Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

December 8 Events in Iraq

New England Journal of Medicine reports that mobile military surgery units have vastly improved the survival chances of severely wounded US troops. The death rate among wounded has fallen from 30% in WWII to 10% in Iraq.

Baghdad. Sixty Sunni notables and associations, as well as the Committee of Iraqi Ulema, will boycott the January 30 elections. Meanwhile insurgents have threatened to assassinate any candidate registered to run for office.

Baghdad. Election officials have extended the candidate registration deadline in three Sunni provinces to December 15.

Baghdad. Several political leaders and the Iraqi Interior Minister have backed Premier Allawi's suggestion to spread voting over two to three weeks.

Kuwait. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was questioned by US troops awaiting deployment to Iraq as he gave a speech in Camp Buehring, 20 km from the Iraqi border. US troops complained of lack of armor, unpaid wages, and length of deployment.

Erbil. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun visited the 2800-man Korean contingent deployed in Kurdistan.

Salahudeen Province. A truckdriver delivering goods to a US military base was ambushed and killed and a police chief resigned after the murder of one of his escorts.

Baghdad. The Iraqi Bar Association has indefinitely postponed a meeting between Saddam Hussein and his lawyer scheduled for yesterday.

Brussels. Powell urges Europeans to respond to overtures from Washington. Colin Powell called upon Europeans to overcome their differences with Washington over Iraq. Powell announced that Bush would make a goodwill visit to Europe in February.

Washington. DIA report on prisoner abuse in Baghdad. The Defense Information Agency has accused members of the US Special Forces deployed to Iraq of brutalizing their prisoners in a temporary detention facility in Baghdad and of attempting to stonewall an investigation. Special Forces soldiers beat, slapped and burned their prisoners as well as threatened DIA investigators.

Baghdad. Iraqi Christians persecuted. Emmanuel Khorchada Yohanna of the National Assyrian Party and Farid Tuma Hermez of the Chaldean Democratic Union say the bombing of churches and liquor stores and the forcing of Christian women to veil are part of a campaign to force Christians to leave the country.

Washington. White House warns Iran and Syria against interference in Iraqi elections. Press Secretary Scott McClellan reminded Syria and Iran of their commitment at Sharm al Sheik to respect the Iraqi political process. The Washington Post reports that US intelligence believes that many rebel operations in Iraq are directed by loyalists to Saddam Hussein in exile in Syria, where funds for the insurgency are collected from Saudi Arabia. The Syrian ambassador to the United States has vigorously denied the charges.

Washington. King Abdallah II lashes out at Iran. Jordan's King Abdallah accused Iran of attempting to influence the outcome of the 30 January elections. The King also warned against a pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, which would strengthen Iran's growing influence in the region, including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordan. Abdallah stated that Iran was spending vast sums of money in Iraq as the 30 January election date approaches.

19:31 New York: Standing ovation for Secretary General Kofi Annan. The UN General Assembly gave a standing ovation to Kofi Annan after his speech on reform of the international institution. The ovation is seen as sign of confidence, countering calls by US congressmen for his ouster.

19:09 Cairo: Arab lawyers guild to try Bush, Blair and Sharon. US President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Israeli PM Ariel Sharon will be tried in February in an Arab country as yet unnamed for genocide, war crimes, human rights abuses and violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The guild's secretary general, Ibrahim El Samali, made the announcement after returning from the guild's second annual meeting in Khartoum.

18:31 Mossul: Iraqi National Guard checkpoint attacked, 4 dead. Four insurgents were killed and two government soldiers were killed at a checkpoint in Mossul.

17:16 Samarra. Police chief resigns. The Samarra Police Chief, Talib Shamel al Samarrai, has announced his resignation. The decision was taken following a wave of insurgent attacks sweeping the city, including a rebel raid on his own home.

17:04 Cairo: Bin Laden firm to build Sinai airport. The Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation, Ahmed Shafik, will sign a $66 million contract for a second Sharm El Sheik airport on Thursday with a construction company owned by Bin Laden, says Ibrahim Manaa, president of an aviation holding company. Bin Laden's firm was chosen from among 10 bidders.

16:35 Baghdad. Sunnis will participate in 30 January elections. The Independent Democrats Movement led by Adnan Pachachi will join the Islamic Party, the National Democratic Party led by Nassir Chaderchi and Ghazi al Yawar's Iraqiyoun movement in participating in the 30 January elections. Sunni candidates are likely to finish behind the majority Shi'a, who represent 60% of the population.

16:18 London. Blair rejects inquiry into civilian death toll. Tony Blair has said 'no' to an independent inquiry into the death toll of Iraqi civilians in reponse to an open letter from 44 British notables, ranging from diplomats to church leaders. Blair told Parliament that an inquiry was unnecessary because Iraqi hospital records are accurate. The Iraqi caretaker government says the total number of civilians killed in 2004 was 3853 but has no figures for 2003. Other sources have indicated a range of 14,000 to 100,000 victims between March 2003 and December 2004.

15:23 Dubai. Radical Islamic group threatens execution of Turkish hostage. Ansar Al-Sunna says it will execute a Turkish contractor taken hostage while working for the Americans at Mossul Airport.

14:36 Toronto. Ex-Marine sergeant admits killing of innocent civilians. Ex-Marine Sgt. Jimmy Massey, who was discharged in 2003 after suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, recalled in testimony that innocent Iraqi civilians had been killed by US troops. Massey has been summoned to Canada where he is giving testimony to a Canadian refugee committee in support of a request for asylum by Fort Bragg deserter Jeremy Hinzman.

13:40 Baghdad, Ansar Al Sunna releases video of kidnapped Turk. Kidnapped Turkish national Fattah Narjas is shown in a video released by Ansar al Sunna.

13:16 Manila: Philippino hostage is alive. Robert Tarangoy, a Philippino accountant kidnapped in Iraq, is still alive. A Philippino negotiating team is in Baghdad for talks with the kidnappers through intermediaries.

12:28 Vatican City, Pope condemns church bombings. John-Paul II condemned yesterday's firebombing of two churches in Mossul. The attacks destroyed an Armenian Catholic church and a Chaldean cathedral. The Pope also called for peace and reconciliation.

12:10 Samarra: death toll rises. Five people are dead following an insurgent raid on a police station in Samarra.

11:16 Ramadi, shootout at US checkpoint. Two Iraqi civilians were killed by gunfire following a rebel raid on a US checkpoint. Witnesses say a blast at the scene was caused by a suicide bomber.

08:22 Samarra, rebel raid on police station, two dead. A child and a police officer were killed in an attack on a police station in the city of Samarra, 90 km north of Baghdad.

07:00 Baghdad carbombing kills civilians. A carbomb targeting a US military convoy in the Dora quarter of south Baghdad killed an undeclared number of civilians.

06:40 Basrah, British Defense Minister arrives. Geoff Hoon arrived this morning in Basrah to visit the British contingent.

01:51 Washington, Bush foresees a long road ahead. US President George W. Bush told a crowd of Marines at Ft. Pendleton, California, that it was likely that the US would extend its mission in Iraq.


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