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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Saturday, March 12, 2005

March 11 Events in Iraq

Baghdad. The US was partially informed on release of Sgrena. The US military command was partially informed of an operation conducted by Italian intelligence to release Giuliana Sgrena according to La Repubblica. The newspaper cites General Mario Maioli, Deputy Commander of Mulitnational Forces in Iraq, as telling the Rome Public Prosecutor that he did not know the purpose of the mission led by Nicola Calipari. Maioli was reponsible for informing US military authorities at Baghdad Airport at around 8:00 pm the day of the release to "issue a temporary safe conduct to the airport" for "an Italian citizen" who was in fact Sgrena. General Maioli said he performed this task but that he was unable to refer information on the make, color or licences plate of the car to be used.

Washington. Bush to appoint ambassador to Kabul as new envoy to Baghdad. George W. Bush is to appoint Zalmay Khalilzad to replace John Negroponte.

Washington. Public health and safety experts demand inquiry into civilian deaths. Experts in Britain, the USA, Australia, Canada, Spain and Italy accuse the US goverment of hiding the number of civilians killed in Iraq. Statistics indicate that 3,274 civilians were killed in the six-month period between 1 July 2004 and 1 January 2005.

Fort Hood. Lynndie England to be court-martialed in May for her role in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. She faces 16 years in prison if found guilty.

Samarra. Body of Iraqi recovered. An Iraqi has accused a death squad run by the Interior Ministery of torturing his son after seeing him confess on television to having carried out acts of violence against goverment security forces. Khaled Jouli, a resident of Samarra, 125 km north of Baghdad, says his body of his son, Qahtane, was returned to him by Interior Ministry commandos. Jouli had seen Qahtane on TV three days earier. Iraqi Human Right Minister Bakhtiar Amine says he has no knowledge of the incident but calls the death "unacceptable"

Baghdad. Libération Editor-in-Chief Serge July travels to Iraqi capital. Serge July, Editor-in-Chief of the Paris newspaper Libération, has arrived in Baghdad for a 3-day visit to "contribute to efforts to release Florence Aubenas and Hussein Hanoun. Aubenas disappeared on 5 January.

Berlin. Supporters of Saddam Hussein hold conference in German capital. Supporters Saddam Hussein are meeting in Berlin with the German opposition to the war in Iraq. Ex-Ba'ath Party members will meet with German pacificsts. The Kurdish association, Awadani, will protest the conference.

Najaf. In response to Thursday's bombing of a Shi'ite mosque in Mosul, Ayatollah Ali Sistani has called all Iraqis to unity and solidarity. Meanwhile Mohammed Hussein Hakim, son of Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Saïd Hakimans, has also issued a condemnation. Lebanese Hezbollah has warned Iraqis against a "trap" and to preserve their national unity against plotters. Most Sunni clerics have also condemned the bombing. The families of the victims will hold private funerals to avoid further attacks.

Baghdad. A overall agreement between the UIA and the Kurdsm has not yet been reached. PDK leader Massoud Barzani insists that deployments of government troops in Kurdistan must be approved by the Kurdish regional assembly and says that Peshmerga fighers will be integrated into the Iraqi Army. Barzani also reiterated Kurdish claims on the city of Kirkuk and its attachment to an Iraqi superprovince, which he insists must take place without delay. [Barzani's bargain is receiving Kirkuk in exchange for an Islamic Constitution--Nur].

Washington. US does end run around extradition procedures. Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey introduces bill to Congress rendering illegal "extraordiary transfer" of US prisoners to nations practicing torture.

Washington. Pentagon wants to get rid of half the prisoner population in Guantanamo. The Pentagon plans to release or transfer 540 Guantanamo detainees to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Afghanistan.

20:49 Baghdad. US claims it has captured a female follower of al-Zarqawi. The woman, who has not been identified by Gen. Brandenburg, is being held at Camp Cropper.

20:21 Rome. Memorial ceremony for Nicola Calipari.

20:14 Rome. Sgrena demands truth from government. Sgrena demands that Italian government determine the responsible parties for the slaying of Nicola Calipari. I don't know if it was done on purpose or by mistake. In any case, I think it was unacceptable not simply because I happened to be in the car or because Nicola was slain. We were in an American-controlled area near the airport where Iraqis are not permitted to travel. Even if Iraqis had been in the car, I cannot accept what happened. You should not be able to just open fire on a car or a person. We received no warning; no one asked us to stop. If we had been asked to stop and we kept on going, then I could understand. But we were not asked to stop and incidents like this are happening every day.

19:30. Bologna. Italian Justice Minister again blames Sgrena for death of Calipari. I think Sgrena should be more responsible. She's said a ton of stupidities, she blathers irresponsibly, she acts irresponsibly, she has created enormous difficulties for the government and has caused divisions which should have not occurred.

18:43 Dubai. Al-Zarqawi claims that "the infidels and apostates will be defeated" in response to anti-terrorism conference in Madrid.

15:33 Baghdad. US Embassy confirms rolling checkpoints set up to protect Negroponte. Negroponte was to travel to a dinner at Camp Victory when it began to hail. Normally he would have gone by helicopter but that was impossible; he travelled by automobile and arrived around 8:00 pm. Following the dinner, the Ambassador returned to his residence in the Green Zone in Baghdad and it was there he found about about the death of the Italian agent.

12:01 Samarra. Turkish truck driver killed. A Turkish truck driver was killed by a roadside bomb in Makhool, 200 km north of Baghdad. He was delivering a truckload of supplies to US forces.

11:15 Samarra. Three Iraqis killed in separate incidents in Samarra; a fourth body found in Tikrit. Meanwhile, an oil pipeline between Beiji and Dura was sabotaged.

09:09 Mosul. Sadreen mosque hit by mortar fire. The Shi'ite moques that was the scene of yesterday's bombing was hit by mortar fire.

06:45 Baghdad. US held children at Abu Ghraib prison.


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