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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, July 05, 2005

5 July 2005 Events in Iraq

Baghdad. Bahraini chargé d'affaires Hassan al-Ansari was wounded by unknown gunmen as he left his residence in the Mansur district. A white pickup truck and Japanese-made car pulled up alongside his vehicle and ordered him out. Al-Ansari sped away and the pursuers gave chase until Al-Ansari found a police car and stopped his vehicle. He had been wounded in the shoulder.

Hassaniyah. Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and a third wounded in an attack on a joint US-Iraqi military base.

Balad. An Iraqi soldier was killed in an attack on a joint US-Iraqi military base.

Qadissiyah. Two bodyguards of the Dean of the Iraqi Petroleum Institute were wounded when gunmen opened fire on the dean's car.

Abu Ghraib. Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and six wounded by a roadside bomb near Abu Ghraib.

Baghdad. The head of the constitutional committee, Humam al-Hamoudi, announced in the morning that the committee had decided to accept 15 names offered up by Sunni Arab groups as co-writers of the Constitution. Acceptance had been delayed due to allegations that the group included ex-Baathists. In the meeting today, the committee began showing the Sunnis the parts of the constitution that had already been written. The tough issues - the definition of a federal system, the Arab identity of Iraq and the legal role of Islam - have yet to be tackled. Mr. Hamoudi said he fully expected the constitution to be finished by the end of the month. The National Assembly has until Aug. 15 to approve a first draft of the constitution, or to delay the process by up to six months.

Kabul. A NATO force will replace the American-commanded Operation Enduring freedom and the ISAF (International security assistance force) in Afghanistan. The Germans will have responsibility for the north, the Italians and Spanish for the west, the Canadians and British for the south, and the Americans in the East, the most dangerous zone. Turkish and French troops will be assigned to the capital, Kabul.

London. The Financial Times reports that the British Defence Ministry has prepared plans for a general redeployment of its forces from Iraq to Afghanistan within the next 18 months.

Astana (Khazakistan) The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, meeting in Astana, demanded a fixed date for the pullout of international forces deployed by the "anti-terrorism alliance" operating in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrghizstan. The organization met to discuss security and stability in central Asia.

Beirut. Countering recent claims by Israeli PM Arien Sharon that the Shebaa Farms are Syrian, outgoing Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud made it clear that the area is Lebanese.

Kabul. An anonymous Western diplomatic source accuses Washington of "playing Rambo" in Afghanistan. The extraction of soliders in a hostile area such as in Kunar's narrow valleys is one of the most dangerous assignments for a helicopter, which could be easily hit by enemy fire. The Americans lost a lot of helicopters that way in Viet-Nam. Already in difficulty in Iraq, the US believes that it must make huge gambles to restore its image when soldiers are captured or killed in a direct clash with rebels.

Karachi. The Pakistani Internior Minister Aftab Sherpao says Bin Laden, Mullah Omar and Ayman al-Zawahiri may be in south Afghanistan, somewhere in the provinces of Kandahar, Oruzgan or Zaboul.

Cairo. Arab Leaque President Amr Moussa pleads for the release of the Egyptian ambassador kidnapped in Iraq.

Amman. A former mentor to Abu Moussab al-Zarqawi, Issam al-Barqawi, aka Abu Mohammed al-Maqdessi, has been arrested by Jordanian authorities.

Damascus. Syrian MP Maamoun Homsi, serving a 5-year sentence in prision, has begun a hunger strike "to protest increasing repression in Syria and the absence of Democratic reforms. Meanwhile, family members of the Syrian writer Ali Abdallah, in prison since May 16th, complained of the "inhuman" condition of his incarceration.

23:10 Baghdad. Abu Mussab al-Zarkawi says he has formed a special brigade to fight the Shi'a militants of the Badr Brigades.

22:43 Washington. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy pleaded with Condoleezza Rice for a pragmatic approach in dealing with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad so that negotiations on the nuclear dossier would succeed.

