6 April 2005 Events in Iraq.
Basrah. In another sign of growing sectarian tensions, an Interior Ministry official said about 50 armed Shiite Arabs blocked off a road southeast of Baghdad on Tuesday and detained 40 Sunni Arabs in retaliation for the kidnapping of seven Shiites the day before. The police sent officers to the area and found 13 of the detained Sunnis in nearby homes.
Baghdad. Ghazi al-Yawar gracefully resigns as President without being forced out of office, unlike all of his predecessors since 1958.
Baghdad. Deputy Assembly Speaker President Hussein Shahrastani said a new government cabinet should be ready by next week. The Oil Minstry portfolio is still being disputed.
Ankara. Turkey, concerned by Kurdish yearning for independence, calls upon Jalal Talabani to work towards national unity.
Baghdad. Iraqi National Assembly want to move. The 275 Iraqi MPs have chosen the building housing the former royal parliament as the assembly's new home. The building is in the Green Zone and can hold up to 600 people, ample enough to accomodate the press and onlookers. The building is actually in use by the Defense Ministry and must be refurbished before the move is possible
Bucharest. The Secretary-General of Reporters without Borders, Robert Ménard, and the Editor-in-Chief of the French daily Libération, Antoine de Gaudemar, called Romanian media to action to sound the call for the liberation of all foreign reporters held hostage in Iraq.
Baghdad. Shi'ite Adel Abdel al-Mahdi confirmed Vice President. It is noteworthy that Al Mahdi, a former Maoist and Iranian revolutionary, is today a champion of the free market and decentralization. Al-Mahdi's four children are French nationals.
23:49. Jerusalem. Palestinian pacifist Houda Imam was stopped form boarding a flight to the USAA by a humiliating body cavity search while nude which Ms. Imam refused to undergo at David Ben Gourion International Airport in Tel-Aviv. Mrs. Imam, a French national, was to have participated in a Boston coloquium to which Naomi Khazzan, an Israeli leftist, was also invited.
22:33. Cairo. The Egyptian government refuses a visa to Iraqi lawyers travelling to Egypt to participated in a Human Rights workshop. The organization then moved the conference to Amman.
15:30. Baghdad. The Iraqi National Assembly confirmed Kurish leader Jalal Talabani as President. Joyous street demonstrations occurred spontaneously in Kurdish cities, including Kirkuk. In an acceptance speech before National Assembly, Talabani said, I promise to do everything to earn your trust. I will listen to your suggestions and I all shall engage all my strength towards the establishment of a democratic government guaranteeing freedom to all and to uprooting the criminal terrorism, corruption and ideas of Michel Aflak, the founder of the Ba'ath Party. I ask our neighbors to treat Iraq with respect, to abstain from interference in our internal affairs, and to cease aid to the rebels, who wish to wage a war of extermination against the Iraqi people.
15:27 Erbil. Kurds danced in the street and sounded automobile horns in celebation of the historic appointment of Jalal Talabani as Iraqi President. It's an historic day, the fruit of sacrifice over several decades, said taxi driver Kawa Ahmad. Kurds waved portraits of Talabani and sang the praises of the Peshmerga guerrilla fighters. There were no Iraqi flags in sight as Kurds demanded a new flag, free of the memory of Saddam Hussein. The Kurds are the happiest people on earth today, because this is the first time one of us is Iraqi President, enthused Hama Najim Abdallah, 55, a carpet seller. When I saw the Sunni MPs vote for Talabani, I couldn't believe my eyes, I thought they hated us, says Nawzad Ali Hassan. An elderly woman, Oum Mahmoud, began to dance: I swore I'd dance on my doorstep if Talabani was elected, in spite of my age.
15:23 Stockholm. Kidnapped leader vows to return to Iraq. The head of the Christian Democratic Party, Minas Ibrahim al-Youssoufi, who was kidnapped in January and released on 18 March, wants to return to Iraq. M. Youssoufi gave a press conference in Soedertaelje in southern Sweden saying he wished to serve the Iraqi people. Al-Youssoufi was released thanks to the intervention of the King of Sweden and Pope John-Paul II.
14:53 Baghdad. Newly confirmed Vice President Ghazi al-Yawar and Prime Minister designate Ibrahim Jaafari said they believed it was premature to set a schedule for the pullout of Coalition forces. No Iraqi wants to see the Multinational Force stay, but we must be prudent in facing the current situation, said Mr. al-Yawar, who added, The Sunnis must realize that collective effort is required and that we must open up to one another. They must understand that we are all in the same boat in crocodile-infested waters.
09:57 Baghdad. Ibrahim al-Jaafari to be confirmed as Prime Minister on Thursday.