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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Sunday, June 19, 2005

19 June Events in Iraq

Baghdad. Al Qaeda directs virulent diatribe at George W. Bush. What lying freedom are you talking about Bush, you crusader dog? You're only fooling yourself. Your lies don't fool people with any sense. We are free men while you are slaves of worldliness, lies and Satan. The communiqué was signed by Abu Maïsara al-Iraqi. The statement was in response to President Bush's claim that Iraq was the central front in the war on terror and his declaration that Our troops are fighting the terrorists in Iraq so that you won't have to fight them here.

Baghdad. One MP in three insists the pullout of foreign troops from Iraq. 82 Shi'a, Kurdish, Sunni, Christian and Communist MPs signed a letter delivered by the UIA's Falah Hassan Shanshal to Speaker Hajem al-Hassani demanding the removal of foreign troops from Iraq. The new British Ambassador to Baghdad, William Patey, said there was no schedule for a British pullout.

Washington. Republican US Senator Chuck Hagel says he believes that the US is losing in Iraq and that the Bush Administration is disconnected from reality.

Kuwait City. Premier Ibrahim al-Jaafari made a two-day vist to Kuwait to ask for economic assistance and political support for Iraq.

Paris. Former hostage Florence Aubenas invited her interpreter and guide, Hussein Hanoun, held hostage with her, to the Le Bourget Air Show. Hanoun, a former Iraqi combat pilot, was moved by the experience.

Baghdad. Four persons, including a woman and a child, were killed and 22 wounded by a booby-trapped car near a Shi'ite mosque in the Kadhimiyah district.

Karabilah. US and British GR-4 Tornado warplanes attacked vehicles and buildings using laser-guided missiles and bombs in Karabilah and its outskirts in Operation Spear. The US military claims it killed 50 rebels in the operation.

Baghdad. Ali Hassan al-Madjid, the cousin of Saddam Hussein nicknamed Chemical Ali was questioned by the Iraqi Special Tribunal. He had not been questioned since December.

Rafah. An Israeli soldier was killed and two others wounded in an attack on an Israeli military outpost in the southern Gaza Strip. A Palestinian assailant was also killed. Responsibility for the attack using anti-tank rockets was claimed by the Abu Rish Brigades, a faction of Islamic Jihad.

Baghdad. Two police officers were shot dead as they were on their way to work in the Al-Iskan district of west Baghdad.

Tikrit. 14 people were were killed and 32 wounded by a suicide carbomb targeting a US position near a former palace of Saddam Hussein. The casualties include 5 Iraqi soldiers killed and 11 wounded.

Mosul. An Iraqi was killed and eight others wounded when two mortar round struck the center of town near city hall.

Samarra. Two persons are dead and four wounded, including two children, after mortar rounds struck a joint US-Iraqi military base in downtown Samarra.

Al-Chaq. Armed men assassiated two Iraqi businessmen who worked for US forces in this town 10 km north of Samarra.

Tikrit. Armed men ambushed a supply convoy heading for a US military base, killing one truck driver and wounded two others.

Latifiyah. Two persons were killed and two others wounded when armed men machine-gunned a fruit and vegetable stand.

Hindiyah. Armed men shot dead an ex-Ba'ath Party member.

Baiji. Four Interior Ministry commandos were wounded by a bomb.

Hillah. The chief of the provincial anti-corruption squad, Ahmed Abdelrazaq Baqer, escaped assassination on a highway between Hillah and Najaf.

Karabila. US troops discover rebel base during Operation Dagger. US troops claim the discovery of rebel base and the release four emaciated prisoners. Karabila, a town with a population of 60 000 is nearly deserted. Columns of black smoke are seen everywhere. White flags are flying on the rooftops of some homes. Meanwhile, the Muslim Scholars Association accused US forces of targeting civilians as well as schools and homes. A hospital doctor in the nearby city of Qaim said he had seen 10 bodies and treated 17 wounded. Most of the injured were women and children, he said.

Baghdad. The Iraqi authorities have announced the arrest of al-Zarqawi lieutenant Mussab Qassir Abdul Rahman al-Hassan, aka Abu Yunis, accused of planning twenty carbombings.

Jerusalem. Israel and Palestine agreed that 1,200 homes abandoned by Israeli settlers in the Gaza Strip would be demolished.

23:28 Baghdad. Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Hussein Chahristani cautioned MPs to be extremely cautious, saying that the MPs and their families are "targets" of the insurgency. The brother of an MP was shot dead in Mosul while Kurdish MP Pakiza Moustapha Ahmed, is hospitalized following an assassination attempt.

23:06 Beirut. Newly elected MP excludes any agreement with the coalition headed by his adversary Saad Hariri.

22:54 Tripoli. Pro-Syrian Christian leader Suleiman Franjeh failed to win a seat in parliament in the last round of the Lebanese legislative elections.

