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

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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Training wheels come off in Karbala

Ali al-Jabbouri and Hassoun al-Haffar report for AKnews:

Iraqi security forces tackle their first major security operation without any American support.

The province's police and army units are bracing themselves for their first ride unaided as Karbala province prepares to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the third Imam of Shiite Muslims.

Karbala (108km southwest of Baghdad) has seen thousands of visitors arrive, visiting religious shrines and preparing to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein on the 10th day of Muharram, Dec. 5. Imam Houssein was the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

Every year Shiite Muslims all over the world commemorate his martyrdom. Iraqi security forces used to depend on U.S. air coverage to maintain security in previous years.

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Suicide bomber arrested in car bomb in Baghdad

Yazin Shamari reports for AKnews:

Security forces arrested a bomber wearing an explosive belt yesterday. He was driving a bomb laden car near the northern entrance to Baghdad in Kadhemiya district.

A security source who declined to be named said: "The bomber has admitted that he intended to explode the car in Kadhemiya to target the pilgrims."

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US, Turkey to target PKK

Emre Peker reports for Bloomberg:

Turkey and the Obama administration will step up their fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, as the U.S. completes its military withdrawal from Iraq, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said.

The Turkish-U.S. battle against the PKK, which both countries list as a terrorist group, will “continue in a much more powerful manner,” Gul said in a video on his website after he met with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Ankara today. “His meetings in Iraq on this matter are very decisive,” Gul said.

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Immunity issue could end NATO training

The Associated Press reports:

The issue of legal immunity for foreign troops in Iraq, which already torpedoed plans to keep a U.S. military presence in the country, has emerged as a key stumbling block in talks over the extension of a NATO training mission here.

In July, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki requested that the alliance extend the NATO Training Mission in Iraq until the end of 2013.

The goal of the training mission is to help develop Iraqi commanders at or above battalion level. The Iraqi forces have received training on individual weapons and how to maneuver as small units, but they have never been trained on how to maneuver as a large unit or to coordinate air and ground forces, for example.

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Iraqi casualty count low on CBS

According to media watchdog FAIR:

A December 1 CBS Evening News report about the Iraq War misled viewers about the start of the war and severely diminish the loss of civilian lives. The on-screen graphic is 50,152 dead, sourced to icasualties.org.

The site suggests that readers visit Iraq Body Count or read a study in the Lancet British medical journal for more detailed information. The Iraq Body Count estimate for civilian deaths as a result of violence is 104,000 to 113,000; the group notes that WikiLeaks documents could indicate an additional 15,000 deaths.

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As soldiers leave Iraq, bomb-sniffing dogs stay

Andrew Kramer reports for the New York Times:

Dogs have emerged as the most valuable bomb detectors in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, some of the canines used by United States forces in Afghanistan are coming down with post-traumatic stress disorder. And in Iraq, just as the American army is leaving, a large shipment of American dogs has arrived, though the Iraqis have been slow to use them.

Iraqi security forces long ago replaced United States and other foreign soldiers for most routine work at checkpoints with a notable exception: Western contractors still provide the dog handlers at the entrances to the fortified government complex in Baghdad.

Handling bomb-sniffing dogs would seem a critically important area of competence for the police in Iraq, but it has been one they are slow to pick up. The police are only now deploying large numbers of trained dogs, and say they have only half as many as needed.

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Icon of US military now in Iraqi hands

Rebecca Santana reports for the Associated Press:

Inside palace walls built by Saddam Hussein, U.S. generals plotted the war's course, tracked the mounting death toll and swore in new American citizens under gaudy glass chandeliers.

...It was an intersection in the war where U.S. troops, hot and dusty after traveling across Iraq's deadly roads and highways, could relax with a latte or bootlegged movie before heading back out again.

On Friday, the base that at its height was home to 46,000 people was handed over to the Iraqi government as part of American efforts to move all U.S. troops out of the country by the end of the year.

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Seven killed in Baquba attack

Bryar Mohammed reports for AKnews:

On Dec. 1 gunmen attacked the houses of two brothers in Jil village, south of Baquba, Diyala Province.

According to Ali Haidar of Diyala police, the two brothers were killed, as well as five other members of their families. Four more were wounded.

The attackers set four cars on fire, before they escaped.

Meanwhile, a health official from Khales who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the death toll after the bombing attack on a a crowded wholesale vegetable market in in Khales, 15 km from Baquba, has risen to 13. 31 were wounded after a suicide bomber driving a car broke into the market.

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