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

Biden visit to set post-war relations

Mark Landler reports for The New York Times:

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived here on Tuesday for a visit meant to inaugurate a new relationship between the United States and Iraq, just weeks before the last American troops are scheduled to leave the country.

Landing after nightfall in a military transport plane, a mode of arrival that American officials hope will soon seem like a relic of a distant era, Mr. Biden came with an agenda that included new areas of cooperation in trade and diplomacy, as well as traditional security concerns.

Mr. Biden’s unannounced trip to Iraq is laden with symbolism — a farewell to arms, but also a call for two countries linked by bloodshed to begin dealing with each other in the normal language of diplomacy.

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Baghdad ranked last for city living standards

Peter Woodifield reports for Bloomberg:

Vienna has the best quality of life among more than 220 cities around the world, according to a report published by Mercer. Baghdad has the worst as well as being the most dangerous place to live.

European cities dominate the rankings, with only two cities outside Europe, Auckland and Vancouver, in the top 10, said Mercer, the consulting unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos. (MMC) European cities, headed by Luxembourg, also take the top seven places for personal safety.

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Iraqi Museum reopens

Scott Peterson reports for The Christian Science Monitor:

With a snip of red ribbon, a new exhibit opened Nov. 17 at the Iraqi Museum, providing one more sign that Iraq is leaving behind the worst horrors of war and creating a new normal.

"You know what we have been through, and it was very dangerous," says Shaimaa, an archaeologist who has worked at the museum since 1999. "So many things are happening that convince us things are changing for the better."

Among them is the reemergence of her beloved museum, after being devastated by looting early in the war.

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Biden in surprise Iraq trip

Rebecca Santana reports for The Associated Press:

Vice President Joe Biden arrived on a surprise visit to Iraq late Tuesday in a trip designed to chart a new relationship between the two countries after all American forces have left the country in just over a month.

After nearly nine years of war, the U.S. now must navigate a future without American troops in Iraq. But Iraq's vast oil resources, the massive U.S. Embassy presence here and Iraq's strategic location in the Middle East — next to Iran — ensure American interest will remain high in Iraq even after the troops are gone.

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Covering Iraq with NYT Baghdad bureau chief

NPR's Fresh Air interview with NYT Baghda bureau chief Tim Arango:

In October, President Obama announced that most U.S. troops would be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, after negotiations with Iraqi leaders failed to extend the troops' presence. Only Marine embassy guards and liaison troops will stay behind in the country, where more than a million troops, in total, have served over the past eight years.

On Tuesday's Fresh Air, Tim Arango, the Baghdad bureau chief for The New York Times, shares some personal stories from his time covering the war. He also talks about what the troop withdrawal means for the future of Iraq, where sectarian violence and insurgency attacks continue to wreak havoc on civilians.

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Lufthansa wins Iraq airport consulting job

Trade Arabia reports:

Lufthansa Consulting, a leading aviation and management consulting company, has won a contract from the Iraqi government to evaluate the ground handling requirements at the country's major airports.

Announcing this on Tuesday, Iraqi Minister of Transport Hadi Al-Amiri said as per the deal, Lufthansa Consulting will optimise ground handling services at Baghdad, the capital’s main airport and the country's main international gateway besides Basra and Mosul.

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Pres. Talabani to meet with Salahaddin delegation

Alsumaria TV news reports:

Salahaddin provincial council announced, on Monday, that a provincial delegation headed to Baghdad to meet with Iraq President Jalal Talabani to discuss the region’s establishment.

The visit was set to ask the president to protect constitution’s clauses, the council indicated noting that Salahaddin citizens wish for their region’s formation without having to force it.

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New wave of bombings

Jack Healy reports for The New York Times:

A yellow taxi loaded with explosives blew up at the crowded front gates of a prison north of Baghdad on Monday morning, killing at least 13 people, many of them security guards or civilians waiting to visit jailed family members.

It was the third attack in less than a week and the latest in a deadly streak that has killed about 50 Iraqis and further highlighted fears of increased insurgent attacks as the United States continues its military withdrawal from Iraq by the end of next month.

Later in the day, inside the fortified heart of Iraq’s governing complex, another explosion apparently aimed at assassinating the speaker of Parliament wounded a lawmaker and several security guards.

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Norway gives to UN Iraq civil society program

The UN in Iraq announced in a statement (pdf):

The Government of Norway today signed an agreement worth $345,000 with the United Nations Development Program for its Family Support, Justice and Security Program. The funding will be used to enhance the capacities of Iraqi civil society organizations to provide legal assistance to vulnerable communities in Iraq, with a particular focus on women and children survivors of gender based violence as well as early and forced marriages.

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Turkey looks to Iraq trade amidst Syria violence

Elizabeth A. Kennedy reports for The Associated Press:

Turkey said Tuesday it will consider using Iraq as an alternative transit route for trade with the Middle East, cutting out Syria entirely as Damascus faces broad economic sanctions over its deadly crackdown on an 8-month-old uprising.

Syria has been a main transit route for Middle East trade, which Damascus hopes will help cushion the effects of tough new sanctions from the Arab League and Turkey. On Monday, Syria warned that Damascus could use its strategic location to inflict economic damage of its own.

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