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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, December 02, 2005

2 December 2005 Events in Iraq and in the Region

Baghdad. Iraqi Vice Premier Ahmed Chalabi criticized the purchase of refurbished Sovient-era armaments from Eastern Europe to equip Iraq security forces. The deal had been arranged by former PM Iyad Allawi.

Doha. The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Abdel Rahman al-Attiyah, urged NATO to help make the region free of WMD's, without exception.

Jerusalem. Israel tests the new Hetz (Arrow) antimissile system.

Gaza. 200 hectares of land under greenhouse have been planted and Palestinians hope to export the harvest to Europe soon. Israelis had sabotaged the irrigation systems and vandalized the greenhouses before evacuating.

Fallujah. US and Iraqi forces begin a new anti-insurgency operation known as Lance.

Baquba. A Shi'ite cleric was shot dead by men disguised as Iraqi soldiers.

Kirkuk. An Islamic Party official was found dead afte being kidnapped earlier in the day. His bullet-riddled body showed signs of torture.

Basrah. British Defence Minister John Reid made a surprise visit to Iraq, saying he wanted to assess the preparedness of Iraq security forces in southern Iraq.

Washington. Lt. Colonel Michael Wheeler, 47, was arrested on corruption charges Wednesday and is being held in Wisconsin. Wheeler is accused of accepting kickbacks from reconstruction contracts he awarded in Iraq.

Washington. President George W. Bush spoke with Jordan's King Abdallah by phone to discuss the situation in Iraq and the fight against "radical Islamism". The President expressed his strong support for the actions decided by King Abdallah to fight extremism, said presidential spokesman Scott McClellan.

22:46 Baghdad. The kidnappers of four Western hostages have threatened to kill them unless all prisoners in Iraqi and American prisons are freed. The ultimatum expires on 8 December.

20:43 Washington. The US is "concerned" by the news that Russia will sell 29 Tor-M-1 antimissile systems to Iran. [First they threaten, then they wonder why the Iranians want to defend themselves--Nur]

20:14 Warsaw. Poland's new defense minister said Friday that his country will decide «in the next few weeks» whether its area of responsibility in Iraq is stable enough to turn over to Iraqi troops. Defense Minister Radek Sikorski, who heads to Washington on Saturday, told the AP that he wants to hear «what the United States advises us, asks for» in helping make a decision. [How much the US is willing to pay?--Nur].

20:12 Paris. 27 year-old Tunisian Ahmed Bentaieb has been arrested in Paris in connection with an inquest into a suicide bombing in Baquba carried out by a Belgian woman.

20:06 Washington. Senator John Warner and the country's top military commander, General Peter Pace said Friday that a Pentagon propaganda program was part of an effort to «get the truth out» in Iraq.

19:28 Brussels. The US permanent representative to NATO, Victoria Nuland, says the question of secret CIA flights would not disrupt the work of the alliance.

18:18 Moscow. Russia and Iran are about to initial a $1 billion defense contract for for the supply of Russian tactical ground-air missiles and military equipment. Tehran is to purchase 29 TOR-M1 systems, which can be used against low-flying planes and missiles.

17:28 Fallujah. Ten U.S. Marines conducting a foot patrol outside the Iraqi city of Falluja were killed in the explosion of an insurgent bomb on Thursday. Another 11 Marines were wounded in the blast caused by an "improvised explosive device" fashioned from several large artillery shells. Seven of those wounded have been able to return to duty.

17:06 New York. Over U.S. and Israeli objections, the U.N. General Assembly approved six resolutions criticizing Israeli policies and calling for stepped-up international effort to revitalize the Middle East peace process.

16:37 Japan's defense chief left his country Friday on a trip to visit Japanese troops in Iraq, news reports said, amid rising expectations that Tokyo would extend its mission into next year.

16:36 New York. Oil opens at $59 per barrel.

16:36 Washington. A Zogby International poll reveals that Arab nations are acutely suspicious of the Bush administration's "democracy" agenda in the Middle East and believe the U.S. invasion of Iraq has made the region less secure, said a poll released on Friday.

13:57. London. Oil rises above $59 per barrel.

09:18 Rome. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas begins a two-day visit to Rome.


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