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

France offers to mediate between Baghdad and Kurds

John Irish and Marine Pennetier report for Reuters:

France offered on Thursday to mediate in a political crisis pitting Iraq’s government against Kurdish regional authorities, and promised to maintain a military presence there until Islamic State was defeated.

The offer by President Emmanuel Macron coincided with a visit by Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, his first abroad since its Kurdish-held northern regions last month voted for independence in a referendum declared illegal by Baghdad.

Click here for the entire story

Iraq Claims Victory in ISIS’ Last Urban Stronghold

David Zucchino and Rod Nordland write for The New York Times:

Iraqi forces have driven Islamic State fighters from the northern city of Hawija, the militants’ final urban stronghold in Iraq, three years after they seized control of nearly a third of the country, the Iraqi government said Thursday.

Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, said in a televised appearance in Paris, where he is on a state visit, that Hawija had been “liberated,” calling it a “victory not just for Iraq but for the whole world.”

The United States-led coalition confirmed the fall of Hawija, calling it “a swift and decisive victory” by the Iraqi forces.

Click here for the entire story

Abadi: ‘We Don’t Want Armed Confrontation’ With Kurds

Voice of America reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday urged Kurdish peshmerga forces to continue working with Iraqi security forces in the fight against Islamic State, while also reiterating his rejection of Kurdish independence.

Speaking during a visit to Paris, Abadi said his government does not want armed confrontation with the Kurds, but that "federal authority must prevail."

Click here for the entire story

Iraqi forces in final assault to take Hawija from Islamic State

Reuters reports:

Iraqi forces launched a final assault on Wednesday to capture the town of Hawija, one of two pockets of territory in Iraq still under Islamic State control, the country’s military said in a statement.

Iraqi state TV broadcast live footage showing the area covered by thick black smoke, rising from oil wells torched by the militants as a tactic to prevent air detection. Hawija is located near the oil city of Kirkuk, in northern Iraq.

The offensive on Hawija is being carried out by U.S.-backed Iraqi government troops and Iranian-trained and armed Shi‘ite paramilitary groups known as Popular Mobilisation.They began moving on the town of Hawija two days after capturing the Rashad air base, 30 km (20 miles) to the south and used by the militants as a training and logistics site.

Click here for the entire story

Special Report: In Mosul’s fall, informers played vital role against Islamic State

Michael Georgy, Ahmed Rasheed, and Raya Jalabi write for Reuters:

One informer said he hid the sim card from his mobile phone in a water filter to avoid detection by Islamic State. Another concealed his in a sack of rice and made calls to his Iraqi handlers from a basement.

They were among several hundred Mosul residents who provided information on Islamic State targets during the victorious nine-month battle for Iraq’s second biggest city, Iraqi military and Kurdish intelligence officials said.

They included taxi drivers, Iraqi soldiers and defectors from Islamic State. Without their help, officials say, the fighting would have dragged on longer, snared in Mosul’s narrow alleys.

Click here for the entire story

A Lasting Defeat: The Campaign to Destroy ISIS

Ash Carter writes for The Belfer Center:

On December 11, 2016, just before my time as Secretary of Defense would end, I stepped off a C-130 transport plane onto a cold and dusty patch of northern Iraq that had been on my mind for more than a year: an Iraqi military airfield called Qayyarah West. Q-West, as it was known to the American military, was a talisman of progress on one of the defining issues of my time as secretary, the fight to defeat ISIS. A year before, General Joe Dunford and I had briefed the President on a plan to energize the counter-ISIS fight. We had laid out a series of military tasks, in Iraq and Syria, that would lead us to the liberation of ISIS’ strongholds in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria. Q-West was a fulcrum of that plan. Ejecting ISIS and turning the airstrip into a logistics hub was essential to seizing Mosul, just 40 miles to the north.

Standing next to Lieutenant General Steve Townsend, the commander Joe and I had selected to lead the fight, I told a small group of reporters: “I wanted to come here to Qayyarah West personally, particularly at this holiday time, to thank our troops who are out here at a pretty austere location that was in [ISIS] hands not long ago…. That has been part of our plan for more than a year now. This very airfield was part of our plan of more than a year ago.”

