January 25 Events in Iraq
The Iraqi United Alliance led by Shi'ite cleric Abelaziz Hakim, is favored to do well in the elections. However, Western diplomats believe the party will not achieve an absolute majority due to Iraq's secular tradition. It is believed that Iyad Allawi, supported by Washington, will be kept on as Prime Minister and that Hakim will be named Vice-President.
Last night the Iraqi Elections Commission pubished the names of the 7,700 candidates for the national assembly on the web. The location of more than 5,000 polling stations will be kept secret for reasons of security.
Washington. Henry Kissinger and George Shultz have written that they believe that an announcement of a schedule for pullout would be dangerous and would certainly lead to civil war.
The US Department of Treasury announced that it has frozen the funds of a Syrian national, Souleiman Darwich, who is accused of financing the Iraqi insurgency. Treasury spokesman Juan Zarate says the US has notified Syria to do the same and that compliance with the request would be a test for the Syrian government.
London. Human Rights Watch today released a report documenting claims of the abuse of detainees by Iraq's US-trained security forces. The organisation said it had interviewed 90 detainees in Iraq, of whom 72 claimed they had been tortured or abused."Typically, detainees reported being blindfolded with their hands tied behind their back while undergoing interrogation. They said their interrogators or guards kicked, slapped and punched them, and beat them all over the body using hosepipes, wooden sticks, iron rods and cables," the report said. The Iraqi interim government ... appears to be actively taking part, or is at least complicit, in these grave violations of fundamental human rights. Nor has the US, the UK or other involved governments publicly taken up these issues as a matter of concern. The Iraqi caretaker government was also accused of systematic arbitrary arrests, incarceration without trial, prohibition of family visits and denial of access to a laywer.
Washington. Documents obtained by the ACLU reveal that US prison guards sodomized a woman with a broomhandle and tortured other detainees with electric shocks, cigarette burns and beatings. ACLU President Anthony Romero says, The governmental investigations into allegations of torture were completely inadequate and some of the accused have been completely exonerated.
Baghdad. Two employees of the Iraqi Ministry of Trade and an Iraqi interpreter working for US foces were killed by unknown assailants; American forces shot dead an Iraqi civilian when he attempted to pass a US patrol on the highway.
Baghdad. Mobile balloting stations. The location of 5,000 voting stations has not been disclosed. The Iraqi Interior Ministry says the stations are mobile and may be moved at the last minute if directly threatened. Elections Committe Chairman Farid Ayar says final election results will be published 10 days after the close of the polls. Preliminary results may be announced a week after the elections.
Baghdad. Seven policemen were killed when assailants opened fire on a team called to the scene of a possible car bomb.
Baghdad. A bomb blew the gates off a Rashad secondary school in east Baghdad and gunmen opened fire on Iraqi and US forces responding to the blast. A witnesses said two Iraqi policemen and an insurgent were killed in the battle.
16:46 Paris. 23 reporters killed in Iraq. The World association of newspapers says 23 reporters were killed in Iraqi in 2004. The second most dangerous country for reporters in 2004 was the Philippines, where 11 journalists were killed.
16:43 Moscow. Putin cancels 73% of Syrian debt. Syria will only repay $1.5 billion of its $13.4 billion debt owd to Russia. Syrian President Bachir Assad is in Moscow for talks.
15:04 Baghdad. Allawi cannot indicate when US troops will leave. Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi announced a plan for gradual handover of security reponsibilities to Iraq forces but cannot say when US troops will leave.
14:56 Baghdad. Hospitals prepare for elections. Iraqi Health Minister Alaadin Alwan announces plan for hospital mobilization prior to elections in preparation for possible casualties.
14.43 Baghdad. Mystery of cash transfers abroad unveiled. Four ministers in the Iraqi caretaker government authorized the shipment of $200 million in US banknotes to banks in Jordan and Lebanon. A scandal developed around the transfer when Ahmed Chalabi accused Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan of having been an agent for Saddam Hussein and of transferring $500 million abroad from the Iraqi Central Bank. Shaalan then threatened Chelabi with arrest for defamation. Walid Khadouri, a columnist for the Saudi newspaper Al-Hayat, reports that the transfer was made to pay for the purchase of helicopters and light weaponry from Poland in order to guarantee that the order would be placed quickly and to avoid delays caused by banking operations. Mr. Shaalan took advantage of the absence of the Iraqi Central Bank Director, Sinan Al-Chebaïbi, to prevail upon his deputy to transfer $500 million in cash for the purchase of military equipment. The deputy at first demurred, then agreed to the transfer in tranches of $100 million. Two tranches had been transferred when the scandal broke a week before the election. Mr. Al-Chebaïbi has since returned to Baghdad and has repatriated the money.
14:37 Baghdad. Ansar al-Sunna claims credit for assassination of Judge Shameri.
13:10 Manchester. The Guardian reports only 38% of Britons support war. Tony Blair's popularity continues to decline.
12:53 Baghdad. Reuters reports that the video showing Roy Hallams only confirms that he was kidnapped. It is not proof that he is still alive. Hallams was kidnapped 1 November 2004.
12:48 Liberation: Florence Aubenas is alive. The French newspaper Liberation says it has unconfirmed reports that its missing Baghdad correspondent Florence Aubenas and her Iraqi interpreter Hussein Hanoun are alive
12:40 Baghdad. US prisoner pleads for assistance from Gheddafi. US hostage Roy Hallams pleas for help from Arab governments and Muammar Gheddafi in video.
12:02 Amman. Death squads target Saddam Hussein's legal defense team. The lead attorney of Saddam Hussein's defense team says death squads have been formed in Iraq to target Hussein's defense counsel.
11:53 Damascus. Assad says elections will have disastrous consequences. Syrian President Bashar Assad said during a visit to Moscow that he believes the elections in Iraq will have disastrous consequences and may lead to the disintegration of Iraq.
11:46 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi attacks 10 balloting stations. Armed militants linked to Abu Musab al Zarqawi attacked 10 balloting stations in the Province of Salaheddin north of the capital. Three balloting stations in the center of Tikrit were hit by mortar and RPG fire during the night and a fourth was hit this morning.
11:42 Baghdad. Shit'ite Judge and brother-in-law killed. Insurgents assassinated Iraqi Judge Qais Hashim Shameri as he left his home in east Baghdad. His brother-in-law was also killed.
11:42 US soldier killed in Baghdad.
11:41 Five US soldiers killed in road accident. Five US soliders of the 1st Infantry Division were killed in a road accident around 8:00 pm near Khan Bani Saad north of Baghdad.
11:39 Baghdad. Hostage pleads for help. US hostage Roy Hallams was shown in a video with a pistol pointed at his head pleading for help.
10:32 Baghdad. Eleven police dead in clashes. In eastern Baghdad, clashes erupted in the Rashad neighborhood when Iraqi police fired on insurgents handing out leaflets warning people not to vote in Sunday's elections. Armed men attacked a police station, prompting US troops to intervene.