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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

5 October 2005 Events in Iraq and in the Region

Baghdad. Four oilfield security guards received bullet wounds after a carbomb targeted their patrol.

Baghdad. A carbomb detonated near the Saj al-Rif restaurant. No injuries were reported. According to police, rockets placed inside the car did not explode, limiting the damage.

The Hague. Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Bot expressed doubt on the utility of the war in Iraq in testimony to Parliament.

Baghdad. Saddam Hussein's defense team lacks funds. The Iraqi Special Tribunal has not provided the funds necessary for the defense of the former dictator. Meanwhile an anonymous British official said the trial would likely be postponed due to "logistical" reasons.

Tehran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's nuclear policies are coming under criticism inside Iran. Akbar Hashemi Rafsandjani accused the government of wasting time with propaganda instead of seriously pursuing negotiations. In a speech before Parliament, moderate MP Hassan Afarideh also criticized the government, accusing it of assuming overly aggresssive postures in its nuclear negotiations.

Strasbourg. The European Union said it would increase its political and econmic assistance towards the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Ramallah. Palestinian high school students returning from the weekend discovered an 8-meter high wall erected by the Israelis in 48 hours dividing their campus in half.

Beirut. The Lebanese Army is reinforcing its presence near the village of Yanta on the Syrian border after reports of arms smuggling to exiled Palestinians.

Kuwait. The newpaper al-Anbaa ran a story saying that Iraqi Parliamentary Speaker Hajem al-Hassani had "irrefutable proof" that Iran had a role in the assassination of Ayatollahs Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim and Abdel Majid al-Khoï. The paper said Mr. Hassan also accused Iran had a hand in several bloody and violent incidents across the country.

Tehran. Iranian diplomat Manouchehr Mottaki postponed an official trip to Saudi Arabia.

23:34 Alexandria. Former Pentagon expert Lawrence Franklin, 58, pleaded guilty of passing confidential information to an Israeli diplomat.

23:15 The US Senate has explicitly forbidden US forces to us torture and mistreatment of prisioners. The measure was proposed by Senator John McCain, a former POW. McCain was prompted to sponsor the measure by the revelations of Captain Ian Fishback concerning prisoner mistreatment.

22:42 Baghdad. Community strife grows in Iraq as Sunnis threaten to boycott the Constitutional referendum unless the US military halts its offensive in Western Iraq.

21:18 Jerusalem Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet next week following the intervention of Jordan's King Abdallah II.

Brusssels. A high-ranking Saudi delegation is in Brussels for informal discussions with NATO officials concerning a rapprochement between the Saudi kingdom and the Western military alliance.

18:38 Washington. President George Bush says Iraqi forces are assuming ever-increasing responsibilities for security in Iraq after a meeting with Defesne Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Peter Pace and General David Petraeus.

18:01 London. A anonymous British official accussed Iran of passing bombmaking technology to insurgents in Iraq.

17:30 Hilla. Twenty-five people were killed and 87 wounded in a carbombing at sunset during a Shi'ite Ramadan prayer hour. A car parked near Husseiniyah Ibn an-Nimaa mosque in the center of Hilla exploded as worshipers were about the recite the maghreb prayer at the end of fasting after sundown.

16:41 Tehran. High-profile diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif has resigned from the Iranian nuclear negotiating team. Mr Zarif, the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, was considered a foreign policy moderate and was engaged in improving the international image of Iran.

16:29 Baghdad. Premier Ibrahim Jaafari minimized his differences with President Jalal Talabani, who had accused Jaafari of breaking the law.

16:27 Jeddah. The Organization of Islamic Conferences supported plans to hold an Iraq reconciliation conference proposed by Saudi Arabia.

16:19 Kuwait. Iraqi Parliamentary Speaker Hajem al-Hassani criticized the timing of the US offensive in western Iraq, saying the action is dissuading Sunni Arabs from going to the polls on October 15.

16:10 Baghdad. Ansar al-Sunna uploaded a video to the internet showing the beheading of two Iraqis accused of spying for the Americans.

16:10 Baghdad. Under pressure from the United Nations, the Iraqi Parliament rescinded a decision setting a high bar for rejection of the Constitution. The other day's decision was bad, unfair and antidemocratic, said independent MP Mahmoud Osman.

15:30 Baghdad. The Iraqi Parliament has modified the voting rules on constitutional referendum following a request from the United Nations to equalize the balance between proponents and opponents of the document. The Transitional Law currently in force has established the voting rules albeit in vague terms and only mentions electors who may vote for or against the constitution. Article 61C stipulates: The referendum will be a success and the draft Constitution ratified if a majority of Iraqi electors approve the draft and if two-thirds of electors in three or more provinces do not reject it." Nothing in the text mentions "registered" voters, that is, voters whose names are on the voting rosters. On Sunday, members of Parliament, composed mostly of Shi'ite and Kurdish representatives, voted on a motion to make rejection nearly impossible. In the motion, a very high turnout--greater than 2/3-- and a nearly unanimous vote would have been necessary to reject the Constitution. An additional difficulty is that the voter rosters are highly unreliable because they are based on lists of ration card holders. They are flawed lists which are not updated, particularly with respect to deaths, said a UN worker. Following last Sunday's vote, both the UN and the United States expressed their concern over the changes which guaranteed a victory for Shi'ite and Kurdish voters.

14:15 Madrid. Spanish justice reaffirmed that it was a competent authority to judge crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity committed against any group anywhere on earth. The decree overruled a prior ruling limiting the authority of Spanish courts to crimes committed against Spanish naitonals in Guatemala between 1978 and 1986.

14:14 Kirkuk. A police officer and an Iraqi civilian were killed in a drive-by shooting in Kirkuk. Armed men opened fire on a car driven by Kurdish police officer Ahmed Othman, shooting him dead.

12: 54 Bern. The Swiss government will not deliver 180 M-113 armored vehicles because the United Arab Emirates, which was to have bought the armored vehicles on behalf of Baghdad, has refused to make the purchase. The 180 M-113's were to be supplied from Swiss military surplus. The Swiss governnment had suspended the controversial order at the end of August after it became known that the vehicles were for the Iraqi army, not the Iraqi police. Swiss legislation forbids the export of war matériel to areas in the throes of conflict, althought it appears that the Swiss government was prepared to violate its own neutrality until caught in the act by the Swiss Socialist Party and the Centrist Democratic Union.

12: 17 Kabul. An Afghani child was killed and a man wounded in a suicide bombing which targeted a Canadian patrol near Kandahar.

08:41 Melilla. Forty illegal immigrants were able to jump a metal fence separating Melilla from Moroccan territory at dawn. Nearly 100 illegal immigrants participated in the fence-jumping attempt in the Pinares de Rostrogordo area. A Spanish frontier guard was injured when his all-terrain vehicle flipped over. Two days ago a similar attempt left 135 illegal immigrants wounded, including five seriously injured. Last Thursday, five Africans were killed when Spanish forces opened fire on a mob of illegal immigrants in Ceuta who were attempting to enter the city by force.


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