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

Zain enters into $650m deal with Ericsson in Iraq

Arab News reports:

In one of the largest deals of its kind in the Middle East, Zain, one of Iraq's leading mobile telecommunications providers, has signed a $650 million five-year network outsourcing agreement with Ericsson, a major provider of telecommunications technology and services worldwide, and its local partner SIM (Service in Motion).

Under this agreement, Ericsson will optimize, modernize and manage IT operations and Zain's mobile network in Iraq that currently includes more than 3,700 sites across the country. This agreement also extends to the northern region of Kurdistan where Zain has recently launched commercial services and is expanding to meet customer demand.

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Syria chaos worries Iraq

Sam Dagher reports for the Wall Street Journal:

Iraq's government is increasingly worried that a prolonged and bloody standoff in neighboring Syria could upset its own fragile security and fractious political order, especially as the U.S. military prepares to withdraw its last troops from the country.

Syria on Friday missed a deadline by the Arab League demanding that Damascus comply with a plan to end its violent crackdown on antigovernment protesters. That set the stage for the 21-nation group—Syria's membership was suspended two weeks ago—to impose economic sanctions intended to cripple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

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Bombs kill 7 near Baghdad

Bushra Juhi reports for the Associated Press:

Iraqi officials say seven people have been killed in two blasts in central Iraq.

Police officials said two bombs were planted early Saturday in a spot where day laborers gather in the mostly Sunni village of al-Zaidan, near the town of Abu Ghraib west of Baghdad.

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Triple bombing kills at least 19 in Basra

Nabil al-Jurani reports for the Associated Press:

A string of bombings in a southern oil city killed 19 people Thursday evening and injured dozens more, a grim sign of the security challenges Iraq will face after American troops go home.

The U.S. military is drawing down its troops ahead of an end-of-December deadline to have all American forces out of the country. Incidents like Thursday's triple bombing in a city seen as key to Iraq's economic development show the dangerous prospects awaiting Iraqis next year.

Three bombs went off in a popular open-air market in Basra, police and health officials said.

The third bomb exploded a few minutes after Iraqi army and police forces arrived on the scene in response to the earlier blasts, officials said. The third blast caused all the fatalities and almost all of the injuries, the officials said.

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Traffic policemen killed in Baghdad

AKnews reports:

An officer of Baghdad's traffic police was assassinated yesterday evening.

Police Brig. Gen. Ammar Ta'ma, press secretary for Baghdad Traffic Police, said that the officer, identified as police Brig. Gen. Amjad Hadi was attacked by gunmen in the Dora neighborhood in southern Baghdad. He died hours later in a hospital.

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Five people killed in Mosul and Baghdad insurgency

Rezan Ahmed reports for AKnews:

Security officials said that yesterday five people, including a doctor, two civilians and two policemen, were killed by insurgents in Baghdad and Mosul.

Two more policemen were wounded in the incidents.

A police official from Baghdad, who asked AKnews not to mention his name, said a physician was killed with silenced guns in his own clinic in Ziyuna neighborhood, eastern Baghdad.

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One soldier killed, five wounded in Falluja drive-by shooting

Anwar Msarbat reports for AKnews:

An Iraqi soldier was killed and five more were injured today as gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint south of Falluja. The same day seven civilians were arrested for unidentified reasons.

Maj. Hammed al-Dalimi of Anbar police told AKnews that the assailants using light weapons struck an army checkpoint in central Ameriya district and left behind the causalities. The checkpoint and a nearby private car have also been damaged in the attack.

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Iraq, Turkey end bans on flights

Mohammed Tawfeeq reports for CNN:

Iraq and Turkey have agreed to allow flights between their countries, ending a mutual ban that began with a dispute about how an Iraqi government oil company owed millions of dollars to Turkey, Iraqi officials said Thursday.

Turkish planes resumed flights to Iraq on Thursday and were landing at the Baghdad airport, Iraq's Ministry of Transportation said.

Iraqi airliners will begin landing in Istanbul on Friday, officials said.

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Gazprom Neft to begin oil output in Iraq in 2013

Reuters reports:

Russia's Gazprom Neft , expects to start commercial production of 15,000 barrels per day of oil at Iraqi Badra gas field in August 2013, the company said on Friday.

The company, the oil arm of Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom, said it commenced drilling the first appraisal well at Badra -- also known as Badrah -- on Thursday.

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Iraq in $396m power deals with Hyundai

Aseel Kami reports for Reuters:

Iraq has signed contracts worth $396 million with South Korea's Hyundai Engineering to build two power plants as it tries to increase electricity supplies, a senior official said on Tuesday.

The plants will have a total capacity of 1,752 megawatts, Laith al-Mamury, head of investments and contracts at the electricity ministry, said.

"The ministry signed a contract with Hyundai Engineering to build five units, each with a capacity of 292 megawatts (and) with a value of $308 million in Rumaila," Mamury told Reuters.

The second deal, worth $88.5 million is for a plant with one 292 MW gas unit at Taza in Iraq's northern Kirkuk province, Mamury said.

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