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

Iraq wants Gulf air defense agreement

Asma Alsharif and Reem Shamseddine report for Reuters:

Iraq is seeking a joint defence agreement for airspace with Gulf countries as it moves to secure its air borders after the departure of U.S. forces from the country this month, a senior official said on Sunday.

Naseer al-Ani, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's chief of staff, told a conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh that Iraq lacked the resources to secure its own air space.

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VP Biden and the Great American Reposture in the Middle East

Reidar Visser writes on Iraq and Gulf Analysis:

So, it’s over, or mostly so. The visit to Iraq by US vice-president Joe Biden this week marked the symbolic end of the US-led Iraq War and the beginning of a new era in which a so-called Strategic Framework Agreement will govern US-Iraq relations.

First, don’t get fooled by that impressive framework term (yes, it’s called the SFA in US government parlance). This may sound fancy, but to Iraq it means simply a normal bilateral relationship between two independent countries. Other countries may have their own SFAs with Iraq as well, formal or informal, and in the long run it’s the realities on the ground – not how US government media advisors choose to spin it – that will count.

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Six soldiers killed on Baghdad explosion

Raman Brosk reports for AKnews:

An explosion killed four Iraqi soldiers and injured two others as an IED struck their patrol in Abu Ghreib district, west of Baghdad.

"An IED placed on a roadside in central Abu Ghreib district targeting an Iraqi army patrol went off this morning killing four and injuring two others," a police officer preferring anonymity told AKnews.

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Three killed in Kirkuk

Abdullah al-Amiri reports for AKnews:

Three civilians were killed and a woman was injured in two separate attacks in the disputed city of Kirkuk, police said Sunday.

"Unidentified gunmen attacked a civilian man this morning with machine guns while he was leaving his home in Kirkuk's al-Qadisiyah neighborhood, killing him immediately," a police officer told AKnews.

In a separate incident, an explosion in Domiz area, south of Kirkuk, which the police forces described as an "IED making house" killed two men and injured a woman.

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A new hotel, where the stay used to be mandatory

Andrew E. Kramer reports for The New York Times:

The road approaching the Basra Gateway hotel in southern Iraq crosses a landscape so blighted with trash and spilled crude oil, which shimmers in gigantic pools in the sand, that it is difficult to imagine any guests ever passing this way.

Basra Gateway is one of the fledgling efforts by Iraqi companies to make good commercial use of hundreds of recently abandoned American military bases — usually desolate, off-putting ensembles of concrete on the edges of towns. The hotel’s developer and operator, the Kufan Group, is hoping to lure executives from oil and oil-services companies that operate in the nearby fields. The trailers-cum-hotel rooms go for about $190 a night, and they can be booked only in blocks in advance.

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Maliki wants to help in Syria

Reuters reports:

Iraq is ready to mediate between the Syrian government and opponents of President Bashar al-Assad to help end months of violence in the neighboring country, an adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday.

Ali al-Moussawi, Maliki's media adviser, said Iraq was ready to receive the Syrian opposition to try to reach a solution to achieve the demands of the Syrian people and avoid bloodshed.

"We as a government ... seek a solution. If this clash continues forever it will be harmful for all, particularly to the Syrian people and the Syrian state," he said.

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Tribes help secure US troops’ exit

AFP reports:

With less than a month to go, the US military wants to minimise last-minute dangers and has paid tribal fighters cash to help provide a safe exit from Iraq after more than eight years of war.

Much of the mighty US military machine is leaving Iraq by heading south to Kuwait down the main highway, a tempting target for Iran-backed militants.

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AP photographers recall Iraq war in pictures

Khalid Mohammed, Karim Kadim and Hadi Mizban report for The Associated Press:

Burned bodies hanging from a bridge. A boy buried under rubble from a bombing. A father gunned down in front of his 7-year-old daughter. These were some of the harrowing images captured by three Iraqi photographers of The Associated Press who have covered the Iraq war since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.

Now, as the last American troops prepare to leave their country, the three remember the images that have held the most significance for them.

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Competing ideas about target of Green Zone bomb

Michael S. Schmidt and Duraid Adnan report for the New York Times:

On Monday, a spokesman for the speaker of Parliament said that an explosion in the heavily fortified Green Zone here had been aimed at the speaker, Osama al-Najafi.

But late Friday, security officials who report to the prime minister offered a new interpretation of who had been the car bomber’s intended target: they said it had been aimed at Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

Although it was not clear why the senior officials’ aides were disagreeing over who had been the target of the attack, the different claims reflected the political tension between Sunnis and Shiites as the United States withdraws all of its troops by the end of the month.

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Quartet of IED attacks kill one and injure 13 in Kirkuk

Abdullah Ameri reports for AKnews:

Four explosions that ripped through the disputed city of Kirkuk have left fourteen people dead or wounded.

Brig. Sarhad Qader, Kirkuk districts police chief, told AKnews: "The final causalities of four attacks with improvised explosives devices yesterday in Kirkuk are one killed and 13 wounded."

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