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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, July 17, 2005

17 July 2005 Events in Iraq and in the Region

Tel Aviv. Israeli newspaper Maariv, citing sources within Israeli intelligence, reports that Mohammed Sidique Khan, responsible for the bombing at the Edgware Road Underground station in London (7 dead), was in Tel-Aviv where he assisted in the prepartions of a 2003 bombing of a bar in that city.

Brussels. The political stalemate in Lebanon will be discussed in a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

Washington. National Security Council Spokesman Frederik L. Jones II accuses Damascus of undermining the Lebanese economy by blocking exports through Syria. Hundreds of trucks transporting manufactured and agricultural goods to Syria, Iraq and the Gulf States are held up on the Syrian frontier for "security" searches.

Amman. Commercial traffic between Jordan and Syria has been held up at the Syrian border for "security searches."

Damascus. Syrian Coast Guard arrests five Lebanese fishermen for "fishing in Syrian territorial waters."

Beirut. Washington has held discussions with one of Lebanese Hezbollah's closest allies, outgoing Labour and Agricultural Minister Trad Hamadi. Hamadi has met several times with senior State Department officials as well as with Jeffrey Feltman, US Ambassador to Lebanon. This is considered to be an end-run around Washington's official "no contact" position vis-a-vis Hezbollah. The Bush Adminstration has threatened to boycott Lebanon and place the country on the list of nations refusing to cooperate in the War on Terror if any ministerial positions in the new government are handed to Lebanese Hezbollah. Washington also insists that Hezbollah militias be disarmed.

Baghdad. Suicide car bombing kills two police and one civilian in east Baghdad. Thirteen others were wounded.

Baghdad. Suicide carbomb targets police convoy in south Baghdad. Three police and four civilians were killed and three civilians wounded.

Madrid. The Zapatero government will place restrictions on cellphones. Communications companies will be required to archive calls for one year, reports El Pais. Of 39 million cellphones in Spain, 15 million use anonymous prepaid phone cards. In Europe, so far only Sweden demands a form of identity for the purchase of airtime.

Baghdad. Five persons including a police commando were killed and seven civilians wounded in a suicide bombing in west Baghdad.

Kan Sara. A suicide bomber targeted an elections office southeast of Baghdad.

Baghdad. Six persons, including two soldiers and two truck drivers were killed in separate ambushes north of the capital. Meanwhile, the bodies of three truck drivers were recoverd.

Baghdad. Two US soldiers were killed and two others wounded by a suicide carbomb north of the capital on Saturday.

Baghdad. Iraqi Parliament announces one minute of silence on Wednesday for the victims of Saturday's Moussayeb carbombing.

Teheran. Premier al-Jafaari signs a number of deals as Iran promises to do everything possible for reconstruction and security in Iraq. Iran will cooperate with Iraq in intelligence-sharing and border monitoring, said Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. Ten ministers accompanied al-Jafaari to Teheran. Iraqi Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ouloum says a memorandum concerning petroleum has been signed. A agreement for the supply of electric power from Iran has also been reached and several other protocols were initialed. Iran is to rebuild Najaf Airport and visas will no longer be required for commercial and passenger traffic between the two countries. Mr Jaafari, who is scheduled to leave on Monday, is expected to hold further talks with the president-elect of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi.

23:59. Baghdad. Moqtada al-Sadr says Iraqi resistance is legitimate in an interview with BBC. [US Historian Juan Cole says that Sadr is referring to Shi'a resistance only.]

23:50 Washington. Reporter Seymour Hersh published an article in the New Yorker saying that the Bush Administration issued secret instructions to influence the January Iraqi elections, over the objections of Congress. Hersh reports that the Bush Adminstration was worried about a Shi'a victory at the polls.

23:49 Balad. US soldier killed by a bomb blast in Balad. Two others were wounded.

