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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, May 10, 2005

10 May 2005 Events in Iraq

Iraqi Police Brutality (from L'Orient-Le Jour) Posted by Hello

Ramadi. For the last 48 hours, the area bordering on Syria of al-Anbar has been the theatre of US offensive named Operation Matador* to "eliminate insurgents and foreign fighters" and to "cut of their lines of weapons and explosive supply." A total of 15 US troops were killed between Saturday and Monday; another three died between yesterday and today. The US military says that it killed between "75 and 100" nationalist rebels and that 10 surrendered to American forces. The operation, supported by airstrikes, took place in an area reknown as a haven for smuggling and a sanctuary for foreign fighters. Meanwhile, al-Zarqawi denied that any of his men were killed in the operation.

*Of course, we know what "Matador" means in a bullfight but in this context the US his diguising Operation Slayer in Spanish.

Baghdad. The Iraqi government has offered a bounty of $50,000 for the head of Abdallah Janabi, a Sunni chieftain who lead Islamist rebels in Fallujah.

Canberra. Australian government sources say it has lost contact with the kidnappers of Douglas Wood.

Bucharest. Romanian President Traian Basescu says his country will not negotiate with the kidnappers of three Romanian reporters and their guide.

Paris. Florence Aubenas and her guide mark 125 days as hostages.

Amman. Jordan to name new ambassador to Baghdad.

New York. Oil for Food scandal. The United Nations wins a round in the courtroom. In a lawsuit against Robert Parton by the UN for divulging confidential information as Volcker Commission investigator, a US federal tribunal in Washington has enjoined Patton for 10 days from handing over further commission documents to two Congressional subcommittees conducting their own investigation of the Oil-for-Food scandal. However, the Congressional committees are in possession of several of the documents.

Baghdad. Iraqi authorities have released 200 detainees held by the Americans. Another 200 will be released next week. The release is the result of the decision of a joint committee of US military officials and Iraqi ministers which meets to review detentions. The US admits to holding 10 708 Iraqi prisoners as of 4 April 2004.

Paris. Chaldean patriarch Mgr Emmanuel Delly, 77, met with Jacques Chirac in his first visit to France.

Baghdad. A Japanese security guard was taken prisoner when nationalist rebels attacked a convoy of foreigners in Western Iraq. The Japanese government i stiving to gather "independent information" on the fate of of Akihito Saito, a 44 year-old former soldier employed by a British security firm. Ansar al-Sunna say Saito was "severely injured" during the attack. The convoy that he was escorting was attacked in a nighttime raid.

Baghdad. On Monday the bodies of eight Shi'ite civilians were found, four days after fourteen Sunnis were killed near Sadr City. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has demanded an investigation into the deaths of the Sunnis.

Canberra. The mufti of Australia, Sheik Taj Eldine al-Hilali, has flown to the Iraqi capital to assist in negotations for the release Douglas Wood, 63. Australia has 550 soldiers deployed to Iraq and intends to augment this number by 350 soon.

19:40 Ramallah. Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser Al-Kidwa, attending an Arab-Southern Hemisphere summit in Brasilia, has warned of a deterioration "on the ground" if Israel does not respect its commitments promised in February's summit at Sharm al Sheik. Al-Kidwa also says Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas would soon travel to the United States for talks with President Bush.

19:25 Teheran. Ex-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsandjani announces he will again run for President. In a communique delivered to AFP, Mr. Rafsandjani says he is running out of concern for rising tension and debilitating confrontation standing in the way of a serious program for developing the country. Rafsandjani criticized the emergence of "extremist tendancies" and a climate of apathy driving the populace into a worrisome state of weakened values, which undermines personal dignity and threaten the means of existence.

19:18 New York. The UAE demanded that its claims against Iran over three strategic Gulf islands be brought before the UN Security Council in a letter from UAE UN Ambassador Abdel Aziz Ben Nasser Al-Shamsi to Kofi Annan. In December 2004, Iran reaffirmed its sovereignty over the islands and spurned a mediation offer from Abu Dhabi. According to Abu Dhabi, the islands of the Great Tomb, the Lesser Tomb and Abu Mussa at the entrance to the Straits of Hormuz have been "occupied" by Iran. Iran is building a military base and an airport on Abu Mussa and bringing in "settlers."

