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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, February 01, 2005

The Day After the Day After

Washington. US military food service operations in Iraq run $4 billion deficit. An extra appropriation of $4 billion is expected to be tacked on to the President's request for funds for Iraq. In December KBR (Kellog Brown and Root), a subsidiary of Halliburton, which is responsible for military food services and hygiene facilities, presented an invoice to the Pentagon for $10 billion in services rendered. The Pentagon had requested only $3.6 billion for these services.

Washington. Pentagon to increase survivor's death benefit. For now, the survivors' benefit for a US serviceperson killed while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan is $12,420. The Pentagon would like to raise the indemnity to $100 000, retroactive to 7 October 2001, the date of the start of the US offensive in Afghanistan. The Pengaton would like to couple this to a life insurance policy for $250,000 per soldier. The request will cost $450 million in its first year of application. The amount will be included in the US defense budget for 2006.

Kuwait to legislate emergency measures. Kuwait is about to pass a law permitting home searches and seizures of unregistered weapons due to radical Islamist activity in the emirate.

Baghdad. Iraqi Finance Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi says the United Iraqi Allliance will get more than 50% of the vote. Mahdi is a hopeful for the Prime Minister's slot.

Baghdad. Ghazi al-Yawar says there are no winners or losers in elections. [Yet--Nur] Al Yawar says composition of executive will remain the same. A Sunni Arab president, a Shi'ite Prime Minister and two Vice Presidents, a Kurd and a Shi'ite.

Baghdad. Vote count. The counting of ballots began yesterday morning in the presence of journalists and observers. More than 200 ballot counters will be working 24 hours a day using 80 computers. The final results are expected within 10 days.

Teheran. The Guardians of the Iranian Revolution say that US troops will be forced to withdraw from Iraq "in shame."

Paris. French reporter Florence Aubenas and her interpreter, Hussein Hanoun, who disappeared in Iraq on 5 January, find themselves in a situation far different from that of other French hostages, says French PM Jean-Pierre Raffarin, without elaborating.

London. British undecided on fate of C-130. Sunday's crash of a RAF Hercules C-130 is still being investigated by British military experts, who believe it was likely a bomb despite a video produced by insurgents which shows a missile being launched at the transport.

Kurdistan: No turning back the avalanche. Kurds say they will claim 70 seats in the new National Assembly or approximately 25 percent of the legislature. Sherko Mangure, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Kurdistan NWE, says Kurds now represent a powerful political force necessary for the rebuilding of Iraq. Meanwhile, although the PDK and the PUK have set aside calls for independence, they have redlined districts to be included in a Kurdish superprovince. PUK Number Two Noshirwan Mustafa demands that all Kurdish territories must be ceded to Kurdistan, beginning with Kirkuk, under threat of secession. The Kurds also demand the office of Prime Minister or President in the new government.

Ankara. Ties between US and Turkey remain "strong." Deputy Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, in Ankara, reaffirms strength of US-Turkey relationship. [He's attempting to put out a fire there, that's for sure--Nur.]

22:00 Washington. All servicemen accounted for. Pentagon denies capture of US soldier by insurgents.

21:25 Rome. Romano Prodi calls for UN force in Iraq. Ex EU Commissioner Romano Prodi says his coalition was opposed to the war in Iraq, welcomed the success of Sunday's elections and now insists on a UN peacekeeping force to replace US troops.

18:45 Baghdad. Islamic group kidnaps US soldier. A group linked to al Zarqawi, the Mujaheddeen Squadrons - Iraq, say they have kidnapped a US soldier by the name of John Adam and have issued a 72-hour ultimatum demanding the release of incarcerated Iraqi men and women.

15:32 Baghdad. Government reopens frontiers and shortens curfew. Revised curfew in effect from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am.

12:35 London. Police Chief says terrorist attack inevitable. London Police Chief Sir Ian Blair says a terrorist catastrophe in the UK is inevitable.

12:30 Brescia, Italian judge reverses decision. Judge Roberto Spano' has reversed Judge Clementina Forleo's decision freeing Ansar al Sunna recruits because they were "insurgent fighters" and not terrorists.

12:05 Rome. Italy's left united for vote on troop pullout.

12:00 Baghdad. Al Yawar opposes US pullout in the short term.

08:40 Um Qasr. US prison guards kill four detainees and wound six others in prison riot at Camp Bucca.
07:54 Erbil. Two security guards killed defusing bomb inside PDK headquarters.


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