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

Betrayal, guilt, hate: post-IS, Mosul society still broken

Mohammad Salim writes for AFP:

Haytham Salem has not spoken to his sister in years, but this is no ordinary family feud. When Islamic State jihadists overran Iraq's Mosul, he fled but his nephew joined them.

Nearly two years since the group was ousted from the northern Iraqi city, seeds of distrust, betrayal and resentment planted during jihadist rule have begun bearing fruit in Mosul.

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Iraqi rights commission deplores ‘very poor’ prison conditions

Mina Aldroubi writes for The National:

Iraq's prisons are overcrowded and lack proper care for detainees, the state human rights watchdog said in a report released on Thursday.

The Independent High Commission for Human Rights said prison conditions remained poor despite numerous calls for action in the past.

The capture of thousands of suspected members of ISIS has increased the number of detainees and overloaded Iraq's criminal justice system. Many of the fighters from the extremist militant group need extensive medical and psychological treatment, but prisons lack rehabilitation centres due to a shortage of finance, according to rights commission member Hemin Baglan.

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After years of war and drought, Iraq’s bumper crop is burning

Ahmed Aboulenein and Maha El Dahan write for Reuters:

Iraqi farmer Riyadh woke on May 13 to find his wheat crop ablaze. In his fields in Diyala province, he found the remains of a mobile phone and plastic bottle which he believes was an explosive device detonated in the night to start the fire.

Riyadh and his neighbours in Sheikh Tami village put out the blaze and saved most of his crop but hundreds of other farmers in Iraq have been less fortunate since Islamic State urged its supporters to wage economic warfare with fire.

Since the harvest began in April, crop fires have raged across Diyala, Kirkuk, Nineveh and Salahuddin provinces while the government, battered by years of war and corruption, has few resources to counter a new hit-and-run insurgency.

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Iraq, Known for Hot Summers, Suffering a Scorcher

AFP reports:

Hospital ventilators shut down, football matches with obligatory water breaks and food spoiling in fridges without power: Iraq’s notorious summer has arrived.

As one of the hottest countries in the world with around half of its terrain covered in desert, Iraq is no stranger to stiflingly hot summers.

But even by its own standards, this June has been a sizzler — averaging a daily 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit), compared with around 40 in previous years.

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Iraq’s ‘Mother Teresa’ in stable condition after being hit by car in Baghdad

Mina Aldroubi writes for The National:

Iraqi activist Hanaa Edwar will soon be discharged from hospital after a traffic accident in Baghdad that raised fears the veteran campaigner for justice and democracy had been targeted by her opponents.

Ms Edwar was hit by a car after giving a speech last Friday during a protest over the massacre of 1,700 Iraqi soldiers by ISIS at Camp Speicher, where she called for an investigation into the fall of Mosul to the extremist militants.

“She is due to leave Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Baghdad after having undergone an operation for a fracture to her leg,” Suhaila Al Asam, a women’s rights activist who was with Ms Edwar in hospital, told The National on Sunday.

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Mortar attack on Iraqi base home to US troops; no casualties

Qassim Abdul-Zahra reports for AP:

Militants in Iraq fired three mortar shells early Saturday into an air base just north of Baghdad where American trainers are present, causing no casualties, the Iraqi military said.

The military statement said the attack on Balad air base caused small fires in bushes on the base, which were extinguished immediately.

The attack comes amid rising tensions in the Middle East between the United States and Iran, which ratcheted up on Thursday after suspected attacks on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Iran has denied involvement.

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In Iraq, legal dispute threatens chances at 2020 Olympics

Khalil Jalil writes for AFP:

Day after day, Iraqi weightlifter Safaa Rashed Aljumaili hits a worn-down Baghdad gym to train for the 2020 Olympics. But despite all his grit, politics could keep him from competing.

"We don't know what to do anymore. I have to participate in six qualifier tournaments to get to Tokyo, but I've already missed two because of the problems in sport in this country," says the 29-year-old.

These "problems" are a spiralling dispute between the Iraqi Olympic Committee and the country's Ministry of Youth and Sports, a power struggle that has left aspiring Olympians without the necessary funds to train properly.

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Two years after a disastrous referendum, Iraq’s Kurds are prospering

The Economist reports:

The monitor recording the descent of a drill beneath the green hills of Khor Mor, in Iraqi Kurdistan, flashes 3,044—or just over 3km. In a caravan next to a roaring derrick a Canadian oilman and his team from Crescent Petroleum, a company based in the United Arab Emirates, watch for the first signs of gas. Other wells in the area are already meeting 80% of the electricity needs of Kurdistan. Capacity at an adjoining processing plant is set to double. The Kurds could begin supplying the rest of Iraq with gas by next year, says Falah Mustafa, the foreign minister for the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). Exports of gas to Europe via Turkey could follow in 2022.

Such confidence signals an about-turn for Iraq’s Kurds, who enjoy relative autonomy from the rest of Iraq. In 2017 the enclave’s leaders reached for more, recklessly holding a referendum on independence, which passed overwhelmingly. The central government in Baghdad responded by booting Kurdish militias, known as the Peshmerga, out of oil-rich Kirkuk. It ended budgetary support for the regional government and, with the help of Turkey and Iran, closed its airspace and some border crossings. Western leaders abandoned the Kurds; foreigners fled the region. Masoud Barzani, Kurdistan’s humiliated president, resigned and left a power vacuum. Independence did not happen.

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The kidnapped Yazidi children who don’t want to be rescued from ISIS

Liz Sly writes for The Washington Post:

Early last month, an informant offered a tip to one of the Yazidi leaders engaged in tracking down members of the minority faith who are still missing after being abducted by the Islamic State five years ago.

Two Yazidi girls, 14 and 11, were said to be living in a tent with a woman loyal to the Islamic State in the al-Hol camp in eastern Syria, where tens of thousands of Islamic State family members are being detained, said Mahmoud Rasho, the Yazidi leader.

They didn’t want to be rescued.

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Iraq: Not a Homecoming

Belkis Wille writes for Human Rights Watch:

In December 2018, I witnessed the violent closure of Kilo 18, a camp in Anbar given that designation because it was 18 kilometers from the town of Ramadi in central Iraq. The scene was awful: families screaming at soldiers, demanding an explanation for their expulsion; others quietly huddled together, their flip-flopped feet caked in cold mud, by their now-empty tents.

These were families who wanted to return home but were not being allowed to by the army and their local communities because they were perceived to have links to ISIS. Most often it was because a father, brother, or son was alleged to have taken up arms with the group. Now they were being told they had to leave the makeshift tents that had been home for the last few years and move to yet another camp. Any hopes of a true homecoming—back to the towns, villages, cities where they made their lives before Iraq tumbled into chaos in 2014—seemed more remote than ever. For many, going “home” is complicated, fraught, even dangerous. For others, it is impossible.

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