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

Israel, U.S. import disputed oil from Iraqi Kurdistan

Julia Payne and Ron Bousso of Reuters report:

Israeli and U.S. oil refineries have joined the growing list of customers for crude from Iraqi Kurdistan, a region locked in a bitter struggle with the central government in Baghdad that says the sales are illegal.

The United States imported its first crude cargo from the region two weeks ago while at least four have gone to Israel since January, ship tracking and industry sources said, after two were shipped there last summer.

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Kurdistan rejects report on oil sales to Israel, U.S.

Rudaw reports:

Kurdish officials rejected on Thursday a report by Reuters that the Kurdistan Region had sold shipments of oil to Israel and the US.

“Those places mentioned in (Reuter's) report have not been sold even a drop of oil,” said an official source from KRG's Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

Reuter wrote that Kurdish oil has been sold via the Turkish Powertrans to Israel’s Oil Refineries Limited's (ORL) and that some oil shipments had reached refineries in Houston, Texas.

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Iraq militants attack Baghdad court, kill prisoners

Agence France-Presse reports:

Militants killed 10 people in an assault on a Baghdad court involving suicide bombers and shot dead five army officers in attacks Thursday amid a surge of post-election violence.

The attacks were the worst in unrest that left 20 people dead nationwide, part of a protracted spike in bloodshed as officials tally votes from Iraq's April 30 parliamentary election.

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Maliki calls on army and police to continue efforts in Anbar

Hamza Mustafa of Asharq al-Awsat reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki has called on the security forces to stand firm in battles with militants in Anbar, amid criticism of the government’s handling of the crisis in Iraq’s largest province.

In his weekly address on Wednesday, Maliki said soldiers and police should ignore “disorderly voices” in the fighting to reclaim the city of Fallujah, which the government has been attempting to recapture from insurgents for five months. Those “voices” appeared to include members of the Al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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Iraq arrests 6 ‘wanted’ militants in Anbar

Suleiman al-Qubeisi of Turkish Press:

Local police in Iraq's violence-wracked Anbar province arrested six wanted "terrorists," a top security official said Thursday.

"Local police were able to capture six wanted terrorists based on specific intelligence," police Chief Ismail al-Mahalawi told Anadolu Agency.

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Pentagon announces $1 billion deal with Iraq

Marcus Weisgerber reports for Army Times:

The Pentagon has cleared a nearly $1 billion package of aircraft trainers, surveillance aerostats and up-armored Humvees for the Iraqi military.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress Tuesday that the State Department approved the sale.

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Car bomb, suicide attack in Baghdad kill at least 11

Sinan Salaheddin of The Associated Press reports:

A car bomb and a suicide bomber struck on Thursday in a bustling area in downtown Baghdad, killing at least 11 people and wounding 33, officials said.

The first explosion was from an explosives-laden car left in a parking lot in Karrada, a busy commercial area where several government offices are also located, as well as courts and a hospital.

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Ross Perot Jr.’s company hits oil in Iraq

James Osborne reports for the Dallas Morning News:

HKN Energy, Ross Perot Jr.’s oil company, announced Wednesday it had made a commercial oil discovery in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

HKN, a subsidiary of Hillwood International Energy, is one of a fleet of oil companies drilling in Kurdistan since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. The company said it plans to begin production by the end of May on two wells that so far have shown production levels of 25,000 barrels of a day.

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Al-Qaida’s new homebrew crypto apps may make U.S. intel-gathering easier

Dan Goodin reports for Ars Technica:

Terrorists loyal to al Qaeda and its offshoots are using new encryption software, most likely in response to revelations that the National Security Agency is able to bypass standard cryptographic protections as part of an expansive surveillance program, according to a recently released report from intelligence firm Recorded Future.

The three new major encryption tools were adopted within a three- to five-month period following leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, according to the report. The apps replace or bolster the original Mujahideen Secrets crypto program that al Qaeda members have mainly used for e-mail since 2007. One of the new releases, known as Tashfeer al-Jawwal, is a mobile program developed by the Global Islamic Media Front and released in September. A second, Asrar al-Ghurabaa, was released by the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham in November, around the same time the group broke away from the main al Qaeda group following a power struggle. The third program is known as Amn al-Mujahid and was released in December by that Al-Fajr Technical Committee.

 

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Barzani appears to rebuff peace overtures by Maliki

Harvey Morris reports for Rudaw:

Massoud Barzani, the Kurdistan Region president, appeared to rebuff recent overtures from Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki when he this week accused the Shiite politician of taking the country towards totalitarianism.

In remarks that might be read as a response to peace feelers from Mr. Maliki after months of deteriorating relations between Erbil and Baghdad, Barzani said: “The authorities in Baghdad want to control everything ... It is not acceptable to us. We want to be partners; we don't want to be subjects."

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