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

What can you buy in Mosul? ISIS ban on barbers, clothes and toys is lifted

Zeena Saifi and Muwafaq Muhammed write for CNN:

In June 2014, ISIS drove Iraqi forces out of Mosul, and took control of the vibrant city of 2.5 million people located on the River Tigris. It was one of the terror group's most strategic wins.

In July this year, al-Abadi declared Mosul free from ISIS.

CNN spoke to shop owners who are back in business about their experiences during and after the ISIS occupation.

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How ancient lentils reveal the origins of social inequality

Mary Shepperson writes for The Guardian:

I should be in the Kurdish region of Iraq right now knee-deep in Late Chalcolitic archaeology, but instead I’m watching Bake Off in Crewe. The autumn excavation season in the Kurdish region is cancelled and most of the international teams have left, including the University College London project I was working on and the British Museum’s training excavation at Qalatga Darband. The cessation of international flights into and out of Iraqi Kurdistan, imposed by Baghdad after the Kurdish independence referendum on 25 September, has put a stop to archaeology in the region just at the best time of the year for digging.

It’s a shame, because before we were bundled off to the airport things were going very nicely at the modest mounded site of Gurga Chiya. After five seasons of work over six years we only needed another week to finish.

Gurga Chiya isn’t a flashy site; it doesn’t have a famous history (being prehistoric), or any buried gold or magnificent statues (except one small clay figurine of a goat, which is a little bit magnificent). What it does have is an important archaeological story about how people began to reorganise society into more complex, stratified forms. It also has lentils; lots and lots of lentils.

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Every nation needs a capital: how Erbil turned itself Kurdish

Alexander Dziadosz writes for The Guardian:

The citadel in Erbil can lay claim to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited place on Earth. But towering over the old mud-brick structures, one recent addition on the hilltop stands out: a brand new gate.

The gate was built to replace another thrown up by Saddam Hussein, just one in a long line of different rulers – from the Assyrians to the Mongols to the Ottomans – who have incorporated Erbil into their empires. But since Saddam’s fall in 2003, a clear identity has come to dominate the city’s public spaces: Kurdish.

Since 2006, Kurdish authorities have been working to renovate the citadel, which was badly neglected under Saddam. As well as shoring up the crumbling homes and clearing out squatters, they have also scrubbed away any sign of the former dictator, whose traces they are eager to erase.

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Iraq issues arrest warrants for Kurdish vote organizers

AP reports:

Iraq's federal courts have issued arrest warrants for the members of the Kurdish electoral commission that organized last month's independence referendum.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's office said Wednesday it would execute the warrants, but it is unclear how it would do so as federal forces do not operate in the autonomous Kurdish region.

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After 6,000 Years of Human Habitation, One Family and Lots of Mice

Rod Nordland writes for The New York Times:

There are two ways to consider the imposing Erbil citadel, a huge mound 100 feet above the flat plain on which this city of one million sits.

One. The citadel is one of the oldest continuously occupied human settlements on earth, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and Kurdish officials have gone to great lengths to restore and preserve it despite a severe financial crisis.

Two. Six thousand years or more of human civilization have come to this: In the citadel’s central square is a tall metal pole with a Kurdish flag the size of a boxcar. Down in the new city, black smoke belches from dozens of rooftop diesel generators during daily power cuts. Their cacophonous roar disrupts the tranquillity of the scene, while hanging over it all for days on end is the pungent smell of burning plastic from a nearby trash dump.

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Iraq PM Abadi expects Islamic State’s complete defeat in Iraq this year

Reuters reports:

Islamic State will be completely defeated in Iraq this year, Iraqi state television quoted Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as saying on Tuesday.

Islamic State’s cross-border “caliphate” effectively collapsed in July, when U.S.-backed Iraqi forces captured Mosul, the group’s de facto capital in Iraq, after a nine-month battle.

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Hundreds of suspected Islamic State militants surrender in Iraq: source

Maher Chmaytelli writes for Reuters:

Hundreds of suspected Islamic State militants surrendered last week to Kurdish authorities after the jihadist group was driven out of its last stronghold in northern Iraq, a Kurdish security official said on Tuesday.

The suspects were part of a group of men who fled toward Kurdish-held lines when Iraqi government forces captured the Islamic State base in Hawija, the official told Reuters, asking not to be identified.

The report of the Sunni Muslim militants fleeing, rather than fighting to the finish as in previous battles, suggested their morale may be crumbling, according to Hisham al-Hashimi, a Baghdad-based expert on Islamic State affairs.

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Iraq recovers bodies of plane crew shot down by IS

AFP reports:

Iraqi forces have found the bodies of two of the crew of a plane shot down by the Islamic State group last year, the air force said on Tuesday.

The Cessna 208 Caravan was downed over the northern town of Hawija, a former jihadist bastion which was retaken by government forces last week.

"The bodies of two of the crew killed in the crash of their Cessna Caravan in Hawija in March 2016 have been found," the air force said.

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Iraq demands Kurdish-based cell operators move to Baghdad

AP reports:

Iraq's government is demanding Kurdish-based that cellular network operators relocate their headquarters to Baghdad.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's cabinet included the demand in a package of measures aimed to pressure the Kurdish regional government to renounce its September referendum on support for independence. The region voted overwhelmingly in favor.

Two of Iraq's three main cellular operators are headquartered in the Kurdish region, namely Asiacell and Korek Telecom.

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Digging Up the Dead: Probing the Ruins of Mosul

Ivor Prickett writes for The New York Times:

“This is the other arm. Was she wearing a black abaya?” Daoud Salem Mahmoud shouted as he lifted the bone from the rubble and held it out to the small group looking on. A piece of cloth still clung to the sinews. “This one is a black abaya.”

Mr. Mahmoud and a small band of men had picked carefully through the remains of a demolished city street of Mosul, digging through personal belongings and the crumbled walls of family homes.

The work was slow and laborious. They were searching for the dead.

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