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

Eight killed in Basra bombings

AFP reports:

Three motorbikes rigged with explosives blew up in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra on Wednesday night, killing at least eight people and wounding at least 22, a doctor and police said.

A doctor at Sadr Hospital in Basra said that at least eight people were killed and 22 wounded in the blasts, while a police lieutenant colonel gave the same toll.

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As troops leave, U.S. seeks custody of key Iraq detainee

Phil Stewart and Suadad al-Salhy report for Reuters:

With less than 60 days before the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, the United States is quietly seeking to keep custody of its highest profile detainee there, U.S. and Iraqi officials say.

But it is unclear if Baghdad will agree -- something it appears highly reluctant to do -- or where the United States would take him if it did win outright custody.

Hezbollah operative Ali Mussa Daqduq, suspected of orchestrating a 2007 kidnapping that resulted in the killing of five U.S. military personnel, must be transferred to Iraqi custody by the end of this year under the terms of a U.S.-Iraq security agreement.

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Attackers strike Iraq Sunni militia in Baquba, six killed

Reuters reports:

Two bombs exploded as members of a government-backed Sunni militia gathered to collect their pay in the Iraqi city of Baquba on Thursday, killing six people and wounding dozens, security and health officials said.

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest among members of the Sahwa militia near the gates of a military headquarters in western Baquba, and a car bomb blew up nearby a few minutes later, security sources and witnesses said.

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UN to broker deal between Iraq, Iranian exiles

Lara Jakes reports for the Associated Press:

In a last-ditch attempt to head off a confrontation, the top U.N. envoy to Iraq on Thursday offered to broker the peaceful closing of a camp of Iranian exiles before the government in Baghdad forces its residents out at the end of the year.

An aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Iraq's Cabinet would consider easing its deadline if a solution can be agreed on quickly.

At issue is a group of about 3,300 exiles at the remote Camp Ashraf in Iraq's eastern Diyala province who seek the overthrow of Tehran's clerical rulers. Members of the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, they won refuge at Ashraf decades ago during the regime of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni who saw them as a convenient ally against Tehran's theocracy.

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Iraq announces defense and security summit

The Iraq Program for Peace and Stability announces in a press release:

The Government of Iraq and the Iraq Program for Peace & Stability are pleased to announce the inaugural Iraq Defence and Security Summit 2011. The country of Iraq has suffered from years of under investment in these sector and have over the last eight years, received support from the US and coalition governments.

The focus of this summit is National Security and Defence Procurement and with new multi-billion dollar budgets in hand, the Iraqi Government are intending to procure best in class products and solutions from the world’s leading suppliers. This is the first opportunity that global market leaders and suppliers from the defence and security sector will get to engage with the new Defence and Interior Ministries and their procurement teams since the election of the new coalition government.

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Iraq desert dispute could reignite sectarian feud

Suadad al-Salhy reports for Reuters:

An administrative spat between Iraq's Shi'ite-majority Kerbala province and Sunni-dominated Anbar over a disputed tract of western desert could refuel sectarian conflict as Iraq emerges from years of war.

A deadly ambush of Shi'ite pilgrims as they headed through the desert in September re-ignited a long-simmering feud between Kerbala and Anbar over a vast expanse of sand known as al-Nukhaib, a route to western neighbours Syria and Saudi Arabia.

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Bahrain will replace Iraq as host of 2013 football Gulf Cup

The Associated Press reports:

Bahrain’s Olympic Committee says the Gulf kingdom has replaced Iraq as host of the 2013 Gulf Cup, angering the Iraqis.

General secretary Sheik Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalifa says the decision to swap venues was made by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, without disclosing a reason.

The 2013 Gulf Cup was originally awarded to Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, but Bahrain’s state-run media said Basra’s stadium and hotel construction were given a poor review by the GCC soccer committee.

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Coup tip a fake, official says

Babak Dehghanpisheh reports for The Daily Beast:

The arrests started last month and kept growing. First it was 200, then 400, and now more than 600 Iraqis alleged to be members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party have been rounded up and accused of plotting to overthrow the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. One reason given for crackdown was odd, even by Iraqi standards. A “senior official in the Iraqi government” told The New York Times last week that they had received a tipoff from an unlikely source: intelligence documents found in Tripoli after the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi indicated that the Saharan madman was helping Baathists and former military officers in Iraq to topple the government, the newspaper reported. Mahmoud Jibril, the former Libyan acting prime minister, allegedly passed on the intelligence tip to members of the Iraqi government while on a visit to Baghdad early last month.

Now a senior Iraqi official tells The Daily Beast that in fact there was no Libyan tipoff. “The Libyans didn’t pass any information. This report is absolutely baseless and untrue,” says the senior official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject. “This was a plan by the security to arrest people they suspect. It’s a precaution to mobilize in the streets in anticipation of the American withdrawal.”

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Iraq air traffic controllers prepare to fly solo

AFP reports:

Two months before a US pullout, Ali and Ahmed, both 20-something and Iraqi military air traffic controllers, are gearing up for life without their American trainers and, more crucially, US equipment.

For now, the pair voice confidence that they can do the job on their own.

But they will lack their own modern radar systems, as the nascent Iraqi air force is still working to establish key support systems to ensure airfields function without incident.

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Expro announces $12.5 million Zubair contract

Expro announces in a press release:

Leading international oilfield services company Expro has recently secured a contract win in the Middle East with Eni Iraq BV, lead contractor of the Zubair Consortium.

The contract, providing chemical analysis laboratory work, for the Zubair field in Southern Iraq, represents Expro’s first direct contract in Iraq and is recognition of Expro’s expertise in the provision of analytical services.

Running for the duration of three years with a possible two-year extension and worth in the region of $12.5 million, it also serves as an opportunity for Expro to enhance its relationship with the leading operator in the Middle East/North Africa region.

Click here for the full press release.

Click here for the full press release

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