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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, August 14, 2005

14 August 2005 Events in Iraq

Tuz. A roadside bomb struck a US jeep, killing three US soldiers and wounding a fourth.

Baghdad. A US soldier is killed in the western suburbs of Baghdad.

Baghdad. A US soldier is wounded.

Ar-Rutbah. A roadside bomb killed a US soldier near the Jordanian Border.

Baghdad. Kurdish negotiator Mahmoud Osman says that without a miracle, Iraqi leaders will not be able to settle outstanding issues delaying the Constitution in debates today. This morning, President Talibani assembled several leaders including Kurdistan's Massoud Barzani, former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and Parliamentary Speaker Hajem al-Hassani, a Sunni.

Baghdad. Armed men kidnapped the Director-General of the Central Bank of Iraq. Hassib Djouwaid was kidnapped in front of his residence by men travelling in two cars.

Washington. Time Magazine reports that Tehran has recruited a former officer of Saddam Hussein's army, Abu Hassan, to infiltrate the Iraqi Interior Ministry. [Saddam + Iran does not pass the "smell" test--Nur]

Mosul. The US military claims it has discovered a large quantity of chemicals which it says belongs to insurgents. A secret laboratory with 1500 barrels of chemicals was said to have been found.

Turin. Italian newspaper La Stampa reports that 300 more members of the Italian contingent in Nassiriya are about to be withdrawn.

Baghdad. The Iraqi Special Tribunal opposes the decision by the family of Saddam Hussein to fire his legal team, saying only the accused could make the decision. The family says that most lawyers claiming to defend Saddam were engaged in self-promotion.

23:51 Ramallah. Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa says Palestinian security forces have been prepared for the Israeli evacuation of the Gaza Strip and that they would use force to prevent attacks on Israeli by militants.

23:10 Washingon. Senators Joseph Biden and John McCain called for deploying reinforcements to Iraq today. However, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar said it was unlikely.

19:35 Baghdad. A roadside bomb struck a US patrol and killed one civilian and wounded six others.

18:30 Baghdad. 30 corpses were discovered in a common grave in the industrial district of Owerij in south Baghdad. Two are women. The location was revealed through the questioning of 13 insurgents captured this morning.

17:00 Washington. The president must keep open a military option in dealing with Iran and its nuclear program, Sen. John McCain said Sunday, calling recent Bush comments appropriate. For us to say that the Iranians can do whatever they want to do and we won't under any circumstances exercise a military option would be for them to have a license to do whatever they want to do, the Arizona Republican said on "Fox News Sunday." So I think the president's comment that we won't take anything off the table was entirely appropriate. Bush said on Israeli TV on Friday that "all options are on the table" regarding Iran, which rejected Thursday's resolution from the
United Nations' nuclear agency urging it to halt the conversion of uranium into gas.

16:14 Tehran. Iran has accused the United States and Britain of stoking the unrest that has broken out among its Kurdish and Arab minorities. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi offered little evidence for his allegations on Sunday, but he suggested that Washington and London were giving encouragement to the Arabs and Kurds who have rioted in western and northwestern Iran. «According to some information, the Americans intervened in northwestern Iran. This is not acceptable at all,» Asefi told a news conference. «We will voice our objection in this regard soon.» Asefi said the United States is «stuck» in Iraq and is trying to divert attention from its plight by sowing unrest across the border. Under U.S. protection, Iraq's Kurds have enjoyed autonomy and a booming economy, fueled partly by trade with Iran. Iraq's ascendant Kurds engage in contacts _ including lucrative exports of illegal liquor and other goods _ with their kin across the border. On Thursday, Human Rights watch said at least 17 people had been killed and hundreds more injured and arrested after anti-government protests broke out in Iran's Kurdish northwest. The New York-based rights group blamed the killings on the Iranian security forces, and said their indiscriminate shooting had also wounded hundreds of people. Asefi also said a spate of previous riots in Iran's western Khuzestan province were encouraged by the British presence in Iraq. In April, minority Arabs rioted against the government, leaving at least one protester dead and several injured. More than 200 people were arrested. Khuzestan abuts southern Iraq, where security is under the control of British troops in the multinational force. «Some provocateurs were trained in a part of Iraq which is under control of Britain,» Asefi said. «We have made objections and warned Britain about the repercussions of such behavior. We hope it won't be repeated in the future.» In Kurdistan, the unrest rocked several towns over the past month. The killings and arrests led to more protests, with shopkeepers shuttering their businesses and the government closing down two newspapers and detaining journalists and activists. Security forces were also said to be among those hurt and killed in the unrest. Residents have said undeclared martial law is in force. «Peace has returned to the area but security is tight. Dozens of activists are still in jail,» said Kurdish activist Vahed Qaribian. Those jailed include Ajlal Ghavami, Saeed Jalali and Roya Toloui, a women's rights activist. Human Rights Watch said the security forces wounded hundreds when they opened fire in Mahabad on demonstrators who were protesting the police's killing of a young Kurdish activist, Shivan Qaderi, on July 9. Iranian authorities say the rioters broke shop windows and set cars on fire. The Kurdish opposition group PEJAK, which stands in Kurdish for the «Party of Free Life of Kurdistan,» has called on Kurds in western Iran to begin civil disobedience. Iran's Kurdistan Democratic Party has issued a similar call. Asked about PEJAK's role in the unrest, Asefi said that Iran would «confront all terrorist groups.» Iranian media have suggested the protests were rooted in the poverty that remains prevalent in the Iranian Kurdish areas. The findings of investigations carried out by Iran's Interior Ministry and parliament have not been published.

