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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, March 08, 2005

March 8 Events in Iraq

Baghdad. Students shouted anti-US slogans at a demonstration at Mustansiriya University in Baghdad where the US conducted a raid and arrested an instructor.

Baghdad. Horsetrading continues over the composition of the Executive branch. Daawa Party leader Ibrahim Jaafari is favored to become Prime Minister but a cabinet will not be named until 16 March, according to Sheik Houmam Hammoudi of SCIRI, a principal player in the Unified Iraqi Alliance. The new government will be announced after the first sitting of the new parliament scheduled for 16 March inside the Green Zone. The outgoing Finance Minister, Adel Abdel Mehdi of SCIRI, also confirmed that the current favorites for President and Prime Minister are Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani and the UIA's Ibrahim Jaafari, respectively. A two-thirds majority is required to confirm the President and the Prime Minister. The refusal by Iyad Allawi to take part in the new government has forced the Shia and the Kurds into an alliance. Meanwhile, five female Iraqi ministers demanded an expanded role for women in Iraqi politics and complained of the lack of funding for their respective ministries and other obstacles.

Mosul. The body of the son of one of Mosul's police chiefs kidnapped a week ago was recovered.

Baghdad. Saddam to be tried before October. The trial of deposed president Saddam Hussein will begin in October, before the national referendum on the Constitution.

23:41 Washington. CIA calls conspiracy allegations absurd. The CIA says there was no plot to kill Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena.

22:37 Rome: Justice Minister demands deposition from Sgrena. Italian Justice Minister Castelli demands a deposition from Sgrena on her kidnappers and anyone she might have seen with them. [Castelli's statement barely concealed anger and threat--Nur]

19:02 New York. Oil futures set record at $55.75 per barrel.

17:17 Baghdad. US military command orders additional inquest on Calipari slaying by American troops on the Baghdad Airport highway.

16:55 Washington. Bush demands that Syria and Iran end support of terrorism. President gives address at National Defence University demanding a Syrian pullout from Lebanon and accusing Teheran of a long tradition of supporting terrorism.

16:46 Brussels. International Reporters Federation demands explanation from US authorities on the "bizarre incident" in which Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari was slain. The organization has demanded an inquest into the death of Calipari while noting that there have been more than 13 incidents involving US troops in which journalists or support crew were killed

16:31 Rome. Italy and the USA have agreed to replace their respective ambassadors after grappling with the Calipari affair. Mel Sembler will leave the US Embassy in Rome to return to his business in Florida. He will be replaced by Ronald Spogli, a former Harvard schoolmate of the President and one of his biggest campaign contributors. Italian Ambassador to the US Sergio Vento will be replaced by Giovanni Castellaneta, a close ally of the Bush adminstration.

16:15 Baghdad. Kidnappers say the CIA wanted to kill Giuliana Sgrena. America eats its allies; American pummels its allies. The Resistance has been informed that the CIA wanted to kill the reporter Giuliana, say kidnappers in a video broadcast by Sky News.

16:14 Paris. Mother of Florence Aubenas hopeful for release of kidnapped daughter. Jacqueline Aubenas gave an interview to Belgian paper Le Soir saying: Hope is not rational. I know that the two kidnapping are unrelated, that there is no connection, that Florence and Giuliana were not kidnapped by the same groups, but I can't help thinking that the release of the Italian reporter is a positive thing. I'm holding on to this magical thought. The incident concerning Guiliana is so clamorous that they [US troops] cannot let it happen a second time. But if anything happens to a convoy transporting Florence it can no longer be said such a shooting was a mistake. I think Florence will be spared due to this ugly precedent.

15:52 Novara. D'Alema says government should demand truth from the USA on the shooting of Calipari. Italian politician Massimo D'Alema says the government must demand truth and justice following hastily prepared and misleading statements from US officials. Things are happening in Baghdad which the television news programs are not showing us. There is a frightened foreign occupier who shoots at anything that moves. The incident which occurred the other day has received a lot of attention because the victim was an Italian national. But how often do such things go on without anyone knowing a thing.

15:13 Latifiya. 15 headless cadavers discovered. The bodies of fifteen men and women were found decapitated in a raid on an abandoned military base used as a rebel hideout. Locals had reported a number of missing persons from Karbala and Najaf.

15:02 London. Mayor Ken Livingstone says Ariel Sharon is the inspiration for al Qaeda. Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon is a war criminal who should be in prison, not in government. Livingstone went on to say that Sharon is the real inspiration behind al Qaeda and that threats against the West by Bin Laden derive from the policies of the current Israeli government whose abuse of the human rights of the Palestinians has raised the temperature of the Middle East to the boiling point so as to threaten all of us.

14:44 Rome. Sgrena says video released today by rebels is phony.

14:16 Rome. Rebels release video saying no ransom was paid for Sgrena release. Video also alleges that the CIA wanted to kill Sgrena.

13:00 Beirut. Huge pro-Syrian street demonstation today in Beirut organized by Hezbollah.

12:30 Ramadi. More than three persons killed in clashes with US military, which also carried out two arrests.

12:13 Baghdad. Interior Ministry official assassinated. No details.

11:11 Madrid. Conference on international terrorism. More than 7,000 security officials are in Madrid for a conference on international terrorism. Also in attendance are Kofi Annan, Javier Solana, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, King Carlos of Spain and Bill Clinton.

10:40 Rome. There was no checkpoint on airport highway. Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini says no US checkpoint had been erected on the Baghdad Airport highway.

10:38 Rome. Fini says there was no fourth person wounded in the Calipari-Sgrena incident.

10:16 Teheran. OPEC to leave production levels unchanged.

08:38 Baghdad. Iraqi government publishes new photos of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

08:26 Washington. Pentagon memo blames Italians for "errors" leading to the death of Nicola Calipari.

08:17 Baghdad. Ansar al-Sunna claims credit for yesterday's suicide boming in Balad which killed 15 people.

01:39 Amman. King Abdallah invites Syrian to make "the appropriate decision" on pullout from Lebanon.

00:57 London. House of Lords rejects Blair's proposed anti-terrorism legislation.


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