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

The Great Escape

Raheem Salman and Ned Parker report for Foreign Policy:

On July 21, the temperature spiked to a sweltering 107 degrees in Baghdad - brutal heat for the guards and prisoners inside Abu Ghraib's cement confines. Outside, among a patchwork of green farmland and dry brown fields, federal police and army troops - packing AK-47s, PKC machine guns and sniper rifles - were positioned throughout the terrain, which is dotted with Sunni farms and villages where insurgents had once launched a guerrilla war against U.S. troops. Within the walls of the infamous prison, the guards - armed only with pepper spray and clubs - were the last line of defense from would-be assailants.

At around 9 p.m. that night, as detainees were being counted on the way back to their cells after dinner, the mortars began to fall.

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Shooting, bombings kill 15 across Iraq

Sameer N Yacoub reports for the Associated Press:

A series of attacks across Iraq on Sunday killed 15 people, including a random shooting and the killing of a judge, authorities said.

Violence has been on the rise in Iraq all year, but the number of attacks against civilians and security forces has spiked during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began early last month. The surge in the bloodshed is raising fears of a return to the widespread killing that pushed the country to the brink of civil war after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

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Iraq suffers power crisis as temperatures soar

Ali Abel Sadah reports for Al-Monitor:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has admitted to a “defect and stupidity” in the contracts signed by Iraqi officials with international companies to improve his country's power distribution.

On July 23, in a Baghdad meeting with economic affairs experts broadcast by Iraqi satellite channels, Maliki said that he had “formed a committee to investigate the failure of Iraqi officials specialized in electricity.” He charged, “They were giving me wrong numbers. They said that Iraqis are getting 30,000 MW [megawatts] and that this amount exceeds their needs and can be exported abroad.”

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Bombings and shooting kill 8 across Iraq

The Associated Press reports:

Authorities say bombings and a drive-by shooting have killed eight people across Iraq.

Police officials said gunmen in a car killed two off-duty policemen near the northern city of Mosul on Saturday.

In the central Iraqi city of Tikrit, police say a roadside bomb explosion killed a father and his son.

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Iraq seeks to promote tourism despite deadly violence

Prashant Rao reports for Agence-France Presse:

As it trundles down busy roads, the minibus packed with tourists would be unremarkable except for two things—its passengers are Westerners and the city they are in is Baghdad.

Iraq is no stranger to tourism, with countless pilgrims visiting its religious shrines, but now the country that touts itself as the "cradle of civilization" also wants a different kind of visitor.

Though almost entirely dependent on oil exports for government income, Iraq does play host to millions of Shiite Muslim pilgrims annually who visit its multiple shrines and holy sites, from Samarra in the north to Basra in the south.

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AQI’s “Breaking the walls” campaign achieves its objectives

Jessica Lewis writes for the Institute for the Study of War:

Al Qaeda in Iraq’s attack upon Abu Ghraib prison on July 21, 2013 constitutes a significant campaign victory for the extremist group. The emir of AQI announced that this attack was the culmination of the “Breaking the Walls” campaign that he launched in July 2012.

This attack demonstrates not only the tactical capabilities of AQI, but also its ability to plan, resource, and execute a year-long campaign that has significantly increased the operational depth of the organization. Al Qaeda in Iraq is now setting the terms of battle in Iraq for the first time since 2006, before the Surge.

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Iraq violence kills 10 as Qaeda claims attacks

Agence France-Presse reports:

Violence in Iraq killed 10 people on Tuesday, among them seven police, officials said, as an Al-Qaeda front group claimed a wave of attacks that killed dozens the day before.

The country is witnessing its worst violence since 2008, when it was emerging from a bloody sectarian conflict.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Monday for Iraqi political leaders to bring the country "back from the brink," and the interior ministry warned of civil war.

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Iraq security force outmatched as ‘open war’ returns

Suadad al-Salhy reports for Reuters:

The prison guards were counting inmates after the evening meal at Abu Ghraib jail when suddenly the lights went out. By the time they realized what was going on, the biggest combat operation by Iraqi insurgents in five years was under way.

Prisoners set clothes on fire and rioted inside the jail. Militants attacked it from outside with rocket-propelled grenades. A suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives blasted his way through the main gate.

When security forces backed by helicopter gunships finally regained control early the following morning, more than 500 convicts, among them senior al Qaeda operatives, were on the run, eliciting an international alert from Interpol which described the jailbreak as a major threat to global security.

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Wave of car bombings target Iraqi Shi’ites

Kareem Raheem reports for Reuters:

Seventeen car bombs exploded in Iraq on Monday, killing at least 55 people in predominantly Shi'ite areas in some of the deadliest violence since Sunni insurgents including al Qaeda stepped up attacks this year.

Police and medical sources said the attacks, which appeared to be coordinated, were concentrated on towns and cities in Iraq's predominantly Shi'ite south, and districts of the capital where Shi'ites reside.

The car bomb attacks in busy streets and crowded markets underscore deteriorating security in Iraq, where nearly 4,000 people have been killed since the start of the year, according to violence monitoring group Iraq Body Count.

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US poised to sell Iraq $2 bn in military equipment

Agence France-Presse reports:

The Pentagon has informed the US Congress of a possible sale of $2 billion worth of military equipment to Iraq, officials said Friday.

Lawmakers, notified Thursday, have 30 days to raise any objections to the plan, which consists of three contracts.

The first includes 12 Bell 412 EP helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support totalling an estimated $300 million.

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