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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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 31, 2005

31 May 2005 Events in Iraq.

Beirut. US Embassy denies visit to polling stations by US Ambassador. Embassy denies that Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman visited any polling stations in Beirut on Sunday. However it said that US Senator Joseph Biden visited a polling station in Achrafieh and that the visit had been approved by Lebanese authorities. Former Premier Sélim Hoss had criticized Ambassador Feltman's tour of voting stations but said the Ambassador phoned him personally to deny the allegiation. Hoss then apologized.

London. War good for mental heath. Being in a war zone is beneficial to the mental state of soldiers, according to a study by British researchers published in the Journal of Psychiatry. Interviews with 421 of the 16th Air Assault Brigade based in Colchester, Essex (southern England), before and after their deployment, showed no decline in their mental health.

London. Lawyer Giovanni di Stefano says deposed president Saddam Hussein cannot be tried until formal charges are duly prepared, reacting to a statement by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani that Saddam Hussein could be tried "within two months."

New York. Still no schedule for withdraw of foreign troops from Iraq. Anne Patterson, current US representative to the United Nations, repeated that no schedule has been set for the withdraw of foreign forces from Iraq. The United Nations had deployed a 7-person expert team to Iraq to estimate Iraqi needs, but Iraq has only just requested UN assisatance.

Ghazaliya. A convoy of Interior Ministry commandos was fired upon briefly, leaving three dead and several wounded in the convoy.

Ramallah. Palestininan Authorities have cancelled new partial elections scheduled for Tuesday in the Gaza Strip in districts where Fatah contested the victory by Hamas. The postponement was decided after Hamas announced it would boycott the vote. We have postphoned the elecitons sine die at the request of the High Commission [on elections] and to avoid problems in the Arab street, said local Elections Committee Chairman Jamal Shobaki. The re-vote was to have been held in Rafah, Beit Lahya and Al-Boureij.

Mosul. A local public television personality, Girgis Mahmoud Mohammed, 45, was shot dead.

Mosul. One policeman killed in rebel attack.

Baghdad. Three people, including an Asian truck driver, were killed and six wounded, including a woman, in separate attacks north of the capital.

Samarra. Three decapitated decomposing corpses were discovered.

22:56 Dubai. A journalist for al-Arabiya TV was struck by several bullets during an armed clash in Mosul.

22:52 Damascus. Syrian Defense Minister Hassan Turkmani denied that his country was facilitating the entry of foreign fighters into Iraq.

22:30 Jerusalem. A well-known Israeli television commentator broke with 37 years of political neutrality to criticize Israeli settlements in Gaza and on the West Bank. Since 1967 we have been brutal conquerors, occupiers, repressing another people who owned that land, said Haim Yavin in his program "Travel Notes" on commercial Israeli TV. Airing images showing long lines of Palestianians at a checkpoint, he said, I can't to anything to end this misery apart from showing it to you so that my viewers cannot say they hadn't heard, seen or known about it. I feel sympathy for the settlers but I think they are wrong and that they endanger us all.

22:30 Baghdad. Premier Ibrahim al-Jaafari said he is determined to give his security forces the means to defeat the rebels.

22:28 Bucharest. Former hostage Marie-Jeanne Ion denied having a friendship with Romano-Syrian businessman Omar Hayssam, who is accused by Romanian justice officials of organizing her kidnapping in Iraq along with two other reporters. I knew Oman Hayssam. We met on several occasions. He even sold me a car. But we were not friends. When he suggested a trip to Baghdad with one of his connections, Mohamed Munaf, as a guide, I thought he might be using our presence there to win credibiity with the Iraqi authorities. But I just wanted to do a story on Iraq. Marie-Jeanne Ion said she had "vague indications" that Omar Hayssam was under surveillance by Romanian intelligence because of his "shady dealings". In Romania, there are plenty of people who are accused of corruption. If he's really guilty, he should be behind bars. As to our guide, Mohamed Munaf, he was frightened by the kidnapping. We tried to hide his passport so our captors would not know he was a US citizen.

