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

Norway gives to UN Iraq civil society program

The UN in Iraq announced in a statement (pdf):

The Government of Norway today signed an agreement worth $345,000 with the United Nations Development Program for its Family Support, Justice and Security Program. The funding will be used to enhance the capacities of Iraqi civil society organizations to provide legal assistance to vulnerable communities in Iraq, with a particular focus on women and children survivors of gender based violence as well as early and forced marriages.

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Turkey looks to Iraq trade amidst Syria violence

Elizabeth A. Kennedy reports for The Associated Press:

Turkey said Tuesday it will consider using Iraq as an alternative transit route for trade with the Middle East, cutting out Syria entirely as Damascus faces broad economic sanctions over its deadly crackdown on an 8-month-old uprising.

Syria has been a main transit route for Middle East trade, which Damascus hopes will help cushion the effects of tough new sanctions from the Arab League and Turkey. On Monday, Syria warned that Damascus could use its strategic location to inflict economic damage of its own.

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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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