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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, March 21, 2005

March 21 Events in Iraq

Washington. Iraqi expats demonstrated in front of Georgetown University from which Jordan's Prince Abdallah received an honorary degree for his support of peace in the Middle East. Demonstrators said they held the King responsible for the release of Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi in 1999 through an amnesty celebrating his ascention to the throne. [Of course, that was before Iraq was invaded illegally, giving him a raison d'être--Nur.]

Baghdad. Demonstrations hostile to Jordan continue. Demonstrations spread as the Iraqi press prints that a Jordanian suicide bomber, Raëd al-Banna, was responsible for the 28 February bombing in Hilla which killed 118 and wounded dozens more.

Najaf. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani laments the delay in forming of government. He regrets the delay in forming the new government because it affects the daily life of Iraqis and pleads a rapid resolution, says SCIRI's Abdel Aziz Hakim. According to the information in my possession, progress has been made in the negotiations and I believe that they may be finalized by Thursday or within the next few days.

Erbil. Fouad Maassoum, a PUK spokesmand and a member of the Kurdish Alliance, says that talks for forming a new government have been suspended while Kurdistan celebrates Kurdish New Year.

Baghdad. Eight bodies, including that of a Turkish truck driver, have been found. Meanwhile three Iraqis, including two women were killed in the explosion of a weapons dump north of the capital.

Baghdad. Attacks on US military personnel have been on the upswing over the last few days. Seven GIs were wounded in an ambush on Sunday. Meanwhile, the US military KIA figure rises to 1,511.

Washington. US raises military eligibility age. Military eligibility has been raised from 34 to 39 for the Reserves and the National Guard. The US Army believes that as many as 22 million Americans would be added to the pool of possible recruits. However, physical fitness requirements will not be eased. 45% of the troop total deployed to Iraq are reservists.

Mazar-i-Sharif. Afghan warlords Rashid Dostam and Mohammed Atta swear allegiance to Kabul

22:24 Algiers. King Abdullah orders return of Jordanian Ambassador to Baghdad. After a meeting with outgoing Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar in Algiers during the Arab Summit, King Abdullah ordered the return of the Jordanian envoy to Baghdad "as a gesture of goodwill."

15:30 Doha. Unknown group claims credit in theatre bombing. Jund al-Sham (Soldiers of the Rising Sun) have claimed credit for the bombing of a theater adjacent to a British school in Doha which killed one person and wounded sixteen others.

14:43 Baghdad. Bomb kills four women and one child. A roadside bomb in Azizyah, southeast of Baghdad kills five. Meanwhile three Iraqi soldiers were killed in separate attacks near the capital.

13:20 Samarra. Carbomb kills three children and four women. A carbomb detonated in downtown Samarra killing seven and wounding another ten persons.

10:45 Baghdad. Ten are arrested for Agriculture Ministry bombing. Iraqi troops arrest 10 persons suspected of the March 9 garbage truck bombing targeting the Agriculture Ministry and an adjacent hotel housing foreign contractors. 30 Americans were wounded in the attack.

09:06 New York. Oil prices ease but remain over $56 per barrel.

08:11 Jerusalem. Israel to build new settlements in the West Bank. [Well, that scotches any peace for 2005/6--Nur].

07:58 Manila. Saudi Arabia to raise production. Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi makes announcement during visit to the Philippines.


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