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

Iraqi Shi’ite groups deepen control in strategic Sunni areas

John Davison writes for Reuters:

The only sign that Sunni-majority Mosul’s newest and busiest marketplace is in Shi’ite Muslim hands is a small plaque in the office of its leaseholder from Baghdad.

“The Imam Hussein Market,” it reads, dedicated to the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson and most revered Shi’ite imam.

Banners of Shi’ite leaders that militiamen erected after helping drive out the Sunni extremists of Islamic State two years ago have been removed amid fears of renewed sectarian tension.

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Nobody wants us: The plight of displaced female-headed families in Iraq

Razaw Salihy writes for Amnesty International:

Amnesty International and other organizations have continuously documented the collective punishment of displaced families, especially female-headed families. Many are perceived as supporters of the Islamic State armed group (IS) due to factors outside their control - such as being related, however distantly, to men who were somehow involved with IS - and are ostracized by the rest of society. Such families have reported being forcibly displaced, evicted, arrested, had their homes demolished or looted or faced threats, sexual abuse and harassment, and discrimination after returning to their places of origin.

Today, left in the camps, they continue to face obstacles in accessing identity cards and other official documents. Without these, women are unable to work, move freely or inherit property or pensions, and their children are often unable to attend school or obtain medical care and are at risk of becoming stateless.

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Careem delivers ride-hailing to Iraq’s second-largest city Basra

Nada El Sawy writes for The National:

Ride-hailing company Careem has extended its services to the southern Iraqi city of Basra in the latest expansion for the company. It currently operates in Baghdad and Najaf and has an ongoing pilot project in Erbil. The service will use existing taxis throughout the city, catering to a population of around 2.5 million.

“We are proud to launch our services in Basra today, an important strategic location for us and look forward to serving the people and create job opportunities for the youth of this great city,” said Mohamed Al Hakim, the general manager of Careem Iraq. “Within the next five years, our vision is to serve hundreds of thousands of customers and create more than 10,000 job opportunities in Basra.”

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Iraq begins examining Yazidi mass graves remains

Qassim Abdul-Zahra writes for AP:

Iraq will use DNA testing to identify the remains of 141 bodies found in mass graves believed to contain the Yazidi victims of Islamic State group massacres, the head of the country’s forensics administration said on Sunday.

Zaid al-Yousef said Yazidi survivors helped to locate the 12 graves in the Sinjar region in north Iraq.

Iraq is working to exhume remains from mass graves for forensic evidence of the IS group’s crimes when it ruled over parts of the country’s north from 2014 to 2017. It is supported by a special U.N. investigations team.

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In Iraq Museum, There Are Things ‘That Are Nowhere Else in the World’

Alissa J. Rubin writes for The New York Times:

If people remember anything about the Iraq Museum, it is most likely the televised images of it being looted in 2003 as American troops watched from their tanks.

This spring, 16 years later, I was back at the museum. It had reopened in 2015 after conservationists had repaired some of the damage and European countries, among others, had helped restore several galleries. Still, I expected to see bare rooms and empty niches.

Instead, I found that despite the loss of 15,000 works of art, the museum was filled with an extraordinary collection.

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Iraq harvests go up in smoke, but who lit the fires?

Marwan Ibrahim and Ammar Karim write for AFP:

Resurgent jihadists, ethnic land disputes or regular field burning? Iraq's northern farmlands are on fire, but the area's complex patchwork of grievances has made it hard to identify the culprits.

Farmers in the country's breadbasket had been hoping for bumper wheat and barley harvests in May and June, following heavy winter rains.

Instead, many saw their hopes turned to ash.

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Will IS fighters face an international court in Iraq?

Udo Bauer writes for Deutsche Welle:

Swedish politicians are some of the most vocal supporters of a special tribunal to try individuals who have committed crimes as members of the so-called Islamic State (IS). Sweden's interior minister, Mikael Damberg, recommends the quick creation of such a court.

"There should not be impunity for murder, terrorist crimes, war crimes or crimes against humanity," Damberg said in Stockholm at a conference for experts from various European countries. He included other war criminals in Syria and Iraq in this category: "This applies to all parties in the conflict," he said.

Damberg did not specify the location of the potential court but said it would be in the region of Syria and Iraq. The interior ministers from EU nations are set to meet Friday in Luxembourg to further discuss the issue.

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Iraq to identify remains from IS graves in Yazidi area

AFP reports:

Iraqi authorities will begin identifying the remains of 141 people exhumed from mass graves in the Yazidi region of Sinjar, the head of Baghdad's forensic office said Thursday.

"The remains will first be examined, and then DNA samples will be taken to compare with samples gathered from families," Zaid al-Yousef told AFP.

The efforts are part of an investigation by the Iraqi government and a special United Nations team to collect evidence of crimes committed by the Islamic State group.

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Burning trash and factories belching smoke choke Iraqis

Tarek Fahmy writes for Reuters:

As if life was not bad enough for Adnan Kadhim - he lives in a slum where municipal authorities dump Baghdad’s rubbish - now someone is setting the waste on fire, making his children sick.

As the United Nations marks World Environment Day on Wednesday, Iraq is suffering a pollution crisis, with trash piling up across the country and thick clouds of smoke produced by inefficient factories hovering above Baghdad.

“The dirt, our children are sick, our families are sick. My daughter has asthma, and I had to take my family to the hospital last night. We had to go at 2 am to give her oxygen. What have we done wrong to deserve this?” asks the 48-year-old, with mountains of rubbish behind him.

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How The Middle East’s Drought Cycle Will Probably Lead To Even More Refugees

Rachel Delia Benaim writes for The Weather Channel:

The Middle East is experiencing its most severe drought in 900 years, according to NASA-- one which is seemingly endless. The drought peaked between 2006-2010, and although 2007, 2009 and 2010 saw “normal” amounts of total rainfall, the region was still in drought.

And therein lies the paradox. A combination of factors, including water management and when the rain falls, means there can still be drought and water scarcity even if it rains a “normal” total amount. If winter rain is typically spread out between November and May, these non-drought-ending rains fell between, say, January and April, often in torrential downpours. This has led to flash flooding of the sort that much of the Middle East has seen this winter, which in turn has led to the erosion of topsoil that farmers rely on for a successful crop. And these extreme drought/flooding events are becoming more frequent.

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