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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Friday, November 18, 2005

18 November 2005 Events in Iraq and in the Region

Washington. The CIA has set up secret joint counterterrorism centers in Europe, Middle East and Asia to track and capture suspected terrorists and penetrate their networks, The Washington Post said. The centers, known as Counterterrorist Intelligence Centers, or CTICs, act on initial tips that may come from the CIA, but the operations to pick up suspects are usually organized by one of the joint centers, current and former US and foreign intelligence officials told the daily. The CTICs are in countries such as Uzbekistan and Indonesia that have been criticized by the US government for its authoritarian rule or human rights violations. In Paris, despite US-French tension over the Iraq war, CIA and French intelligence services have created the only multinational operations center, which executes worldwide sting operations. Codenamed Alliance Base, the center in France includes representatives from Britain, France, Germany, Canada and Australia.

Cairo. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested for distributing tracts douting the fairness of recent elections outside a mosque.

Tehran. Iran and Iraq have signed an counterterrorism cooperation agreement which also facilities entry into Iraq for Iranian pilgrims.

Washington. Admiral Stansfield Turner, former CIA Director, accused Vice President Dick Cheney of having implemented policies of torture which have damaged the reputation of the United States.

Jerusalem. Mordechi Vanunu was arrested as he attempted to enter the West Bank.

Khaneqin. Diyala Provincial Council Chairman Ibrahim Hassan al-Bajellane says 75 are dead and 90 wounded. The two mosques, Husseynia al-Mazraa and Mehdi, were frequeted by Kurdish Shi'a called Faylis. Two blasts were detonated four minutes apart.

Baghdad. Tawfic al-Yasseri, an independent Shi'ite candidate, was kidnapped in front of his home in the capital.

23:59 Washington. House Republicans maneuvered for swift rejection of any notion of immediately pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, sparking a nasty debate over the war following a Democratic lawmaker's own call for withdrawal. Republicans brought a measure to the House floor urging that a pullout begin immediately. The symbolic vote was intended to fail.

23:59 Ottawa. Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew congratulated the international community on a resolution expressing "grave concern" on human rights violation in Iran.

23:58 Washington. The Republican leadership has decided to present a resolution for a voice vote in the House of Representatives on the immediate pullout of US troops from Iraq suggested by Democratic Congressman John Murtha. The White House has called Rep. Murtha's request disconcerting.

23:55 New York. Iraq is training military units to protect oil exports through the north of the country that are constantly disrupted by insurgents.

23:54 Washington. The Pentagon has opened an inquiry into the activities of former Deputy Defense Secretary Douglas Feith. The inquiry will determine if the Office of Special Plans, headed by Mr. Feith, engaged in unauthorized, illegal or inappropriate intelligence operations.

23:33 Amman. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi sought to justify a triple suicide bombing on Amman hotels that killed 59 civilians, insisting he did not deliberately target a wedding party and appealing to Muslims to believe that he was not attacking them. Al-Zarqawi made clear he was not about to stop the bloodshed, warning he will attack more tourist sites in Jordan and threatening to behead King Abdullah II.

23:26 Seoul. George Bush insisted that the conflict in Iraq is justified and rejected calls for a schedule for pullout.

21:09 Cairo. Iraqi leaders arrive in Cairo. Premier Ibrahim al-Jaafari and several dozen politicians and clerics arrive in Cairo for reconciliation conference.

20:45 Amman. 250 thousand protest terrorism.

16:30 Khanaqin. Seventy-four are dead and 75 wounded in the bombing of two mosques in this Shi'ite city 140 km northeast of Baghdad. Al-Arabiya reports that the death toll is greater than 100.

16:09 Tehran. Iran has stated converting a second uranium stock into gas.

14:36 Vienna. The IAEA denounced a decision by Iran to bar inspector entry to military sites.

12:31 Ramadi. US military kills 32 rebels near Ramadi, the seat of Anbar Province. A US Marine and an Iraqi Army regular were wounded. The US has launched an offensive in the area.

12:09 Geneva. Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human RIghts, has requested an international investigation into Iraqi prisons.

11:27 Baghdad. Two suicide attacks target mosques in Khanequin, 170 km from Baghdad. At least thirty are dead.

11:20 Vienna. The UN cancels inspection trip to Guantanamo. According to mission chief Manfred Nowak, Going to Guantanamo without the respect due to our mission would represent a very negative precedent for all other countries.

10:51 Baghdad. Third carbombing in the capital.

10:12 Washington. US imposes excessive restrictions on UN inspectors scheduled to visits the Guantanamo prison camp. The UN has declared the restrictions "unacceptable".

10:06 Rome. Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini says Italian troops will remain in Iraq.

09:41 Tehran. President Ahmadinejad fires ten deputy ministers. Ten administration deputies and several officials were removed. The senior management of the state insurance company and the presidents of seven banks were also fired. Some observers expect the purges to lead to paralysis of the country.

07:33 Baghdad. Carbombing targeting the Hotel Hamra kills four and wounds 41. The hotel is frequented by foreign contractors and journalists. The blast also devastated an adjacent residential quarter killing six civilians, including a woman and two children.

06:30 Baghdad. Powerful blast heard in west Baghdad.

05:24 Pusan. Bush holds private talks with Vladimir Putin. Mystery surrounds the conversation, however, Bush has stressed the importance of the "strategic relationship" between the two countries.

02:21 Seoul. South Korea plans to reduce its military contingent by approximately 1,000 troops. The decision came as a surprise to President Bush.


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