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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Monday, July 18, 2005

18 July 2005 Events in Iraq and In the Region

London. Experts believe that security raids on Londonstan has resulted in an exodus of radical Islamic preaching to the Internet. The international Jihadist movement and the exiled opposition have adapted to the beefing up of the arsenal of laws and repression put in place since 9-11. In the 1990s British intelligence knew perfectly well that London served as a base to individuals engaged in the promotion, financing and preparation of terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere, says a report by Chatham house. Nevertheless these individuals were not considered to be a threat for internal British security and were left to pursue their activities with relative impunity. "Since the closing of the Finsbury Park mosque, activists have regrouped in informal circles, study groups and youth centers, says Magnus Ranstorp of St. Andrews University.

Beirut. UN Special Representative Terjé Roed-Larsen invited Hezbolla to integrate itself into the Lebanese Army.

Teheran. Iranian Foriegn Minister Kamal Kharazi asked Iraq to try Saddam Hussein for crimes against the Islamic Republic, including the use of chemical weapons.

Brussels. The European Council of Foreign Ministers called on Syria to support the newly-elected government in Lebanon and to permit transit throught its territory of Lebanese goods. The following items were contained in the Council's communiqué:
-Reaffirmation of the importance of total adherence to UNSC Resolution 1559
-Forceful condemnation of all assassinations since October 2004.
-Request for full and constructive relations between Lebanon and Syria.
-Readiness to assist in Lebanese political and economic reform.
-Insistence on the disarming of Lebanese militias.
-Expression of concern over the recent attack by Hezbollah along the Blue Line.

Cairo. Hosni Mubarak to run for Egyptian President in the 7 September elections. The Electoral Commission will meet on Sunday to decide the deadline for candidate registration. Five persons had previously announced their intention to run: Ayman Nour, Chairman of the center-left al-Ghad Party; Talaat el-Sadat, nephew of Anwar el-Sadat; jailed activist Abboud al-Zoumor; Egyptian-American Saadeddin Ibrahim, Director of the Ibn Khaldoun Center for the Defense of Human Rights, (he will be barred from running due to his dual nationality) and a woman, Nawal Saadawi, who threw in the towel yesterday saying whe would not participate in the "parody of an election."

Karachi. Pakistani President Musharraf accuses madrassas of involvement in terrorism. Meanwhile, the Minister for Religious Affairs, Mohammad Ejaz ul-Haq, said madrasses in violation of Pakistan's education laws would be closed. Pakistani security has been given a list of phone numbers called from the UK by those responsible for the London bombings but have come up with little useful information. Six individuals were questioned after a list of calls made by Shehzad Tanweer was handed to Pakistan.

London. Youssef al-Qardawi, an influential Qatari cleric of Egyptian origin will be in London on 7 August for a conference on Islam. Mr. al-Qardawi is forbidden to enter the United States.

London: An Afghan warlord has been found guilty of a "heinous" campaign of torture and hostage taking in his homeland after a landmark case at the Old Bailey. Faryadi Zardad, 42, of Streatham, south London, was convicted in a retrial of pursuing a reign of fear at Afghan checkpoints between 1991 and 1996. It is thought to be the first time a foreign national has been convicted in a UK court for crimes committed abroad.

Berlin. Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, said a recent spike in suicide bombings wouldn't derail the drafting of a constitution or progress toward democracy. But he warned of more violence ahead.

Baghdad. Al-Qaeda in Iraq reported that one of its «field commanders» had been killed by coalition forces in western Iraq. The statement did not say when the man, Abi Salih al-Ansar, was killed.

Najaf. Following a weekend meeting with al-Sistani in Najaf, Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi, a top Shiite politician, said the cleric had urged the government to protect the people in «this genocidal war.»

Amman. Iraq's Planning Minister Barham Salih criticized the shortfall in donations pledged by foreign countries to rebuild his country, telling a global reconstruction conference that most aid had been spent on security. Of $32 billion in loans and grants pledged two years ago, Iraq has received only $7 billion.

Rawah. A car bomb targeted U.S. and Iraqi troops in Rawah, northwest of Baghdad. At least one person, believed to have been a civilian, was killed.

