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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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).

Thursday, December 09, 2004

December 9 Events in Iraq

Rabat. Greater Middle East Initiative pooh-poohed in Morocco. An American-sponsored Forum on the Future to be held in Rabat on Saturday as part of President Bush's Greater Middle East Initiative is pooh-poohed by the Moroccan "street" and intellectuals, who reject US leadership. Bush's project amounts to throwing sand in our eyes. The Americans don't want to see the Arab world develop because progress would pose a threat to Israel., says Lahcen Anjar, a Rabat cafe owner. They want to impose democracy, but they forget that their votes against Palestine in the UN are unjust, says Anjar, accusing Arab régimes of complicity with the United States. The West and the United States started all this terrorism and they're responsible.

The USA is not democratic--and look at their attitude in the Iranian nuclear crisis. They refuse to let that country use nuclear technology yet they allow the Israel to refuse to sign non-proliferation agreements on unconventional weapons., says a bank employee. The opinion of Moroccan intellectuals squares with the street. Arab régimes, in Morocco or elsewhere, believe they have to cooperate with the United States or else they will be declared part of the Evil Empire and face sanctions or worse., says Abderrahmane Youssoufi, Moroccan political scientist and former government minister. Their injustice in essential matters precludes American leadership in introducing reforms. Radical behavior among Muslims and terrorism are linked to the image of the United States and are the product [...] of American policies in the region." --L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut).

Geneva. International Committee of the Red Cross says the US military permitted a two-hour visit inside Fallujah by Red Cross officials.

Fallujah. US to use biometrics. Returning residents of Fallujah will be subject to a retinal scans and fingerprinting.

Baghdad. Reconstruction at a standstill. Reconstruction of Iraq, under the control of the US military, has come to a standstill because of insecurity. Last November more than one thousand projects were started but only one hundred have been completed to date. Of the $18.4 billion earmarked for reconstruction, only $2 billion has been spent. $121 million is set aside for the reconstruction of Fallujah. Iraqi Planning Minister Mahdi al-Hafez has made public criticism of funding delays, despite the security situation.

Baghdad. US soldier wounded by roadside bomb early this morning.

23:53 Washington. Questions to Rumsfeld suggested by journalist. The pointed questions posed by US soliders to US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Kuwait were suggested by an embedded US journalist, writes Edward Lee Pitts of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

21:11 New York. Oil prices begin new climb. Petroleum closed at $42.47 per barrell, 1.26% higher than yesterday's close, after having peaked at $43.20. North Sea Brent closed at $39,63 per barrel in London.

20:44 Shi'ites form united front. Iraqi Shi'ite political leaders have founded the Iraqi United Alliance which includes Dawa (al-Da‘wa al-Islamiyya), Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (al-Majlis al-A‘la lil-Thawra al-Islamiyya fil-‘Iraq) and Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (al-Mu‘tamar al-Watani al-Iraqi). The Alliance has drafted a list of 288 candidates, including Sunnis, Yezidis and Faili Kurds, all of whom have been approved by Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani. The slate excludes Moqtada al Sadr, leader of this past summer's revolt throughout Iraq.

20:03 US airstrikes near Syrian border. US warplanes from the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman in the waters of the northern Gulf bombed rebel positions on the Syrian border and in Baghdad three days ago. The planes dropped four tons of bombs.

17:04 Brussels. Powell, Germany's non-participation is a problem. Outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell said today in Brussels that the non-participation of Germany in the NATO-led training mission to Iraq is a "problem." Powell vowed that the US would nevertheless carry out the training mission successfully.

16:30 Brussels. Fini rejects Cossutta's demand for troop pullout: Pulling out of Iraq would hand a victory to the terrorists. Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini rejected Armando Cossutta's demand for a pullout of Italian troops saying it would be a victory for terrorism.

15:50 Mossul. Blast wounds six Iraqi soliders. A bombing in front of a supermarket in Mossul this morning wounded six Iraqi National Guard soldiers. The bomb went off as a convoy of US and Iraqi forces passed nearby.

