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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, February 14, 2005

February 14 Events in Iraq

Erbil. Dollars pour into Kurdistan. The French daily Le Figaro reports that foreign capital is flowing into Kurdistan. The capital, Erbil, has a new airport and a new Sheraton. The new glass and marble Sheraton features a huge garden complete with an artificial lake. The second floor bar lounge is staffed by Philippinos and serves mixed drinks to diplomats and businessmen. Domestic tourism is growing by leaps and bounds--80,000 Iraqi tourists visited Kurdistan in the last few months. Investor Fouad Ahmed plans a Sea Word attraction for the region. Grocery superstores, modern hospitals, restaurants and convenience stores are under construction everywhere. An Italian vitner has moved in and will shortly begin bottling Kurdish wine. In Suleimaniya, a US run university is under construction. Elsewhere tract housing, apartments and light industry installations are planned. Investors in Kurdistan enjoy a 5-year tax holiday.

London. British military quitting in droves to join private security firms. The Daily Telegraph reports that RAF and SAS special operations units have been decimated as soldiers rush to join private security firms. 120 members of the SAS and SBS (Special Boat Services) resigned the military to join Kroll, Controlled Risks and Armour Security. The Defence Ministry has recently sent out a mass mailing to thier troops in Iraq saying that it is in everyone's interests that they remain in the service. A former SAS soldier told The Guardian that he now makes 19,600 euros per month insted of the 2 900 euros per month he earned while in the army.

23:49 Ankara. Turkey frees 8 suspected terrorists. Eight persons suspected of a series of attacks on synagogues and British institutions in Istanbul were freed. The public prosecuter has requested the release of 17 suspected terrorists.

20:15 Baquba. Blast kills US soldier and wounds three.

17:58 Shorgat. Contractor and three others killed. A contractor to the US military was killed Shorgat, 300 km north of Baghdad. Meanwhile in downtown Mosul two police were killed and two wounded by unknown gunmen. A third police officer was killed near Baiji, 200 km north of Baghdad.

17:56 Samarra. Woman and child killed and five wounded when mortar rounds landed in a residential district.

17:55 Samarra. Five Iraqi soliders kidnapped. Five Iraqi soliders, including a captain, were kidnapped were kidnapped and forced into a car without license plates. The Abu Anas al Shami Brigades claimed credit for the kidnapping.

17:53 Rome. Taormina joins Saddam Hussein's defense team. Italian lawyer Carlo Taormina together with Daniele Bertaggia of Ferrara and Anna Agosti of Bologna have joined Saddam Hussein's defense team and are en route to Amman.

16:57 Baghdad. Finance Minister says Shi'ites prepared to work with Sunnis. Abdel Abdel Mahdi, a candidate for Prime Minister, repeats offer extended by Shi'ites to Iraq's Sunni community.

16:32 Paris. France invites all Iraqis to national dialog. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Hervè Ladsous calls for a "national dialog" to resolve Iraq crisis.

16:06 Washington. US Senate finds overwhelming proof of corruption in Oil for Food scandal. NY Times reports the US Senate investigators have found proof of corruption on the part of managers of the UN's Oil for Food Program.

14:45 Trieste. Barbara Contini happy with election results. The ex-CPA governor of Nassiriya, Italian diplomat Barbara Contini, is happy with Iraq's election results. Ms. Contini currently coordinates Italian humanitarian relief to Darfur.

13:39 Nassiriya. Italian Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola visits Italian contingent in Nassiriya

13:17 Rome. Fini says Iraq pullout would undermine UN Secretary General. Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini claims Italian opposition to the extension of Italy's peacekeeping mandate in Iraq would undermine Kofi Annan.

12:03 Baghdad. 99 lists seat no candidates. 99 lists failed to garner at least the 30,750 votes required to seat one candidate in the new Iraq National Assembly.

11:56 Talil. Italian Air Force Chief of Staff Leonardo Tricarico visits Italian airbase at Talil.

11:03 Dubai. Al Arabiya reports that the kidnappers of Christian leader Minas Ibrahim al-Youssoufi have demanded a $4 million ransom and the intervention of the King of Sweden. Al-Youssoufi is a naturalized Swede.

10:59 Baghdad. Three persons killed in separate attacks north of capital. A man was killed at a checkpoint near Samarra; an Iraqi soldier was killed while on patrol near Doujail; and Iraqi interpreter for the US military was slain near Chorgat.

07:39 Kirkuk. Two pipelines sabotaged. An oil pipeline and a gas pipeline were sabotaged.

06:32 Kirkuk, Gas pipeline sabotaged.


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