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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Monday, January 03, 2005

January 3 Events in Iraq

Today's news was dramatic. I had to post.

Kuwait City. The Kuwaiti Army arrested members of its own military on suspicion of planning attacks on "friendly forces" (US forces--Nur.) inside the country. 15 soldiers including 4 officers were interrogated and four were emprisoned, says General Youssef al-Mulla as reported by the official Kuwaiti news agency, KUNA. A link to al Qaeda is being investigated. Meanwhile twenty-two members of a group thought to be recruiting fighters for Iraq's insurgency will go on trial on 30 January. Some 25 000 US military personnel are stationed in Kuwait. On December 30 and 31, Kuwait went on high alert following two raids by terrorists in Saudi Arabia. On 15 December the US Embassy in Kuwait warned of "credible information" that terrorists were planning raids on unidentified targets in Kuwait.

Beirut. China opposes Security Council Resolution 1559. Chinese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Lu Guo Zeng says that China is hostile to interference in the internal affairs of any country by third parties. Mr. Lu said that China would safeguard Lebanon's interests and work closely with the country concerning Resolution 1559, which China opposes. Mr. Lu also called for an international peace conference for the Middle East.

Samarra. Five National Guards and two civilians were killed by a roadside bomb on a highway linking Samarra with Dhoulouiya.

Doujaïl. Suicide carbomb explodes at a National Guard checkpoint, killing seven guards and wounding another eight.

Baïji. Two police killed at checkpoint in driveby shooting.

Tel Afar. One policeman was killed by a booby-trapped corpse.

Tikrit. Six corpses discovered. The bodies of 5 men and 1 woman were found in two locations: one near Tikrit and another near Dhoulouiya. All were employees of the US military.

Baghdad. The Saudi-financed daily Asharq al-Awsat reported that a Saudi medical student carried out a suicide attack on Camp Merez in Mossul on 21 December which killed twenty-two.

Ankara. Armitage concerned at "spectacular" rapprochement between Turkey and Syria. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage met with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül concerning disagreements on the situation in Iraq and in the Middle East. The presence of 5 000 PKK rebels in Iraqi Kurdistan was protested by Ankara, which holds the group responsible for 35 000 civilian deaths in Turkey between 1984 and 1999. US, Iraqi and Turkish officials will soon meet for three-way talks on curtailing PKK militia operations.

Another point of friction is the treatment of ethnic Turkmen by Kurds in Kirkuk many of whom have been forced out of their homes. Armitage assured Mr. Gül that he would discuss the question with Kurdish leaders Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani. Washington also expressed concern over the "spectacular" rapprochement between Damascus and Ankara, which has cooled its ties to Israel.

Najaf. Police chief refuses transfer to Baghdad. The Syrian news agency SANA reports that Police General Ghaleb al-Jazaïri, who recently accused Syria of backing the rebels, has disobeyed an order from Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib to transfer to Baghdad for disciplinary action prior to being relieved of duty.

Teheran. US warplanes overfly Iranian nuclear installations. US planes taking off from Afghanistan have violated Iranian airspace. According to the newspaper Aftab, the lastest violation took place on New Years' Day when a US warplane flew at low altitute over the Iranian province of Khorrassan. Low-flying US jets have repeatedly violated Iranian airspace. Recently US F-16s and F-18s flew over Khuzestan Province to observe an Iranian nuclear installation.

Baghdad. General Mohammed Abdallah Chahwani told an AFP reporter that approximately 200 000 Iraqis are participating in the insurgency. 40,000 Iraqis form the core of the rebellion with another 160,000 are "part-timers." US Iraq analyst Anthony Cordesman suggests that Iraqis are joining the insurgency out of frustration with joblessness and lack of public utilities. Saddam Hussein's half-brother Sabaaoui Ibrahim al-Hassan and his lieutenant Mohammed Younès al-Ahmed are said to be financing the rebellion from Syria and exploiting their relationships with ex-military personnel in Mossul, Samarra, Baaquba, Kirkuk and Tikrit.

23:03 Baghdad. Explosion kills three British nationals and an American.

21:50 Washington. Elections to take place on 30 January. State Dept. spokesman Adam Ereli dismisses suggestion by Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem that elections might be postponed.

19:39 Cairo. Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Chaalane suggests postponement of the 30 January elections in Iraq if all Sunnis were to agree to participate in them. Shaalan says he is convinced that Washington would welcome particpation of all Iraqis in the elections.

17:59 Basrah. Three police assassinated. A police car was fired upon by unknown assailants, killing three and wounding a fourth officer.

14:23 Tikrit. Two bombs kill 6 National Guards. Two roadside bombs killed six National Guard today and wounded another four in Tikrit's Qadissiyah district.

13:51 Balad. Carbomb kills 4 National Guards. A carbomb detonated at the entrance to a US military base north of Baghdad, killing four National Guard and wounding another fourteen. Today's bombing follows yesterday's carbombing which killed 25 National Guard.

13:43 Baghdad. Second carbombing west of Green Zone. A second bombing occurred in Baghdad west of the Green Zone, following a prior bombing of the headquarters of Iyad Allawi's Iraqi National Accord which killed three and wounded several others. An AFP photographer witnessed an all-terrain vehicle destroyed by a blast near one of the entrances to the Green Zone.

13:21 Islamic Army threatens attacks on US territory. Statement by al Zarqawi on web site threatens attacks inside the USA.

09:10 Baghdad. Carbomb kills two and wounds 24. Carbomb detonates outside the headquarters of Iyad Allawi's Iraqi National Accord. Allawi was unharmed. A white GMC SUV taxi crashed through a first checkpoint and arrived at a second, where it exploded.

07:56 Baghdad. Carbomb targets headquarters of Allawi's political party. A car exploded at a checkpoint a short distance from the building. The blast occurred a few minutes before a scheduled press conference with Shi'ite leaders.


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