16:10 Baghdad. The USA no longer holds out hope for an agreement on the Iraqi consitution before tomorrow. US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad announced a 24-hour delay.

16:10 Gaza. Remaining Israeli colonists know that they will lose tens of millions of dollars in compensation if they don't leave on time.

16:09 Najaf. Two lieutenants of Moqtada al-Sadr were freed by the Iraqi government: Moustapha al-Yacoubi, arrested last year, and Sheikh Riad al-Nouri.

15:53 Tehran. Approximately 300 Islamists students threw stones and tomatoes at the British Embassy to protest British opposition to Iran's nuclear program accompanied with chanting: We should occupy the embassy and throw the British spies out into the street. Death to Britain, death to Germany, death to the United States, death to Israel. Banners with the wording, Nuclear technology is our right, were displayed.

15:35 Gush Katif. Thousands of Israeli police blocked approaches to Gaza on Sunday to keep back radical Jewish protesters in the final countdown to Israel's pullout from occupied territory due to begin this week. Jewish settlers refusing to leave Gaza have decided to lock the entry gates of their enclaves to soldiers due to come on Monday to urge inhabitants to go voluntarily or be forcibly ejected starting on Wednesday, Israeli media said.

15:25 Basrah. A previously unknown Shiite group warned Kuwait Sunday to pull its troops back to the pre-1991 border or face attacks. The statement by Islamic Jihad, read by a masked man in a video obtained Sunday by The Associated Press, came amid criticism by some Iraqi officials of Kuwaitis trying to encroach on Iraqi land. An Iraqi legislator who visited Kuwait last month said he saw «no real problem» between the two countries over the border that were redrawn by the United Nations after the 1991 Gulf war. «We call them to return to the pre-1991 border otherwise we will attack border posts, border patrols and carry out attacks inside Kuwait,» said the masked man sitting between two other masked gunmen. «We will also attack Kuwaiti citizens in Iraq.» Hundreds of Iraqis who grow vegetables and date palms in the Umm Qasr part of the border have staged demonstrations against a metal barrier that Kuwait is building along the frontier. During one protest last month, shots were fired into Kuwait, but Kuwaiti border guards did not return fire. In 1993, two years after a U.S.-led coalition drove the Iraqi army out of Kuwait, a U.N. border demarcation commission redrew the frontier. The upshot was that Kuwait received 11 oil wells, some farms and an old naval base that used to be in Iraq. Iraq and Kuwait resumed relations and reopened their border after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Kuwait served as a launch pad for the invasion, which toppled Saddam.

15:04 Baghdad. Iraqi parliament will be able to examine the draft of the Constitution tomorrow. However, regional autonomy is among the issues remaining to be settled.

10:04 Tehran. Following statements by George W.Bush in an interview broadcast by Israeli TV, Iran's Foreign Minister Hamid Reza Assefi warned the United States against an attack on his country.

06:19 Baghdad. The US military announced that a Friday carbomb in northern Iraq has killed three US soldiers.

03:48 Gaza. Several Israeli soldiers were hurt in a friendly fire incident in the Gaza Strip early Sunday, witnesses in a Jewish settlement said. The military had no immediate comment. Circumstances of the incident were unclear. Palestinians opened fire on an Israeli force near the settlement of Kfar Darom, and the soldiers fired back. Either a shell fired by an Israeli tank hit other soldiers, or the tank ran them down, the witnesses said. The Haaretz daily reported on its Web site that six soldiers were wounded, one seriously, when an Israeli tank shell hit an armored personnel carrier. The incident came a day before Israel was to close off the Gaza Strip ahead of removing all 21 Jewish settlements from the territory. Large forces of police and soldiers are in the area for the operation. Israel has demanded that Palestinian forces prevent attacks during the pullout, threatening large-scale retaliation if militants open fire on soldiers or settlers.

