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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

6 July 2005 Events in Iraq and in the Region

Cairo. Egyptian authorities are working night and day towards freeing their ambassador from kidnappers.

Baghdad. Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Baqer Soulagh says Egyptian ambassador was kidnapped because he went to a dangerous place [Yeah, like downtown Baghdad--Nur].

Baghdad. Communiqué from al-Zarqawi. All we want is victory in Iraq and from there to Beit al-Maqdes (Jerusalem). Until when will Ulemas sit on the sidelines of the Jihad battlefield, giving only opinions and recommendations, oblivious to the reality which the nation is living? As far as resistance is concerned, there are two categories: Honorable resistance which combats the occupants and shameful resistance which attacks the Iraqi people, whoever they are.

Baghdad. Ulemas forbid terrorism in the name of Islam and underscore the necessity of "respecting the opinion of others in the Muslim world".

Baghdad. Al-Qaëda in Mesopotamia has created the "Omar Brigades" to fight the Shi'ite Badr brigades, the armed wing of SCIRI.

Baghdad. A US senator demands an "invitation" to the multinational force. US Senator Carl Levin demanded that Iraqi parliament adopt a resolution stated that the international forces in Iraq are invited and not occupying forces. The UN Security Council had adopted a resolution in June 2004 legalizing the presence of the multi-naitonal force through the end of the political process. One Iraqi MP in three signed a petition calling for a plan to transfer more power to Iraqi troops and to reduce the level of US forces in Iraq.

Amman. Barqawi, former mentor to al-Zarqawi re-arrested. Issam al-Barqawi, aka Abu Mohammed al-Maqdessi, was rearrested Tuesday night after granting an inteview to al-Jazeera TV. Arrested at the beginning of the year by the Jordanian Security Court, al-Barqawi, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, had been freed on June 30th, after having been acquitted in December 2004 of planning terrorist attacks on US targets in Amman.

22:50 Gaza. Jihad attacks Jewish settlement. One Palestinian killed in violence between militan Jewish settlers and Jihad militiamen.

22:21 Mashrouh. Thirteen are dead and 30 wounded in simultaneous carbombings in Mashrouh, near Hillah, 60 km south of Baghdad.

19:07 Paris. Iranian ex-President Bani Sadr claims that he has met with the Iranian journalist in exile who accuses Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of assassinated a Kurdish opposition leader in Vienna and that the journalist has prepared a sworn statement.

21:16 Hillah. Two bomb blasts. Bomb explodes at automobile dealership and at an entrance to the city.

19:27 Baghdad. US Senator Carl Levin tells Iraqi President Jalal Talabani that he is opposed to a calandar for the pullout of US troops.

19:26 Teheran. Oil ministers from Iran and Pakistan met Wednesday to discuss a proposed transregional gas pipeline that would transport Iranian gas to Pakistan and India, the state news agency reported Iran Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters before the meeting started that neither Pakistan nor India would back away from the project, even if other countries object to it. Iran proposed the 2,775-kilometer (1,735-mile) pipeline to export its natural gas to Pakistan and India in 1996, but the project has never gotten off the ground mainly due to India's worries about the security of the pipeline in Pakistan, its main rival. In recent months, however, the three countries have been discussing the proposal amid a thaw in India-Pakistan relations. During a March visit to India, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice voiced concern about India importing gas from Iran, saying India should look for alternative energy sources.

