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

Basra oil fields circa 1950s

The Guardian releases:

British Pathé archive footage shows downtown Basra and the surrounding oilfields from 1952. A British-Iraqi delegation comes to inspect the fields and open the Basra Petroleum Company's newly constructed oil pipelines.

Officials then attend a celebratory lunch and footage on the modern drilling process is captured. Officials then attend a celebratory lunch.

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Ex-ConocoPhillips Iraq head to run Wyo. geo

The Associated Press reports:

Gov. Matt Mead has named a former ConocoPhillips official in Iraq as Wyoming's new state geologist.

Tom Drean was previously ConocoPhillips' president for Iraq. He replaces Wallace Ulrich as head of the agency that oversees geological data for the state.

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Iraq war draws to a quiet close

Liz Sly and Craig Whitlock report for The Washington Post:

The American war in Iraq came to an unspectacular end Thursday at a simple ceremony held on the edge of Baghdad’s international airport, not far from the highway along which U.S. troops first fought their way into the capital more than eight years ago.

No senior Iraqi government officials showed up for the event, though the name tags attached to two chairs in the front row indicated American hopes that they might. One was labeled for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the other for President Jalal Talabani.

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Junkyard Gives Up Secret Accounts of Massacre in Iraq

Michael S. Schmidt reports for The New York Times:

The 400 pages of interrogations, once closely guarded as secrets of war, were supposed to have been destroyed as the last American troops prepare to leave Iraq. Instead, they were discovered along with reams of other classified documents, including military maps showing helicopter routes and radar capabilities, by a reporter for The New York Times at a junkyard outside Baghdad. An attendant was burning them as fuel to cook a dinner of smoked carp.

The documents — many marked secret — form part of the military’s internal investigation, and confirm much of what happened at Haditha, a Euphrates River town where Marines killed 24 Iraqis, including a 76-year-old man in a wheelchair, women and children, some just toddlers.

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Iraq war wounds still fresh for Falluja

Jack Healy reports for The New York Times:

They came on Wednesday to bury the war: clerics and sheiks, children and widows from across this scarred city. In the shadow of an overpass, they waved banners, burned an American flag, displayed photos of their dead and shouted well-worn denunciations of departing American forces.

Once an inner ring of Iraq’s wartime inferno, Falluja is only too eager to say goodbye to nearly nine shattering years of raids, bombings and house-to-house urban combat. At least 200 American troops were killed in this city. Untold thousands of Iraqis died, civilians and insurgents who are mourned equally as martyrs.

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Iraq’s Shiites in no mood to embrace Iran

Liz Sly reports for The Washington Post:

When a senior Iranian cleric announced last month that he was planning to move to this holy Shiite city to open an office, the furor that erupted offered a glimpse into the future of a complicated relationship.

As American troops leave Iraq, Iran certainly ranks high among the beneficiaries of their nearly nine-year presence. As a Shiite power that suffered enormously during an eight-year war with a Sunni-dominated Iraq in the 1980s, Iran now can generally count on closer ties with a friendly Shiite government next door.

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Stolen royal plates returned to Iraq

Chris Boyette reports for CNN:

The U.S. Attorney's office has announced the return of 19 pieces of stolen plates and china once belonging to Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Kingdom's King Faisal II and the Royal Family to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Iraq to the United Nations.

According to New York authorities, the dishware was illegally imported into the United States and sold on Ebay.

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US battle flag no longer flying in Iraq

Julian E. Barnes and Nathan Hodge report for The Wall Street Journal:

After nearly nine years of war, tens of thousands of casualties—including 4,500 dead—and more than $800 billion spent, the U.S. military on Thursday formally ended its mission in Iraq and prepared to leave the country.

For years, commanders in Iraq have handed off to their successors the top call sign, Lion 6, along with the American battle flag adorned with a Mesopotamian sphinx. But on Thursday, in a tradition-drenched ceremony with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta looking on, the current Lion 6, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, pulled down the colors and cased them for a return to the U.S.

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Constitution suffers in regionalism debate

Reidar Visser writes in Iraq and Gulf Analysis:

We already have a pretty confused federalism debate in Iraq after the recent surge of interest in federalism among some Sunni local politicians. Both opponents and proponents of new federal regions are making up their own rules and are paying scant attention to the laws on the books.

Enter the concept of “disputed territories”. With emerging federalism projects in Diyala and longstanding Kurdish claims to portions of that governorate – notably Khanaqin – ever more complex situations seem to come on the agenda in Iraq. The Kurds now claim they have supported the federalism request in the governorate council on the provision that Khanaqin will be kept separate and will be annexed to the Kurdistan Regional Government.

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Air defense gap before F-16s

Nathan Hodge reports for The Wall Street Journal:

The White House is pointing to a proposed sale of F-16 fighter jets to Iraq as a sign of a deepening security partnership, though delivery of the aircraft is a few years away, and Iraq's fighter pilots are still learning to fly.

That means Iraq will be left with a gap in its defenses after the departure this month of the last U.S. forces stationed in the nation.

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