03:10 Baghdad. American and U.N. diplomats stepped up pressure Sunni Arabs to accept a new constitution as the clock ticked down to its the Monday deadline for its approval. A top Sunni official said his group would never accept terms that would lead to the division of the country. President Jalal Talabani predicted a draft constitution will be ready by Monday, and a Kurdish official said the draft would be presented to parliament with or without Sunni approval. With time running out, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and U.N. envoy Ashraf Qazi met separately Saturday with Sunni leaders but failed to persuade them to accept a federal system. Negotiations were thrown into a tailspin Thursday when the leader of the biggest Shiite party, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, called for a Shiite autonomous government in central and southern Iraq, including the southern oil fields. That enraged Sunni Arab delegates, who fear federalism will lead to the disintegration of Iraq. Hamdoun said the Sunnis did not consider themselves bound by an agreements worked out between the Shiites and Kurds. Meanwhile, many secular-minded Iraqi women fear a loss of their rights if Islam is designated as the main source of legislation.

01:12 Crawford. President George W. Bush said on Saturday the United States will not prematurely withdraw troops from Iraq because doing so would betray that country as its leaders finish a critical act of democracy in writing a constitution. "The terrorists cannot defeat us on the battlefield," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "The only way they can win is if we lose our nerve. That will not happen on my watch." "So we will honor the fallen by completing the mission for which they gave their lives and by doing so we will ensure that freedom and peace prevail," he said. Several hundred anti-war protesters held a rally in Crawford to demand that U.S. troops be pulled out of Iraq, and then drove in a caravan of cars to a site where the mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq has camped out near Bush's ranch while he is vacationing there.

00:47 Orlando. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on Saturday agreed to launch a campaign for peace between Israel and the Palestinians that Jewish advocates said could be seen in the Arab world as evidence of a growing condemnation of Israel by U.S. Protestants. The resolution, titled "Peace Not Walls" was approved 668 to 269 at the biennial assembly in Orlando, Florida, of the sixth largest U.S. Christian denomination, and church leaders said a campaign for peace had become urgent in light of the Israeli security barrier under construction on Palestinian land. Before the vote, Bishop Munib Younan, representing the denomination's sister Lutheran church in Palestine, told the 1,108 assembly members that his congregation had been split by the wall and church attendance was dropping. "The future of the Palestinian (Lutheran) church is at stake because the current conditions are causing our children to leave in increasing numbers," Younan said via telephone.


Anonymous Mark from Ireland said...

Nur apropos Iran here's two stories about their nuclear programme:

Halliburton Sold Iranian Oil Company Key Nuclear Reactor Components, Sources Say
by Jason Leopold
August 10, 2005

Scandal-plagued Halliburton -- the oil services company once headed by Vice President Cheney -- sold an Iranian oil development company key components for a nuclear reactor, say Halliburton sources with intimate knowledge into both companies’ business dealings.

Halliburton was secretly working at the time with one of Iran’s top nuclear program officials on natural gas related projects and sold the components in April to the official's oil development company, the sources said.

Just last week, a National Security Council report said Iran was a decade away from acquiring a nuclear bomb. That time frame could arguably have been significantly longer if Halliburton, whose miltary unit just reported a 284 percent increase in its second quarter profits due to its Iraq reconstruction contracts, was not actively providing the Iranian government with the means to build a nuclear weapon.

With Iran's new hardline government now firmly in place, Iranian officials have rounded up relatives and close business associates of Iran's former President and defeated mullah presidential candidate Hashemi Rafsanjani, alleging the men were involved in widespread corruption of Iran's oil industry, specifically tied to the country's business dealings with Halliburton.

The who thing is well worth reading and can be found here:

Cheney + Pakistan = Iran

By Jason Leopold

11 August, 2005

When news last year of Pakistan’s clandestine nuclear program showed how the country's top nuclear scientist was secretly selling atomic bomb blueprints to Iran and North Korea, the so-called “Axis of Evil" (along with Iraq), world leaders waited to see how President Bush would punish Pakistan's President Pervez Musharaff.

Bush has, after all, spent his entire time in office talking tough about countries and dictators that conceal weapons of mass destruction, and even tougher about individuals who supply rogue nations and terrorists with the means to build WMDs. For all intents and purposes, Pakistan and Musharraf fit that description.

Bush, Vice President Cheney and top members of the administration reacted with shock when they found out that Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan’s top nuclear scientist, spent the past 15 years selling outlaw nations nuclear technology and equipment. So it was sort of a surprise when Bush, upon finding out about Khan’s proliferation of nuclear technology, let Pakistan off with a slap on the wrist.

But it was all an act. In fact, it was actually a cover-up designed to shield Cheney because he knew about the proliferation for more than a decade and did nothing to stop it.

The International Atomic Energy Association launched an investigation two years ago in an attempt to uncover how Iran obtained components and parts for P-2 centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium into fuel for civilian power reactors.

Again well worth reading the entire article which can be found here:

Both stories pass the "Nur's patented smell test" IMO :-)

3:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home