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

Iraq’s displaced have been forgotten, says top UNHCR official

Patrick Ryan writes for The National:

Millions of refugees, migrants and displaced people in Iraq have been forgotten about, one of the world’s leading humanitarian experts has said.

Amin Awad, UNHCR's Middle East and North Africa director and co-ordinator for Syria and Iraq situations, said that Iraq was suffering because the world’s attention had moved on now that the country was no longer at war.

Speaking to The National on the opening day of the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development, or Dihad, conference, Mr Awad advised the international community that more awareness needed to be paid to the two million Iraqis who are still displaced.

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Mosul’s stark divide highlights Iraqi governance crisis

Chloe Cornish writes for Financial Times:

On one side of the Tigris river, east Mosul is staging a comeback. Some 20 months since northern Iraq’s biggest city was won back from Isis extremists, its funfair, sweetshops and university are back in business. But on the other side of the river smoulders the city’s devastated west bank, an eerie shadow of the recovering east.

In west Mosul’s almost deserted old city, bodies are still being found beneath the rubble. Signs warn of unexploded ordnance and bombs. Children scavenge scrap metal to survive as poverty bites.

The stark divide illustrates one of Iraq’s biggest problems — a crisis of governance. War has been replaced by administrative dysfunction and alleged public sector corruption, ills that are fuelling growing resentment of the government in a country whose stability remains tenuous.

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Iran’s Rouhani in Iraq for ‘historic’ visit to offset U.S. sanctions

Mustafa Salim , Erin Cunningham and Tamer El-Ghobashy write for The Washington Post:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was in Baghdad on Monday on his first state visit to Iraq since his election six years ago, shoring up political and trade relations as part of Tehran’s growing clout in the region.

Rouhani, a relative moderate, used the start of his three-day trip to criticize the United States, which has sought to isolate Iran on the international stage. Iraq is a key battleground for rising tensions between Iran and the United States in the Middle East, and the visit is expected to emphasize economic ties to help offset U.S. sanctions on Iran.

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The people of Mosul, Iraq, find there’s life after Islamic State, but it isn’t easy

Nabih Bulos writes for Los Angeles Times:

In the biblical book of Jonah, God wants to destroy the city of Nineveh because of its wickedness, but Jonah begs him to have mercy, and he relents.

Today, what was once Nineveh is the eastern half of the Iraqi city of Mosul, where a version of the biblical story has played out again. In the siege that drove Islamic State militants from Mosul, the east side was largely spared.

The west side is an entirely different story.

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Across Baghdad, a moment of respite and guarded hope

Qassim Abdul-Zahra writes for AP:

Baghdad’s main commercial district has seen more bombings than its residents can count. Death visited almost daily during times of war — most horrifically, a 2015 suicide bombing that ripped through two shopping malls, killing over 300 people.

But over the past year or so, the residents of Karrada have felt more normal than they have in decades. Streets lined with food stalls are crowded with shoppers, coffee shops and restaurants are packed until late, and the grey cement blast walls that protected against bombings are being removed.

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Iran Tries to Expand Business in Iraq to Blunt U.S. Sanctions

Alissa J. Rubin writes for The New York Times:

From financing the expansion of the vast courtyards that lead into the Shiite shrines of the holy city of Najaf, to ensuring that a Tehran-friendly candidate gets the job of interior minister, Iran’s role in Iraq keeps growing.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran arrived in Baghdad on Monday for a visit to a place that his country has shaped in ways big and small over the past several years. Iran was the real winner of last year’s parliamentary elections in Iraq: The parties linked to the paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces, most of them with ties to Tehran, emerged as the kingmakers.

“Iran is a small body with a big brain, and the United States is a big body with a small brain,” said Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, a Sunni Muslim who was a former speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, trying to explain how Iran seemed to have gained the upper hand in Iraq.

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Iraq’s new war against Islamic State: Halting the group’s budding rural resurgence

Nabih Bulos writes for Los Angeles Times:

It was after dark Wednesday when three buses pulled out of Mosul and headed southeast on a desolate desert road. The passengers were government-backed paramilitary fighters.

The city lights were well behind them when the convoy came under attack. By the time the shooting stopped, six paramilitary members were dead and 31 wounded.

The attack, one of the deadliest since Iraq declared military victory over the extremist group in December 2017, was the clearest sign yet that the war isn’t over.

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ISIS Re-Establishes Historical Sanctuary in Iraq

Brandon Wallace writes for the Institute of the Study of War:

ISIS’s post-Caliphate insurgency in Iraq is accelerating faster than efforts to prevent it by the U.S. Anti-ISIS Coalition. ISIS is re-establishing capable insurgent networks in multiple historic strongholds and linking them together, setting the conditions for future offensive operations against the Government of Iraq. The U.S. and its partners should not view the current relative security in Baghdad as confirmation of the defeat of ISIS. The U.S. Anti-ISIS Coalition’s strategy to enable Iraq to “independently manage” an insurgency through intelligence support and other building partner capacity efforts will likely fail to prevent ISIS from regaining momentum based on its current trajectory in Iraq.

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Basra hospitalisations caused by Iran water blockade, says Iraqi minister

Mina Aldroubi reports for The National:

Iraq’s Water Minister Jamal Adili on Thursday laid the blame for Basra’s toxic water scandal on neighbouring Iran.

The southern oil-rich province saw tens of thousands of people hospitalised in July last year due to scarce potable water.

“Basra’s crisis of contaminated water was caused by Iran blocking two rivers which reduced the flow of water to Iraq,” Mr Adili said during the sixth annual Sulaimani Forum.

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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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