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

Global Terrorism Index 2017

Institute for Economics and Peace reports:

This is the fifth edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI). The report provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 17 years in covering the period from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2016.

The GTI is produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) and is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). Data for the GTD is collected and collated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START); a Department of Homeland Security Centre of Excellence led by the University of Maryland. The GTD is considered to be the most comprehensive global dataset on terrorist activity and has now codified over 170,000 terrorist incidents.

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Climate Change and Water Woes Drove ISIS Recruiting in Iraq

Peter Schwartzstein writes for National Geographic:

It was a few weeks after the rains failed in the winter of 2009 that residents of Shirqat first noticed the strange bearded men.

Circling like vultures among the stalls of the town’s fertilizer market in Iraq’s northern Salahaddin governorate, they’d arrow in on the most shabbily dressed farmers, and tempt them with promises of easy riches. “Join us, and you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family,” Saleh Mohammed Al-Jabouri, a local tribal sheikh, remembers one recruiter saying.

With every flood or bout of extreme heat or cold, the jihadists would reappear, often supplementing their sales pitches with gifts. When a particularly vicious drought struck in 2010, the fifth in seven years, they doled out food baskets. When fierce winds eviscerated hundreds of eggplant fields near Kirkuk in the spring of 2012, they distributed cash. As farming communities limped from one debilitating crisis to another, the recruiters—all members of what soon became the Islamic State—began to see a return on their investment.

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‘New roadblocks’ emerge in Iraq after Islamic State defeat: aid expert

Raya Jalabi writes for Reuters:

The war against Islamic State in Iraq may soon be over but providing humanitarian aid to Iraqis is becoming more difficult as new political and cultural divides open up, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said.

Jan Egeland also warned that members of the international coalition which helped Baghdad in its three-year campaign against Islamic State could now drastically reduce their humanitarian budget for Iraq following the militants’ defeat.

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Iran quake survivors complain of slow aid effort, battle freezing cold

Parisa Hafezi reports for Reuters:

Exhausted and exposed to freezing cold, survivors of a weekend earthquake in western Iran begged authorities for food and shelter on Tuesday, saying aid was slow to reach them.

Iranian officials called off rescue operations earlier in the day on the grounds that there was little chance of finding more survivors from the quake, which killed at least 530 people and injured thousands of others. It was Iran’s deadliest earthquake in more than a decade.

Survivors, many left homeless by Sunday’s 7.3 magnitude quake that struck villages and towns in Kermansheh province along the mountainous border with Iraq, struggled through another bleak day on Tuesday in need of food, water and shelter.

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‘Catastrophic’ Iraq law could legalise marriage for children as young as nine

Karen McVeigh writes for The Guardian:

A new law that could legalise marriage for children as young as nine in Iraq would be “catastrophic”, setting back women’s rights by half a century, activists said.

The proposal, an amendment to Iraq’s personal status law, would allow clerics of Muslim sects to govern marriage contracts.

Public demonstrations were held last weekend by civil society and women’s rights groups against the amendment. The United Nations in Iraq (Unami) called for wider consultations and for women’s rights to be fully recognised and protected.

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Abadi says Iraq to act soon over border areas in stand-off with Kurds

Ahmed Rasheed and Raya Jalabi write for Reuters:

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, seeking to up the pressure in a stand-off with Iraq’s Kurdish region, said on Tuesday he would act soon over border areas under Kurdish control but predicted his government’s forces would regain them without violence.

The central government in Baghdad has cracked down hard on the Kurds since the government of the Kurdish autonomous region staged an independence referendum on Sept. 25 that Baghdad considers illegal.

“We will regain control on border areas without escalation. But our patience will run out. We will not wait forever. We will take action,” Abadi said at a news conference.

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Doing Business In Iraq: On Track To Wider Economic Reform

Hassan Hadad writes for 1001 Iraqi Thoughts:

A few months into his term Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi laid out his vision for reforms in front of global leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos. By the summer of 2015 his political reforms had grabbed all the headlines, overshadowing the reforms he was bringing to the military and economy. But as the fight against Da’ish draws down, the focus has turned back to the economy.

On October 31st the World Bank published its Doing Business 2018 report, an annual report “measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it” and ranks “the ease of doing business” across 190 countries.

On the surface, the latest report is no different for Iraq than the previous Doing Business reports. A closer look, however, shows a different story. For example, out of ten indicators that make up an economy’s overall score, Iraq improved on six indicators from 2017.

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The ISIS orphans

Chris Brown writes for CBC News:

Thousands of young children of ISIS fighters who came from abroad to join the battle have been left to fend for themselves after their parents were imprisoned or killed on the battlefield.

Stranded far from home, with no documentation, many ISIS orphans have ended up in orphanages in Mosul and the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

And perhaps no country is trying harder to get its children back than Russia.

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Strong earthquake hits Iraq and Iran, killing more than 450

Parisa Hafezi and Raya Jalabi report for Reuters:

Thousands of homeless Iranians huddled against the cold late on Monday, a day after at least 450 people were killed in Iran’s deadliest earthquake in more than a decade, state TV said.

Rescue teams kept up search operations for dozens trapped beneath the rubble of collapsed houses in towns and villages in the mountainous area of the western province of Kermanshah that borders Iraq.

Iran’s English-language Press TV said more than 450 people were killed and 7,000 were injured when the magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolted the country on Sunday. Local officials expected the death toll to climb as search and rescue teams reached remote areas of Iran.

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Changing of the Guard Resets Cycle of Retribution in Iraq

Isabel Coles and Ali Nabhan write for The Wall Street Journal:

The victors in the latest reversal of fortunes here in this part of northern Iraq have wasted no time erasing the legacy of three years of Kurdish rule.

Since routing the Kurds in October, Iraqi forces have scrubbed out their sun-emblazoned flag and replaced pictures commemorating Kurdish Peshmerga fighters killed in the war against Islamic State with portraits of their own “martyrs.”

The shift in power has favored local Arabs over Kurds here, setting off a new round of score-settling that undermines hopes for stability in the country just as it triumphs over Islamic State.

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