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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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).

Thursday, May 19, 2005

19 May 2005 Events in Iraq

Washington. High-ranking US military officials in Washington and Baghdad have a less enthusiatic outlook this week than last, when some officials claimed that a positive turn of events would permit a large-scale pullout at the end of 2006. General John Abizaid, Chief of CENTCOM, said one of the problems was the negligible progress made in training Iraqi police capable of challenging the rebels and replacing US troops. A senior officer revealed that there had been 21 carbombs since the beginning of the year vs. 25 for all of 2004.

Baghdad. Chaldean Patriarch Monsignor Emmanuel Delly says the future Iraqi Constitution should not be based "solely on Islam." Delly discussed the subject with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. The Constituion must guarantee religious freedom to all Iraqis as well as their personal freedom. When asked about US missionaries in Iraq, Monsignor Delly said they were not missionaries, only people after a buck.

Moscow. The ex-Russian Number 3 rejected charges of his implication in the Oil for Food scandal. Former Chief of Staff Alexandre Volochin rejected charges levelled by the US Senate that he received coupons for 5 million barrels of oil from Saddam Hussein. He also denied knowing Sergei Issakov, alleged by Senators to be his confidant and collaborator.

Washington. A senior member of the US administration claimed that Syria is permitting members of al-Qaeda to enter Iraq.

New York. Human Rights Watch counsel Reed Brody says the religious humiliation of prisoners is in Guantanamo and elsewhere is widespread.

Baghdad. Radical cleric Moqtada Sadr has called upon Muslims to paint US and Israeli flags on the ground outside mosques so that they would be walked on by the faithful on their way to prayer as a sign of protest over the profanation of the Koran. US flags are already painted on the ground outside mosques in Baghdad and Najaf.

Washington. A US Muslim organization claims delivered a Koran purchased on-line which had been desecrated. When the recipients opened the book, they discovered that someone had written "Death ot all Muslims" on the inside.

Baghdad. A Shi'ite cleric close to Ayatollah Ali Sistani was gunned down this evening

Damascus. Syrian security forces arrested more than 40 persons belong to the Wahhabi religious current in the Province of Latakia, 350 km northwest of Damascus over the last few months, reports the Arab Human Rights Organization. The organization says they have been tortured and held without appearing before a magistrate. Meanwhile, the paternal uncle of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad intends to return to Syria, where "the situtation is grave" to take on "a political and national role in building a just, free and peaceful society", according to his spokesman al-Hareth al-Kheir.

Baghdad. A US soldier was killed by a mine.

Baghdad. A US soldier and 2 Iraqi soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb targeting their convoy.

Baghdad. A University of Baghdad faculty member was shot dead. Kassem Mohammed al-Azzaowi, a professor at Baghdad University's Nursing School, was killed by three armed gunmen.

Tikrit. The bodies of four Iraqis, executed by gunshot, were found south of the city.

Samarra. Five Iraqis were killed and the body of a slain Iraqi contractor was found.

Samarra. Security forces were place on alert as al-Zarqawi tracts were circulated threatening them with death.

Amman. King Abdallah II of Jordan says his government has requested Saddam Hussein's regime to extradite al-Zarqawi before the 2003 invasion. Abdallah II said in an interview with the Arab newspaper al-Hayat that Saddam Hussein spurned several requests to extradite Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, whose real name is Fadel Nazzal al-Khalayleh. Al-Zarqawi is wanted for the October 2002 murder of Laurence Foley, a USAid official in Amman. Al-Zarqawi was also found guilty in abstentia in December 2004 for planning a chemical weapons attack in Jordan.

Najaf. After a meeting with Ayatollah Sistani, visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi affirmed there was no evidence of support by Iran of terrorist activities inside Iraq.

Baghdad. An Iraqi solider was killed in a suicide bombing and four others were kilnapped.

Baquba. Two police killed by landmine placed under a highway.

Baiji. Four Iraqi soldiers kidnapped at dawn.

Baghdad. Shi'ite and Kurdish MPs agreed to grant a role to Sunnis in the drafting of the new Constitution, although the total number of Sunni MPs is 17 out of 275.