22:42 Baghdad. At an Islamic web site al-Qaeda accused al-Jazeera of ignoring the "Mujahedeen viewport" in its coverage of Iraq

22:42 Ramallah. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told Israel TV Sunday that he believes the militant group Hamas is undergoing «moderation» and suggested the group will recognize Israel's existence. «Hamas is committed to the calm situation,» said Abbas. When asked in reaction if Hamas will recognize Israel's existence, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the comment was Abbas' «own opinion so there is no need to comment.»

22:41 Baghdad. The new president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region called on parliament Sunday to recognize the Kurdish identity of Kirkuk, an oil-rich and ethnically mixed city that the Kurds want to annex over the objections of other communities living there. The Kurds are also seeking to annex parts of the province of Diyala close to the Iranian border, arguing that they too are part of Iraqi Kurdistan. Many of Iraq's majority Arabs suspect that the Kurds, empowered by Saddam's ouster, will eventually seek to secede from Iraq, something that some of Iraq's neighbors--like Iran, Syria and Turkey--will try to prevent for fear that it will ignite secessionist sentiments among their own Kurdish minorities.

22:12 Washington. A leading Republican senator said Sunday it probably would take at least a couple more years before enough Iraqis are capable of securing their country, a prime condition set by the Bush administration for beginning to withdraw U.S. troops. I don't think Americans believe that we should cut and run out of Iraq by any stretch of the imagination, said Sen. John McCain, the No. 2 Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

22:08 Cairo. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit insisted on a open border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt following the Israeli pullout in August.

22:02 Jerusalem. China hopes to double its trade with Israel between now and 2007. Israel could expect to earn $5 billion a year as a result, said Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing [Arms sales, no doubt--Nur].

21:55 Dubai. The al-Arabiya television network protested the refusal of the US military to evacuate its reporter Jawad Kazem, wounded by armed men in a kidnapping attempt in Baghdad. Al-Arabiya officials say Kazem is in serious condition with wounds to the jaw, trachea and spinal column. Al-Arabiya says it will hold the US responsible for any deterioration in Kazem's condition. Al-Arabiya has lost two reporters and a cameraman while covering events in Iraq. In September 2004, reporter Mazen al-Tomaizi, employed by al-Arabiya and on contract for the Saudi network al-Ekhbariya, was killed by US troops. In March, reporter Ali al-Khatib, 32, and cameraman Ali Abdel Aziz, 35, were also killed by US troops. In October 2004, seven people were killed when Al-Arabiya's bureau in Baghdad was carbombed.

18:56 Baghdad. A suicide bomber blew himself up at lunchtime in a popular restaurant frequented by police located on a street with several checkpoints 400 meters from the Green Zone. The blast killed 23, including 6 police, and wounded 36. The restaurant was totally destroyed. The head and the legs of the suicide bomber were blown out into the street in the blast.

20:00 Tripoli. Voters in northern Lebanon turned out in force for the last round in the Lebanese legislative elections. The contest pitted the slate of Saad Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, against that of Maronite Michel Aoun. 700,000 voters will choose 13 Muslim and 15 Christian legislators.

19:35 Teheran. Akbar Hashemi Rafsandjani, a moderate conservative, called all voters hoping for reform to vote for him in Friday's runoff election. I ask you to stop extremism by joining in a massive voter turnout for the second round of elections.

19:30 Baghdad. Most of the Iraqi Constitution has been already drafted says committee chairman Sheikh Houmam Hammoudi, who estimates progress to be between 70 and 80 per cent. Remaining issues to be negotiated are federalization, the relationship between the state and Islam and the name of the post-war state. Meanwhile, the Kurds remain inflexible on a federal arrangement and the annexation of the city of Kirkuk to Kurdistan. On Sunday, Mr. Barzani reiterated Kurdish claims on Kirkuk to the provisional parliament. Mr. Hammoudi also added that he is awaiting the list of names of the Sunni members of the constitutional committee underscoring that nominees may not be ex-Ba'athist nor have worked for Saddam Hussein's security apparatus. They are also expected to adopt an firm stance against violence, said Hammoudi.

19:07 Amman. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the security of Jordan is vital to the United States before her meeting with King Abdallah II. [Yesterday, China promised $2.2 billion in aid to the kingdom--Nur].

18:31 London. British Defence Minister John Reid says Iraqi security forces will be strong enough to take over duties from the Multinational Force within 6 month to a year.

18:22 Jerusalem. The Israeli Minister of Housing announced a call for bids on the construction of 700 units in two Israeli settlements on the West Bank: 300 units in Maalé Adoumim and 400 units Beitar Eilit. The announcement caused consternation among Palestinian leaders. The plans for new construction are an act of defiance towards President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said Palestinian spokeswoman Mrs. Hind Khouri.


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