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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Monday, January 31, 2005

Day After Elections

VI Day? [This image from Corriere della Sera suggests something uncomfortably sinister, doesn't it?--Nur]

Baghdad. Inevitable jockeying for position within the new government has begun, even though the results of the election will not be known for ten days. An Iraqi politican admits that bargaining has already commenced behind closed doors. The real horsetrading begins in mid-February once the results are announced and the 275 seats of the National Assembly are distributed. The task will be monumental because of the majority Shi'a win at the polls, the demands of the oppressed Kurds and the claims of the Sunnis in the rebellious provinces. Western political observers and diplomats believe that the Shi'a coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance, will be awarded up to 160 seats.

Iraqi Vice-President and Dawa party leader Ibrahim Jaafari, a Shi'ite, warned of a civil war should US troops be pulled out.

Erbil. Kurdish voters surveyed for thoughts on secession. The Movement for a Referendum on Kurdistan polled voters exiting the polls in Kurdistan to test the waters for Kurdish independence. Spokesman Jamal Houaïzi says voters were also asked for their views on the annexation of the city of Kirkuk. According to Mr. Houaïzi, Kurdistan was forcibly annexed by Iraq 1924 and like the peoples of the ex-Soviet Union, Kurds have the right to consider cutting ties to Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein. He will publish the results of the survey soon. Meanwhile Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, has restated his vision for a federal state--"pluralist and democratic".

Ankara. Ergodan concerned about the status of Kirkuk. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not at all at ease with the situation in Kirkuk and has reproached Washington through visiting Deputy Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith for not curbing Kurdish efforts to annex Kirkuk, which he believes should remain under Arab and Turkman control. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül says Turkey will not remain on the sidelines should Kirkuk be annexed.

Arab Reaction

  • Arab researcher for the Paris-based Iraq Crisis Group Mrs.Loulouwa al-Rashid says that the shortcomings of the electoral process will push Iraqis towards a return to "premordial identities." She points out that piggy-backing three elections in one left a lot of voters confused. Mrs. al Rashid continues, saying The Iraqis know that they elected a 275-member National Assembly but they remain ignorant of the details concerning its powers and do not know what the milestones should be towards transition.. She laments the absence of any specific political program. We are engaged in a race to stuff individual wallets in a system of predation where deals are hammered out behind the scenes. After the elections, the same clique of exiles will still be in power.
  • Saudi Arabia: Jaber Habib Jaber writes in the Saudi daily al Sharq al Awsay that the elections were ambiguous. The daily al Riyad regrets an "election as bombs fall." Arab News, an English-language Saudi newspaper, says elections represented a defeat of terrorism and a victory for moderation.
  • Jordan. Jordanian government spokeswoman Mrs. Asma Khodr says Jordan hopes the elections will lead to sovereignty.
  • UAE. The daily al-Khaleej points out that the elections were held in a climate of war and that the results may lead to disintegration of the country.
  • Egypt. Sanaa Essaïd writes in the Egyptian daily al-Wafd that the elections consolidate the American occupation. Analyst Maha Tahaoui writes in as-Sharq al-Awsat that Iraqis should end both "occupations"--by the Americans and by the insurgents.

23:00 Um Qasr. Prison revolt. US troops shoot four inmates in "maximum security" detention center Camp Bucca. [Attica has been legitimized by "freedom." Next, Rockefeller drug laws. --Nur]

22:00 $8.8 billion on Paul Bremer's watch missing. The Coalition Provisional Authority cannot account for $8.8 billion, says US Inspector General Stuart Bowen in a report to which Bremer has already replied in a 8-page written statement. Bremer writes that the Inspector General failed to take into account the circumstances under which the CPA had to work. UN Resolution 1483 created the Iraq Development Fund, authorizing Paul Bremer to manage revenue from Iraqi oil exports on the express condition that accountng be transparent and truthful to the Iraqi people. The Inspector General's report states that the CPA disbursed more than $8.8 billion from the fund without guarantees that the money would be spent properly, therefore the funds were used to pay the salaries of thousand of phantom employees.

17:27 Washington. Bush congratulates Iraq leaders.

17:18 Rome. Bertinotti: Motion to withdraw Italian troops to be presented. Italian center-leftist politican Fausto Bertinotti will present a motion to Italian parliament for withdraw of its contingent.

17:13 Doha. Al Jazeera broadcasts video showing downing of aircraft. A video showing a group of guerrillas shooting down the British Hercules C-130 transport was broadcast by Al Jazeera. The aircraft is shown breaking up as it falls to earth.

16:52 Strasboug. EU. Javier Solana content with vote. EU Foreign Minister Javier Solana expressed satisfaction concernig the "positive step" represented by yesterday's turnout at the polls.

