7 August 2005 Events in Iraq and in the Region
Khartoum. The United Nations has urged Khartoum and southern ex-rebels to observe all the provisions of the peace accords and in particular to settle the unresolved and contentious territorial questions existing prior to the death of the southern emblematic figure John Garang. Following yesterday's funeral for the former rebel turned Vice President, Special UN Representative to Sudan Jan Pronk expressed his regret at the slow speed at which the two parties are applying certain key provisions of the peace accord signed 9 January 2005 in Nairobi. Mr. Pronk urged the leaders of both camps to rapidly resolve the status of several oil-rich areas located in the center of the region claimed simultaneously by Khartoum and the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), formerly headed by Garang. Mr. Pronk made the remarks after meeting with Garang's successor, Salva Kiir, in Juba, the southern capital. Mr. Pronk also noted that militias are still active in several areas of the country, especially in the Abyei region. Earlier, the UN envoy expressed regret that the two sides had not yet created "certain institutions" provided for in the accords, especially a commission to be charged with overseeing the truce between government forces and SPLM fighters and another to be responsible for verifying progress achieved by the civilian aspects of the accords. The creation of the two commissions had been a thorny issue during the Nairobi negotiations ending the 21 year-old conflict. The negotiations have granted provisional 6-year autonomy to the south pending a referendum on independence. Meanwhile an unprecedented call to unity and reconciliation was issued by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir as he took General Kiir's hand during Garang's funeral. May the crowd here today bear witness that hand-in-hand we shall observe the provisions of the peace accord to the letter. General Kiir, named Sudanese Vice President last Thursday, also spoke: I am saying loud and clear that the SPLM is a vehicle without a gear for reverse. I confirm my commitment to carry out all the clauses written in the accord.
Baghdad. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has begun a series if meetings with Iraq's political leaders with the aim of overcoming the differences involved in the drafting of the Constitution in a country undermined by continuing violence. The goal of these meetings is to discuss the Constitution and its points of contention by making the necessary efforts to arrive at a consensus. There are at least 18 divisive issues to be resolved during the series of meetings, in particular the place of Islam in legislation and the topic of federalism. The Kurds are jealous of their autonomy and want the federal character of post-war Iraq to be recognized. Meanwhile, religious and secular factions are debating the crucial question of Islam as the single source of all law or "a source" of law. Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani told Kurdish Parliament on Saturday that he would reject an Islamic state, insisted upon by Iraq's Shi'ites, and would demand a federal state, rejected by Sunni Arabs. Sheikh Houmam Hammoudi has given political leaders until 12 August to settle remaining issues so that Parliament may begin debate on the Constitution in mid-August so that it may be adopted in time for the mid-October referendum.
Baghdad. Constitutional Committee member Mahmoud Osman says there has been enormous American and British pressure to finalize the draft by August 15th, as stipulated by the "Fundamental Law" (provisional constitution). US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has multiplied the number of his meetings with political leaders and representatives of civil society over the last few days to urge them to adhere to the calandar for political transition.
Baghdad. The US military has announced the death of two soldiers and one Marine killed in separate attacks in Baghdad. Three other US military personnel were wounded.
Baghdad. 18 Iraqis were killed in attacks north of the capital.
Baghdad. Three soldiers were killed an another wounded when their vehicle came under fire.
Baghdad. Two employees of the Oil Ministry died when gunmen fired on the car in which they were travelling.
Baghdad. Seven people were shot dead on the street by unknown assailants.
Latifiyah. Two civilians were shot dead on the street by unknown gunmen.
Samawa. One civilian was killed and 44 wounded, including 14 police, in clashes between demonstrators and the authorities. Demonstrators were protesting the local governor and demanded his resignation. The normally peaceful Shi'ite populace of Samawa rioted and burned cars, including a police van.
Baghdad. A previously unknown insurgent group has threatened to execute three Turkish hostages who "worked for the US occupation foces in Iraq." in a video broadcast by al-Jazeera.
Washington. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she believes that the insurrection in Iraq is "losing ground" in an inteview for Time Magazine: If you think about the ways in which an insurrection can be put down, you'll need to engage not only the military but politics as well. [More like Ms. Rice is losing credibility--Nur].
Baghdad. US military claims that as of 1 August 2005, 176,347 have been trained and equipped: 95,808 Interior Ministry Security Forces and 80,539 regulars. They are equipped with bullet-proof vests, helmets, Kalashnikovs and pistols, says US Lt. General Frederick Wellman, spokeman for the American team resposible for training.
London. Former Foreign Secretary Robert Finlayson Cook, 59, died of an apparent heart attack during a trek in the Scottish highlands. Cook quit the Blair government in 2003 to protest the war in Iraq: I cannot accept the collective responsibility of engaging the United Kingdom in a war against Iraq now, without an international mandate nor support on the national level. Despite his opposition to Tony Blair on the Iraq question, Robin Cook was highly visible during the spring 2005 election campaign, urging both anti-war and Muslim Britons to vote for Labour. Cook earned a degree in Literature from the University of Edinborogh before being elected to Parliament as a representative of central Edinborough. Cook was UK Foreign Secretary from 1997 to 2001.
Baghdad. Bombs targeting military convoy are of Iranian manufacture. The New York Times reports a claim by US military intelligence that Iranian Shi'ites and Iraqi Sunnis are cooperating against the US occupation in the manufacture of roadside bombs. However, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi denied the claim: Such statements are meant to justify the failures of the United States in Iraq.
Mosul. To report collaborators, just call A-L-Q-A-E-D-A. Tracts were distributed by a group linked to al-Qaeda northern city of Mosul urging "good Muslims" to call a special phone number to report collaborators. The tract was signed, Mohammed ben Salama Assassination Brigades.
New York. Volcker Report accuses Oil for Food Program Director. The third segment of the Oil for Food report will accuse Benon Sevan for having accepted under-the-table oil contracts which were later transferred to an Egyptian company. Sevan collaborated in the scheme with Fred Nadler, the brother in law of former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Mr. Sevan's lawyer has categorically rejected the accusations.
15:22 Washington. US to pull out between 20,000 and 30,000 troop between now and spring 2006. The New York Times reports that its sources in the military and in the Defense Department are preparing a plan for drawdown which was discussed last month in a closed-door meeting between the US Secretary of State and General John Abizaid.
11:46 Samarra. Two US soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in central Iraq near Samarra.
10:26 Tikrit. Carbomb targets police barracks. At least five are dead and fifteen wounded in a suicide truck bombing of Iraqi police barracks in Tikrit. Volunteers were waiting outside the building to enroll when the blast occurred.