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

Kirkuk’s historic stone bridge gets restored

Authorities in Kirkuk province have restored a historic landmark in Kirkuk city that was damaged more than five decades ago.

The 1875 stone bridge, which leads to one of the historic Kirkuk citadel’s gates, was constructed during Ottoman times under Nafiz Pasha, the ruler of Kirkuk. It was severely damaged in 1954.

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Parliament committee recommends re-formation of pro-govt militias

Yazn al-Shammari report for AKnews:

The Iraqi Parliament’s security and defense committee recommended the re-formation of pro-government militias to maintain security and fight local insurgent groups, says Kurdish member of the committee Shwan Mohammed Taha.

The recommendation comes as the country is witnessing a surge in the armed actions in the capital Baghdad and several other provinces.

“The Awakening Council forces had a great role in facing the armed groups and contributed to maintaining security throughout Iraq.” Says Taha, “We support the reformation of these forces… as the security situation is seeing deterioration.”

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MP reports embezzlement in Najaf project

Mohammed Tayyeb report for AKnews:

There is a case of 'serious fraud' in a project intended for Najaf City, an Iraqi MP warned today.

Hussein Sharifi, who is a member of Tourism and Archeology Committee in parliament, told AKnews the case involved is the construction of a three-floor building for which 100 billion Iraqi dinar (US$85 million) has been allocated while the project requires only 4b IQ (US$3.4 million).

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German truck maker MAN in $14m Iraq venture

Reuters reports:

German truck and bus maker MAN has signed a 10 million euro ($14 million) deal with Iraqi firm Numoor Al-Bararry to manufacture commercial trucks in Baghdad, the managing director of MAN’s representative in Iraq said.

Under the contract, the two companies will establish an assembly line and maintenance workshop, said Peter Mayr, managing director of Terramar Company, which represents MAN.

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Image of peril hides Baghdad’s charm

Hadeel al Sayegh report for the National:

Iraq is not the first country that comes to mind as a top-10 travel destination after more than eight years of war there. A stream of bad news over the years has kept most people away.

But Baghdad, the capital, is experiencing an influx of business professionals as foreign companies such as Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum make major investments in the country.

For those brave enough to wander beyond a company's compound and with enough time to explore the city between meetings, Al Mutanabbi Street, which is named after the 10th-century poet Abu Tayib Al Mutanabbi, is a good place to see. This area is known as the heart and soul of the Baghdad intellectual community, and many publishing houses, printing companies and bookstores have their main offices there.

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Iraq factions spar over security force

Sam Dagher report for the Wall Street Journal:

A struggle between Iraq's political factions is sowing divisions in the country's security forces just weeks before the last U.S. troops depart, as Iraqis rely on a unified force to hold the country together and suppress extremist violence.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a member of the majority Shiite sect, has in recent weeks accelerated measures to purge the Iraqi forces of anyone who served in the intelligence and security services of the former Sunni-led regime of Saddam Hussein.

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U.S. pullout leaves Iraqi interpreters out on limb

entire story:

An Iraqi identified only as Tariq writes in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times:

I am an Iraqi citizen who worked as an interpreter with the U.S. military for two years. It was an honor to serve, and I did it because I believed that bringing freedom to Iraq required brave people to stand up and try to make a difference. Now, as a result of my service, I find myself in a dangerous limbo.

...

My fellow interpreters and I were promised by the U.S. government that special visas would be made available for us to move to the United States if our lives were put in danger by our work for the military. Congress backed up that promise by passing a law setting aside 5,000 such "special immigrant visas" per year for Iraqis.

But the process is broken. The program is going so slowly, it is barely a program at all. In August, according to American news reports, a mere 10 visas were issued, and that is typical.

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Anbar governor escapes assassination

Sameer N. Yacoub report for the Associated Press:

Police say the governor of Iraq's largest Sunni province has escaped an assassination attempt on a highway in a former insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad.

Iraqi police say the governor of Anbar province, Qasim al-Fahadawi, escaped unhurt Monday morning after a roadside bomb hit his motorcade as it headed to Baghdad.

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Kuwait official rebuffs US post-withdrawal troop shift

The Associated Press reports:

A top Kuwaiti official has thrown doubt on American proposals to station at least 4,000 additional soldiers in the Gulf nation following the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq at the end of the year.

Sheik Jaber Al Mubarak Al Sabah, who is also defense minister, was quoted Sunday as saying there is no plan to increase U.S. troop levels in the country.

It was not immediately clear whether this was Kuwait’s final word to the Pentagon or a suggestion that nothing is yet resolved and negotiations are in progress. The reference to the issue of U.S. troops was mentioned as part of a lengthy statement on a variety of issues.

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Bombs kill 8 in Baghdad market

Bushra Juhi report for the Associated Press:

Three bombs ripped through a sprawling Baghdad market Sunday, police said, killing eight at the beginning of a Muslim religious festival and just hours after the prime minister warned of Iraq's continued danger.

Police said the blasts were planted in different parts of the Shorja market in downtown Baghdad, striking as shoppers were preparing for this week's Eid al-Adha feast. City health officials confirmed the casualties, and said 19 people were injured.

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