16:28 94% of registered Iraqi expatriates vote. The International Organization for Migrations says 265,148 or 94% of registered expat Iraqis voted in yesterday's election.

16:17 Moscow. Gorbachev dismisses vote as dubious and unreliable. Mikhail Gorbaciov says that democracy cannot be imposed with tanks and warplanes, especially in a country which is Islamic by tradition. The American occupation of the country continues. The problems besetting Iraq cannot be resolved without an effort by Sunnis and Shi'ites to overcome their differences.

16:14 Baghdad. Explosion near Green Zone. A powerful blast was heard near the Green Zone just before this evening's curfew.

16:13 Erbil. 80% voter turnout in Kurdistan. Both the PUK and the PDK says turnout was approximately 80 percent.

15:58 Rome. Frattini: Round one over. Franco Frattini, Vice President of the European Union, says Iraqis must keep opportunity alive to combat terrorism, like the rest of the Internaonal community and the European Union. [Another patronizing Italian winger--Nur].

15:11 Arab League: The Iraqi people wish to overcome their struggles. Secretary General Ahmed Ben Helli says Iraqis must strive for unity and territorial integrity.

14:44 Stockholm: Italy contributed to "great democratic event." Italian Speaker of the House Pier Ferdinando Casini on an official visit to Sweden says vote is a point of reference for the entire Arab world.

14:41 Paris. Chirac tells Bush of satisfaction with Iraqi vote. French President says vote was an important step toward political reconstruction in Iraq.

13:52 Washington. Pentagon does not exclude that hostile fire brought down British C-130.

13:41 Baghdad. 202 suspected guerrillas arrested yesterday. Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib says 129 suspected guerrillas were captured near Tikrit, including two Saudis, an Egyptian and a Yemeni.

13:34 Moscow. Putin says vote was historic event but calls for true sovereignty for Iraq.

13:25 Baghdad. Ansar al-Islam claims credit for shooting down C-130. Organization says a group of young mujaheddin brought down a Hercules C-130 leaving Baghad and heading to Balad which was flying at low altitude.

13:21 London. Government confirms eleven deaths in crash of C-130.

12:37 London.Defence Ministry denies presence of UK special forces on downed military transport. Government sources say RAF personnel only was abord the flight.

12:33 Berlin. Joschka Fischer praises Iraqi voter turnout but says the UN should have a guiding role in Iraq.

12:11 Baghdad. Committe of Iraqi Ulema contest legitimacy of vote. Sheik Omar Ragheb Ulema rejects vote under military occupation but says that many Sunni Arabs voted in Baghdad, Samarra and Mossul.

12:09 Nassiriya. 80% voter turnout. Turnout in the province of Dhi Qar in southern Iraq says turnout was just short of 80%.

12:02 Teheran: Cooperation with new Iraqi government. Iranian government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh says Teheran is ready to work with new government.

11:51 Rome Prodi: The march is not over. Italian leftist politician Romano Prodi says yesterday's vote was a good demonstration but that the slog towards democracy is not over.

11:31 Rome. Fini: Elections prove invasion was right thing to do. Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini says yesterday's election validates invasion of Iraq.

11:05 Baghdad. Allawi: "Seven foreigners arrested"

10:52 Baghdad. Allawi: "Victory against terrorism." Premier Iyad Allawi says terrorism has been defeated.

10:32 Strasbourg. Barroso: "Great day for Iraqis". European Commission President Josè Manuel Durao Barroso says election is a positive signal to the rest of the world.

10:09 Rome. Premier Berlusconi says vote is an important step towards democracy and accuses other Arab government of living in the Middle Ages. [Racist git--Nur].

09:43 Baghdad. Iraqi Interior Minister calls for US troop pullout within 18 months. Falah al Naqib says presence of US troops will be unnecessary in 18 months. According to a Zogby poll, between 60 and 80 percent of Iraqis want the US to leave.

09:42 Baghdad. Voter turnout estimated between 60 and 75%.

09:40 Paris. An important step towards democracy. French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier salutes a victory by the Iraqi people.

09:40 Moscow. Russian press criticizes elections. The government newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta published doubts about the election. Meanwhile the weekly Vremia Novostiei writes that Iraqis have won a parliament and freedom without democracy. Nezavisimaia Gazeta says yesterday's elections serve US interests only by deeping ethnic divisions within Iraq.

09:38 Beijing. China hopes for stability. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan hopes Iraqis will soon govern their own destiny and bring peace to the country.

08:44 Kuwait City. Police and militants clash. Police clashed with radical Islamists in south Kuwait City. One militant and one police officer were killed.

