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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, November 15, 2005

15 November 2005 Events in Iraq and in the Region

Paris. CNRS researcher Annie Laurent writes that religious turmoil in the Middle East is having a dramatic effect on Christians in the region. Because of tensions linked to state of Israel, "re-Islamizaition" throughout the region is forcing Christians to flee the cradle of their faith. The Vatican wishes to urgently start inter-religious dialogue. A Christian state would have "no chance of survival" in the Middle East, says Laurent.

Beirut. Armed man holds us Bank of Kuwait on the Saïda-Tyr highway, bagging $20 thousand the 30 million Lebanese pounds. The bankrobber left behind two sticks of dynamite.

Beirut. No updates concerning the investigation of the assassination of Rafiq Hariri.

Damascus. Syrian President Bachar el-Assad has sent letters to several heads of state, the UN Security Council, the chairmen of the Arab summit, the IOC and Non-Aligned Countries, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa saying that he would cooperate with the Mehlis commission.

Riyadh. Saudi Crown Prince Sultan ben Abdelaziz will meet with Egyptian President Hosni Moubarak concerning the Syrian crisis. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit has called for "flexibility" from the UN and Syria

Beirut. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah travelled in secret to Damascus for discussions with Iranian Foreign Minister Manushehr Mottaki.

Washington. Presiden George W. Bush finds himself isolated and increasingly on the defensive concerning the war in Iraq.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak insists that the United State authorize "with no conditions attached" a UN inspection of the Guantanamo prison: "The situation is very clear: If the United States does not inspection without conditions, we will not go" A visit is scheduled for December 6. "A refusal will reinforce the suspicion that there remain several things in Guantanamo which cannot be shown."

Guantanamo. The Pentagon has adjourned the trial of David Hicks, the "Australian Taliban" before a special military court in Guantanamo pending a decision of the US Supreme Court on the validity of military courts.

Washington. The US Senate voted 84 to 14 authorizing prisoners in Guantanamo to appeal the verdicts of the military tribunal before the Federal civilian courts.

Paris. A half-brother of Osama Bin Laden, Yeslam Bin Ladin, appeared before a Paris court investigating the transfer of $300 million from Switzerland to Pakistan. Judge Renaud van Ruymbeke has been investigating money laundering by Mr. Bin Laden, who holds a Swiss passport, since 2001.

Washington. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has announced the nomination of Keith W. Dayton, replacing Gen. William Ward as coordinator between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Dayton is to said to have been granted wider personal discretion than Ward.

Tunis. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy appealed to Tunis to "guarantee freedom of information and the exercise by journalists of their trade".

Manama. Lebanese PM Fuad Siniora made a brief trip to Bahrain for talks on the stability of Lebanon and the region.

Baghdad. A roadside bomb wounded six civilians on the road leading to Zayouna police station.

Kirkuk. A roadside bomb hit a police patrol in the center of the city, killing two police officers.

Baghdad. Iraqi Premier Ibrahim Jaafari blasted Damascus after Bashar al-Assad stated in a speech that the Iraqi government was not "free in its decision-making". Jaafari recalled his negotiator from Damascus in protest.

Washington. US Senate votes to demand status reports from President Bush on his strategy for Iraq.

Vienna. During a conference on Islam in a Plural World, Hamid Karzaï and Jalal Talabani emphasized the necessity of combatting terrorism and fanaticism.

Baghdad. Iraqi PM Ibrahim Jaafari announced that we would attend a National Reconciliation Conference on Iraq to be held in Cairo under the sponsorship of the Arab League but imposed the condition that no members of the Baath Party or the insurgence must be banned. Egyptian FM Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that Baath Party members "without blood on their hands" would not be banned from the conference.

Yussufiya. Commando squad flown by helicopter to Yussufiya arrests 24 persons.

Baghdad. Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ouloum confirms 60 acts of sabotage on Iraq's oil installations in the last three months.

Madrid. Spanish Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso announced that his government would investigate the use of Spanish territory for extraordiary renditions by the CIA between 22 January 2004 and 17 January 2005.

21:37 Washington. The CIA refused to comment on charges that it was using a Balearic airport as a transfer point to secret prisons for prisoners.

21:23 Washington. The United States rejected any ultimatum by UN experts scheduled to visit the Guantanamo prison. Dept. of State spokesperson Adam Ereli said, "It is certainly not the spirit which which we will address the questions." UN Torture Rapporteur Manfred Nowak gave Washington until Thursday midnight to authorize his team to interview Guantanamo detainees.

