December 23 Events in Iraq
Dr. el-Baradei enjoys the support of the non-aligned and certain European countries on the Board of Governors. Dr. el-Baradei incurred the wrath of the US government when he questioned statements by US officials that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, which have never been found. El-Baradei had amassed significant capital when the agency was on the front lines against the nuclear proliferation in the "rogue states" of Iran, Iraq and North Korea. He also conducted a campaign to toughen the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Bagdad claims it has compromising information concerning Damascus. The Iraqi ambassador to Syria, Hassan Allawi, claims in an interview with the Times of London that the Iraqi caretaker government has a number of photographs of Syrian officials shown in the company of Iraqi rebels later taken prisoner in Fallujah. The caretaker government has refused to publish the photos despite pressure from the US military to do so. Allawi says the photos were found in the possession of an arrested ex-Ba'ath official. Syria denies any connection to the rebellion and emphasizes that it has reinforced its frontier with Iraq.
Kurds demand referendum on independence. A Kurdish group has submitted a petition signed by 1.7 million Iraqis to the United Nations demanding a referendum on an independent Kurdish state. The Kurds have been under international protection for 13 years, affirming their independence in South Kurdistan (northern Iraq). They do not wish to be controlled by an Arab-dominated Iraq. The Kurds of Iraq are ethnically, culturally and philosophically distinct from Arab Iraqis and during the last 80 years, they have been repressed, enslaved and slaughtered by the Arab Iraqi state. All the signatures were gathered in Iraqi Kurdistan.", explains the Director of the Kurdish Institute in Washington and a member of the group of petitioners who went to the UN. We have also presented our petition to the Iraqi government.
20:46 Founding editor of USA today comes out against the war. USA Today's founding editor Al Neuharth says that if he were in the military, we would do anything to avoid service in Iraq. Neuharth says "support the troops" is a fantasy slogan and if people really wanted to help them, they'd push to bring them home as soon as possible.
20:20 Paris: French reporters say insurgents thought Baldoni was a spy. French reporters say their jailer told them that Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni was executed for espionnage.
19:17 Mossul. Camp suicide bomber wore Iraqi National Guard uniform. Bomber entered Camp Meretz mess tent wearing stolen uniform.
18:04 Baghdad. Tareq Aziz will not testify against Saddam Hussein. Lawyer Bady Aref Izzat says his client, Tareq Aziz, will not testify against Saddam. The legal team defending Iraq's ex-leaders say the prisoners are being pressured to testify against Saddam. They are being held in Camp Cropper in separate cells and are permitted to speak to each other for three hours a day.
17:50 Al Anbar. Three marines killed in combat in separate clashes in al Anbar province.
16:46 Baghdad. Four blasts rock capital.
15:36 Fallujah. Heads of household authorized to inspect property but few show up. 300 Fallujah residents from among the 250,000 who fled the city show up to inspect their property in the al Andalous quarter. The US military was prepared to let up to 2000 homeowners return to the city for inspection on Thursday.
15:23 Budapest. Hungarian contingent completes pullout. 1,300 Hungarian troops serving in Iraq have completed their pullout following a November 2004 vote by parliament against extending the deployment.
15:13 Baghdad. Zarqawi denies responsibility for Karbala and Najaf bombings. The al Qaeda Organizationof Iraq announces that it is not responsible for the incidents in Karbala and Najaf. The two bombings killed more than 60 people.
14:23 Rome. Italy requests deposition from French reporters. The Rome Prosecutors's Antiterrorism Office would like to take depositions from the released French reporters, who have said they were imprisoned in a farmhouse with executed Italian reporter Enzo Baldoni.
14:14 Fallujah. Violent clashes. Violent clashes are reported between rebels and US troops. F-18 aircraft have bombarded the southern half of the city.
13:08 Ramadi. Police chief quits. Fawaz al-Duleimi, police chief for al Anbar Province, has resigned after receiving death threats. Last week rebels surrounded his home and seriously wounded his brother. Al-Duleimi's predecessor was arrested by US troops for collusion with the rebels.
10:25 Paris. French foreign intelligence service credited for release of kidnapped reporters. French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier says the release of reporters Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot was the result of a French intelligence operation conducted by the DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure).
10:08 Yusufiyah. Raids by US and Iraqi forces yield 43 arrests. US and Iraqi forces conduct raids in Yusufiya, Haswah and Mahmudiya.
10:04 Baghdad. US soldier dies and two wounded by roadside bomb. A US soldier was killed and two wounded in the explosion of a roadside bomb in west Baghdad.
09:33 Baghdad. Two attacks cause four deaths. An Iraqi policeman was killed along with three civilians in two raids, one on a mosque and one on a police station. The Achra Mohammadia mosque in west Baghdad received mortar fire, which killed three civilians and wounded three others. Rebels also attacked the Al-Mamun police station in the Mansur district killing one policeman and gravely wounding another. It was the third attack in two days.
09:24 Baghdad. Allawi says he has proof that Damascus is supporting the rebels. In an interview with the Jordanian newspaper al-Rai, Iyad Allawi says he has sent a message to Syrian President with proof that the Syrian government is aiding the rebels.
08:48 Washington. Parents of slain soldier to deliver humanitarian aid to Fallujah. The parents of US GI Jesus Suarez will spend New Years in Iraq bringing humanitarian assistance for the children of Fallujah. Rosa Suarez says she will do everything possible to "stop the massacre of children." The couple, orginally from Mexico, will arrive in Jordan on Monday. They will be joined by the parents of other slain GIs in a convoy organized by "Global Challenge," which has collected $600,000 in food and medical assistance for Iraqi children.
08:37 Karbala. Six suspected al Qaede members arrested. Karbala poilce says they arrested six people with links to al Qaeda.