07:15 Al Anbar. Marine killed.

07:11 Manchester. Brawl at polling station. 200 Iraqis repersenting voters and protesters scuffled at polling station in Manchester resulting in two injuries, includiing an Oldham soccer coach.

07:11 Najaf. Ayatollah Sistani thanks Iraqi voters.

07:09 New York. Kofi Annan calls for national reconciliation.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Election Day

This Kurdish voter in Erbil is very happy.

Go here for a very nice photo gallery of Iraq women (Shi'a and Kurds) at the polls.

Israeli votes in Amman using grandfather's passport. Yaakov Hugi, an Israeli whose grandfather was Iraqi, voted in Amman presenting his grandfather's passport.

Iyad Allawi's party wins in the Baghdad election district where most Iraqi VIPs voted.

22:49 Baghdad. 15 British military killed in C-130 crash.

21:18 Baghdad. Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani thanks Iraqis for turnout at polls.

20:40 Baghdad. Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib: "US troops will leave within 18 months"

20:10 Rome Berlusconi: "Victory for the Iraqi people."

19:57 Strasbourg: Javier Solana: "An important step forward for Iraq"

19:50 London. Blair confirms casualties. Prime Minister Tony Blair has confirmed casualties associated with C-130 crash.

19:44 London Blair: "Terrorism takes a blow"

19:09 Washington. Bush thanks European Union for its assistance in election day preparations. [Doesn't sound like Bush, does it?--Nur]

19:08 Washingon.Bush: "The voices of liberty heard in Iraq and Middle East."

19:04 Bush: "Iraqis demonstrated courage"

18:58 Teheran. Iran praises Iraqi elections. Iranian parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi praises elections. However, Iranian President Akbar Hasemi Rafsanjani fears the US will thwart new government.

18:54 Baghdad. Shi'ites celebrate victory. Shi'ites claim to have had a clamorous victory based on exit polls. Ammar al-Hakim of SCIRI says Shi'a win crushing victory in all provinces.

18:32 Baghdad. Elections results within 10 days.

18:26 Baghdad. UN observer says voting was transparent. The UN Special Representative, Ashraf Qazi, says elections were transparent and free.

18:09 Baghdad. Vote count by gaslight. Daily power outages force pollworkers to count votes by gaslight.

18:08 Al Anbar. US marine dies.

18:02 Cairo. Mubarak phones Allawi. Egyptian President congratulates Allawi on "historic vote".

17:02 Fallujah. Only a few dozen voters turn out at polls.

16:52 Baghdad. Observers report few irregularities in voting. Few reports of voting irregularities from 10,000 independent elections observers in Iraq.

16:37 Baghdad. Elections Commission says 8 million Iraqis voted. 8 million, or 60 percent of eligible voters turned out at the polls. The prior figure of 72 percent was an overestimation.

16:27 Baghdad. Explosions continue despite curfew. There have been 35 explosions since 8:30 am.

16:21 London. British Defence Ministry confirms downing of aircraft.

15:51 Baghdad. British aircraft downed northeast of Baghdad. A British military C130 was downed northeast of Baghdad. No survivors.

15:38 Washington. Condoleeza Rice: Election turnout better than foreseen.

15:30 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi: "30 rockets fired at Green Zone"

15:25 Baghdad. Polling booths close, voters still wait on line.

15:23 Washington. Bush: A great day for democracy.

15:16 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi claims credit for 13 suicide bombings.

15:04 Baghdad. It is 5:00 pm in Iraq and booths close. Election Commission says voters still on line will probably be allowed to cast their ballots.

14:34 Mosul. Assassination attempt on Vice Governor. One bodyguard was killed and another wounded when the convoy of Vice Governor of Mosul Khasro Goran, a Kurd, was attacked.

14:28 Hilla. Suicide bomber blows up bus. Three dead and thirteen wounded. A bus transporting voters to polling stations was blown up, killing 3 and wounding 13.

14:22 Baghdad. Would-be suicide bomber stopped by crowd. A crowd of voters stopped and disarmed a suicide bomber in a town just outside Baghdad.

14:20 Baghdad. At least nine explosions. Nine blasts occurred in succession in Baghad one hour before polls closed.

14:11 Baghdad. Casualty toll is 24 dead, 65 wounded. Attacks in Baghdad, Mosul, Diyala and Baquba claim 24 dead and 65 wounded.

13:34 Baghdad. Government elections commission says turnout is 72%.

13:28 Baghdad. Independent elections commission says turnout is 65%.

13:25 Najaf. 80% turnout at polls.

12:35 Basrah. Long lines. Despite a climate of tension after a powerful explosion this morning, there long lines in front of polling stations.