21:04 Washington. Pentagon spokesman Barry Venable admitted to the BBC that it used white phosphorus as an "incendiary weapon" against insurgents in Fallujah but claimed that the use "was not illegal".

20:51 Washington. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recognized that errors were "honestly" made concerning the assessment of Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

19:45 Amman. King Abdallah II of Jordan named Maarouf al-Bakhit new Director of Security attached to the Royal Palace. Salem al-Turk was made Chief of Palace Staff. Both al-Bakhit and al-Turk were former military men. Meanwhile, nine other ministers were asked for their resignations.

17:26 Amman. A fourth American has died from wounds sustained in last week's triple hotel bombings in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

17:18 Ramallah. Abu Mazen declares that Israel wants to see civil war among Palestinians.

17:12 Geneva. The international Red Cross said Tuesday that it wants to know more about the discovery of more than 150 malnourished Iraqi detainees at an Iraqi Interior Ministry detention center.

17:10 Baghdad. Iraqi Premier Ibrahim Jaafari announced an investigation into new allegations of prisoner mistreatement and violation of due process. 173 emaciated Sunni prisoners, showing signs of torture, were discovered by US troops on Sunday night in a raid on an Interior Ministry building in the Jadriya quarter of south Baghdad.

17:07 Amman. Jordan's mainstream Muslim Brotherhood urged authorities on Tuesday to increase civil liberties, saying any clampdown after triple suicide bombings would only fuel religious extremism.

16:57 Bethlehem. Bethlehem governor Salah Al-Taamari accused Israel of confiscating hundreds of hectares of Palestinian lands to build a new security checkpoint at the entrance to the city.

16:49 Tehran. Iranian parliament approved a supplemental budget of $3 billion to purchase gasoline from abroad. Local production does not meet Iranian demand, which has skyrocketed. Although gaosline is subsidized in Iran, steep growth in consumption may result in rationing in March 2006.

16:34 Jerusalem. Labour Party Chairman Amir Peretz orders resignation of all Labour members in Sharon's cabinet.

16:30 Baghdad. A suicide carbomber rammed a police patrol, killing three and wounding six.

16:00 Ubaydi. US forces kill 80 guerrillas.

15:23 Diyala. US troops announce the capture of Hamid Sharki Shadid, leader of the New Ba'ath Party, a clandestine organization. .

14:18 Jerusalem. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, after arduous negotiation, obtained an agreement from Israel to open the frontier crossing at Rafah.

13:53 Ankara. Bomb kills three soldiers in a rural area near Lake Van, at the frontier with Iran. Kurdish rebels are suspected

13:42 Kirkuk. Hatem al-Hassani, brother of the Sunni Parliamentary Speaker, was released after having been jailed by Kurdish security for a week.

12:18 Paris. Three Molotov cocktails were thrown at a mosque in Saint-Chamond sur Loire. Two other Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Carpentras mosque in Provence and a third at the Grand Mosque of Lyon.

11:47 Amman. Female suicide bomber says she accepted the Amman hotel bombing mission to avenge the death of her three brothers, including Samer al Rishawi, thought to have been a lieutenant of Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi.

11:09 Ubaydi. Makeshift bombs killed two Marines in Ubaydi, near the Syrian border. A third Marine was shot to death, the military said.

10:20 Jerusalem. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announces the opening of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt beginning November 25.

09:58 Baghdad. Jassem al-Fhidaoui, Professor of Arab Literature was shot dead in front of the University of Moustansariyah, a Baghdad. Yesterday another professor was shot dead together with his chauffeur by armed men.

09:58 Tehran. Iranian Culture Minister Hossein Safar Harandi has announced a purge of his agencies and a return to stricter observance of Islam. Meanwhile, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad nominates Seyed Mohsen Tassaloti, 51, as Oil Minister.

08:59 New York. The price of oil is rising again but remained under $58 per barrel.

07:37 Kirkuk. Insurgents fired on a police patrol car and killed all four occupants.

06:25 Tokyo. 67% of Japanese voters oppose extension for the Japanese contingent in Iraq.

05:55 Karachi. Carbomb targets Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in downtown Karachi. Six people are dead and 12 wounded.

04:33 New York. UN reports that more than 30,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq since March 2003. Meanwhile the prisoner population is now 23,394, half of whom are in American hands.

06:36 Baghdad. A carbombing targeting a restaurant frequented by police in the Mashtal quarter kills two police and wounds six others, including a bystander.


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