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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

January 18 Events in Iraq

Fallujah. The locations of the polling stations in Fallujah and Ramadi will be kept secret until the last moment.

Expat Iraqis register to vote. A total of 18,104 expat Iraqis registered to vote today, says the International Migrations Office, responsible for monitoring the foreign Iraqi vote. [Word from Detroit is that Iraqis there are Christian and are not registering in droves--Nur].

Beirut. A conference of Iraqi dissidents in Lebanon accounced that one million Iraqis representing all regions, ethnicities and faiths have signed a petition urging the postponement of elections due to the US occupation and the imposed state of emergency.

Baghdad. Police to recruit 100,000 Saddam-era military personnel. The Iraqi police force has hired 50,000 Saddam-era military personnel to fill its ranks. The caretaker government hopes to hire 300,000 Saddam-era soldiers, fired by US administrator Paul Bremer. The Interior Minister hopes the hiring effort will reduce violence in the country.

Paris. French parliamentarian censured. Didier Julia (UMP) was censured by French parliament for his rogue mission to rescue two French hostages in Iraq.

Washington. Most Americans disapprove of war. 55% of Americans disapprove of the way George W. Bush is managing the Iraq crisis, according to a Washington Post/ABC News survey. A Gallup poll conducted for USA Today and CNN indicated that 52% of Americans opposed the war in Iraq.

Osnabrueck. British soldier pleads guilty in prisoner abuse scandal. Cpl Daniel Kenyon and L/Cpls Darren Larkin and Mark Cooley of the Royal Fusiliers are accused of prisoner abuse in Iraq including punches and simulated sex acts in a storehouse near Basrah. The incidents took place on 15 May 2003 in a food storage facility outside Basrah known to British troops as the "bread basket." [Simulated sex scene here--Nur]

21:09 Baghdad. Homemade bomb kills a US soldier.

19:29 Basrah. Two candidates on Allawi's list are assassinated.

19:27 Mosul. US forces arrest 180 suspected insurgents.

15:00 Mossul. Catholic Archbishop demands schedule for US troop pullout. Archbishop Casmoussa issued a plea to the international community to make the United States understand that there must be a plan for withdrawal from Iraq and that Iraqis must have the chance to govern their country with full, and not limited, sovereignty.. As to the upcoming elections, Bishop Camoussa had this to say: As an ordinary citizen, I believe that the elections, per se, are beneficial, because they will restore a voice, long missing, to the citizenry. But I ask myself if the current climate of instability will guarantee their success. Because the situation is very tense, I believe that now is not the time for the elections nor is it wise to hold them.

13:57 Mossul. Casmoussa returns to diocese. Monsignor Casmoussa has returned to his diocese, says Father Dwraid Brbar of the Diocese of Mosul.

13:53 Baghdad. Ministry of the Interior. If elections are boycotted, civil war may result. Iraqi Internor Minister Falah al-Nakib warns of the prospect of civil way if part of the electorate boycotts the elections.

13:43 Baghdad. Chinese Embassy confirms kidnappings. China says eight construction workers have been kidnapped while travelling to Jordan.

13:25 Mossul. Monsignor Casmoussa: I am happy to get back to the bishopric and I can say that I was not mistreated, says Archbishop Basil George Casmoussa per Radio Vatican.

13:23 Beijing. Xinhua: Eight Chinese nationals missing. The Chinese press agency Xinhua says 8 Chinese are missing in Iraq.

12:39 Baghdad. Eight kidnapped Chinese on shown on video broadcast by al Jazeera. Kidnappers issue an ultimatum demanding that Chinese construction companies pull out of Iraq within 48 hours. The rebels, who call themselves the Islamic Resistance Nuamaan Brigade, say they are working for the Americans.

12:36 Rome. Navarro: "No ransom paid" Joaquin Navarro Valls, Vatican spokesman, says no ransom was paid for the releae of Archbishop Basil George Casmoussa.

12:30 Rome. Pope John Paul II expresses satisfaction at release of Syrian Catholic archbishop.

12:06 Baghdad. No ransom to be paid. The Archbishop of Baghdad, Matti Matoka, says the Church will not pay a ransom for the release of Archbishop Basil George Casmoussa.

11:51 Mossul. Archbishop released. Archbishop Basil George Casmoussa has been released by his kidnappers, says Monsignor Petros Mouche of the Diocese of Mossul

11:36 Baghdad. Fifty thousand Iraqi ex-soldiers join police force. Iraqi caretaker government hopes to triple number.

11:26 Basrah, candidate on Allawi's slate assassinated. A candidate on Allawi's slate, Riyad Habib of the Movement for National Reconciliation, was assassinated this morning in Basrah.

10:15 Baghdad. Iraq's borders to close during elections. Iraq will close its borders from 29 to 31 January and impose a nationwide curfew on traffic.

09:34 US marine dies in al Anbar Province.

09:12 Mosul. Kidnapping of archbishop was an error. Father Nizar Semaan of the Diocese of Mosul says kidnapping of archbisoph was an error.

08:48 Baghdad. Carbomb kills three. This morning's carbombing in Baghdad killed three persons.

08:03 Baghdad. Carbomb targets Shi'ite political party headquarters. The headquarters of SCIRI were bombed.

07:39 Copenhagen. Danish troops to leave Iraq within 12-18 months. The Danish newspaper Jyllands- Posten says troops will be withdrawn in 12 to 18 months.

07:38 Baghdad. Two US soldiers killed. Two US marines were killed in a guerrilla ambush.

07:38 Baghdad carbombing. A suicide carbomb targeted the headquarters of SCIRI this morning.

02:57 London. 800 UK troops wounded since March 2003. No details on the seriousness of the wounds but 9 have lost limbs and 2 lost an eye. British KIA number 75.


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