12:31 Expat Iraqi voter turnout was 65.9% of those registered.

12:29 Baghdad. Updated death toll is 22 in violence across Iraq.
12:11 Samarra. 30 poll workers kidnapped.

12:06 Baghdad. Voter turnout may be greater than 50 percent.

11:41 Baghdad. UN observer says voter turnout is good. UN observer Carlos Valenzuela, who is in Iraq, says voters are lined up in Mosul, Fallujah and Ramadi.

11:24 Baghdad. Ninth suicide bombing kills two police. A ninth attack on a polling station in Baghdad kills two police. Another two police were killed in a seventh suicide bombing in front of a polling station.

11:10 Baghdad. Eighth suicide bomber targets residence of Justice Minister. Malik al-Hassan was not home when the blast wounded two bodyguards.

11:01 Al Anbar. US Marine killed.

10:58 Baghdad. Seventh suicide bombing kills two police.

10:37 Baghdad. High turnout of women voters.

10:14 Baghdad. Sixth suicide bombing kills 7. A suicide bombing of a polling station in east Baghdad kills seven.

09:57 Baghdad. Fifth suicide bombing of polling station kills one and wounds 16.

09:56 Baghdad. Polls in Sunni triangle do not open. Polls in Latifiyah, Mahmudiyah and Yussufiyah remain closed.

09:49 Erbil. High turnout in Shi'ite and Kurdish areas. Hundreds of voters are reported on line in Suleimanyah in northern Iraq.

09:44 Baghdad. Attacks on polling stations kill 21 and wound more than 40.

09:34 Samarra. Polls open after a one-hour delay.

09:32 Baghdad. Fourteen die in polling station bombings.

09:27 Baghdad. Two more mortar rounds explode.

09:26 Teheran. Massive voter turnout among Kurds. According to Iranian TV at least three important Iraqi Shi'ite ayatollahs have voted: Mohammad Said Hakim, Mohammad Yaqubi and Mohammad Eshaq Fayaz. The Iranian press agency IRNA says turnout in Kurdish areas is massive, despite bombings in Mosul and Kirkuk.

09:23 Basrah. Two mortar attacks. A mortar round exploded in Al-Moharbine district of north Basrah. A second round exploded at the Dour al-Naft polling station without causing victims.

09:20 Baghdad. Fourth suicide bombing in west Baghdad kills one and wounds four.

08:53 Baghdad. Third suicide bombing targets polling station in west Baghdad, killing four.

08:40 Baghdad. Two more explosions.

08:28 Baghdad. Blast a polling station kills woman. A bomb destroys a polling station north of Baghdad, killing one woman and wounding her son and another man.

08:18 Baghdad. Suicide bomber blows self up on voter line outside polling station, killing several people.

07:57 Baghdad. Premier Allawi votes.

07:55 Baghdad. Two more explosions.

07:07 Basrah. Polling station bombed.

07:00 Baghdad. Mortar rounds fired at polling station. Mortar rounds were aimed at the Saaddun Park polling station and at a second polling station in Sadr City.

06:56 Baghdad. Suicide bomber destroys polling station. A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the al-Zarawi Elementary School in the al Mansur district.

06:47 Baghdad. Fifteen blasts in capital. Fifteen blasts were heard near the Green Zone.

06:36 Baghdad. Suicide bomber kills one and wounds four. A suicide bomber blew himself up at a checkpoing outisde the Zahraa School in west Baghdad.

06:26 Baquba. Gunfire erupts. Gunfire erupts as US troops patrol the city. The polling station at the Al Hassan ibn Ali school in downtown Baquba remains closed.

06:12 Samarra. Mayor cancels elections. The Mayor of Samarra, Taha Taha al-Hindira, says no voting will take place in the city.

05:21 Baghdad. President al Yawar votes.

05:00 Polls open. (7:00 am local time in Iraq)

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Razorwire Elections

London. More than 2/3 of civilains killed in Iraq over the last six months died during military operations, reports BBC. Iraqi officials have already protested the figure. It its Sunday show, "Panorama", the BBC cites figures from the Iraqi Healty Ministry for the period 1 July 2004 to 1 January 2005. Of 3,274 persons killed, 2,041 were killed as a result of US and Iraqi military operations; the remaining 1,233 died in terrorist operations. 8,542 were wounded.

23:15 Baghdad. Intense firefight. Witnesses report automatic weaspons fire, tracer bullets and flares in the Rusata district of Baghdad opposite the Green Zone.

21:30 Baghdad. Flyers are distributed in Baghdad against elections. By God, we shall wash the streets of Baghdad with the blood of anyone attempting to vote.

