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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Saturday, May 21, 2005

20 May 2005 Events in Iraq

Investigations, investigations, investigations!

Baghdad. Suicide carbomb. A suicide carbomb targeted an Iraqi convoy, killing two soliders. US helicopters intervened and a raging battle occurred between rebels and Iraqi troops

Washington. The US Army announced the death of four of its soldiers since Wednesday in multiple attacks and that a fifth soldier was killed in a road accident caused by a roadside bomb.

Baghdad. Rebels directed fire on Abu Ghraib prison wounding five prisoners.

Ankara. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, making his first official visit to a foreign country, announced that the Iraqi government would soon begin negotiations with Syria on stemming the infiltration of foreign fighters into Iraq, saying that Iraq would not tolerate risks posed by its neighbors. Al Jaafari also tried to calm Turkish fears concerning the presence in nothern Iraq of 5,000 PKK fighters and their infiltration into Turkey. [Hmm, maybe al-Jaafari shouldn't threaten Syria, then--Nur]. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan praised the determination of the Iraqi government to preserve Iraq's territorial integrity. Turkey believes Iraqi Kurds want to declare independence, a move which would encourage the separatist aspirations of Turkish Kurds.

Baghdad. Iran demanded war reparations from Iraq for the 1980-1988 Iran Iraq war. The Iranians presented a bill for $100 billion although some experts claim it should be $1 trillion. The UN declared Iraq responsible for the war in 1991 which Saddam always rejected. Officially 200,000 Iranian troops died in the war. The $100 billion amount does not include damages due civilians.

Cairo. Clashes between pro- and anti-Mubarek demonstrators. A hundred Mubarek supporters fought with opponents in the al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, following Friday prayers. The opponents, mostly Islamists, began shouting No allegiance to Mubarak-our loyalty is to God. Mubarek supporters then tore up their signs and banners. Shoes were thrown in the fracas.

23:59 Kara Darya: 500 Uzbek refugees request asylum in Kyrghizstan. The refugees drafted a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, asking for the protection of the United Nations.

23:54 London. The Sun printed yet another photo of Saddam Hussein as well as other prominent figures in the former regime. The paper also published a photos of a cousin of Saddam Hussein, Ali Hassan al-Majid, dubbed "Chemical Ali", and Dr Houda Saleh Mehdi Amache (Mrs.Anthrax).

23:58. Washington. Iranian exile claims Iran is importing graphite components for nuclear activities. Alireza Jafarzadeh claims that Iran has used a number of front companies abroad to circumvent international controls on the export of graphite components to Teheran needed for nuclear and conventional weapons. One of the companies is said to be in Dubai which purchased a quantity of components from China. However, UN arms control expert David Albright said that Jafarzadeh has little if any credibility and that the claim was timed to coincided with meetings between Iran and the European Union and of the IAE Board of Governors.

23:56 Washington. Army recruiters are coming under increasing criticism for their aggressive practices and improper conduct. Seven cases of impropriety are now under investigation.

23:54 Baghdad. A previously unknown group, Jamaat Jound al Sahaba (Soldier-Companions of the Prophet), claimed credit for a bombing outside a Shi'ite mosque which killed two and wounded five.

23:35 Washington. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Damascus that Syria was not "insulated" from ongoing change in the Middle East. Yesterday Mrs. Rice used the same words when referring to Iran. Mrs. Rice repeated the charge that Syria was supporting Iraqi insurgents and accused Syria of supporting Palestinian militants.

23:28 Washington. US traverses worst recruiting crises in decades. Major-Genereal Michael Rochelle, in charge of recruiting for the US Army, is quoted as saying in a press conference today that Today's conditions represent the most challenging conditions we have seen in recruiting in my 33 years in this uniform. We are faced with very low unemployment (and) the first time that the all-volunteer force has been challenged in sustained land combat. The numbers are worrisome: recruiting goals have not be met in three consecutive months.

22:28 New York. The UN confirms that Karimov will not permit an investigation of riot deaths in Uzbekistan. The US is "disappointed" by Mr. Karimov's decision, says State Dept. Spokesman Richard Boucher.

22:17 Washington. A White House spokesman said the US would investigate the death in detention of two young Afghani men at the US base in Bagram, Afghanistan. The New York Times published a story saying the pair was torturned to death in 2002. Taxi-driver Dilawar had been accused of participating in a rocket attack on the US base at Khost (Southeast) and received more than 100 blows to his legs, after which he expired. An autopsy reported that his legs had ben literally pulverized. Witness Lieutenant-Colonel Elizabeth Rouse said the sight was worse than that of someone who had been run over by a bus. Habibullah, the second prisoner, died of a heart attack due to blood clots caused by beatings.

21:49 Baghdad. Saddam Hussein to be put on trial within the next few months, said Iraqi Planning Minister Bahram Saleh in Washington, following a meeting with Condoleezza Rice.

21:47 Paris. French hostage Florence Aubenas and her guide Hussein Hanoun, soon to mark 150 days in captivity. 150 boats will sail from Marseille on June 5th in symbolic protest.

21:40 London. Emmanuel Ludot, a member of Saddam Hussein's legal team, says the team will sue The Sun for $1 million in damages for the publication of photos of Saddam Hussein in his underwear.

21:29 Washington. Fourteen year-olds recruited for the US Army thanks to loophole. A loophole in the 'No Child Left Behind' legislation permits the United States to recruit 14 year-old students. CBS reported that recruiters urged the adolescents to lie to their parents, cheat on drug tests and forge documents. CBS filmed a recruiter as he threatened to jail a student if he did not keep his appointment at the recruiting office.

18:14 Washington. The USA announced Friday that Syria continues to interfere in Lebanese affairs despite the pullout in April. Scott Carpenter, Deputy Undersecretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs, condemned "manipulation" by Syrian intelligence. Carpenter also demanded the disarming of Hezbollah and claimed that the group receives "several million dollars a year" from Iran.

