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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, January 20, 2005

January 20 Events in Iraq

Iraqification: A geopolitical manoeuvre consisting of pummeling and demonizing the target country before invading it under the pretext of humanitarianism but whose outcome is doubtful due to sorry, we are still in the process of evaluation; please check back again at later time.

New York. The FBI added the names of ten Chinese nationals to its list of four Chinese and two Iraqi terrorist suspects, claimed by the agency to have entered the United States illegally from Mexico to prepare a terrorist act. The alarm was raised yesterday in Boston, said to be the destination of the plotters. [Is Shaalan directing the FBI now?--Nur]

Baghdad. Ansar al-Sunna says it kidnapped and executed a British national and a Swede in central Iraq.

24:00 Basrah. Al Zarqawi claims credit for base bombing. Abu Musab al Zarqawi has claimed credit for the suicide bombing targeting the British Army base in Shabia.

23:07 London. Nine British troops wounded in Shabia. Nine British troops were wounded together with several Iraqis in an explosion near the British Army base in Shabia, 30 km south of Basrah.

22:55 Washington. Six activists arrested. Six members of Code Pink were arrested by security personnel. The group had obtained tickets for the VIP section at the Inauguration, during which they stood up and shouted, Bring the Troops Home!

21:36 Baghdad. Aqueduct sabotaged. The Baghdad aqueduct was sabotaged, reducing the city's water suppy by over 30%.

20:30 Mosul. Five insurgents killed. Hundreds of US troops have entered the city making dozens of house-to-house searches in which 5 Iraqi insurgents were killed.

17:19 Basrah. Iraqis wounded in explosion. An explosion occurred inside a British military base near Basrah. Several Iraqis are wounded.

17:00 Osnabrueck. Judge in British torture trial issues appeal. Judge Advocate Michael Hunter appealed for "great care" in comments concerning the trial to ensure a fair trial. Meanwhile Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has written to British newspaper editors warning them not to publish material that could prejudice the court martial.

16:16 Samarra. 5 Iraqi soldiers killed. Four Iraqi soldiers died in the explosion of a bomb in downtown Samarra and a fifth was killed by artillery fire in Siniya, 200 km north of Baghdad.

15:05 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi says Israeli and Jordanian troops participated in Fallujah offensive. Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi claims that Israeli and Jordianian troops took part in the assault on Fallujah. It is known that 800 Israeli troops took part in the battle as well as Jordanian troops, whose officers helped plan the assault on the city. Al Zarqawi released a 75-minute tape in celebration of of Eid al-Adha, the feast of Sacrifice.

13:48 Baghdad. US troops in action in the north. New US offensive in Mosul.

13:05 London. Court martial of British troops accused of torture suspended. A spokesman for Tony Blair says the trial has been suspended without supplying details.

10:50 London. UK pressures US for pullout calendar. The UK is pressuring the US to establish a schedule for withdrawal of its troops 18 months from now, reports the Daily Telegraph. Tony Blair hopes that President Bush will formally agree to a date for pullout within two or three months.

09:50 Washington. Inauguration: Pharaonic pageant and little consensus. America prepares to crown George W. Bush for a second term with fantastic celebrations, galas and polemics over the cost of three days of celebration. Opinion polls show that the President begins his second term in the White House with the lowest approval rating of any president since the Second World War. Data drawn from a Gallup survey conducted for USA Today and CNN indicate that Bush junior has the a popularity ranking of 51 per cent. Concerning the war in Iraq, for which Bush claims to have received full and definitive ratification thanks to the results of November 2nd, 52% of Americans now believe that the invasion was an error vs. the 47% who believe it was the right thing to do. It is therefore a divided nation which Bush is preparing to lead over the next four years. The rest of the world has a different opinion. A survey by BBC World Service in 21 countries reveals the widely-held opinion that Bush's re-election has made the world a more dangerous place. On average 58% of those surveyed are convinced that Bush's reelection has made the world more dangerous--Bush's inaugural address is anxiously awaited. The Grand Festival of Democracy as Bush has defined it will cost $40 million. The bill will be footed mostly by large corporations-- including Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco, Occidential Petroleum, Ford Motor Company, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan-Chase, Morgan Stanley, Fedex, UPS and US tobacco companies--and private donors, most of whom are also financiers of the President's reelection campaign.

08:59 Beiji. Brazilian disappears. A Brazilian security contractor disappeared yesterday in Iraq after an attack on a convoy of security workers in which a Briton and and Iraqi were killed. All three worked for Janusian Security Risk Management Ltd, a London-based company.

07:56 Baghdad. Japanese civilian may be held by insurgents. A Japanese engineer working at the Baiji power station may have been kidnapped. It is believed he was caught in an ambush by insurgents as he was travelling along an Iraqi highway in the company of two Iraqi bodyguards, who were both killed on the spot. The identity of the hostage has not been released. However, Japanese Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda stated that it was unlikely that the engineer is Japanese.

07:34 Tokyo. Koizumi, British troops are protecting Japanese contingent. The security for the Japanese contingent in Iraq will be assured by the British after the departure of the Dutch, said Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi during a visit to Japan by Britain's Foreign Minister Jack Straw. The Japanese Constitution forbids the use of force, even in self-defense, by Japanese troops deployed to Iraq.

04h12 Washington. Paul Wolfowitz believes reducing US troop deaths is a priority. Paul Wolfowitz, number two at the Pentagon, says he believes that it is more important to reduce troop deaths in Iraq than to send the troops home. Wolfowitz also said he was encouraged by the number of Iraqis volunteering for the security forces. Wolfowitz puts the number of Iraqi security forces and police at 120,000 but complained of the quality of the recruits, who he said have a tendancy to disappear from their units.


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