23:40 Washington. Bush Adminstration attempted to subvert the January elections in Iraq through clandestine operations to prevent a Shi'a landslide, reports the New Yorker. The Bush Adminstration attempted to funnel money to Iyad Allawi and other Iraqi political figures considered close to Washington through NGOs but the NGOs balked and the State Department's Richard Armitage vetoed the plan. However, the White House issued a secret presidential finding authorizing the CIA to funnel money and give assistance to candidates throughout the Middle East who seek to "spread democracy". Iyad Allawi is thought to be the chief recipient. The New Yorker also reports that Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi objected to the measure but was overridden by President Bush.

21:18 Paris. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has sent condolances to Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari after yesterday's fuel truck suicide bombing in Moussayeb which killed more than 70 people.

21:02 Moscow. Russia will investigate delays in the construction of the Bouchehr nuclear facility in Iran and the disappearance of millions of dollars. Former Russian Atomic Energy Minister Evgueni Adamov is suspected of diverting funds.

23:58 London. The Chatham House and Economic and Social Research Council report says the invasion of Iraq has al-Qaeda: There is no doubt that the situation over Iraq has imposed particular difficulties for the UK, and for the wider coalition against terrorism....It has been a booster for al-Qaeda recruitment and fund-raising and has caused a rift within the Coalition.. A problem for the UK is that the British are conducting an anti-terrorism policy hand in hand with the United States, yet has no parity with Washington in decision-making; Britain is like a back seat passenger, leaving the driver's seat to its ally. The UK is in a particularly risky situation because it is a close ally of the United States and has deployed its army in campaigns in Afganistan and Iraq. The report was drafted by Paul Wilkinson, Chairman of the Terrorism Research Center at St. Andrew's University, and Frank Gregory of the University of Southhampton.

19:08 Cairo. The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa, says Koranic ringtones for cellphones are "vulgar" and are prohibited.

18:42 Kabul. Arrests are made in the case of kidnapped Italian aid worker Clementina Cantoni.

18:27 Rome. The upcoming vote on refinancing the Italian contingent in Iraq will be a test of the foreign policy of the Berlusconi government.

16:58 Basrah. Oil exports will be halted for 24 hours due to a strike by 15,000 petroleum sector workers called against the Southern Oil Company.

16:11 Basrah. Oil export resume. A four-hour strike by petroleum sector workers halts oil exports for four hours.

15:51 Jerusalem. Ariel Sharon repeats that he has ordered Israeli armed forces to attack Palestinian terrorists "without restrictions."

15:35 Kusadasi (Turkey). PKK denies reponsibility for the bombing of minibus at a seaside resort. Another group, the Falcons for the Liberation of Kurdistan has also denied responsibility.

14:53 Gaza. Hamas claims credit for mortar attack on Neweh Deqalim, a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, two Qassam II rockets were fired at Sderot.

13:42 Jerusalem. Mortar rounds fired by Palestinians wounded eight Israelis in the Neve Dekalim settlement on the Gaza Strip.

12:54 Baghdad. Saddam Hussein will be tried "within a few days," says Raed Jouhi of the Iraqi Special Tribunal. The first charges will include then 1982 murder of Shi'ite residents of Doujail, a village north of Baghdad.

12:03 Mussayeb. Yesterday's suicide attack killed 98 and wounded 156.

10:37 Mahmoudiya: Six civilians killed in a fourth suicide attack this morning.

07:54 Baghdad. Two police commandos and one civilian were killed in the first of three suicide bombings. A police convoy was targeted. 13 others were wounded, including nine police.

07:00 Kirkuk. A US soldier died in a bomb blast in Kirkuk.

06:48 Kabul. Bomb blast wounds four US soliders.

03:32 Srinagar (India). 17 suspected Islamic terrorist arrested in Indian Kashmir.

00:06 The Hague. Hundreds of militants ready to strike. Dutch Interori Minister Johan Remkes says hundreds of Islamic radicals are prepared to strike Holland.


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