Baghdad. Eight policemen died in a gunbattle with insurgents in Khadra district in the west of the capital.

Baghdad. Three civilian government employees were killed in separate ambushes.

Taji. A policeman died in a shootout between insurgents and security forces.

Samarra. Gunmen killed a police colonel, an Interior Ministry official and three Iraqi soldiers in a series of attacks.

Mosul. Gunmen killed two Iraqi soldiers in eastern Mosul and assassinated Abdul-Ghani al-Naimi, whose brother is a member of the Iraqi parliament.

Ramadi. A U.S. Marine died in a non-hostile incident on Sunday at a U.S. base. At least 1,766 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003.

Baghdad. New offensive against the insurgents in Baghdad. Operation Thunder began last week on the west side of the Tigris River, which divides the city. 50 suspected insurgents, including two Syrians, were captured in the opening days of the operation, which will be expanded over the next few days.

23:59 Washington. Experts testify before Congress. Retired General Barry McCaffrey tells Congress that the insurrection will "peak" in six months and that the US will inevitably being to withdraw its troops within a year. Anthony Cordesman testified that the next 6 to 18 months would be a crucial test of failure or success of current stategy. Cordesman said the odds were 50-50. Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution said that by prioritizing counterinsurgency actions, the US would progressively win terrain and sap the courage of the rebels.

23:50 Beirut. Christian and Shi'ite Muslim gunmen exchanged fire across Beirut's old Green Line on Monday, wounding at least three people, security sources said. The violence began when sticks and rocks were used in fighting between members of the Shi'ite Amal movement and Maronite supporters of former warlord Samir Geagea.

23:45 New York. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special adviser for North Korea, Canadian businessman Maurice Strong, has not had his contract renewed amid investigations about his ties to a suspect in the scandal-tainted oil-for-food program.

23:37 Baghdad. 18 people (7 police, 8 troops, a Turkish truck driver and three civilians were killed and another 12 wounded in a series of attacks by insurgents.

23:30 Moqtada Sadr grants an interview to BBC. Sadr has appealed for calm after a wave of suicide bombings killed scores of people across Iraq. In an interview with BBC television broadcast on Monday, the cleric said the Iraqi people had the right to fight U.S.-led forces, but urged them to show restraint. I believe America does not want confrontation, so I call on the Iraqi people to exercise restraint and not get enmeshed in the plans of the West or the plans of the occupation that wants to provoke them, Sadr said. The cleric also appeared to defend armed attacks against the U.S.-led forces in Iraq. Resistance is legitimate at all levels, be it religious, intellectual and so on, Sadr said. The first person who would acknowledge this is the so-called American President (George W.) Bush who said, if my country is occupied, I will fight.

22:26 Baghdad. The World Bank said it would unblock $500 million in credits for Iraq for the first time since 1973.

22:15 Damascus. Syria vowed to do its utmost to pursue good ties with Iraq, an apparent response an Iraqi minister's accusations it was doing too little to prevent militants crossing their shared border. The vow followed comments to the media by Iraqi Interior Bayan Jabor in which he accused Syria of not making a serious effort to prevent insurgents from crossing into Iraq.

23:13 Amman. A lawyer for Saddam Hussein says Iraq's insurgency has made Baghdad far too dangerous a venue for the former leader's trial, and that the proceedings should be moved to another country. «Do you fancy spending a year or more in Baghdad, going to court five days a week? Would you feel safe there?, lawyer Giovanni di Stefano said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday. «Baghdad couldn't even prevent the recent kidnapping and killing of the Egyptian ambassador. There are also many Iraqis who want to see Saddam executed and many others who want to see him freed. That means the defense and prosecution would both be in danger there,» di Stefano said. He said Saddam's defense team has contacted the Swedish government about the possibility of holding such a trial in Sweden. But in Stockholm on Monday, Swedish Justice Ministry spokesman Alexander Valentin said that he was not aware of any official request.

22:02 Gaza. Thousands of right-wing Israeli demonstrators begin a march towards the main settlement block in the Gaza Strip, Netivot, defying 20,000 Israeli police and troops. Meanwhile, two Israeli soliders shot dead a Palestinian at a checkpoint in the southern Gaza Strip.