21:37 Washington. President George W. Bush says he believes the Iraqi government is strong enough to triumph over the rebels.

21:35 Ramadi. US Marine killed in clashes with rebels.

21:00 New York. Oil climbs to nearly $52 per barrel.

19:30 Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is unhappy with the "insufficient" pressure exerted by President Bush on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinians have the idea that there is no serious pressure being put on them to combat terrorism and that there is no urgency to act. Sharon was speaking to a delegation of US Congressmen in Jerusalem's Old City.

18:03 Tunis. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Farouk Kaddoumi, a Fatah leader in exile, for the first time since the death of Yassir Arafat. Farouk Kaddoumi, named to head Fatah after the death of Yassir Arafat, has refused to live in the territories and continues to live in exile in Tunis. In recent statements to the press, Kaddoumi accused Abbas of marginalizing the PLO and preventing Fatah's Central Committee to meet. The two agreed to a plenary session of the Fatah Central Comittee between 18 and 20 June.

17:50 Nassiriyah. An Italian AB-412 military helicopter crashed in Iraq, killing all four soldiers on board on Tuesday in what Rome defence officials said was most likely an accident. A defense ministry statement said the helicopter was returning to its base from Kuwait City. The victims are Giuseppe Lima, 39; Marco Briganti, 33; Massimiliano Biondini, 33; and Marco Cirillo, 29. The helicopter was the third aircraft to go down in Iraq in a week.

17:37 Warsaw. Poland begins withdrawing military equipment from Camp Echo in Diwaniyah, Iraq. Since January, Warsaw has reduced its contingent form 2,400 to 1,700 soldiers.

17:36 Gaza. The former spokesman for Hamas, Imad Falouji, denied any political role or relationship with Israel exercised by his center on the Gaza Strip. Mr. Falouji announced the creation of an inter-religious center for peace between Israeli and Palestinians. The Adam Center, which I supervise, exists for dialog between civilizations. It has nothing to do with any Jewish organization. It is part of an international project headed by Anglican Church, said Falouji.

17:30 New York. In a statement before the UN Security Council, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari called on Damascus to do more to prevent entry into Iraq of foreign fighters. Zebari also praised the Multinational Force, under US command, for its contribution to Iraq's security. The Security Council is debating the extension of the mandate of the Multinational Force.

17:26 Baghdad. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Tuesday that the authorities expected to put Saddam Hussein on trial within the next two months. Talabani said that "the court of Iraq will decide the future of Saddam Hussein" and that there was a strong public desire for him to be executed if convicted. Saddam's lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, expressed surprise at Talabani's comment. I was not informed officially that they are speeding up the trial, but any way I will check tomorrow and then I will have a comment, he told The Associated Press by telephone. Saddam's trial could prove to be a highly divisive issue in already turbulent Iraq and starting the court proceedings in two months could coincide with the process to draft the constitution.

11:30 Ramadi. The governor of al-Anbar Province was found dead west of Baghdad during a US operation which killed or captured 7 Arab combattants, including 2 Saudis, 1 Morroccan, 2 Syrians, 1 Jordanian and 1 Algerian. Provincial Governor Nawaf al-Raja al-Mahalawi was kidnapped by rebels on 11 May demanding the end to US military operations in western Iraq.

07:18 Teheran. Iran tested on Sunday for the first time a missile with a range of 2,000 miles using solid, not liquid, fuel. said Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani. The payload is identical to that of the Shahab-III missile.

07:22 Baquba. A car bomb exploded near a pick-up truck carrying a group of Iraqi soldiers in the town of Baquba on Tuesday, killing at least two soldiers and wounding six. A cameraman working for Reuters who was at the scene shortly after the blast said it caused widespread destruction. "There are still bodies lying in the street," he said. The explosion occurred in the Kanaan area of Baquba.


Anonymous Leila said...

Totally cool about that Israeli TV commentator and his documentary. I searched yahoo news (Google News is crummy) and posted it as a sign of hope.

9:09 PM  

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