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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, May 18, 2005

18 May 2005 Events in Iraq

Baghdad. Two separate car bombings killed four people

Baghdad. An Interior Ministry official was assassinated in south Baghdad.

Mosul. A civilian was killed in clashes between guerrillas and police.

Baquba. Car bomb wounds 18, including 14 police

Fallujah. The bodies of seven Turkmen security guards were found south of Fallujah. They had been executed by a bullet to the head.

Baghdad. The Committee of Iraqi Ulema directly accused the Badr Brigades of the murder of two Sunni clerics in the capital. The committee also accused the national security services of the murder of 14 Sunnis, including three imams, despite official denials.

Baghdad. The Iraqi Interior Ministry and the Defense Ministry will be investigated by the Commission on Public Integrity for allegations of corruption under the administraiton of Iyad Allawi.

Baghdad. The Iraqi Central Tribunal sentenced the driver of a garbage truck to life in prison for hiding 700 rockets and 7 launchers inside his vehicle. The tribunal, created by the US-imposed Coalition Provisional Authority, has tried 450 persons for crimes against the state. 300 were found guilty and the rest were acquitted. Some received life sentences.

Kabul. Update RE: kidnapping of Italian aid worker. Kabul police were being disingenuous yesterday when it blamed a criminal gang run by Tela Mohammed for the deed. Today Taimur Shah used Cantoni's satellite phone to call into the US-financed Radio Liberty to announce his demands: a ban on alcohol sales, an end to a televised music show, and increased support for schools of Islamic religious instruction in the country. Meanwhile, Shaima Rezayee, 24, the hostess of an Afghani music video program was shot dead.

23:56 London. The British Defence Minister said today that the military is conducting an independent investigation into allegations of torture made by nine Iraqis against British troops. The abuses are said to have occurred at Camp Breadbasket, where British soldiers were engaged in Operation Ali Baba, meant to protect humanitarian food supplies from pilferage.

23:55 Baghdad. General John Abizaid of CENTCOM accused Syria of not doing enough to stop the use of its territory by Iraqi insurgents planning attacks in Iraq.

23:53 New York. The UN expressed its concern at the rash of violent incidents between Palestinians and Israelis. However, violence remains below the level of that prior to the February Sharm al Sheik accords, says UN chargé d'affaires, Kieran Prendergast.

23:44 Tbilisi: FBI says the grenade found in the Georgian capital during the visit of George W. Bush was live but did not explode due to a defect.

23:38 Ramallah. Palestininian minister Nabil Shaas demanded the suspension of a radical Muslim cleric calling Jews "a virus close to AIDS" in a televised sermon.

22:02 Washington. White House denies a New York Times report saying the Bush administration intends to initiate plans to militarize space.

19:04 Baghdad. Zarqawi justifies killing other Muslims in suicide attacks. The killing of infidels by any means, including through martyrdom, has been sanctified by many scholars even if innocent Muslims are killed.

18:34 Baghdad. A high-ranking US military official says that Abu Mussab Zarkawi decided to augment the number of attacks in Iraq during a recent meeting in Syria. The official said that Zarqawi ordered his men to increase suicide carbombs in daily operations. The official said that the meeting had taken place one month ago without asserting that al-Zarqawi was physically present. The US military says the meeting included former members of the Iraqi Ba'ath Party and ex-intelligence men. Meanwhile, the United States continued to warn Damascus about the transit of weapons and foreign fighters through its territory.

18:14 Teheran. Iran says its decision to resume its nuclear activities is irreversible but that it could be delayed by several weeks if discussions with the "Troika" go well, said Hassan Rohani, Chief Negotiator.

17:54 Cairo. Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif says that George W. Bush urged him to make progress on reforms after a meeting at the White House. Mr. Bush had called for the presence of observers during the upcoming elections but this suggestion was rejected by Gamal Mubarak and by the Chairman of the High Commission on Policy of the ruling National Democratic Party. I heard the President's recommendation on what should be done. We should concentrate on Gaza and there we are in agreeement. We believe that we have a real chance for peace and that we should aid the Israelis and the Palestinians in taking the necessary steps to achieve the first phase of the process to return the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians.

17:54 Paris. A close associate of Charles Pasqua told an investigating judge that the regime of Saddam Hussein approached the ex-minister to offer him a recompense for his support of the regime. Bernard Guille was questioned by Judge Philippe Courroye who is investigating illegal commissions. The sums were meant to favor the interests of big French companies such as Total. Tarek Aziz told me that Iraq wished to show its thanks to Mr. Pasqua for his role of support in 1993 when Pasqua organized the first official visit and contact of a high-ranking French official.


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