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

Amputation Apparently Caused by Torture

Human Rights Watch reports:

The amputation of a detainee’s arm in early 2019 following apparent torture in a Baghdad police station highlights mounting concerns around ill-treatment in Iraq’s prisons, Human Rights Watch said today.

The man’s brother said that a complaint by the victim during his trial has been ignored and that a complaint by his wife to the agency that supervises judicial conduct had received no response. The brother said he had requested an investigation, which led to the transfer of a police officer but no disciplinary action. Judicial authorities should investigate and determine who was responsible, punish abusive officers, and compensate the victim.

“A detainee who loses his arm because of torture in custody is one more sign that something is very wrong in Iraqi detention facilities,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should take detainees’ rights seriously and start to protect them by investigating abuses.”

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Stuck in the Middle With Iran

Alex Vatanka writes for Foreign Affairs:

In late May, Saudi Arabia hosted three separate summit meetings in Mecca, in the hope of securing the region’s unequivocal condemnation of Iranian activities in the Middle East. But whether at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Arab League, or the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Saudis, to their disappointment, found that not everyone shared their frame of mind about Iran.

One dissent particularly stood out. At the Arab League meeting, Iraqi President Barham Salih implored the region’s leaders to help sustain Iran’s stability. Should the United States and its allies go to war with Iran, he maintained, the conflict would have dangerous ramifications for Iraq and the entire Middle East.

Salih’s statement was a reminder not just to the Saudis but also to the United States that Baghdad is uniquely vulnerable when it comes to Iranian pressure. And make no mistake: Iran has big plans for Iraq. Although relations between the neighbors have had their ups and downs, Tehran has invested deeply in Iraq, both politically and economically, and these investments will only multiply in the short term. After all, U.S. sanctions on Iran have made Iraq an essential link in Iran’s potential chain of commerce. How such plans play out will put the Iranians, the Iraqis, and the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to the test.

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Iraq appoints ministers but govt still incomplete

AFP reports:

The Iraqi parliament approved three new ministers on Monday, but the post of education minister remains unfilled eight months after Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi was appointed.

The legislature gave its backing to Abdel Mahdi's picks to head the defence, interior and justice ministries.

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In Baghdad walls come down, ushering freedom in

Judit Neurink writes for Deutsche Welle:

Baghdad has been undergoing major changes since the "Islamic State" group was removed from Iraq, and safety returned to the city of eight million. Most of the T-walls erected over the past decade to keep both public and private buildings safe have now been pulled down to reveal parks and green zones. In a major development, the Green Zone housing the parliament, ministries and embassies, which was formerly secured behind fences, walls and checkpoints, was recently opened up to all traffic.

As part of this changing environment, Baghdad has seen the opening of its first women's café, where women can meet without males to accompany them and without wearing the scarf and long abaya that have become so common on the streets. These are, of course, the first things young women remove on entering La Femme café.

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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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