22:01 Beirut. A powerful blast was heard inside a radical pro-Syrian Palestinian base in eastern Lebanon. The explosion occurred in side a base belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

16:41 Amman. Two lawyers for Saddam Hussein say that his trial is unlikely to take place before autumn. Iraqi legal procedure requires 45 days after formal charges have been laid before hearnings may take place. Emmanuel Ludot and Giovanni Di Stefano say they have received no trial documents or notices. Raid Juhi, chief judge of the tribunal, announced that charges have been filed against Saddam for the 25 year-old massacre of an estimated 150 Shiites in Dujail, 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Baghdad. However, Mr. Ludot observed that "The first trial is a trial baloon to see how the resistance reacts". The defense team believes that Iraq's government now has 7,000 witness statements and 2 million documents related to the prosecution of Saddam, none of which have been shared with the defense.

16:33 Mashhad (Iran). Supreme Guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused US troops of causing great harm to Iraqis and other peoples of the region as he received Iraqi visiting Premier Ibrahim Jaafari in the holy city of Mashhad. Many Muslims and Islamic countires are unhappy with US actions in Iraq, said Khamenei to al-Jafaari. The first priority for the Islamic Republic of Iran is to see an independent, united, stable and prosperous Iraq. But there is a desire to prevent the establishment of stability in Iraq which we see at work in blind terrorism and other actions likely planned by Zionists. Khamenei asked Jaafari to support the cause of Palestine, an important axis of the Islamic world despite the actions of the United States against it.

16:32 Damascus. Syria frees nine fisherman arrested yesterday for fishing in Syrian territorial waters.

16:24 Salaheddin. Kurdistan's two leaders, Jalil Talabani and Massoud Barzani, again insisted on the annexation of Kirkuk to their super-province, saying that they would made the city a "model of coexistence."

16:01 Beirut. Samir Geagea was granted amnesty by the Lebanese Parliament after serving 11 years in prison. Geagea was a warlord allied with Israel and an opponent of Syria. Samir Geagea was a politico-military cadre within the Forces Libanaises (FL), founded by Bashir Jamayel. Geagea was sentenced to prison in 1994 on charges of setting off a bomb inside a church, killing 11 people.

14:40 Brussels. Foreign Minister Jack Straw rejected an analysis by Chatham House sayting that the war in Iraq has made Britain more vulnerable to terrorism. Defence Minister John Reed also rejected the analysis, saying Britian had been targeted by Islamic terrorist well before the invasion. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Charles Clarke is consulting with the opposition on a set of new anti-terrorism laws which will include criminalization of three activities: design of products or techniques for terroristic purposes, indirect incitation to terrorism, and participation in the planning of acts of terrorism.

14:21 Islamabad. Afghanistan Justice Project has issued a report in Kabul on "warcrimes and crimes against humanity" committed in Afghanistan between 1978 and 2001. Several men accused in the report are still in power. In 170 pages, the report details unpunished "incidents in which high-ranking officers and commanders ordered actions amounting to war crimes" yet ordinary people are still threatened by these men. The crimes consist of summary executions, rape, disappearanced, systematic destruction of property, etc. Among the names mentioned are Vice President Karim Khalili; Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Advisor to President Hamid Karzaï ; Abdul Rashid Dostom, a high-ranking Defense Ministry official; General Baba Jan, Police Chief of Kabul; and "Marshal" Fahim, former Vice President and Defense Minister who is now enjoying a comfortable retirement in Kabul. One of the more cruel incidents is the Qala-i-Janghi massacre in 2001 and the death by suffocation of hundreds of Taliban fighters taken prisoner by General Dostum which was ignored by the Americans. The US Army is also mentioned in the report for the use of torture and secret prisons.

10:45 New York. The Pakistani Ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, says that Britain should reflect on its errors rather than to blame other countries for the London bombings of July 7.


Anonymous Mark from Ireland said...

10:45 New York. The Pakistani Ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, says that Britain should reflect on its errors rather than to blame other countries for the London bombings of July

Ocasionally even an honest man sent to lie abroad for his country accidentally tells the truth.

In sort of related news Nur - I'm "nephew hosting" from tomorrow :-) It will be strange to hear a child's voice in the house again.

Good night I'll post when I can.

1:38 PM  

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