite groups and the city at large over the shrine’s management.

Click here for the entire story

Not Pretty. A Reporter Remembers Basra in 2003.

Stephen Farrell writes for The New York Times:

It seemed, whenever I drove south from Baghdad to Basra after 2003, that I was now covering a different war, in a different country. A hotter, grimier, poorer country with different risks and different rules.

Four months after the American and British-led invasion, the reality of the British military presence in the city was starkly summed up for me by Lt. Col. Jorge Mendonça, of The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment. “There are 1.5 million people in Basra and I can push 430 bayonets onto the street at maximum effort,” he said in July 2003. “These figures do not look too pretty.”

Not pretty. By the end of 2003 more than 50 British soldiers were to die and the number would rise to around 180 before the end of the British military mission in 2009. More than half of those were killed by ambushes, roadside bombs and gunfire along the garbage-strewn highways and desert roads through villages. The death toll was — in hard numbers — a fraction of the 4,000-plus American troops killed farther north in Baghdad, Falluja and Mosul and other areas during the same period. But the British contingent was a much smaller one, and the voices back home in Britain protesting against the war were strengthened with every body flown home.

Click here for the entire story

Christians in Iraqi Kurdistan complain about land seizure

Omar al-Jaffal writes for Al-Monitor:

Christian citizens in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq issued complaints in court June 15 that Kurdish residents are attacking and seizing their villages in the provinces of Dahuk and Erbil. They also accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of neglecting the crisis and failing to take serious action to resolve an issue that has been going on for some time.

On April 13, the KRG had prohibited residents from eight Christian villages in the Nahla area in Dahuk province from accessing the KRG's headquarters to protest and demand that an end be put to the encroachment upon their land on the part of Kurdish individuals and populations. However, some of them managed to make it to the sit-in location and stage a protest as they held a banner that reflected the deep sorrow plaguing Christians in the region. “Our [Christian] people’s lands are encroached upon across the Kurdistan Region,” the banner read.

On April 22, a Human Rights Watch report highlighted the hardships facing Christian citizens in the Kurdistan Region amid restrictions by the Kurdish authorities preventing them from peacefully claiming their right to restore these territories.

Click here for the entire story

As Britain Takes Stock of Iraq War, Iraqis Grimly Assess Its Aftermath

Falih Hassan and Tim Arango write for The New York Times:

As Britain on Wednesday looked back on its decision to go to war in Iraq 13 years ago, Thamir al-Shemmary went to the funeral of his brother and two nephews, killed over the weekend in Baghdad’s deadliest terrorist attack since that war began.

Mr. Shemmary had a question for Tony Blair, the former British prime minister whose decision to join the invasion came under critique in the Chilcot Report, the exhaustive war inquiry released in London on Wednesday.

“Who will compensate me for the loss of my brother and his children?” he said. “Trust me, I am bleeding from the inside.”

With Britain consumed with re-litigating the familiar history of the Iraq war — the false intelligence assessments, the failure to plan for after the invasion — Iraq is consumed with the consequences of that history.

Click here for the entire story

ISIS Tightens Grip On Scores Of Female Sex Slaves

AP reports:

The advertisement on the Telegram app is as chilling as it is incongruous: A girl for sale is "Virgin. Beautiful. 12 years old... Her price has reached $12,500 and she will be sold soon."

The posting in Arabic appeared on an encrypted conversation along with ads for kittens, weapons and tactical gear. It was shared with The Associated Press by an activist with the minority Yazidi community, whose women and children are being held as sex slaves by the extremists.

While the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is losing territory in its self-styled caliphate, it is tightening its grip on the estimated 3,000 women and girls held as sex slaves.

In a fusion of ancient barbaric practices and modern technology, ISIS sells the women like chattel on smart phone apps and shares databases that contain their photographs and the names of their "owners" to prevent their escape through ISIS checkpoints. The fighters are assassinating smugglers who rescue the captives, just as funds to buy the women out of slavery are drying up.

The thousands of Yazidi women and children were taken prisoner in August 2014, when ISIS fighters overran their villages in northern Iraq with the aim to eliminate the Kurdish-speaking minority because of its ancient faith. Since then, Arab and Kurdish smugglers managed to free an average of 134 people a month. But by May, an ISIS crackdown reduced those numbers to just 39 in the last six weeks, according to figures provided by the Kurdistan regional government.

