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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, March 16, 2005

Reverse Pizza! or, When Weasels Weep

Reverse Pizza! Posted by Hello

Update: No one can imbrogliare like Berlusconi. From today's rant:

I spoke with the President of the United States and I told him: George, things are just the way they were. I haven't issued a retraction; all the confusion was created by the press, which is devoid of intellectual honesty. It is impossible to see any turnaround, any change or any lack of consistency in what I've been saying to the allies. It's a complete invention caused by a disinformation campaign from the left. We won't be there forever...We're in Iraq to bring freedom and security to the Iraqi people.


I'm taking off the cheese and the olives and the pepperoni...gradually, so you don't notice so much. Then I'm removing the tomato, then the crust. Giorgio, wassah matter with you? You don't like a-pizza? I make a good pizza!

Silvio Berlusconi is a slippery guy. Right now the fine upstanding Northern (European) Protestants Blair and Bush are sputtering and cursing his dago garlic breath. The uppity Eyetie! In once, in for life! What is it about Mafia that he doesn't understand?

Assertion and denial. Clarity and mud. Silvio doesn't like it when the tea-drinkers give him flack so he's serving up imbroglio.

In this morning's Question Time in the House of Commons, Blair asserted that there had been a misunderstanding...the Italian Premier didn't mean to say pullout.

Shift to Rome. I had absolutely no misunderstanding with Blair, says Berlusconi. We understood each other very well.

Now Washington. The White House phones Palazzo Chigi. Bush reports the conversation, saying, I had phoned him on an entirely unrelated matter, but Berlusconi (notice--no "Mister", no "Prime Minister") brought up the question of Italian troop permanency in Iraq. First, he wanted to let me know that nothing has changed in his policy; any withdrawal would be decided with the allies and would be made in function of the capacity of the Iraqis to defend themselves unassisted.

Back to Rome. I informed Mr. Bush that I would like to begin, possibly in September, a gradual and progressive repatriation of the Italian military contingent in Iraq. I believe the Iraqi government will have the forces necessary to maintain order in September. We are currently training these same forces, who will be able to assume their duties well before that time.

For insiders only: Rumsfeld has been pressuring Italian Defense Minister Martino to participate in the operations in Ramadi and Baquba. The request for three combat helicopters, thought to be for this purpose, by the Italian contingent set off alarm bells. The request was granted but Berlusconi knows that the entry of Italian troops in combat would move parliament to recall the contingent. Then the shocker...the Italian command was possibly permitting secret combat missions which led to the death of a helicopter gunner last month and a paratrooper-artilleryman yesterday. Already on thin ice, the slaying of Nicola Calipari of Italian military intelligence turned members of Berluscomi's own governing coalition against him. On Monday, we can infer that Berlusconi had to cut a deal with the opposition to pass a 6-month financing bill for the mission which expires in September. Parliament has the goods on him. The deal was obviously a pullout in September.

Who's going and who's staying:

Staying: Great Britain (8,761 troops) - South Korea (3,600) - Romania (730) - Japan (550) - Denmark (496) - Bulgaria (485) - El Salvador (380) - Australia (400)* - Georgia (400)** - Mongolia (180) - Azerbaijian (151) - Latvia (122) - Lithuania (120; possibile pullout) - Czech Republic (110) - Slovakia (105) - Albania (71)*** - Estonia (55) - Armenia (46) - Tonga (45) - Macedonia (33) - Kazakistan (29) - Moldova (12) - Singapore (amphibious fleet in the Gulf) - Fiji (150 under UN flag).

* To be increased to 1,400
** To be increased to 898, some serving under UN command
*** To be increased to 200

Going: Poland(start: January 2005; end: circumstances permitting;) - Holland (March 2005) - Ukraine(start: 16 March; end: October 2005) - Bulgaria (by end 2005) - Italy (3,085 troops; start: September 2005, end: circumstances permitting in Dhi Qar Province)

Gone: Nicaragua (February 2004) - Spain (April 2004) - Dominican Republic (May 2004) - Honduras (May 2004) - Philippines (July 2004) - Thailand (August 2004) - New Zealand (September 2004) - Hungary (December 2004) - Portugal (February 2005).


Blogger Traveller said...

Wish the NY Times would go looking for you. They need some more facts to leaven the disinformation and lazy reporting. Good post. Nice to see Berlusconi, a weasel at best, putting one over on Bush and the Pentagon -- slimier weasels by far.

Re: Italian translation. I check the input in one of my other blogs and found one "hit" had its source in a "" Checked it out and found an automatic translator which turned out to be a better-than-adequate translation of the entire blog, better than those awful, senseless word for word translations one sometimes finds on the web. But it did make me laugh.

4:44 PM  
Blogger The Liberal Avenger said...

"Now that's a spicy meatball!"

(Mykeru, a self-described "Anglo-Dago" said that the other day and it still makes me giggle.)

7:27 PM  
Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

"Weasel" = "donnola". Quando le donnole piangono.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

Mamma mia! Mykeru is a paysan? Yikes, he'll put my picture on his page queefing ping-pong balls! I was only kidding about the pizza-making, honest!

Ha,ha "queef". Tisk, tisk...The places I go to...

8:02 PM  
Blogger The Liberal Avenger said...

Yeah, I have trouble with the "queef" references, too... They are a little easier to take when they are made at the expense of Michelle Malkin, however.

6:31 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home