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

Wheat imports at 3 million tons in 2012

Khalid Al-Ansari reports for Bloomberg:

Iraq plans to import 3 million metric tons of wheat next year, with tenders starting in January, according to Hassan Ibrahim, director general of the country’s grain board.

The grain board wants $3 billion to spend on grain imports next year, up 10 percent from this year, Hassan said in an interview in Baghdad today. Iraq uses 4.5 million tons of wheat a year and 1.25 million tons of rice, mostly imported, he said.

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Iraq to bolster team ahead of World Cup bid

Rodrigo Viga Gaier reports for Reuters:

After steering Iraq into the next phase of Asia's World Cup qualifiers, Zico plans to widen his search for players until June when the team will play for a berth at the 2014 finals in Brazil.

Former Brazil midfielder Zico said that on taking charge as Iraq's coach in late August he had had to build his team quickly because the qualifiers were upon them and he could not call up all the players he wanted to.

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Subsea cable to bring high-speed internet to Iraq

Regan Doherty reports for Reuters:

Qatar-based Gulf Bridge International (GBI) is completing the final stages of a submarine cable network that will give Iraq fast, reliable connections to other parts of the world for the first time, the network's operator said on Monday.

The network, expected to be fully operational by the end of the year, consists of a 13,000 km (8,078 miles) undersea cable system that will link all six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as well as Iran and Iraq, with onward connections to Sicily and India.

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Nov. violence up as US withdrawal nears

Sahar Issa reports for McClatchy Newspapers:

Two bombs and a rocket attack struck the Iraqi capital on Monday, just weeks before the final pullout of American forces from the country.

The explosions brought to 100 the number of people killed in the capital so far in November, up from 62 in October.

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Iraq’s Asiacell looks at IPO redux

Gregor Hunter reports for The National:

Asiacell is seeking to tap Iraq's wealthy diaspora as the telecommunications company based in Kurdistan attempts to revive stalled plans to go public.

The Iraqi operator, 30 per cent-owned by Qatar Telecom, has appointed BNY Mellon to advise on how to attract international buyers as it prepares for an initial public offering (IPO) of 25 per cent of its shares on the Iraq Stock Exchange.

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Investment banks eye Iraq despite risk

Robin Wigglesworth reports for the Financial Times:

LONDON - Even as the US prepares to pull out its last troops from Iraq, well-heeled investment bankers are starting to descend on Baghdad, hoping to capitalise on the strife-torn country’s tentative efforts to rebuild its physical and financial infrastructure.

Safety remains a big concern. Visiting bankers must travel with contingents of security personnel.

Undeterred, investment bankers from institutions including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Citigroup and BNP Paribas are still flocking to Iraq.

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19 killed in north Baghdad prison car bomb

Sameer N. Yacoub reports for The Associated Press:

BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber slammed a car packed with explosives into the gate of a prison north of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 19 people, Iraqi officials said.

The bombing in the town of Taji, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of the capital, is the third major attack in about a week in Iraq, and raises questions about the ability of the nation’s security forces to protect the country after U.S. troops leave in just over a month.

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Mortar hits Iraq Parliament car park, kills one

Reuters reports:

A mortar bomb exploded in the carpark of the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad on Monday, killing at least one person and wounding six, two security sources said.

Mortars and rockets fired by militias sometimes land inside the heavily fortified Green Zone which houses the parliament, ministries and many foreign embassies.

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Iraq emerges from war a society divided by sect

Lara Jakes reports for the Associated Press:

The sounds of cars honking, shoppers shuffling and children laughing and playing drums fill the air in Hurriyah, a Baghdad neighborhood where machine-gun fire and death squads once kept terrified residents huddled in their darkened homes.

But normalcy has come at a price: Few Sunnis who were driven from what was once a religiously mixed enclave have returned five years after Hurriyah was the epicenter of Iraq's savage sectarian war. With Shiite militias still effectively policing the area, most Sunnis will not dare move back for years to come.

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Iraq’s young prepare to inherit a war-scarred nation after U.S. withdrawal

Dan Zak reports for the Washington Post:

Some young Iraqis say they are glad to be rid of Saddam Hussein but feel less safe — and therefore less free — than before 2003, a sentiment reflected in dozens of interviews in eight provinces.

They view their government as a pseudo-regime that deprives them of basic rights, and they worry that their peers are being lured into the ethnic, sectarian and partisan traps of their elders. They think the world is fixating on revolutions in other Arab countries while ignoring a rotting democracy in Baghdad and their generation’s struggle to live the freedom that was promised to them 8 and a half years ago.

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