21:26 Washington. Expatriate vote in USA. No problems in balloting for 25,946 registered Iraqi voters. Polling stations are located in Washington, Los Angeles, Detroit, Nashville (Tennessee) and Chicago.

21:04 Baghdad. No international elections observers present in Iraq. OCSE has cancelled its delegation.

20:09 General Thomas Metz: "Voting difficult within Sunni Triangle" [No, you can't really put a ballot into a flaming receptacle.--Nur]

19:25 Baghdad. Embassy spokesman: Dead and wounded are Americans. Rocket hits embassy, 2 dead and 4 wounded.

19:18 Baghdad. Rocket attack on US embassy

18:59 Baghdad. US soldier killed by bomb in west Baghdad.

18:49 Baghdad. Rocket hits US Embassy, at least two are dead.

18:46 Baghdad. Explosion at US Embassy in Baghdad.

18:09 Paris. Light turnout at polls. Less than a dozen expatriate Iraqis voted out of 1,041 registered.

18:08 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi claims credit for bombing at Khanquin.

17:57 Germany, high turnout at polls. Expat Iraqis vote in Berlin, Munich, Cologne and Mannheim. So far 6,631 Iraqis have voted out of 26,416 registered.

17:40 Baghdad. State of emergency extended for another 60 days. The state of emergency declared in early November has been extended. The decree permits curfew, border closings and arrest without charges.

16:39 Al Yawar: Two-thirds of Iraqis will vote. Iraqi President al Yawar retracts statement that turnout will be light

16:05 Baghdad. Third mortar attack on Green Zone.

15:52 Baghdad. 400 Iraqis killed in January 2005. In January to date 400 Iraqis have died and 45 polling stations were attacked in elections-related violence.

15:23 Baghdad. Allawi. Voter turnout to be low. Iyad Allawi admits voter turnout will be low.

14:49 Mosul. Cartbomb. A donkey cart exploded outside a polling station in Sharqat, south of Mosul.

14:43 Baghdad. Mortar fire directed at Green Zone from across the Tigris in a second attack.

14:33 Baghdad Al Yawar: "Many Iraqis won't vote out of fear."

14:29 Baghdad. Violence on the increase. 24 hours before the vote, attacks took place across the country. The death toll is now 24.
  • In Khanaqin, on the border with Iran northeast of Baghdad, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to a military base, killing three soldiers and five civilians, including one child, and wounding another seven.
  • In Baiji, four police were killed by gunshot along the main highway to Shorgat, 200 km north of Baghdad.
  • In Doulouiyah, an army base received mortar fire, killing 3 soldiers and wounding 4.
  • In Balad the remains of three kidnapped Iraqis who worked as security guards for a private company were found.
  • In Salman Pak, a police patrol was ambushed and two police were killed.
  • In As-Suwayrah a mortar round killed a policeman as his colleagues fled to a US military base in Moussayyb; a second mortar round hit a home, killing a woman and two children.
  • In Mosul, mortar fire damages four polling station.

13:05 Expatriate Iraqis. 30% of Iraqis living abroad have voted.

12:49 Baghdad. The crewmembers of yesterday's downed Kiowa helicopter are dead.

12:22 Rome. Berlusconi: "We shall continue to do our part". Italian Premier Berlusconi says Italian troops will remain in Iraq to support the political process.

10:16 Khanaqin. Eight are dead. At least 8 people including five civilians and three Iraqi soldiers are dead in Khanaqinm, on the Iranian border. A bomber wearing a suicide vest walked into a joint Iraqi-US military base and detonated a bomb.

09:25 Baghdad. Shooting in downtown Baghdad. Shooting occurred in downtown Baghdad on a bridge over the Tigris.

09:24 Baghdad. Major security deployment. A surreal silence reigns most fear rebel attacks.

Friday, January 28, 2005

January 28 Events in Iraq

Washington. Condoleeza Rice suggests nuclear crisis with Iran can be resolved diplomatically

Cracow. Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country is prepared to sell defensive missiles to Syria.

Washington. Combat deaths of Hispanic GIs generate concern. Hispanics represent 9% of all GIs but more than 12% of combat deaths in Iraq. 157 "Latino" have been killed in action since March 2003. Brian GIfford, a researcher at UC Berkeley, says that the rate of Latino deaths rises with intensity of combat. Between 19 March and 30 April, Hispanics represented 16.5% of US soldiers killed in action. Families of the dead claim that there is racial discrimination within combat units.

20:48 Baghdad. Deputy premier announces capture of Zarqawi lieutenant. Iraqi Vice Premier Barham Saleh told reporters by teleconference at the Pentagon that a third lieutenant of al Zarqawi, Anat Mohammed Hamat al Kays, has been arrested.

