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

ISIS have created an entire fake passport ‘industry’ using documents stolen in Iraq

The Daily Mail reports:

ISIS has formed an entire 'industry' out of making fake passports stolen in IraqSyria and Libya, officials in France have warned. The French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve made the claim as he argued for the creation of a special task force to travel to Greece to help clamp down on stolen or fake passports. At least two of the ISIS extremists who launched a murderous attack in Paris in November used established migrant routes through Europe pretending to be refugees and using Syrian passports.

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Iraq, Syria call for united stance against terror

Press TV reports:

Iraq and Syria Tuesday called for more cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism, saying the Arab neighbors are required to work closely in the ongoing fight against groups like Daesh and al-Qaeda. Iraqi President Fouad Massoum said through joint efforts, Iraq and Syria could facilitate their way to victory against terror groups which have been wreaking havoc in some territories of the two countries.

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U.S. military changes how it discloses civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria

Dan Lamothe writes for the Washington Post:

As the U.S. military prepares to expand its operations against the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria, it has altered how and when it discloses sensitive information about when it kills civilians with airstrikes.

In recent days, U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East from its headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., announced the results of investigations into 10 airstrikes “alleged to have resulted in civilian casualties and determined to be credible.” The first five were announced Jan. 15, and the second five were disclosed a week later. In each case, military officials released just a sentence or two of information.

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The world’s tallest building is planned for… Iraq

Anmar Frangoul writes for CNBC:

Designs and plans have been drawn up for the world's tallest building. Its location? Basra, in the south of Iraq. Designed by architecture practice AMBS and described as a "beacon for Iraq's future," at its highest point the proposed Bride will stand at 1,152 meters. The construction will be made of four conjoined towers, the tallest of which, Tower 1, will stand 964 meters high, with a 188 meter high antenna.

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Authorities say up to 1,000 Tajiks joined IS In Syria, Iraq

Radio Free Europe reports:

Tajik authorities say up to 1,000 nationals have joined Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and Iraq, doubling the figure that officials previously provided. Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda told reporters on January 25 that 61 Tajik nationals had returned from Syria and Iraq, while 148 had been killed in fighting there.

Earlier, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said 21 university students were among Tajiks who joined IS. Rahmon said mosques and other religious institutions both at home and abroad play a role in recruiting people to extremist groups.

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US, Turkey agree on Iraq, Syria border, split on PYD

Deniz Zeyrek writes for Hurriyet Daily News:

Turkey and the United States are singing the same tune on a number of key regional issues including a Turkish military camp on Iraqi soil and the total closure of a key stretch of the Turkish border with Syria, but they remain in disagreement over the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria, following an official visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to Turkey.

Washington recognized the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey was as much of a threat to Ankara as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Biden said.

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Iraq agrees $328 million GE deal to boost electricity grid

Ahmed Rasheed reports for Reuters :

Iraq has agreed a $328.8 million deal with General Electric (GE.N) to boost electricity production capacity by 1,000 megawatts (MW), an electricity ministry spokesman said on Monday.

Though Iraq is a major OPEC oil producer, the country faces chronic electricity shortages, with its fragile grid struggling meet demand after years of war, sanctions and neglect. Many areas lack access to electricity or drinking water, prompting demonstrations by thousands of Iraqis last year to press the government to improve delivery of essential services. GE will provide equipment and maintenance for 10 power plants across the country, ministry spokesman Musab al-Mudaris told Reuters.

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Saudi Arabia and Iraq – cooperation or a threat?

Tariq Alhomayed writes for Asharq Al-Awsat:

In an interview published in this newspaper on Saturday, the Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled Al-Obaidi said that Iraq’s current government “has announced its political favouritism by opening up to all Arab brothers without exceptions”. The minister specifically talked about Saudi Arabia saying that it is “an important country that has a place in the Arab, Islamic, regional and international community. We need to help it, and if we received an invitation to visit the kingdom, we are ready to respond to it and meet our Saudi brothers and leaders. Certainly, Saudi’s cooperation with us will have a significant impact on the fight against ISIS”.

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Iraq summons Saudi envoy over comments on Iran-backed militias

Reuters reports:

Iraq summoned the new Saudi ambassador on Sunday after he suggested Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias were exacerbating sectarian tensions and should leave the fight against Islamic State to the Iraqi army and official security forces. Baghdad's move underscores the depth of enmity between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslim powers as sectarian conflicts rage in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Riyadh only reopened its embassy in Baghdad last month, shut down since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

In an interview with Iraq's al-Sumaria TV on Saturday, Saudi envoy Thamer al-Sabhan criticized the Hashid Shaabi, a coalition of mostly Iranian-backed Shi'ite paramilitary groups seen as a bulwark against the Sunni militants of Islamic State whose rise has inflamed sectarian tensions in Shi'ite-majority Iraq.

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Appeasing Iran hurts us in Iraq, too

Max Boot and Michael Pregent write in the Washington Post :

President Obama, fresh off the implementation of the nuclear accord and a prisoner swap, may want to believe that Iran is, as he suggested to NPR a year ago while discussing what it would take to get a deal done, now on its way to becoming “a very successful regional power” that will abide “by international norms and international rules.” This flies in the face of Iran’s long record of making war on Americans, using the same tactics time after time.

On Jan. 20, 2007, a dozen or so Iraqi militants wearing military uniforms and driving black GMC Suburbans drove into the Karbala provincial government headquarters in a brazen attempt to kidnap U.S. soldiers. One U.S. soldier died in a gun battle. Four others were seized by the attackers and murdered during the course of a pursuit by U.S. forces.

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