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

Tunisair launches direct flights between Kurdistan and Tunisia

The Kurdish Globe reports:

Tunisair announced two direct flights per week to Kurdistan at the first Tunisia ? Kurdistan Economic Forum hosted by the KRG in Erbil.

Tunisian government officials, representatives of more than 50 companies, as well as journalists were among the delegation aboard the first Tunisair flight to arrive in Kurdistan.

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Al-Sadr bloc says to join opposition if Maliki named PM

The World Bulletin reports:

The parliamentary bloc of Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr said Sunday that it would join the opposition if Nouri al-Maliki assumed a third term as prime minister of Iraq.
"Al-Maliki's two previous terms tell us that he will not succeed in a third," Diaa al-Asadi, the secretary-general of al-Sadr's Ahrar bloc, told Anadolu Agency.

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Language barrier cuts between Iraq’s Arabs and Kurds

Agence France-Presse writes:

Ask younger Iraqi Kurds if they speak Arabic, and they often say no, or not well -- a linguistic barrier with the country's Arabs stemming from a nationalist backlash against Saddam Hussein's brutality.

Most Iraqi Arabs do not speak Kurdish either, meaning some members of the country's two largest ethnic groups have no common language.

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Attacks showcase strength of militants in Iraq

W.G. Dunlop reports for AFP:

Three days of major jihadist attacks around Iraq, including on a university, have left dozens dead in a stark display of militant strength and the country's enormous security challenges.

Militants assaulted the city of Samarra, battled security forces in Mosul, took hundreds of hostages at Anbar University in Ramadi and carried out numerous other attacks in Baghdad and elsewhere.

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Iraqi Kurdistan says foreign ties remain strong despite tensions with Baghdad

Asharq Al-Awsat reports:

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) head of foreign relations said on Saturday that the autonomous region’s links with foreign states remained strong, despite worsening tensions with the Iraqi federal government.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, the head of the KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations, Falah Mustafa said: “Our ties with the Arab world are very good,” adding that the region’s policies and positions have been met with “worldwide understanding.”

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Iraqi troops repel ISIS assault on Mosul

Bill Roggio writes for the Long War Journal:

Just one day after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham launched an assault on Samarra and briefly took control of five neighborhoods, the jihadist insurgent group attempted to seize Mosul. Additionally, the ISIS took over Anbar University in Ramadi and held hundreds of students and staff hostage for several hours before retreating.

Yesterday evening, hundreds of ISIS fighters "advanced on Mosul from the northwest and deployed in large numbers in the west of the city," Reuters reported. Three Iraqi soldiers and four policemen were killed in the resulting clashes.



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Bombing on Kurdish party HQ in Iraq kills 18

Reuters reports:

At least 18 people were killed in two blasts at the headquarters of a Kurdish political party in Iraq's ethnically mixed province of Diyala on Sunday, local officials and medics said.

Most of the victims of Sunday's attack were members of the Kurdish security forces who were guarding the office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party in the town of Jalawla, 115 km (70 miles) northeast of Baghdad. "A suicide bomber parked a car packed with explosives near the PUK headquarters and after it went off, he managed to sneak into the building and detonate his vest," said Khorsheed Ahmed, chairman of Jalawla city council.

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Iraq displacement grows as fighting escalates

Lisa Schlein writes for the Voice of America:

The U.N. refugee agency reports growing numbers of Iraqis are fleeing fighting, which is raging in Anbar province. The UNHCR said the deteriorating security situation in this troubled region is making it more difficult for aid agencies to reach those in need Saturday’ s attack by Iraqi militants on Anbar University in the city of Ramadi is the most recent in three days of violence by Islamist extremists.

It follows raids in the cities of Mosul and Samarra. The deadly assault in Ramadi by militants who killed three guards and seized dozens of students as hostages highlights the chaotic situation enveloping Anbar province for months.

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Across Iraq, insurgents show reach with attacks

Kareem Fahim reports for the New York Times:

Militants attacked a university in the western city of Ramadi early Saturday, forcing students and professors to flee gunfire and shelling, while in the capital, at least 48 people were killed by car bombs in an apparently coordinated series of explosions.

It was the third day of surging violence in Iraq. Since Thursday, Sunni militants have conducted a series of lightning attacks in major cities, leaving scores of people dead and the government forces scrambling to recover.

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Iraq dislodges insurgents from city of Samarra with airstrikes

Ghazwan Hassan writes for Reuters:

Iraqi helicopters bombed the city of Samarra after insurgents overran parts of it early on Thursday, bringing them within striking distance of a Shi'ite shrine the destruction of which in a 2006 attack unleashed a bitter sectarian war.

The offensive is part of an escalating conflict between Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim-led government and Sunni Islamist militants who have been regaining momentum in the past year, particularly in the west of the country bordering Syria.

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