20:28 Baghdad. Firefire in Green Zone. Intense fighting with light weapons and machine guns took place this evening in the north Green Zone

20:20 Dohuk. Blasts in Kurdistan, 4 wounded. At least four persons were wounded in the city of Dohuk, 465 km north of Baghdad, as bombs target the headquarters of the DPK.

19:43 Nassiriya. Reinforced security meansures at Italian base. Italians double patrols at their base, Camp Mitica.

19:41 Baghdad. Deputy premier says capture of al Zarqawi is nearing.

19:23 Copenhagen. One-third of Iraqi voters cast ballots. In the town of Tostrup outside Copenaghen 4,450 expat Iraqis have cast their votes. In Sweden 31,000 Iraqis have registered to vote. Polling stations are located in Gothenberg and Stockholm. Iraqi expats in Norway will vote in Sweden.

19:00 Baghdad. Homemade bomb kills three US soldiers. Bomb in west Baghdad kills three US soldiers.

18:52 Baghdad. US helicopter downed. A OH-58 Kiowa was downed southwest of Baghdad.

17:48 Samarra. Al Zarqawi claims responsibility. A group headed by Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi detonated 2 suicide carbombs targeting polling stations in Samarra yesterday, killing 11 and wounding 7.

16:44 New York. Kofi Annan: "Go vote." UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sends message to Iraqi people, asking them to vote.

16:27 Geneva. Expatriate voting encounters no problems. Voting in 14 countries begins without complications, says Jean Philippe Chauzy, spokesman for the International Migration Association.

16:23 Baghdad. Lengthy curfew beings. A 12-hour curfew across Iraq began today at 6:00 pm.

16:10 Washington Bush: "Iraqi elections will change history". Bush says Iraqi voting will change history in an investiture ceremony for US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

16:00 Baghdad. Two US soldiers killed. A US soldier was killed by gunfire in north Baghdad. A second soldier was killed and another wounded by a roadside bomb.

15:47 Ramadi. Bodies of Iraqi soldiers found. The remains of seven executed Iraqi soliders were abandoned on a street in Ramadi.

15:29 Baghdad. US general says violence to increase. Brigadier General Erv Lessel says violence in Iraq will continue after elections.

15:27 Baghdad. Nine wounded in attacks on polling stations. Forty polling stations throughout Iraq were destroyed by mortar fire, carbombs and homemade bombs.

12:30 Baghdad. Zarqawi lieutenant captured. Salah Salam Dubaig al-Ubaidi, aka Abu Saif, and Ali Mohamed Yassin Al-Issawi were arrested in Baghdad on 15 and 17 January, respectively.

12:18 Strasbourg. UE commission recommends new aid package for Iraq. The European Commission has offered a 200 million euro aid package to Iraq, says Austrian Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Foreign Affairs Commissioner.

10:52 Baghdad. Streets closed to traffic. Most streets in downtown Baghdad will be closed to traffic and monitored by US troops in armored vehicles.

10:42 Baghdad. Resistance group will not attack voters. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq will not attack polling stations and voters on Sunday.

10:40 Damascus. Assad: "Iraq is not ready for elections." Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tells al Hayat that From our standpoint, with the refusal of a signficiant number of Iraqis to vote, Iraq is not ready for elections.

09:26 Ramadi. Bodies of four Iraqi soldiers found. The remains of four Iraqi soldiers found in the Tamim district of Ramadi.

08:54 Kirkuk. Polling stations attacked, one policeman killed. One policeman was killed in an attack on a polling station in Kirkuk. Meanwhile a booby-trapped car detonated near a school in Dura.

07:24 Polling stations outside Iraq open. 280,000 Iraqi expatriates begin voting in Australia, New Zealand, Jordan and the UAE.

07:20 New York. Bush tells NY Times that US forces will withdraw if asked by new Iraqi government.

07:19 Baghdad. Carbomb kills four civilians. Carbomb targets police station in south Baghdad, killing four civilians.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

January 27 Events in Iraq

Damascus. Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk el-Shareh tells the newspaper al Hayat that he is skeptical on the outcome of Sunday's elections in Iraq.

Amman. King Abdallah II of Jordan tells AFP that he is concerned by rumors of the formation of an independent state in southern Iraq.

Samarra. Five Iraqis were killed in clashes between US troops and insurgents.

Ramadi. Clashes killed two in Ramadi, where the bodies of four executed Iraqi soldiers were found.

Tikrit. Carbomb kills four civilians and two police.

Baghdad. Ansar al-Sunna issued new threats against Iraqis participating in Sunday's elections.

