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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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 15, 2005

February 15 Events in Iraq

Mosul. Le Monde reports that the lid is ready to come off in Mosul. Mosul is a city of 2 million, mostly Sunni, with a substantial Kurdish minority and a smattering of Christians, Turkmen and Yazidi. The US has permitted a large Kurdish garrison inside the city on the eastern bank of the Tigris of 4,000 PUK militiamen, most in Iraqi military uniform. The paper reports that the lesser minorities have abandoned the city and that today an ultimatum expires, demanding that the Sunni insurgents surrender. This was the scenario which preceded the US assaults on Karbala, Najaf, and Fallujah.

London. UK troops to face legal action over deaths of Iraqis. The UK daily The Independent reports that the Ministry of Defence is exuming the bodies of several Iraqis killed by UK troops for full autopsy and forensic examination by the military's judicial branch. The Independent itself is spurring inquiry into the case of six Iraqi civilians who met death at the hands of British troops. It is expected that the troops involved will face court martial and that the British goverment will pay an indemnity to the families concerned. The paper reveals that Ghanim Gatteh al-Roaimi was killed by British soldiers while standing outside his home in January 2004; Walid Faai Mouzban was killed during a house-to-house search in 2003.

Washington. Sevan pocketed $1.2 million in Oil for Food scandal. Senate investigators say program director Benon Sevan pocketed at least $1.2 million in bribes and kickbacks.

Washington. Red Cross President Jakob Kellenberger engaged in high-level and confidential talks on concerns for prisoners held by the United States in Iraq and Guantanamo with President Bush.

Washington. George W. Bush has formally requested $82 billion from Congress to finance military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The request includes $717 million for a US embassy in Baghdad, $658 million for a diplomatic residential compound, $2 billion for poppy eradication and legislative elections in Afghanistan, $150 million for Pakistan, $200 million for the Palestinians and $300 million in economic and security assistance to Jordan.

Baghdad. Sunni political leaders and a representative of Moqtada al Sadr met with the Committee of Iraqi Ulema in the Oum al-Qoura moque in Baghdad. At the end of the meeting, participants published a communiqué stating their conditions for participation in a national debate on reconciliation and the drafting of a Constitution. The participants also called for the withdrawal of occupation forces and for the end to distribution of goverment posts according to religion, race or ethnicity and recognition of the right of the Iraqi people to resist the occupation.

Baghdad. Allawi warns that next government will be Islamic. Caretaker PM Iyad Allawi says Iraq must be secular society but that he will cooperate with Islamists in forming the new government.

Teheran. Iran discrete concerning Iraqi elections results. Comment by Iran's government and national newspapers on the Iraqi elections has been very low-key.

Baquba. US drone shot down by insurgents.

Baghdad. Six Iraqis were killed and nine wounded in rebel action in Baghdad and north of the city.

Samarra. The bodies of three executed Iraqi soldiers found.

20:25 Moscow. Russia confirms arms sale to Syria. Russia will sell SA-18 ground to air missiles over Israeli objections.

17:08 Rome. Berlusconi says Italian contingent will return home after security is established in Iraq.

16:24 Baghdad. Three dead and one wounded in separate incidents. Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and one wounded by a bomb in Dhuluiya, 70 km north of Baghdad. The body of a third Iraqi soldier was found floating in the Tigris near Balad.

16:14 Rome. Italian Senate to vote on extending mandate for troop presence in Iraq to June 30.

14:33 Rome. Opposition to vote 'No' on bill to extend financing of Iraq mission.

14:16 Baghdad. United Iraqi Alliance backs single candidate for Prime Minister. The UIA will back Ibrahim al Jaafari, leader of the al-Dawa Party, as Prime Minister after Adel Abdul Mahdi withdraws his candidacy. Mrs. Janane al-Obeïdi made the announcement, saying that agreement was reached after negotiatons with other lists. Reports says the Shi'ite majority has agreed to the nomination of Jalal Talibani as new President. The two Vice Presidential slots will go to one Sunni and one Shi'ite.

14:09 Diyarbaki (Turkey). Turkish police arrest two dozen Kurds at demostration. Three hundred demonstrators calling for the release of Abullah Ocalan were charged by police in Diyarbakir in southeast Turkey.

12:21 Rome. Opposition leader Romano Prodi says goverment refuses to give details on Italy's military mission in Iraq before crucial vote.

09:45 Baghdad. Turkish contractor freed. Kahraman Sadikoglu, kidnapped in December, was freed by his captors after family pays a $500,000 ransom.

09:08 Baghdad. Charges of voter fraud lodged with Elections Commission.


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