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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Friday, January 07, 2005

January 7 Events in Iraq

Damascus. US Senator John Kerry has arrived in the Syrian capital for talks with Syrian President Bachar el-Assad and his foreign minister Farouk el-Chareh.

Abdel Aziz Hakim, who heads the unified Shi'ite slate of candidates, argues for a Sunni representation in the new government.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hochiar Zebari today attempted to assuage fears among Iraq's Sunni minority that they will be dominated by a Shi'ite majority. Zebari stated that there would be a second election in December 2005 which will "really count." [January 30th elections are just for fun?--Nur]

Baghdad. Four soldiers, three civilians and one rebel were killed in separate incidents north of Baghdad and around Erbil in Kurdistan.

Erbil. Kurdish politician is wounded in assassination attempt.

Baghdad. Iraqi Defense Minister says he has proof of Syrian and Iranian assistance to insurgency. Iraqi Defense Minister Hazim al-Shaalan presented a videotape made on 24 December to reporters with the confession of a rebel prisoner naming Syria and Iran as supporters of the insurgency. Colonel Moayed Yassin Aziz al-Nassiri, who served in Saddam Hussein's army, affirms, We, particularly in the Army of Mohammed, received a great deal of assistance from Iran, which supports most resistance groups in Iraq. The tape has not been authenticated. Shaalan says he does not want to enter into conflict with Iran and Syria but adds, An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. We have the means to move the battlefield from the streets of Baghad to those of Teheran or Damascus. Shaalan also insists that Iranian intelligence agents are working inside Iraq and that his government had in its possession documents, witness depositions and confiscated weaponry proving the direct involvement of Iran and Syria. [This Shaalan is a loose cannon. It strikes me as preposterous that Iran would be helping the ex-Ba'athists. I never heard of "The Army of Mohammed". And of course, the silly threat of military action against Iran and Syria. Iraq will be lucky if the power is on in the morning.--Nur]

13:00 Kerry visits US troops in Mosul. John Kerry met with US troops at Camp Freedom and shared lunch with them.

11:59 Paris: Kidnapped reporter, Chirac advises against presence of French journalists. French President Jacques Chirac and Defense Minister Michelle Alloit-Marie advise against assigning French reporters to Iraq. The French correspondent for Libération, Florence Aubenas, has been missing since Monday.

11:03 Washington. Pentagon sends team to Iraq for reexamination of strategy. The Pentagon will send [retired] four-star General Gary Luck to Iraq to study US troop levels, training of the Iraqi security forces and a strategy for combatting the insurgency.

10:16 Samarra. Shooting in downtown. Guerrillas opened fire in downtown Samarra, killing two Iraqi soldiers and a civilian. Four other soldiers and two civilians were wounded.

09:10 Paris. Cause for disappearance of French reporter uncertain. The fate of French reporter Florence Aubenas, from who there has been no news since Monday, is unknown. French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier says there is much uncertainty surrounding the disappearance.

07:25 Baghdad. Caretaker government extends state of emergency by 30 days.

07:21 Baghdad. Disappearance of French reporter a myster. No news has been received concerning 43 year-old Florence Aubenas who has been in Iraq since 16 December as special correspondent for the French daily Libération. [Libération is a left-wing newspaper--Nur].


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