Copenhagen. 63 % of Danes in favor of troop pullout. The Danish people are in disagreement with their conservative government, which is loyal to the United States. Danes want to withdraw their contingent of 525 troops, 500 of whom are stationed in Basrah.

22:39 Basrah. Three explosions at polling stations. Three bombs caused slight damage at three polling stations in Basrah

22:29 Sydney. Iraqis vote in Australia. Balloting stations open in Australia.

19:35 Washington. Plea bargain in Abu Ghraib torture scandal. Sgt. Javal Davis has concluded a plea bargain in exchange for partial culpability. As part of the bargian, Davis will be charged with simple assault and perjury, avoiding charges of prisoner abuse and dereliction of duty.

18:38 Baghdad. US citizens in Iraq have been warned to exercise caution in Iraq. Insurgents threaten harm to Americans during elections weekend.

18:09 Ankara. Erdogan, Negative consequences to follow elections. The elections on Sunday will not be fully democratic and will result in negative consequences for Iraq., says Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

17:47 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi executes Allawi's private secretary in video. Jaafar al Kanani, a candidate in Sunday's elections, was executed by gunshot before the camera after pleading with Iraq's youth not to cooperate with the Americans. Al Kanani was kidnapped on 23 January in Basrah.

17:34 Rome. Fini: "We will go when the Iraqis ask us to go". Italian Vice Premier and Foreign Secretary [and member of the Italian Fascist party--Nur] Gianfranco Fini says Italy's contingent will leave Iraq only when asked.

17:19 London: 220 fresh troops to be dispatched to Iraq. The UK will deploy 220 fresh troops to Iraq to replace 1,600 Dutch troops who will be quitting Iraq in mid-March.

17:06 Baltimore. Ted Kennedy, Troop withdrawal must begin. Ted Kennedy calls for withdraw of US troop from Iraq. For the first time an important American political figure calls for troop pullout. In a speech at Johns Hopkins University, Kennedy told the audience, It will not be easy but we must start....The US troop presence has become part of the problem instead of the solution.

15:49 Ramadi, carbomb at entrance to US base. A suicide carbomb exploded in Ramadi in front of a US base there. A column of smoke was seen rising from the area.

14:34 Baquba, Zarqawi claims credit for attack on Provincial Government. Al Zarqawi claims credit for a bomb targeting the Baquba provincial government which killed 1 and wounded 7.

14:25 Samarra, second carbombing. Death toll rises to 11. A suicide carbomb targeted an polling station in Samarra.

14:19 Babylon. US soldier killed and four others wounded. A US marine was killed and four others wounded in a security operation in Babylon Province.

13:30 Samarra, elections office bombed. Seven Iraqis were killed and five wounded when a second suicide carbomb rammed a polling station in Samarra.

12:33 Samarra, carbomb targeting polling station kills Iraqi soldier.

12:16 Washington. Rumsfeld, escalation of violence to follow elections. US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld says violence will continue in Iraq until mid-April. [We know Rummy's crystal ball has a few cracks--Nur]

11:16 Moscow. Russia will not send elections observers. Moscow has announced that it will not send elections observers to Iraq because of the level of violence there.

10:59 Tikrit, Elections Committee office bombed. Three grenades destroyed the offices of the Iraqi Elections Committee in Tikrit. Meanwhile, mortar rounds were fired at a police barracks inside the city and at three polling stations in the suburban communities Chirqat, Touz and Ishaki.

10:47 Karbala, three terrorists arrested. Iraqi police arrested two Iraqis and one North African suspected as terrorists in Karbala. Evidence was found indicating that the group were part of the radical Islamist organization al-Shura Council of Mujahideen.

10:27 Strasbourg. EU prepared to train Iraqi police and judges. EU Foreign Affairs chief Javier Solana says a plan to train Iraqi police and magistrates will be introduced to the EU Council of Ministers on 21 February.

10:13 Baquba, carbomb targets provincial government. A carbomb exploded in front of the provincial government headquarters in Baquba, killing an Iraqi army officer and four soldiers. Another 10 soldiers and civilians were wounded. When the detonation occurred the provincial governor was in a meeting with tribal leaders.

08:43 Baghdad. Bomb kills 5. Five civilians were killed and 15 wounded when a roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi convoy between Mamudiya and Latifiya, 50 km south of Baghdad.

07:51 Kirkuk, bombs target polling station and US troops. Several homemade bombs exploded this morning near three polling stations and a US military convoy.

07:42 Baghdad. US soldier killed north of capital. A US soldier was killed in a firefight in the Province of Diyala, north of Baghdad.