Damascus. Syria denies US accusations of weapons trafficking and easy passage to Jihadi fighters. These are baseless accusations. Syria is doing all it can. The accusations are part of a political pressure campaign. We hope that during our next contacts and meetings with Iraqi officials further progress will be made on a security protocol with Iraq. Syria is ready to cooperate with the Iraqis, said a government spokesman.

Mosul. A 12 year-old girl and an adult were wounded in a bomb blast

23:45 Ramadi. US solider killed in shoot-out. The incident occurred outside a US military base. Meanwhile three other US soldiers died in separate actions in Baghdad. KIA now reaches 1,620.

18:54 Ramallah. In a reverse for Hamas, Palestinian judicial authorities cancelled the results of several election districts in the Gaza Strip. The victory of Islamic Resistance Movement were cancelled in 13 wards within Beït Lahiya. In Boureïdj, the victory of all Hamas candidates in 12 or 13 council seat races was annulled. In Rafah in the south Gaza Strip where Hamas won over Fatah in a landslide, results were also cancelled. 2,817 voters in Beït Lahiya will be called back to the polls in 10 days. Hamas accepted the decision but accused the judges of caving into pressure. Hamas victories on the West Bank were unchallenged.

18:38 Cairo. Egyptian authorities arrested 14 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, bringing the number of total arrests of Brotherhood members to 730.

18:31 Bucharest. The families and colleagues of three Romanian journalists held hostage in Iraq assembled in Bucharest's main square carrying banners saying, Silence Will Not Bring Them Home. Romanian President Trajan Basescu has been criticized for inaction.

18:47 Baghdad. The Badr oganization denied the accusations levelled by Sunni clerics that it is responsible in the deaths of Sunnis in the capital and announced that it would sue. Hareth Dari, spokesman for the Committee of Iraqi Ulema, directly accused the Badr organization in the murder of Sunni sheiks and imams.

18:37 Baghdad. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick appealed to Iraqi officials to speak out against sectarian violence in the country.

18:07 Washington. The US insists on a "very high bar" be raised for Iran concerning the suspension of its nuclear activities, according to Nicholas Burns, Number 3 at the US State Department.

17:56 Baghdad. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick met with Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari four days after a visit by Condoleezza Rice.

17:42 Tashkent. Uzbek forces killed up to 1,000 insurgents over the last week, sasy the International Helsinki Foundation for Human Right (IHF). 700 were killed in Andijan, 200 at Pahkta and 100 along the border with Krygyzstan.

17:26 Baghdad. The United States intensifies pressure on Syria, which it alleges is the main route of transit to Iraq by foreign fighters.

17:22 Damascus. State-owned Syrian Arab Airlines plans the purchase of seven Airbus passenger airliners.

17:07 London. Oil prices on the rise. The price of oil began rising after a statement by OPEC's Sheikh Ahmad that the cartel would cut back production if US reserves continue to rise. North Sea Brent closed at $48.7; Light Crude at $47.95.

16:01 Warsaw. Two Polish soldiers injured in bomb blast. Two Polish soldiers were injured by a roadside bomb as they were returning to their base in Hillah from Baghdad, according the the Polish military. Their vehicle was damaged and the two have been hospitalized.

16:00 Mosul. An Iraqi MP said he was the target of an assassination attempt today in which seven Iraqis were killed and three wounded. Insurgents attacked my home in northeast Mosul and there was an exchange of fire between them and my bodyguards and family, said Fawaz Mohammed Dhiab al-Jarba, who ran on the UIA list in the January elections. Seven persons, a driver, body guards and family members were killed. The insurgents were heavily armed and I phoned the Americans to relieve us. A US helicopter fired on the attackers. Al-Jarba split with the UIA one month ago.

15:12 Mosul. Clash between rebels and US troops. A US patrol was struck by a weapons fire in Mosul. Earlier a carbomb detonated in the al-Shurtah district, wounding three adults and a child, who was taken to a hospital.

11:27 Samarra. A police officer and his father were shot dead in Samarra by unknown gunmen as they were travelling in their car.

10:01 Basrah. Remains of 500 Gulf War soldiers found. The bodies of 600 Iraqi soldiers who died during the Iran-Iraq war were discovered in the desert. The Human Rights ministry says it is in possession of a new list of missing Iraqi soldiers.

08:01 Baghdad. Oil Ministry official assassinated. Ali Hamid, an ex-Oil Ministry official was assassinated in an ambush as he left his home.


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