18:13 Washington. President George W. Bush said he did not think the the publication of photos of Saddam Hussein would spur further violence in Iraq. Meanwhile, Abdel Bari Atwan, Editor-in-Chief of the Arab daily, al-Quds al-Arabi, in London believes that the photos will feed the resistance and provoke bombings.

18:12 London. A spokesman for the tabloid, The Sun, defended the publication of photos of Saddam Hussein in prison, saying that the photos were "fantastic" and "emblematic". Editor-in-Chief Graham Dudman challanged any publication to say they would not have published the photos had they had the opportunity. He's the Hitler of modern times, and, if you please, don't ask me to feel sorry for him, continued Dudman.

17:45 Baghdad. A group linked to Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi claimed credit for a carbombing in the northern part of the capital which killed two Iraqi soldiers and wounded three others in Abdel Mohsen Al-Kazimi Square in the Kazimya district. The convoy was destroyed.

17:38. Amman. King Abdallah II of Jordan opened the World Economic Forum in Shouneh on the west bank of the Dead Sea, welcoming 1,200 politicians, businessmen and advocates for civil society. Positive winds of change are blowing through the region, said the King, who also called for "a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During a workshop, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari deplored the violence rocking Iraq despite reforms and democratic elections. Meanwhile, the son of Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi, Seif al-Islam, said that his country would soon welcome foreign investment in telecommunications. Al Islam also said that pubically-owned banks would be privatized and that foreigners could hold a minority share in Libyan banks. Laura Bush will address the Forum tomorrow.

17:27 Baghdad. Tensions have cooled between Shi'ites and Sunnis in Iraq. While Shi'ite appealed for national unity, Sunnis held a prayer strike to protest the murder of clerics from their community. Abdel Aziz Hakim of SCIRI urged Iraqis to resist discord and to ignore rumors. Aziz also had concilatory words for Iraqi Defense Minister Saadoun al-Doulaïmi. The Committe of Iraq Ulema called for a three-day prayer strike during which prayer would be suspended at Sunni mosques in a sign of peaceful protest, said Sheikh Ahmed Abdel Ghafour as-Samarraï, after weekly midday prayers at the Oum al-Qoura mosque. The Ulema also condemned the assassination of a cleric close to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

17:10 Washington. George Bush supports a vigorous and far-reaching investiation of the leak of photos of Saddam Hussein in white briefs to the British tabloid The Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch. The New York Post, also owned by Murdoch, published the photos as well. The Sun said it received the photos from US soldiers who wanted to deliver a "body-blow" to the insurgency. The Pentagon says the photo is more than a year old. Meanwhile an attorney for Saddam Hussein, Ziad Khassawneh, told al-Jazeera that the legal team would take action for violation of Saddam's rights as a prisoner.

16:33 Kabul. The kidnapper of Italian hostage Clementina Cantoni has informed Reuters that the woman has been executed.

14:30 Ramallah. Meeting on tomorrow between Abu Mazen and Hosni Mubarak. The Palestinian and Egyptian presidents will be in Sharm al Sheikh on the progress of the Middle East peace process ahead of Mahmood Abbas' visit to Washington. Abbas said that the situation is very delicate and that he feels "worried" about the growing "climate of confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians".

12:30 Brussels. The EU-organized international conference on Iraq will be held on 22 June in Brussels during a visit by President George W. Bush [A fateful day in modern history--Nur] The conference will serve to demonstrate the political support of the international community for the new Iraq, says a spokesman for the EU Commissioners office.

11:49 Nassiriya. Shooting breaks out between supporters of radical Shi'ite leader Moqtada al Sadr and the local governor's police. Disorders broke out during a march organized by the Mahdi Army to protest the profanation of the Koran in Guantanamo. The police opened fire on the marchers as they approached the governor's offices and they returned fire. Four civilians and four police were wounded by gunfire and hospitalized.

11:07 Baghdad. New allegations of torture in Abu Ghraib prison. US soldiers simulated firing squads as psychological pressure on detainees, says the ACLU in a just-released 2,500-page report. Moreover, the report finds that US troops regularly terrorized civilians for amusement.

10:40 Baghdad. Saddam to be tried for his invasion of Iran. A joint Iraq-Iran commission has announced that Sadaam will be judged by a special tribunal for his culpability in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and well as for his invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Also included is his role in the murder of his political opponents during his 30 in power, the gassing of the Kurds, and the extermination of Kurds and Shi'ites in 1991.

09:31 New York. Uzbekistan rejects UN investigation. Islam Karimov rejected the idea of an international investigation on the anti-government revolt in Uzbekistan which killed 700 in Andijan, 200 in Pahkta and 100 on the frontier with Kyrgyzstan. The inquiry was to have conducted fact-finding and to have determined the exact number of victims.

07:07 Baghdad. Two children killed by bomb. Two brothers, 5 and 9, were killed and their mother wounded by a bomb placed outside a Shi'ite mosque in the Saadiya quarter of the capital.

06:59 Baghdad. US soldier killed in Taji. A roadside bomb struck the 4x4 vehicle in which the soldier was travelling near Taji, north of Baghdad.

04:50 Washington. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Iran must keep up with changes in the Middle East after a meeting with the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister. Rice said that the US would be against economic concessions to Iran in exchange for Iran's renunciation of its nuclear aims.


Blogger Traveller said...

The recruiting crisis is interesting. It tells as much about the mood of the country as anything a pollster could report. Recruits are no longer there to fight "for America," nobly, but to get involved and possibly die in an ignoble, illicit war created by profiteers and liars. The prospective recruit wouldn't say it that way but that's the mood out there.

6:13 AM  

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