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

Iraq ranks first among Turkey’s oil imports

Turkish Press reports:

Iraq ranked the first among countries where Turkey imports oil from in 2013 with 32 percent, said Energy Market Regulatory Authority on Thursday.

According to the Regulatory Authority's 2013 Oil Sector Report, Iraq's share in Turkey's oil imports surged from 19 percent to 32 percent in 2013.

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22 killed in separate violent attacks across Iraq

FARS News Agency reports:

Twenty-two people were killed and 24 others wounded in separate violent attacks across Iraq, police and medical sources said.

In Northern Iraq, gunmen broke into a house of a policeman in South of the city of Mosul, and shot dead the policeman, his brother and one of his relatives, before they fled the scene, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

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Iraq’s future looks more like Kurdistan

Marina Ottaway writes for CNN's Global Public Square:

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has emerged as the clear winner of the Iraqi parliamentary elections. His State of Law coalition has won at least 92 seats of the 328 seats in the Council of Representatives, three times as many as the next largest party. In the 2010 elections, in contrast, al-Maliki lost by two seats to Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiyya Party, a coalition of secular Shia and Sunni organizations that has now completely disintegrated.

There is therefore no doubt that al-Maliki will be asked by the president (when parliament can agree on one) to form the new government. In 2010, he had to battle with Allawi for months to get that chance. But putting together a coalition with the needed 164 votes may prove even harder than in 2010, when the process lasted nine months, only coming to an end with an agreement to form a government of national reconciliation in which all parties participated.

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Attacks kill nine as pilgrims converge on Baghdad

Agence France-Presse reports:

Violence in Baghdad and north Iraq killed nine people on Friday as throngs of Shiite pilgrims converged on the Iraqi capital for annual commemoration rituals.

The unrest came amid tight security measures in Baghdad, as Iraq grapples with a protracted surge in bloodshed that has left more than 3,700 people dead so far this year and fulled fears the country is slipping back into all-out conflict.

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Baghdad bombings target Iraq Shia pilgrims

BBC News reports:

At least 24 Shia Muslim pilgrims have been killed in three bombings in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, officials say.

Suicide bombers targeted pilgrims walking along main roads in the western area of Mansour and in Bab al-Sharji, in the city centre, while a car bomb exploded in Urr, an eastern district.

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Tennis in Iraq is a matter of life and death

David Cox reports for Al Jazeera:

In central Baghdad, a stone’s throw away from Firdos Square where Saddam Hussain’s giant bronze bust once stood, lies the upmarket Alwiyah club, one of the city’s main social hubs.

Here the alcohol flows freely, Arabic pop music blares across the well-tended lawns and as many as 1,000 people regularly gather to play chess, bingo and tennis.

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Despite bloody conflict, Iraq’s leader looks likely to keep power

Alice Fordham reports for National Public Radio:

Iraq's election didn't make a huge splash in the U.S., but the results of the April 30 vote were released this week, and the outcome has important ramifications for Iraq and the wider region. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's party came out way ahead.

Iraq has faded from the American radar, but it saw nearly a decade of U.S. military operations. And it's sandwiched between Syria, where a civil war is raging, and Iran, where nuclear negotiations are at a critical juncture.

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U.S. State Department security message to U.S. citizens

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad released the following security message:

The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens that Iraq remains at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence. Recent reports indicate that militant groups may be surveilling U.S. citizens for possible kidnapping operations, particularly oil company employees working in Basrah Province, Iraq. The groups may be focused on U.S. citizens at hotels in the Basrah area. We encourage all U.S. citizens to review the existing travel warning for Iraq and take appropriate measures to ensure their safety if travel to Iraq is necessary.

U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad should enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate General Erbil. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.

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Iraq’s Maliki seeks new premiership amid challenge by rivals

Khalid Al-Ansary and Nayla Razzouk:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is seeking to form a broad alliance to govern his oil-rich nation as rivals -- including some within his own coalition -- challenge his bid for a third term.

Maliki will start talks with “all political blocs in the next few days to form a broad national coalition for the new government,” said Khalid al-Asadi, a lawmaker from Maliki’s State of Law parliamentary faction. “The election results showed a big victory for State of Law and this enables it to name its candidate for the premiership, who is Maliki.”

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Infighting a boon to Iraq bonds as cash pile swells

Nayla Razzouk reports for Bloomberg Businessweek:

An unintended consequence of Iraq’s political strife is cheaper borrowing costs for the government.

The yield on Iraq’s January 2028 bond tumbled 101 basis points this year to 6.64 percent today, within three basis points of the lowest since March 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bond has returned 13 percent in the period, more than twice the average for dollar-denominated sovereign bonds from the Middle East’s OPEC members.

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