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

Iraq army woos deserters back to war on ISIS

Kirk Semple writes for the New York Times:

The Iraqi military command has launched a campaign to re-enlist soldiers and officers who abandoned their units, a crucial step in its effort to rebuild an army that has been routed in battle after battle by Islamic State jihadists. Even as the government has continued to equip volunteers, the de facto amnesty for deserters is an acknowledgment that the army desperately needs experienced soldiers — even ones who ran — for a force that is sustaining heavy losses despite the American-led airstrike campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

Army officials at re-enlistment centers in Baghdad and in the northern Kurdistan region say they have seen some success in the effort. More than 6,000 soldiers and officers, including those who were sent home by their commanders as well as those who fled unilaterally, had registered at a military outpost here in Kurdistan, and more than 5,000 had signed up in Baghdad, officials said.

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British parliament approves airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic State

Nicholas Winning and Jenny Gross write for the Wall Street Journal:

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday secured parliamentary support for the U.K. to join U.S.-led airstrikes against the militant group Islamic State, the final political hurdle that needed to be cleared before launching military action.

In a special parliamentary session Friday, 524 lawmakers voted in favor of participating in airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic State, and 43 voted against. The key question that remains, however, is whether the U.K. will also expand the mission to Syria. Mr. Cameron has said he believes there are legal grounds to do so but said he limited Friday's discussion to Iraq because there wasn't sufficient support for military action in Syria as well. For many lawmakers, the situation in Syria appears less clear cut and there are concerns about the legal basis as intervention isn't at the request of the government—as they are in Iraq.

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France carries out fresh round of air strikes in Iraq

AFP reports :

France carried out a second round of air strikes in Iraq on Thursday, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said, as part of a U.S.-led coalition helping the Iraqi army fight Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, Agence France-Presse reported.

The announcement came as France mourned the beheading of hostage Herve Gourdel by Algerian jihadists linked to ISIS, and Le Foll said flags would be flown at half-mast across France for three days from Friday. Meanwhile, French Muslims were on Thursday called to rally against the “barbaric” beheading of Gourdel. Dalil Boubakeur, the president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) -- an official representative for the country’s estimated five million Muslims -- called for the gathering at the Paris Mosque on Friday afternoon.

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Women’s rights activist executed by ISIS in Iraq

Nick Cumming-Bruce writes for the New York Times:

An Iraqi lawyer known for her work promoting women’s rights has been killed by Islamic State fighters, the head of the United Nations human rights office said on Thursday, continuing a pattern of attacks on professional women. The lawyer, Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy, was seized from her home by Islamic State fighters last week and tortured for several days before a masked firing squad executed her in public on Monday, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations human rights commissioner, said in a statement.

Ms. Nuaimy had posted comments on her Facebook page condemning the “barbaric” bombing and destroying of mosques and shrines in Mosul, a northern Iraqi city, by the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL. She was convicted of apostasy by a “so-called court,” Mr. Zeid said, adding that her family had been barred from giving her a funeral.

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U.S. turns up the heat on Turkey over Islamic State

Joe Parkinson and Jay Solomon write for the Wall Street Journal:

Turkey is showing signs of shifting to a more active role in the campaign against extremist group Islamic State as the government faces pressure from impatient U.S. and Arab officials. President Barack Obama called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from Air Force One on Thursday and the two leaders agreed to consult more closely on the Islamic State threat. Vice President Joe Biden met Mr. Erdogan in New York on Thursday.

Those contacts followed other meetings this week at the United Nations General Assembly where U.S. and Arab officials, concerned that Turkey is emerging as the weak link in the campaign, pressed it to formally join the coalition.

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Iraq’s Abadi warns of plot against west

Anne Gearan writes for the Washington Post:

Iraq has “credible” intelligence that Islamic State militants plan terrorist attacks on subway systems in the United States and France, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Thursday, but U.S. intelligence and other officials said they are not aware of any such plot. “Today, while I’m here, I’m receiving accurate reports from Baghdad that there was arrests of a few elements, and there are networks planning from inside Iraq to have attacks,” Abadi said. “They plan to have attacks in the metros of Paris and the U.S.”

Iraqi intelligence agencies informed Abadi on Thursday about what he described as an active plot by foreigners, including French and American citizens, who are fighting as part of the Islamic State group. Abadi made the remarks during an interview on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly.

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Islamic State attack on Iraqi base leaves hundreds missing, shows army weaknesses

Loveday Morris writes for the Washington Post:

The army base in Iraq’s western Anbar province had been under siege by Islamic State militants for a week, so when a convoy of armored Humvees rolled up at the gate, the Iraqi soldiers at Camp Saqlawiyah believed saviors had arrived.

But this was no rescue attempt. The vehicles were driven by militants on suicide missions, and within seconds on Sunday the base had become a bloody scene of multiple bombings. On Monday, a day after the attack, five survivors — including three officers — said that between 300 and 500 soldiers were missing and believed to be dead, kidnapped or in hiding. Army officials said the numbers were far lower, leading to accusations that they were concealing the true toll.

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We broke Iraq

Kristen Powers writes for USA Today:

Colin Powell famously told President George W. Bush before the Iraq invasion, "If you break it, you own it." Well, it's safe to say we broke Iraq. That's the story I heard last week from two people who live there. I met with the Rev. Canon Andrew White — "The Vicar of Baghdad" — who serves as the chaplain to St. George's Anglican Church in the heart of Baghdad. We were joined by Sarah Ahmed, a director at White's Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East. Ahmed was born and raised in Iraq. White has lived there for 15 years.

"I was in favor of the U.S. invasion," White told me. "But we are literally 5,000 times worse than before. If you look at it, you can see it was wrong. We have gained nothing. Literally nothing. We may have had an evil dictator, but now we have total terrorism. We used to have one Saddam. Now we have thousands."

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Army chief: division headquarters will deploy soon to Iraq

Michelle Tan reports for the Army Times:

As the U.S. expands its war against the Islamic State, the Army is preparing to deploy a division headquarters to Iraq. Officials have not identified the division that will deploy — the first division headquarters to go to Iraq since the U.S. withdrawal in 2011. An official announcement is expected in the coming days. But Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno recently confirmed the Army “will send another division headquarters to Iraq to control what we’re doing there, a small headquarters.” It’s unclear how many soldiers will be sent, or how long they will deploy. Division headquarters average between 100 and 500 soldiers and deploy for one year.

The division headquarters deploying to Iraq is expected to be responsible for coordinating the efforts of the 1,600 troops President Obama has sent to Iraq. Many of these troops are advising and assisting the Iraqi Security Forces, others are providing extra security, while others are providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The headquarters also is expected to head up the joint operations center that since July has been run by Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, the deputy commanding general for operations for U.S. Army Central.

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Why does the U.S. like Iraq’s Kurds but not Syria’s?

Greg Myre writes for NPR:

In Iraq, Kurdish militiamen fighting the group that calls itself the Islamic State are key American allies. In Syria, some Kurdish fighters battling the very same Islamic State are considered part of a terrorist group, according to the U.S. government. What gives? In both Iraq and Syria, the Kurds are a long-repressed minority who are fighting back against the threat posed by the Islamic State. In the northern parts of both countries, Islamic State advances have driven large numbers of Kurds from their homes. In the latest upheaval, an Islamic State offensive has driven more than 100,000 Kurds from northern Syria into Turkey in just a matter of days.

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