19:15 Palestinians began using a new high-tech crossing into Israel from the northern West Bank Wednesday, part of Israel's plan to incorporate the checkpoints into its contentious separation barrier. Israel hopes the terminal, the first of 11 such points, will protect Israeli security while making the daily passage for tens of thousands of Palestinians more dignified, said Col. Tamir Haiman, the area army commander. The project is designed to eliminate most contact between Palestinians and Israelis at the crossings. The Defense Ministry said the 11 checkpoints will cost about 200 million shekels (US$46 million, ñ35.5 million). But one of the first workers to cross complained that new checkpoint appears to make Israel's occupation of the West Bank permanent. Even though Israel says it plans to phase out Palestinian labor by 2008, the terminal's expense is a reasonable security cost, Haiman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. «Three years is a long time,» he said. «Any one of them could carry a bomb, which could ruin the whole process and take us back to war.» More than 100 Palestinian suicide bombers have infiltrated from the West Bank and killed hundreds of Israelis during four years of violence. Roadblocks, set up to stop the bombers, have created constant friction between soldiers and large crowds of frustrated and angry Palestinians, who are often held up for hours. The checkpoints themselves have become targets, and some officers say they often create more problems than they solve. Captured bombers have cited the humiliation at roadblocks as a motive for launching attacks. According to Israeli human rights group B'tselem, the number of checkpoints in the West Bank has dropped from 73 to 29 in the past year, while 24 checkpoints have cropped up along the line between Israel and the West Bank. The barrier is supposed to stop the bombers and could lead to removal of more roadblocks. But Palestinians complain that in some places, the route of the barrier dips into the West Bank to encircle some Israeli settlements. The new «Efraim» checkpoint at the exit of the town of Tulkarem employs five times as many personnel than the one it replaces. Osama Amar, 30, said he crosses into to Israel daily to work as a house painter. On his first trip through the new checkpoint, he passed through a metal detector, following signs and directions from a soldier in a bulletproof booth. Next Amar spent nearly four minutes under a magnetic resonance scan monitored from a control room upstairs. Then an inspector used biometric technology to match Amar's new magnetic ID card to the back of his hand. Had he raised suspicion, he would have been directed by intercom to enter a new blast-proof cell, Haiman said. Last month a similar setup detected a Palestinian woman trying to smuggle a bomb into Israel from Gaza. Exiting the checkpoint's cool covered interior, Amar complained, «The new design just seems to institutionalize Israel's occupying position.» A father of four, Amar said he makes 10 times more money in Israel than he would in the West Bank. His long-term goal is an end to Israel's occupation. «If it takes five years or 100 years, one day Jews will not live on this land,» he said.

19:04 Cairo. Britons and a Dutch man imprisoned in Egypt for alleged militant activity have gone on hunger strike to protest abuse by guards and prison officials, the mother of one of the prisoners said Wednesday. The three Britons were convicted last year of trying to revive an outlawed Islamic militant group and were sentenced to five years in prison. The Dutch citizen, Hisham Diab, was one of 51 people convicted in September 2002 for an alleged terror plot. All four denied any militant activity.

18:42 Teheran. An anonymous diplomatic source says Iran has asked the IAEA to temporarily break the seals on the Ispahan uranium enrichment plant in order to conduct routine maintenance and testing.

18:33 Baghdad. An Iranian-born U.S. citizen who also is a Navy veteran is being held in Iraq by American forces after security officials in Baghdad reported finding a common component for improvised bombs in his taxi, according to his family. Relatives of Cyrus Kar, an aspiring filmmaker who lives in Los Angeles, said they plan to sue the government to gain his release. They say he has been cleared and there is no legal authority for his detention.

18:23 Baghdad. U.S. Senator Carl Levin, who recently criticized America's Iraq policy, met with Iraqi officials Wednesday in Baghdad, saying that next month's deadline to draft a new constitution could be met and would contribute to a quicker U.S. troop withdrawal.

18:20 Baghdad. The U.S. military is holding five U.S. citizens suspected of insurgent activities in Iraq. They were captured separately and don't appear to have ties to one another, spokesman Bryan Whitman said. He declined to identify them.

16:50 Teheran. President Mohammad Khatami denied reports that Iran had cautioned Gulf States against running political cartoons lampooning Iranian leaders claimed by a Bahraini newspaper.

16:46 Baghdad. Al-Zarqawi's terrorist group announced that it wants to execute Egyptian diplomat Ihab al-Sherif kidnapped Saturday in Baghdad, an "ally of Jews and Christians". This ambassador did not come here to assist Iraq's Muslim community but to aid the the consolidation of the Crusader state."

16:42 Paris. On 13 July 1989 Abdel Rahmane Ghassemlou, Secretary-General of the PDK of Iran and two assistants were assassinated in Vienna. An Iranian journalist in exile in Paris now claims that Iranian President-Elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad armed the commando team responsible for the assassination. Austrian authorities identified the commando team as Amoir-Mansour Bozorgian, Mostefa Hadji and Mohammad Djaafari-Sahraroudi.

16:42 Baghdad. A group linked to Abu Moussab al-Zarqawi says an Iraqi al-Qaeda tribunal has found the Egyptian ambassador guilty of aiding "Jews and Christians" and will be executed.

16:20 Teheran. Hojatolislam Hassan Rohani, a moderate pragmatic charged with Iran's nuclear dossier, remains in favor of dialog with the West to prevent Iran from becoming a US military target.

16:08 Teheran. Resignation of Hojatolislam Hassan Rohani denied. Reports that moderate Hassan Rohani has been replaced have been denied.


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