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

After IS, Mosul tackles another terror: super-resistant bacteria

Maya Gebeily writes for AFP:

Explosives left behind by the Islamic State group in Iraq's Mosul took 12-year-old Abdallah's left leg, but another kind of terror may cost him his arm: antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Doctors around the globe are sounding the alarm over bacterial infections immune to modern medicine, but their prevalence in Mosul -- where thousands of patients are struggling to recover from severe war wounds -- can be even more dangerous.

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UN: Herpes outbreak behind mass-death of Iraqi carp

The National reports:

The shocking death last year of thousands of tonnes of Iraq's freshwater carp was caused by a strain of herpes harmless to humans, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

Iraqi fish farmers south of Baghdad were left reeling in late 2018 when they woke to find large sections of the Euphrates river surface covered in waves of dead, floating carp. The Ministry of Health issued a warning urging people not to buy or consume fish – for weeks Iraqis longed for their national dish, Masgoof, carp cooked over a wood-fire.

Iraqi politicians quickly moved the issue to the top of the agenda, as rumours swirled over whether the fish were sick or the river had been poisoned.

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Yazidis demand Iraq actively search for their missing persons

Judit Neurink writes for Deutsche Welle:

After more than four and a half years as prisoners of the Islamic terror group "Islamic State," 21 Iraqi Yazidis, most of them children, were recently reunited with their families in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Only a small number of Yazidis have been able to escape from Baghouz, the final holdout of IS.

Of the more than 6,000 members of the religious minority that IS kidnapped in Iraq in 2014, intending to turn the women into sex slaves and the boys into fighters, some 3,000 women, children and men are still missing. And while the exact number of Yazidis who have got out of Baghouz is not known, it is not more than a few dozen.

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ISIS Child Suspects Arbitrarily Arrested, Tortured

Human Rights Watch reports:

Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional Government authorities have charged hundreds of children with terrorism for alleged Islamic State (also known as ISIS) affiliation, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The prosecutions are often based on dubious accusations and forced confessions obtained through torture.

The 53-page report, “‘Everyone Must Confess’: Abuses against Children Suspected of ISIS Affiliation in Iraq,” shows that Iraqi and KRG authorities often arrest and prosecute children with any perceived connection to ISIS, use torture to coerce confessions, and sentence them to prison in hasty and unfair trials. International law recognizes children recruited by armed groups primarily as victims who should be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.

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Transfer of ISIS Suspects, Including Foreigners, to Iraq Raises Torture Concerns

Belkis Wille writes for Human Rights Watch:

Last week, the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) transferred at least 280 suspected Islamic State (ISIS) members to Iraq, following their arrest in Syria. Though the detainees are overwhelmingly Iraqi, there were reportedly at least thirteen French ISIS suspects among them. Their transfer to Iraq raises a critical issue: where exactly should these detainees be held?

On February 25, Iraqi President Barham Salih announced that the Iraqi justice system would be prosecuting at least thirteen French ISIS suspects “according to Iraqi law.” His statement marks the first transfer of foreign ISIS suspects to be publicly recognized by the Iraqi government, and also comes after many European government have refused to bring home and prosecute their nationals who joined ISIS.

Despite Salih’s assurance that Iraq is acting within the confines of international law, the record of previous ISIS trials in Iraq shows that these transfers may instead violate it, as detainees risk torture in detention. Furthermore, detainees are subject to unfair trials that could still end in the death penalty. Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all countries and under all circumstances, but in Iraq, where the trials of ISIS suspects fail to meet even the most basic markers of due process, its application is particularly concerning.

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Iraq defeated ISIS more than a year ago. The group’s revival is already underway

Arwa Damon, Ghazi Balkiz, Muwafaq Mohammed and Brice Laine write for CNN:

There is a different feel to the atmosphere in Baghdad these days, as if the chokehold that has gripped the Iraqi capital for the better part of the last decade and a half has started to ease.

On the main road cutting through the Karada district, the sidewalks are crowded with vendors hawking designer knock-offs and sticky sweets. Restaurants lining the boulevard grill masgouf, a butterflied carp considered to be Iraq's national dish, over open flames. People sit at outdoor cafés, sipping tea and smoking shisha.

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Some Child Soldiers Get Rehabilitation, Others Get Prison

Jo Becker writes for Human Rights Watch:

He was just a 14-year-old schoolboy when the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) took over his city, Mosul, in northern Iraq. His school soon shut down. With little else to do, he said, he joined ISIS to make money. He said he received twenty days of training, and then worked as a cook, making about $50 a month. “I never wanted to fight,” he said. “That’s why I stayed a cook.”

Kurdish security forces in northern Iraq captured him during a military offensive in the fall of 2016, and detained and interrogated him. Last year, a Kurdish court convicted him of terrorism. When a colleague and I met him in November in a reformatory in Erbil, he had been in prison for more than two years.

With the rise of violent extremist groups like ISIS, al Qaeda, al-Shabab, and Boko Haram, many countries have adopted much more aggressive counterterrorism measures, including a marked increase in the detention and prosecution of children. The United Nations has documented a five-fold increase in the number of children detained in the context of armed conflict since 2012.

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Former Yazidi captives of IS reunite with families in Iraq

Philip Issa writes for AP:

A group of Yazidi women and children reunited with their families in Iraq Saturday after five years of captivity at the hands of the Islamic State group, hugging and kissing relatives in emotional scenes that underscored their yearslong ordeal and that of their devastated community.

Elated families met their loved ones at a rural truck stop on the road between Sinjar and Dohuk, tossing candy in the air like confetti, the women ululating with joy.

The 18 returning children, aged 10 to 15, appeared weary and at times uneasy with the attention of the media and officials. One teenage boy collapsed in his aunt’s arms and broke down in tears. Few parents were there to receive their children — many are still missing in territory held by the Islamic State, or have been confirmed killed. Other parents have already sought asylum in Western nations, in the hopes their children will be able to follow them.

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Draconian cybercrimes law threatens freedom of expression

Amnesty International reports:

A new cybercrimes law that would impose heavy prison sentences and hefty fines against peaceful critics who express themselves online would be a devastating setback for freedom of expression in Iraq, Amnesty International said today.

The organization has highlighted its serious concern over the draft “Law on Information Technology Crimes” in an open letter signed by nine other NGOs. The letter was submitted to the Iraqi authorities this morning and warns that the proposed law would “establish a climate of self-censorship in the country.”

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Two dead, 24 wounded in blast in central Mosul

Salih Elias reports for Reuters:

At least two people were killed and 24 wounded in a car bomb in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, police and medical sources said.

Police said a vehicle packed with explosives was parked near the perimeters of Mosul University, in the center of the city.

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