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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

February 23 Events in Iraq

Baghdad. Kurds and Sunnis prepared to cooperate with Jaafari. We hope that Mr. Jaafari will start to form a transitional government as soon as possible recruiting influential personalities., said Mohammed Ihsane, Minister for Human Rights within Massoud Barzani's Democratic Party of Kurdistan. However, Mr. Ihsane lamented the slow pace of consultations around cabinet appointments but underscored the existence of an understanding to name Jalal Talabani as President. Meanwhile, the KDP Minister for Culture, Sami Shursh, displayed more reserve, saying that any compact with the UIA must recognize the natural rights of the Kurdish people and that the Kurdish parties were neutral towards Mr. Jaafari's nomination. Mr. Shursh continued, We will ally ourselves with any party which supports a democratic system ensuring a federal Iraq.

Baghdad. Adnan Pachachi's Independent Democrats Movement will not have a seat in the new parliament, says spokesman Jalal Meshta. Meshta indicated that the party was open to cooperation with Mr. Jaafari but that the sparse Sunni turnout prevented the party's representation in parliament.

Al Anbar Province. 18 Iraqis were killed and wounded 25 in clashes with US troops and in several bombings in northern Iraq. Meanwhile, US Marines launched an assualt on the town of Haklaniya

Baghdad. Captured Iraqi insurgents say they were trained by Syria. Al-Iraqiya TV reported that captured Iraqi insurgents have admitted to being trained in Syria. The report is unconfirmed. In a video broadcast by al-Iraqiya, a reporter interviews a group of Iraqi insurgents, who explain how they learned decapitation, sharpshooting and bombmaking in 2001 in the Syrian city of Latakia. I slaughtered animals while learning how to decapitate., says Mohammed al-Taee, a mortar squad leader. Al-Taee says he began his training in Islamabad before spending five months in Syria. He returned to Iraq in 2003 where he says he killed Iraqi National Guards and translators working for the US military. I learned how to make bombs in Latakia and I spent a year with Syrian intelligence. I shot three or four people. He then removed a glove to reveal a hand mutilated by a premature detonation. Two others in the video explained that their job was to take photographs of decapitations and executions under the direction of a Syrian officer named Anis.

Note: Prof. Juan Cole confirms that the confessions are as "phony as a 3-dollar bill". It is embarrassing that Allawi thought he could peddle this horse manure to the Iraqi and American publics.

Baghdad. Iraqi government admits contacts with insurgents. Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita says he has been informed of contacts between insurgents and the Iraqi government and that US military is frequently contacted by intermediaries for the rebels.

Baghdad. Iraq fears the fallout of US attacks on Iran and Syria. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hochyar Zebari warned that Iraq will be destabilized if the US targets Syria or Iran.

21:54 Baghdad. Iraqi Trade Ministry official assassinated. Saad Abbas Hassan was shot while at the wheel of his car in downtown Baghdad. The vehicle went out of control and crashed through a shop window, killing a child.

21:02 Rome. Vote delayed. The Italian legislature will vote on refinancing its Iraq mission in mid-March.

20:34 Rome. Women's Forum. Italian Communist women's forum says, In times of war, journalism is freedom and information as they plan street demonstration in Palermo for the release of kidnapped Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena.

19:58 Rome. Plea from state universities for release of Manifesto reporter Giuliana Sgrena.

19:51 Rio de Janiero. Family launches web appeal for release of Brazilian hostage. The family of Joao Josè Vasconcellos, a Brazilian national kidnapped 19 January in Iraq, has launched an appeal for his release on the web.

17:27 Washington. Pentagon investigates rape accusation. The Pentagon is investigating the rape of an Iraqi female prisoner by a US soldier and is preparing a second investigation, says Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

17:14 Rome. Kurdish official to address Italian senate. Karim Sinjari, Interior Minister for the Kurdish regional government, will address the Italian senate tomorrow.

17:09 Baghdad. Iraq frontier reopens. Iraqi frontier opens following the Shi'ite feast of Ashura.

17:00 Baghdad. A coalition forms around Allawi. A coalition has been formed to support the renomination of Iyad Allawi as Premier but its composition has not been revealed [while appropriate bank accounts are credited--Nur]. National Security Advisor Kassem Daoud has defined the coalition as national and democratic whose goal is to foster the democratic process which all Iraqis desire. Allawi himself is reported as saying, We believe in a liberal Iraq which is not governed by Islamists [He used the I-word!...Like, hello, the election was last month and only 10 percent of Iraqis thought enough of you to vote for you?--Nur]. Meanwhile, Ibrahim Jaafari, candidate of the majority Shi'ites says he is also building new alliances. The door of Dr. Jaafari is open to everyone, says Jawad Taleb, political advisor to Ibrahim Jaafari.

16:47 Osnabrueck. Three British soldiers sentenced. A British court martial in Germany has sentenced three British soldiers guilty of prisoner abuse. The three were involved in Operation Ali Baba, conceived by the British military to prevent looting of humanitarian aid stockpiles in southern Iraq.

16:17 Teheran. Journalist sentenced to 14 years in prison. The editor of the reformist newspaper Gilan-e-Emrooz was sentenced to 14 years in prison for working for the United States in producing anti-Iranian propaganda.

15:43 Basrah. Shi'ite militants on parade. More than 4,000 of Moqtada al Sadr's militants parade in Basrah.

14:32 Rome. Anti-war petition. 15 thousand signatures have been collected in Italy protesting the war and demanding the release of kidnapped reporter Giulana Sgrena.

13:54 Milan. Terrorist arrested at Malpensa Airport. A suspected international Algerian terrorist has been arrested in Milan airport. He was travelling with an child. [Bogus with a capital "F" for fazullo--Nur]

13:01 Erbil. Body of decapitated women found. TV reporter Raida al Wazan, kidnapped on Sunday along with her 10 year-old daughter, was found dead near the Kurdish capital of Erbil.


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