That plan had become reality, and I was there to see it in person. Iraqi forces, with the support of a U.S.-led global coalition, had seized Q-West just as planned. In fact, the campaign plan that had unfolded on the battlefield was the same one I had presented to President Obama the previous December. I had been looking at Q-West on campaign maps for a long time.

Click here for the entire story

Jalal Talabani: ‘The Rare Politician Who Could Talk to Anybody’

Krishnadev Calamur writes for The Atlantic:

Jalal Talabani, who dominated Kurdish politics for decades, ascended to the Iraqi presidency in the post-Saddam Hussein era, and yet remained Mam (“uncle”) Jalal to his people, has died in Berlin. He was 83.

No cause was given by Rudaw, the Kurdish news agency, but it said that Talabani had slipped into a coma earlier Tuesday. The former Iraqi president had been ailing since 2012 when he suffered a stroke that effectively removed him from daily Kurdish politics.

Over the years, Talabani embraced, sometimes literally, allies from across the political spectrum. He and his Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) made common cause with Saddam in the early 1980s when the Iraqi dictator tried to divide the Kurds during his war with Iran. (The PUK, which was most left wing, saw itself as distinct from Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party, which drew its support from the rural parts of Kurdish territory.) He sought refuge in Iran after Saddam gassed the Kurds in 1988. He was a close ally of the U.S., and especially the second Bush administration, whose invasion of Iraq in 2003 resulted in Saddam’s ouster and saw Talabani’s unlikely ascent to the presidency.

Click here for the entire story

Jalal Talabani, former Iraqi president and PUK leader, has died

Rudaw reports:

Former Iraqi president and leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Jalal Talabani has passed away in hospital in Berlin, Germany, aged 83.

While remaining nominally head of the PUK, Talabani withdrew from public life after suffering a stroke in December 2012. He was in Germany seeking health care and had reportedly slipped into a coma earlier in the day. According to the PUK, his condition rapidly deteriorated on Tuesday.

Known affectionately by Kurds as Mam Jalal, meaning uncle, Jalal Hisamadin Talabani was born on November 12, 1933 in the village of Kalkan near Mount Kosrat.

Click here for the entire story

U.N. says 78,000 civilians could be trapped in Iraq’s Hawija

Reuters reports:

Up to 78,000 people could be trapped in Islamic State-held Hawija in northern Iraq, the United Nations said on Tuesday, as security forces push to recapture the town.

Iraq started an offensive on Sept. 21 to seize Hawija, which fell to the hands of militants after the Iraqi army collapsed in 2014 in the face of the Islamic State offensive and remains the last militant-held town in the country’s north.

U.N. humanitarian spokesman Jens Laerke said the number of people who have fled the fighting has increased from 7,000 people during the first week of the operation to some 12,500 people now. But up to 78,000 remain trapped, he said.

Click here for the entire story

End of ISIS: Victims of the Islamic State Group Are Taking Revenge However They Can

Emily Feldman writes for Newsweek:

Days after the Islamic State group fled Mosul, Saeed Quraishi was in a judge’s office in Iraq’s Nineveh province when two women arrived. They were handing over suspects with links to ISIS. But these weren't hardened fighters or even sympathizers. They were their children, all under the age of 3. “We don’t want them,” the women said. “Their fathers are [ISIS], and they raped us.”

Quraishi watched as the women walked away, leaving their crying babies behind. He wondered if the women’s families had pressured them to give up the children. “It was a horrible situation,” says Quraishi, an Iraqi human rights worker, who asked to use a pseudonym because he feared for his safety. “Even if it was their decision, that is not easy.”

The incident wasn’t isolated. In the months since Iraqi forces ousted ISIS from Mosul, those reeling from the group’s brutal treatment have been hungry for revenge. Many have cut ties with their families and accused neighbors of ISIS-related crimes. Others have become vigilantes, rendering justice as they see fit. Earlier this year, aid workers and journalists discovered more than two dozen bodies floating down the Tigris River near Mosul. The dead—many bound and blindfolded—were ISIS suspects, likely executed by state-affiliated forces.

Click here for the entire story

Page 5 of 632« First...34567...102030...Last »