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

The daily struggle of Iraq’s widows of war

Aseel Kami report for Reuters:

Halima Dakhil lost her husband in the sectarian slaughter that engulfed Iraq after the U.S. invasion in 2003 and now spends her days tearful and scared, knowing her $250 monthly wage won't pay the rent and feed five children.

One of an estimated 2 million women who are primary breadwinners in Iraq, Dakhil is but one face of the humanitarian crisis left behind as U.S. forces withdraw from Iraq nearly nine years after toppling dictator Saddam Hussein.

Rent takes $210 of her monthly earning as a cleaner in a medical clinic. She depends mainly on the kindness of neighbors and other donors to feed her family.

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Leighton launches barge for oil export expansion project

Leighton Offshore announces in a press release:

Leighton Offshore today launched the newest edition to the fleet, the Leighton MPV-1 cable lay vessel, at the Al Jazeera Port in Ras Al Khaimah.

The MPV -1 will be mobilised to undertake the cable lay scope of the $799m Phase 1 Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project (ICOEEP) currently underway.

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Three policemen killed in armed attack in Mosul

Rezan Ahmed report for AKnews:

Three policemen were killed on Tuesday evening in two separate armed attacks in the volatile city of Mosul, 365 km north of Baghdad.

Insurgent shot dead a traffic policeman near his house while ff duty in Mosul’s al-Karama area before running away, Brig. Gen. Mohammed al-Jubbouri told AKnews.

Separately, insurgents in a speeding car opened fire on two policemen in al-Sukkar area, east of Mosul, killing them immediately.

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With camera, Iraqi boy celebrates life

Dan Zak report for the Washington Post:

The boy angled his camera upward and the jumbled world slid into focus.

Giant men lumbered under high brick ceilings. They slouched on padded wooden benches, crossing and uncrossing their legs, nearly knocking him over. The boy steadied himself to take photos of the bustling scene at the century-old Shahbandar Cafe.

Kamer Hashim’s head barely reached the waistlines of the poets and intellectuals who strode in and out of the sunny, smoky cafe on Mutanabi Street, the book-selling enclave of the Iraqi capital. Kamer was the youngest there by at least 20 years, the smallest by at least a foot, and the least accustomed to digesting the problems of Iraq.

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Once-sensitive US sites to return to Iraqi control

W. G. Dunlop report for AFP:

What were once among the most sensitive US sites in Iraq, including a palace that housed top generals and a bombed-out villa that held Saddam Hussein, will soon be back in Iraqi hands.

US forces are closing down the Victory Base Complex (VBC) on Baghdad's outskirts, a small city that once featured American fast-food chains and was the main base from which the US war in Iraq was run, and are to finish handing it over to the Iraqi government in December.

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Gulf Keystone ups Iraqi oil estimates

Independent oil and gas explorer Gulf Keystone Petroleum revised the reserve estimate at its Shaikan oil discovery in Iraq upward to 10.5 billion barrels.

"This upgrade of the Shaikan mean oil resources from 7.5 (billion) to 10.5 billion of barrels of gross oil-in-place is a result of the increase in the lowest known oil areas for each reservoir," the company said in a statement.

The estimated was calculated by Houston exploration consultant Dynamic Global Advisers and marks the third upgrade since the Shaikan discovery was announced in 2009.

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Op-Ed: Iran Losing Pull In Iraq

From NPR's Talk of the Nation:

All U.S. troops are set to withdraw from Iraq by the end of this 2011, and many believe Iran will move to assert more influence over Baghdad. But Ray Takeyh, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that Iran has already lost Iraq.

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Iraqis stew as officials go to hajj

The Muslim pilgrimage of hajj is a moment of equality before God, with millions massed at Islam’s most revered sites asking for forgiveness of sins. Of course, some are more equal than others.

At VIP tents, Iraqi lawmakers and politicians in their white pilgrim robes enjoyed the luxury of soft red carpets and air conditioning, fruit baskets set up on long tables and two refrigerators with cold water and soft drinks. It’s conveniently right next to the Jamarat, the site of three walls symbolizing the devil that pilgrims lined up to pelt with stones on Monday.

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U.S. empties biggest Iraq base, takes Saddam’s toilet

The U.S. military is vacating Saddam Hussein's ornate palaces at its war headquarters in Baghdad and will turn the property over to Iraq next month, but Saddam's prison toilet is leaving with the Americans.

The stainless steel commode and a reinforced steel door have been removed from the cell where the dictator spent two years before his 2006 execution and is destined for a military police museum in the United States.

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Unemployment in Diyala down due to security gains and govt loans

Local officials in Diyala province say unemployment in the province has dropped to 35% due to improving security situations and government loans.

There were some 120,000 unemployed people in Diyala in 2010, 70,000 of whom hold at least a diploma or BA degree.

An adviser to the governor of Diyala for reconstruction and investment, Rassem al-Agidi claimed that the number of unemployed have dropped from 120,000 to 80,000 in 2011, a 35% decrease from the previous year.

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