22:43 Copenhagen. A group of 250 students demonstrated for three hours in the streets of Copenhagen against the visit of President George W. Bush, paralyzing traffic. According to a Viltrup Institute Survey revealed that 56% of Danes believe that George W. Bush is a poor leader. Only 13% agree with his foreign policies.

22:36 Baghdad. Two US soldiers of Task Force Liberty are killed by a roadside bomb in Diyala Province. Two others were wounded.

21:40 Bern. Switzerland demands clarification from the US. Swiss Foreign Minister, Micheline Camy-Rey, summoned US Ambassador Pamela Willeford, for an explanation of the death of Swiss citizen Salah Rahman, an academic and businessman, shot to death at a checkpoint by a US soldier on 28 June. Salah was in a car driven by his brother, Abdel Jabbar, approaching a US checkpoint when he was shot dead.

19:22 Baghdad. The "al- Qaeda Organization of Mesopotamia" says it has kidnapped the Egyptian Ambassador to Baghdad.

17:00 Algiers. 13 die in clashes between radical Islamists and government troops.

15:08 Jerusalem. More than 40,000 soldiers and some 4,000 police are to be deployed in the Gaza Strip to carry out Israel's evacuation, beginning in mid-August, Israel's Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said. Meanwhile, Yonatan Bassi, the head of the state agency overseeing civilian aspects of the withdrawal, said the government has received 396 requests for a piece of the US$930 million the government has earmarked to compensate settlers.

15:43 Vienna. The Austrian Justice Ministry says it will depose an Iranian journalist living in France on the alleged role of the new Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejadm, in the assassination of a Kurdish exile, Abdel Rahman Ghassemlou.

15:41 Baghdad. The Pakistani Ambassador to Baghdad has been transferred to Amman, Jordan, following an assassination attempt.

15:06 Beirut. Political and confessional squabbling has delayed the appointment of 24 ministers of the new Lebanese government. Michel Aoun said he would not participate in the new government after being denied the Justice Ministry portfolio. Hezbollah says it is prepared to join the government but it was denied the Foreign Ministry portfolio, said to be reserved for the Christians by PM Siniora. Meanwhile, pro-Syrian President Lahoud has the right to reject the new cabinet if he wishes.

16:24 Ramallah. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar warned the Palestinian Authority that it would resist any attempt at disarming the group.

16:11 Baghdad. The chauffeur for the Ambassador of Serbia-Montenegro was shot dead in the Doura district of south Baghdad.

15:28 Ramallah. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with travel to Syria on Wednesday for talks with President Bashir al-Assad on the Middle East peace plan. Abbas will also meet Palestinian leaders in Damascus, including those of Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Mr. Abbas will travel Friday to Beirut where he will meet with Emile Lahoud and Palestinina refugees in Lebanon.

15:14 Teheran. The Chairman of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, said he was not optimistic about a future proposal concerning Iran's nuclear program from the European Union and predicted that negotiations would be difficult.

14:23 Baghdad. One civilian was kiled and another wounded by a mortar round in downtown Baghdad.

14:20 Baghdad. Pakistani Ambassador escapes assassination attempt. Gunmen attack the convoy of Ambassador Younis Khan, who escaped unharmed.

12:37 Baghdad. Russian Ambassador avoids assassination attempt. Ambassador Validimir Shamov was the target of an ambush when his armored limousine was attacked on the Baghdad Airport highway. However, the Ambassador was not in the vehicle. Two other persons were wounded. The vehicle shows signs of at least 30 bullet marks.

10:36 Samarra. Blast kills 1 and wounds 4. A 13 year-old girl was killed and four civilians wounded by a mortar attack near a US position in the center of Samarra.

09:02 Baghdad. Blast near Iranian Embassy.

07:55 Baghdad. Four die in attack on minibus. Four Baghdad Airport employees were killed in an attack on their minibus in the Amariyah district of Baghdad by two armed gangs. Three others were wounded.

06:41 Kabul. Two missing American soldiers have been found dead in Kunar Province. They had been part of a four-man patrol.

02:21 Tokyo. Several explosions were heard in the vicinity of a Japanese camp in southern Iraq. Japanese Defense Ministry says no one was hurt.


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