Click here for the entire story

Iraq: The World Capital of Terrorism

Uri Friedman writes for The Atlantic:

Early Sunday, on one of the final days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a suicide attacker blew up his explosives-packed car in a humming shopping district in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad; as of Tuesday, Iraq’s Health Ministry put the death toll at 250. It appears to have been, according to The Washington Post, “the Islamic State’s deadliest-ever bomb attack on civilians.” And yet, in the context of the recent string of less deadly terrorist attacks in Turkey, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia—and particularly compared with the mass slaughter in Paris in 2015—the “international outpouring of grief [over the violence in Baghdad] was more muted,” the Post observes.

Terrorism does not terrorize equally. It is not processed equitably. The identities of the perpetrators and victims, the scale and apparent significance of the massacre, the setting and novelty of the violence—all these variables shape how grief is expressed, and who expresses it, after an attack. As a result, outpourings of grief don’t always align with death tolls. In the case of Iraq, years of grinding conflict in the country may have numbed many people to Sunday’s carnage.

Click here for the entire story

Iraq’s interior minister resigns in wake of devastating Baghdad truck bombing

Tim Hume reports for CNN:

Iraq's interior minister resigned Tuesday in the wake of a devastating ISIS truck bomb that ripped through a busy commercial district in central Baghdad, the worst attack to strike the Iraqi capital in years.

Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban submitted his resignation at a press conference Tuesday in Baghdad, citing a lack of "coordination among security systems" as the reason for his departure.

His resignation was predictable fallout from the immense blast early Sunday in the capital's Karrada neighborhood, where about 250 people were killed and at least 200 injured.

As grieving families buried victims Tuesday, Iraq's government scrambled to mollify public anger over what was seen as a critical failure of the country's security services.

In an embarrassing admission, the government has had to order security personnel to stop using bogus bomb detectors that, for years, have been widely known to be useless.

Click here for the entire story

Basra after the British: division and despair in Iraq’s oil boomtown

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad writes for The Guardian:

Laden with nets and reeking of rotten fish, the rusting dhow Ameera has just been moored up in the small Iraqi port of Al-Faw, 50 miles south-east of Basra. After 10 days of illegal fishing out in the Persian Gulf, the boat’s stocky nawkhatha (captain), Abu Karar, punches an old plastic calculator with his rough, stubby fingers, then scribbles numbers on the back of a cigarette box.

The journey has gone pretty well. The three-man crew caught three very large croakers in Kuwaiti waters and then sold them on to Pakistani traders in Iranian waters, all the while evading the coastguards of three nations. But the money made (about US$1,250) is not enough for Abu Karar to take back anything to his family. And often, these illegal trips carry a heavier price.

“I have been caught more than 30 times,” says the captain. “The Kuwaitis beat us and the Iranians put us in jail – but what other options do I have? We are a trampled nation.”

Thirteen years on from the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, Iraq is a country still dogged by war and corruption, pulled apart by opposing political and religious forces, and struggling to define its character.

The trauma is all too apparent in Basra, the largest city in southern Iraq – whose six-year period under British control, following Saddam’s overthrow, will come under renewed scrutiny this week with the expected release of the Chilcot report. The report will examine both the decision to go to war and Britain’s conduct in the invasion and its aftermath.

All around the city, the legacy of that time hangs heavy.

Click here for the entire story

After IS Defeat, Fallujah Victory Takes on Sectarian Tones

Susannah George writes for AP:

A highway overpass in Fallujah is plastered with Shiite banners, graffiti and posters of militia leaders, a virtual shrine to victory over the Islamic State group in this majority Sunni Muslim city.

The fight to wrest Fallujah from IS control appears to have inflicted considerably less damage to the city's infrastructure than past battles. But scenes like this have the potential to undermine the military's success and hamper the broader fight against IS by reigniting the sectarian tensions that helped fuel the militant group's rise in Iraq.

After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Fallujah, once a town made wealthy by trade and industry, became the epicenter of an insurgency against U.S. forces and the militant opposition to the Shiite-dominated central government. When it fell under IS control, Iraqi officials repeatedly pointed to Fallujah as a source of the car bombs and other explosives used to attack Baghdad and other areas from the front-line fight.

Click here for the entire story

Page 5 of 497« First...34567...102030...Last »