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

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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After 3 Years Under ISIS, Mosul’s Children Go Back To School

Jane Arraf writes for NPR:

The recess bell rings at the Akha elementary school in Mosul and children come thundering out of the classroom. It's the first day of school.

An ordinary scene, except it hasn't happened for three years in this city. Iraqi forces drove ISIS fighters out of Mosul earlier this year in a battle that destroyed huge parts of the northern city, including hundreds of schools.

"None of us went to school when ISIS was here — we stayed at home," says Ali, who is in sixth grade. "It feels good to be back."

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Analysis: Iraq parliament moves towards pre-election showdown

Kirk Sowell writes for The National:

Amid the climax in the war against ISIL and the uproar over an independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq’s political class also faces challenges in getting prepared for national and provincial elections next year.

Provincial elections, last held in April 2013, were expected to be held in May of this year but were postponed until September. In August, however, parliament decided to postpone the polls again, this time merging them with the next national elections. Iraq last held national elections in April 2014 and is expected to hold them again in April next year, although constitutionally could hold them through the middle of the following month.

New legislation is supposed to be passed in Iraq for each new election, determining how it will be carried out. Parliament had been expected to pass new laws for both the upcoming provincial and national elections, as well as choose a new board of commissioners for the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) — but it has run into several problems on these issues.

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Speaker’s visit to Kurds divides Iraqi parliament

Philip Issa writes for AP:

A leading Iraqi parliamentarian upbraided the legislative body's leader for meeting with Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani on Sunday as Baghdad's politicians voiced their differences over how best to respond to a controversial Kurdish referendum for independence.

Iraqi member of Parliament Humam Hamoudi called Parliament Speaker Salim Jabouri's meeting with Barzani "disappointing" and "unfortunate" and said Jabouri went to Barzani in a personal capacity, not as Parliament's representative.

Two days of high level visits by Baghdad politicians to Irbil, the seat of the Kurdish regional government, have failed to resolve the impasse between Baghdad and its Kurdish region, which voted for independence in a non-binding referendum two weeks ago.

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Cinders and desolation in Iraq’s Hawija after IS

Sarah Benhaida writes for AFP:

One side of the billboard calls for jihad, while the other warns of death for smokers. Iraq's Hawija still bears clear signs of its three years under jihadist rule.

Islamic State group jihadists set fire to everything they could before they fled an Iraqi government offensive on the northern town in oil-rich Kirkuk province.

Thick black smoke billows from burning oil wells around the city. Fields lie scorched in the surrounding region known for its cereal crops and watermelons.

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Iraq’s Kurds need to put democracy before independence

The Washington Post Editorial Board writes:

THE LEADERS of Iraq’s Kurdistan region are suffering considerable consequences for their reckless staging of a referendum on independence late last month. The Iraqi government has teamed up with Turkey and Iran to impose tough sanctions, including a ban on international flights from Kurdish airports. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once a Kurdistan ally, is threatening to shut down an oil pipeline that provides the economically struggling region with much of its revenue. Meanwhile, the United States, long the Kurds’ most important ally, has called the referendum illegitimate and done little to stanch the growing backlash.

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