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

Kuwait’s Zain says sued for $4.5 billion over Iraq telecom buy

Matt Smith reports for Reuters:

Zain is being sued for $4.5 billion over its 2007 acquisition of an Iraqi telecom operator, the Kuwaiti firm said in a bourse statement on Sunday.

Zain bought Iraqna for $1.2 billion from Orascom Telecom in December 2007 after the Egyptian firm dropped out of the running for a long-term mobile license in Iraq.

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Motor bikers finding their way to Iraqi Kurdistan

Judit Neurink of Rudaw reports:

After attracting hikers and skiers, Iraqi Kurdistan is also going to be the destination for motor bikers. The Dutch travel company Motor Trails that organizes “adventurous motor tours,” will be developing a tour to this new destination.

“We want to see beautiful places that are not touristic, meet people and drive on trails and tracks. We are looking for an element of adventure,” says the company’s owner Marco Brand, during a trial tour in the Kurdistan capital of Erbil.

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Officials: Bomb in Baghdad shopping street kills 3

The Associated Press reports:

Officials in Iraq say a bomb planted on a street full of shoppers in the capital, Baghdad, has killed three people and wounded five.

Police officers say the explosion took place in the capital's predominantly Shiite neighborhood of al-Ameen on Friday morning.

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Sunni discontent fuels growing violence in Iraq’s Anbar province

Alice Fordham reports for National Public Radio:

Violence has reignited in western Iraq, with Islamist fighters taking over much of Anbar province three months ago. A renegade al-Qaida group has set up its headquarters in Fallujah — the city where hundreds of U.S. soldiers died a decade ago, trying to wrest it from insurgent control.

But this time, the enemy isn't the U.S. and it's not just extremists fighting. Ordinary Sunnis in Anbar, furious at what they call years of discrimination by the Shiite-dominated government, have joined the militants' battle against the Iraqi army.

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Vintage 1950s video of Iraq shows how beautiful the country could have been

Hyacinth Mascarenhas writes in PolicyMic:

"At the center of our world lies the Middle East, and at its very heart, the ancient land that is Iraq," begins the narration of Ageless Iraq, one of the 85,000 historic videos uploaded to YouTube by newsreel maker British Pathé.

Directed by Graham Wallace, the vintage video showcases the now war-torn country in the 1950s as a flourishing land that was once "a main junction linking the East and the West."

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Islamist militants kill 30 in attacks around Iraq

Raheem Salman of Reuters reports:

Suspected Sunni Muslim militants killed at least 30 people around Iraq on Thursday including 12 soldiers in an assault on a remote army base in the north, deepening insecurity with a national election just two weeks away.

Sectarian bloodshed has increased since the Shi'ite Muslim-led Baghdad government began an offensive against insurgents, some of them affiliated with al Qaeda, dug in around Falluja and Ramadi in the western province of Anbar.

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Iraqi Kurds entrench political faultline with Syria border ditch

Isabel Coles of Reuters reports:

Iraqi Kurds are digging a 17-km (10-mile) trench on their border with Syria, reinforcing a political faultline between the two rival parties that dominate on either side of the frontier.

Iraqi Kurdish authorities say the ditch, which is approximately 3 meters deep and 2 meters wide, will help reduce smuggling and keep Islamist militants out of their relatively stable region as war grinds on in Syria.

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Ventyx helps Iraq boost grid stability

UtilitiesME reports:

Ventyx, an ABB company, has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Electricity (MOE) in Iraq to provide energy management systems that will help improve grid stability in Iraq.

The agreement is part of an initiative to help build a modern and reliable electricity transmission system for Iraq.

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Iraqi policeman dies shielding recruits, attacks kill 21

Agence France-Presse reports:

An Iraqi policeman sacrificed himself to shield army recruits from a suicide bomber northeast of Baghdad on Thursday, as attacks mainly targeting security personnel killed 21 people nationwide, officials said.

The violence comes as Iraq suffers a protracted surge in bloodshed that has killed more than 2,650 people this year despite wide-ranging security operations against militants.

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Security, jobs top concerns among Iraqis in pre-election polling

Ronald Baygents of the Kuwait News Agency reports:

Security and jobs were the top concerns cited among Iraqis polled earlier this year in a prelude to Iraqi elections later this month, according to Elvis Zutic, resident director of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) Iraq.

Zutic presented findings from the late January NDI poll during a panel presentation on Wednesday at the United States Institute of Peace. The panel topic was "Consolidating Democratic Gains or Cementing Sectarian Divides? Prospects for Iraq's April 30 Elections." The poll, which was broken down among four regions of Iraq — Baghdad, the South, the North and the West — showed that among all Iraqis, 41 percent believed their country was going in the right direction, Zutic said.

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