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

Maliki orders Army to ban unauthorized demonstrations in Salahuddin

Alsumeria News reports:

Iraq Army 4th division positioned in Tikrit received an order from General Commander of the Armed Forces Nuri Al Maliki stipulating to ban demonstrations in the province if they don’t have an authorization from Iraq Ministry of Interior, a military source in Salahuddin Province revealed to Alsumaria news.

This command allows the army’s 4th division to ban demonstrations that did not seek authorization from the Interior Ministry, the same source added. Thus this command withdraws the power to issue demonstration authorizations from the local governor and takes away the right to deal with demonstrations and to secure the same from police forces.

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Iraq arrests more in wake of tip about coup

Andrew E. Kramer reports for the New York Times:

The government of Iraq continued to respond vigorously on Monday to a tip from the new interim leaders in Libya that former members of Saddam Hussein’s military and Baath Party were plotting a coup — so much so that critics are now saying that the information has become a pretext for arresting its political opponents.

As the overwhelming majority of high-ranking Baathists were Sunnis, the mass arrests by the Shiite-controlled government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is fanning sectarian tensions, just six weeks before the United States military is scheduled to withdraw its last soldiers.

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Iraq declines regional military training

AFP reports:

IRAQ has declined offers from Turkey and Iran to train its forces, after the failure of negotiations with the US on a post-2011 training mission, a high-ranking Iraqi official said today.

"Tehran and Ankara offered to train Iraqi forces, but we did not accept either due to the sensitivity of the situation," the official in the prime minister's office told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"We cannot accept one state without another," said the official. "We prefer that the file of training the forces be outside the framework of neighbouring countries."

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Iraq oil exports 2.088m bpd in October

Reuters reports:

Iraq’s oil exports were 2.088 million barrels per day in October versus 2.101 million bpd in September, the head of the State Oil Marketing Organization said.

Exports were 1.628 million bpd from the southern oil hub of Basra and 460,000 bpd from the northern fields around Kirkuk, which included 8,000 bpd sent overland by truck to Jordan, SOMO chief Falah Alamri said.

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WesternZagros sells first oil from KRG

WesternZagros announces in a press release:

WesternZagros Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:WZR) ("WesternZagros" or "the Company") has received payment for its first sale of crude oil to the domestic market in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. First oil production from the Sarqala-1 extended well test was achieved on October 18, 2011, and first lifting occurred by truck today.

"Production start-up marks a new chapter in the Company's history, as WesternZagros takes its first steps to become an exploration and production company, rather than a pure exploration company," said Simon Hatfield, Chief Executive Officer of WesternZagros. "We are appreciative of the process established by the Kurdistan Regional Government's Ministry of Natural Resources, which requires pre-payment directly to WesternZagros for the contracted volumes. We also appreciate the close coordination with the Ministry in starting the test. Thanks to the diligence of our in-country operations personnel, the start-up was conducted in a safe, responsible manner and ahead of schedule."

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Iraq economic growth to rise to 9 percent in 2012

Aseel Kami reports for Reuters:

Iraq’s gross domestic product growth should rise to 9 percent in 2012 from around 6 percent currently, mainly driven by an expected increase in oil production and exports, a senior central bank official said on Sunday.

Iraq has some of the world’s largest oil reserves and is currently producing about 2.9 million barrels per day (bpd). High oil prices have helped the country earn billions of dollars more than projected this year.

“It will easily jump to 9 percent next year, it will not be difficult. If production and exports in the oil sector rise, it is possible to reach that figure,” Mudher Kasim, a deputy governor of Iraq’s Central Bank, told Reuters in an interview.

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Gulf Keystone spuds Shaikan-5 appraisal well reports:

Gulf Keystone has spudded the Shaikan-5 appraisal well in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Shaikan-5 is the third deep appraisal well to be drilled on the company's major oil discovery with independently audited gross oil-in-place volumes of between 4.9 billion barrels and 10.8 billion barrels calculated on the P90 to P10 basis with a mean value of 7.5 billion barrels.

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Iraq can’t defend itself fully before 2020, says general

Jim Loney reports for Reuters:

Iraq's defense chief has said his military will not be fully ready to defend Iraq from external threats until 2020 to 2024, according to a U.S. inspector's report released on Sunday.

Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari has repeatedly warned that Iraq's security forces, rebuilt after the 2003 invasion that ousted strongman Saddam Hussein, would not be ready for years.

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Maliki lashes out at Sunni province seeking autonomy

Laith Hammoudi reports for McClatchy:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Saturday lashed out at politicians seeking regional status for the mostly Sunni Salahuddin province, charging that they were seeking a "safe house for Baathists," the banned party of the late dictator Saddam Hussein.

Al-Maliki spoke two days after the provincial council in Tikrit, Hussein's birthplace, voted 20-0, with eight members not present, to declare Salahuddin a region of Iraq. The province, north of Baghdad, would be only the second designated region in Iraq, after Kurdistan, but other Sunni provinces may follow suit.

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Iraq violence kills five

AFP Reports:

Attacks across Iraq killed five people, including two brothers shot at a family jewellery store, security officials said on Saturday.

In the deadliest incident, gunmen broke into a jewellery store in the town of Al-Hafriyah, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) southeast of the capital, and killed two teenage brothers who were opening it before their father's arrival.

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