19:02 London. Twenty-five British ex-soldiers deployed to Iraq are suffering from mental and psychological disorders. Most are members of the Territorial Army, a part-time national force. The numbers are only the tip of the iceberg, according to Leigh Skelton of the organization, Combat Stress.

19:01 Beirut. Lebanese authorities say they destroyed poppy and marijuana fields in Wadi Halabta in the Békaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. The poppies would have been ready for opium extraction in about ten days, according to official sources. Lebanon began a drug eradication program at the request of the United States in 1994 but is considered to have failed by lack of success in growing alternative crops. During the '80s, drug trafficking produced $4 billion a year or the Lebanese economy.

18:50 Kuwait City. Kuwaiti authorites have permitted al-Jazeera to reopen its offices in Kuwait. Al-Jazeera is banned in Saudi Arabia and in Iraq.

18:10 Jerusalem. Israeli police close down Palestinian voter registration centers. Two Palestinian voter registration offices in Jerusalem were shut down by Israeli police, who claimed to have no knowledge of an official agreement permitting registration ahead of the 17 July elections.

17:06 Ramadi. The Governor of al-Anbar province, Nawaf al-Raja al-Mahalwi, was kidnapped by insurgents demanding an end to the US offensive. The governor's brother told Reuters, however, that the kidnappers demand that the governor's tribe end its clashes with groups linked to al-Zarqawi. The governor originates from al-Qaïm. Al-Mahalwi was kidnapped while travelling from al-Qaïm to Ramadi, the provincial seat, along with four of his bodyguards.

15:56 Rome. Italian contingent to pull out by January or February 2006 at the latest, says Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini. UN Security Council Resolution 1546 provides that general elections must take place of by 31 December 2005. Afterwards, Italian forces are scheduled to pull out.

14:42 Paris. French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei says France hopes Iran will renounce its uranium enrichment program.

14:12 Baghdad. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry says it will do "everything possible" to release Japanese hostage Akihiko Saito.

14:08 Baghdad. The Iraqi Parliament names a committee to draft the permanent Constitution. The committee is composed of 55 members, 28 of whom are members of the Shi'ite UIA and 17 are Kurd. Deputy Speaker Hussein Shahristani says the committee has three days to meet and chose a chairman and a secretary. The committee includes several notable political figures: Judge Dara Nureddin, former Assembly Speaker Fuad Maassum, former Minister of State for Security Affairs Qassem Daoud, former Oil Minister Thamer Ghadbane, al-Dawa party Number 2 Jawad Maliqi, SCIRI's Humam Hammudi, Communist Party leader Hamid Majid, Christian leader Yonnadam Kanna and Kamiran Beik of the Yazidis.

14:07 Najaf. A homemade bomb was discovered and defused 200 meters from the offices of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. The explosive device consisted of 10 lbs. of TNT, hand grenades and gasoline. A year ago on 17 May, the Grand Ayatollah's offices were sprayed with gunfire.

12:30 Karmah. US Marine killed by a mortar round.

11:03 Tokyo. Japanese Defense Minister Yoshinori Ono says Japan's 600-man contingent in Samawa will not be impacted by hostage negotiations and that Japanese troops would not be withdrawn.

10:48 Fallujah. A US Marine was killed this morning in Nasser Wa Sallam in central Iraq.

09:43 Baghdad. Suicide carbomb targets river police. A second carbomb targeting a Tigris River police station detonated in the nearby Abu Nawwas district in south-central Baghdad, wounding three police. In this bombing, a suicide carbomber rammed the entrance gates to the facility and destroyed three police cars.

09:29 Baghdad. Second blast.

09:00 Baghdad. Casualty toll rises to 7 dead and 16 wounded. Seven persons were killed and 23 wounded in a fresh carbombing targeting a US convoy in Saadoun Street in downtown Baghdad, destroying shops and cars. Police securing the area fired warning shots in the air to drive back the crowd of onlookers, as firefighters tried to put out at least seven burning vehicles.

08:54 Baghdad. Carbombing in downtown area.


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