15:44 Brussels. NATO to increase presence in Iraq. NATO personnel in Iraq will be increased form 60 to 300, says NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. NATO says that Poland, Hungary and the Netherlands have agreed to make a voluntary contribution of personnel while France, Germany and other countries opposed to the war repeated their refusal to send military personnel to Iraq.

14:55 Baghdad. Shi'ite slate leaves off al Sadr. Dawa Party spokesman Ali Adib says the Shi'ite slate of candidates approved by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani includes 228 candidates from across the Shi'ite political spectrum, with the exception of Moqtada al Sadr.

14:22 Baghdad. Two Iraqis killed in attack on embassy. Two Iraqis were killed in an attack near the Italian Embassy this morning.

14:15 Geneva. Allawi abandons idea of staggered elections. In an interview with a Swiss paper, Premier Allawi says the January 30 elections will be held normally.

13:35 Rome. Cossutta demands Italian troop pullout. Italian communist leader Armando Cossutta demanded the pullout of Italian troops from Iraq. An immediate pullout is necessary, as well as the creation of an authentic peace process in the region, turning over control to the political arena, the United Nations and the Iraqi people.

12:55 Washington. Ex-CIA agent sues agency. The Washington Post reports that an ex-CIA agent who served in Iraq is suing his employer. In an anonymous article the agent relates that he was subjected to reprisals and was fired for refusing to falsify a report on weapons of mass destruction. His attorney, Roy Krieger, said his client's story contradicts CIA "dogma" and that the agency was unwilling to hear his grievances.

12:47 Fallujah. Rebel leader says resistance to continue. Sheik Abdallah al Janabi said in a communiqué dated 5 December that he will continue to combat the Americans until they leave Iraq.

12:22 Brussels. Martino: There were indications of an attack. Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino says there had been signs of a possible attack on the Italian embassy in Baghdad.

11:36 Suwayrah. Bomb explodes damaging Ukrainian truck. The Polish general staff in Warsaw announces that a roadside bomb in Suwayrah, a town in southwest Iraq, damaged a Ukrainian army truck.

11:13 Baghdad. Seven mortar rounds fall near Italian Embassy. Seven mortar rounds landed approximately 150 meters from the Italian Embassy in Baghdad, close to an Iraqi National Guard barracks.

10:54 Mossul. Carbombing. Several people were killed in a carbomb blast in Mossul.

10:36 Baghdad. Italian Embassy targeted by Salafists. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported yesterday the existence of a plan for a possible suicide attack on the Italian embassy, Italian Ambassador Gianludovico De Martino and his staff. British and US intelligence relayed the information, saying that the Salafist group al Kazanzaniya had surveyed the Italian embassy grounds, possibly planning for an attack. The terrorists allegedly would take advantage of the coming and going of convoys around the diplomatic compound.

10:15 Baghdad. Mortars fired at Italian Embassy. Several mortar rounds fell near the Italian Embassy in Baghdad.

10:14 Tokyo. Japan to extend mission. The Japanese government approved an extension of the Japanese troop deployment in Iraq for another year. Most Japanese want to terminate the deployment, the riskiest since WWII.

08:51 Baghdad. Carbomb explodes. A carbomb was detonated at 6:30 am (local time) in the Doha district of Baghdad in the south of the city. Witnesses say several Iraqi civilians were wounded.

01:26 Budapest. 150 Hungarian soldiers for NATO mission. A contingent of 150 Hungarian military personnel will be sent to Iraq as trainers. The mission will last a year and a half, starting in June 2005.

00:31 Washington. Al Yawer says Iraqi terrorists are in Syria. Caretaker President Ghazi al Yawer tells CNN that Iraqi terrorists are sheltering in Syria with the protection of Damascus and that they have ready money available from the looting of the Iraqi Central Bank after the fall of Saddam Hussein.


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