The Baghdad Post presents to its readers the latest news updates and breaking news today in Iraq.
Iraq lifts state of emergency at Majnoon oil field
Iraq lifted a state of emergency which was declared at the Majnoon oil field in the south of the country because of floods, Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban has said.
The floods did not impact production at the field, which runs at 240,000 barrels per day, he said in a statement posted on the oil ministry's website.
The state of emergency was declared as a precaution because of floods that hit the region over winter and spring, he said.
State-run Basra Oil Co took over the operations at the field after the withdrawal of Royal Dutch Shell last year.
Iraq has announced plans to boost output from Majnoon to 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2021.
Iraq condemns eighth French ISIS member to death
An Iraqi court on Sunday sentenced to death an eighth Frenchman for joining the ISIS group, rejecting his claims he was tortured into confessing.
Fodil Tahar Aouidate, 32, first appeared in court on May 27 but a judge delayed his trial to allow for a medical examination.
“The medical report shows that there are no signs of torture on his body,” the judge told the court.
Aouidate showed no reaction when the judge handed down his death sentence, according to an AFP journalist at the trial.
He was one of 11 French citizens and a Tunisian handed over to Iraqi authorities early this year by a US-backed force in Syria which expelled the militant group from its last bastion.
A Baghdad court had already handed capital punishments to seven of the French militant and the Tunisian over the past week and Aouidate will now join them on death row.
Interrogated for four months, Aouidate alleged he was beaten to “confess” to the charges levelled against him.
During his first hearing he showed marks on his back to the judge, who requested a medical examination and report.
Human Rights Watch on Friday accused Iraqi interrogators of “using a range of torture techniques” and condemned France’s “outsourcing” of trials of ISIS suspects to “abusive justice systems.”
France has long insisted its adult citizens captured in Iraq or Syria must face trial before local courts, while stressing its opposition to capital punishment.
Iraqi law provides for the death penalty for anyone joining a “terrorist group” — even those who did not take up arms.
Aouidate first went to Syria in 2013 and returned in 2014 with 22 members of his family to join ISIS, according to the French judiciary.
Authorities also linked him to Belgium’s Salafist movement including Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the presumed mastermind of the 2015 Paris attacks.
France convicted two of Aouidate’s sisters for “financing terrorism” for sending 15,000 euros to relatives in Syria.
ISIS widow helped CIA in hunt for Baghdadi
The captured widow of an ISIS group leader helped the CIA in its hunt for the organization’s elusive leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, a British daily said Friday.
In an interview with The Guardian, Nisrine Assad Ibrahim — also known as Umm Sayyaf — claimed not to have played a willing part in the detention of US hostage Kayla Mueller at her home.
She has been accused of helping to forcibly hold Mueller and other captives at the home, where the American woman was sexually assaulted by Baghdadi.
But when she herself was detained by the US military, the 29-year-old helped the CIA and Kurdish intelligence gain a detailed overview of the extremist supremo’s hideouts and networks, investigators told the daily.
In February 2016, Ibrahim identified a house in the Iraqi city of Mosul in which Baghdadi was believed to have been staying, but the United States did not call in an air strike.
“I told them where the house was,” she told The Guardian at a jail in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Irbil.
“I knew he’d been there because it was one of the houses that was provided for him, and one of the places he liked the most.”
Baghdadi declared a self-styled “caliphate” across large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014.
But he kept a low profile as the group steadily lost territory to multiple offenses. Last month he made his first appearance in five years, surfacing to acknowledge the group’s territorial defeat a month earlier.
Six ISIS members killed, west of Mosul: Source
The Falcons Intelligence Cell forces killed six ISIS members, west of Mosul, an official source said.
In a statement, the source said the militants were killed in al-Ayadiya area, west of Mosul, and seized their weapons.
No further details were provided.
ISIS insurgents took control over the city of Mosul in the summer of 2014, until late 2017, when Iraq announced defeating the group.
Iraqi troops find bodies of nine civilians kidnapped, killed by ISIS
Nine civilians abducted and killed by ISIS militants were found by Iraqi troops, near the border with Syria, military sources said.
In press remarks, the sources in the border guard forces said the nine were seized by ISIS while trying to collect truffles in Anbar’s western desert, months ago.
The victim’s bodies were handed over to their families, the sources added.
In December 2017, Iraq declared victory over ISIS, however, the group’s remnants carry out sporadic attacks and kidnappings targeting security forces and civilians in different parts of the country.
Inside the Iraqi courts sentencing foreign ISIS fighters to death
KDP releases deal signed with PUK over election boycott
The Kurdistan Region’s leading party has published the full deal it signed with its main rival, accusing the latter of violating agreed-upon terms following a boycott of last Tuesday’s parliamentary session in which the President of the Kurdistan Region was elected.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), with 45 seats out of the 111-seat parliament, is the largest party in the autonomous Kurdistan Region, followed by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), with 21.
Following last year’s Sept. 30 parliamentary election, the two parties inked several bilateral agreements regarding the formation of the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and its cabinet, the situation in the disputed province of Kirkuk, and governmental posts in Baghdad, but disagreements persist.
On Tuesday, the Kurdistan Parliament held a special session to elect the new President of the Kurdistan Region. Based on agreements the KDP signed with the PUK and Gorran (Change) Movement, members of each party were expected to vote for the KDP candidate, Nechirvan Barzani.
Although Barzani was elected as President, securing 68 votes out of the 81 members who attended, the PUK - in a surprise move - boycotted the session moments before it was set to begin.
In the aftermath of the session and vote, the PUK’s parliamentary faction accused the KDP of violating agreements they had inked regarding the situation in Kirkuk and posts in Baghdad, namely the nomination of a new Kirkuk governor. The KDP has denied those allegations, prompting the release of details of the 18-point agreement.
Iraq's total oil exports rise to 3.572M bpd in May
Iraq's total crude exports increased to an average of 3.572 million barrels per day (bpd) in May, up from 3.466 the previous month, the oil ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
Exports from its southern Basra ports averaged 3.441 million bpd in May, an increase from 3.354 million bpd in April, it said.
Keeping Iraq off the regional fire