Nuke NPR

Significant other tells me he needs to hear human voices on the clock radio to get him up in the morning. It's true...if we were to set the dial to a music station, he'd sleep 'til noon. So for love, I endure the AM torture of National Plutocratic Radio.

To get you started and chipper for the day, the compassionate crew at NPR regularly air tales of torture, tooth-pulling and and mental illness on top of which they slather 15 minutes of charmers like Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz or Dick Cheney interviewed by Valley-Girl concerned airhead Renee Montagne.

This week NPR is churning out another patriotism drive and freedom fest featuring Iraqi War apologists and generals because, you know, the Prez's numbers are down.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

January 26 Events in Iraq

Baghad. Nationwide curfew on automobile traffic will be in force from Friday to Monday from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am. The public has been warned not to assemble near polling stations. On Sunday, automobile traffic will be prohibited across Iraq. The borders will be sealed Sunday and Monday and civilian air traffic will be halted Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Kirkuk. Kurds threaten ethnic cleaning. Kurdish demands are becoming more intransigent for the inclusion of the city of Kirkuk in an autonomous Kurdish province. The city has sizeable Turkman and Arab communities, which are opposed to annexation by Kurdistan. If they don't leave, most of them will be probably massacred, said Fatih Sangawy, director of a Kurdish television station in the town Shamshamal. Meanwhile in Ankara, Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug says that large number of Kurds migrating to Kirkuk may lead to voter fraud. Turkey accuses the Kurds of wresting control of Kirkuk from the Turkmen and Arabs with the aim of declaring an independent Kurdish state.

Paris. 11 arrests in Iraqi recruiting network investigation. French police have arrested 11 persons, including two women, suspected of recruiting French fighters for the Iraqi resistance.

23:44 Baghdad. Suicide carbomb wounds seven Australian soldiers, two seriously. Seconds prior to the bombing, insurgents opened fire on Australian troops guarding their embassy. The events seem to have been coordinated.

23:22 Tripoli. Gheddafi makes plea to save life of American. Lybian leader Muammar Gheddafi asks kidnappers to spare the life of Roy Hallums, a US civilian kidnapped 11 November in Baghdad.

21:17 Tikrit. Three new battalions to patrol oil installations. The Iraqi Army has created three new battalions to protect oil installations in Iraq.

21:19 Carbomb in Baghdad; US soldier dies bringing today's US death toll to 37.

21:13 Baghdad. Military says bad weather responsible for crash. Gen. John Abizaid says the downed CH-53 Sea Stallion may have crashed because of bad weather, not enemy fire.

19:57 Rome, human chain for troop pullout. The War Resisters Laboratory will form a human chain around the Defense and Treasury ministries in Rome on Saturday 29 January to demand the immediate pullout of Italian troops.

19:44 Amman. King of Jordan hopes for good turnout. King Abdallah of Jordan called on Iraqis to vote on Sunday because it is the only realistic way to guaranty stability.

19:01 Sinjar. Truck bomb kills 15. A truck bomb detonated in Sinjar in Iraqi Kurdistan in front of Massoud Barzani's PDK party headquarters. Fifteen are dead and at least thirty wounded.

17:56 Baghdad. Seven Iraqis killed. Seven civilians, including woman and a child wre killed and several others wounded in separate episodes of violence north and south of Baghdad. A bomb in Samarra, north of Baghdad. killed a man, a woman and a 7 year-old child. Another two civilians, a 20 year-old woman and a man, were wounded. In Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad, two Iraqis were killed and several wounded by US troops during a house-to-house search for insurgents.

16:17 Washington. Bush: Our mission is to enable Iraq to defend herself from terrorists.

16:11 Bush: I believe every person desires to be free!

16:07 Bush: The Iraqis want to express themselves, and to me that is encouraging.

16:05 Bush address the nation. "I am optimistic about the advance of freedom, and so should the American people. After all, look what's happened in a brief period of time: Afghanistan, the Palestinian elections was -- I think are incredibly hopeful elections, as well as the Ukraine and now Iraq."

15:55 Al Zarqawi claims responsibility for today's attacks. Mussab Al Zarqawi has claimed credit for the bombings in Baquba and in Bagdad, saying he has hit, three centers of the secular apostates, agents of the Americans.

15:15 Sadr City. Followers of Moqtada Sadr arrested. US arrested twenty al Sadr followers outside the Al Rassoul mosque in east Baghdad.

14:58 An Rutbah. Worst day for US casualties since beginning of war. 31 US troops were killed when their transport helicopter crashed last night near Rutbah. Another five Americans died in various incidents across Iraq.

14:26 Baghdad. Four marines killed. Four marines died in combat operations in al Anbar province, west of the capital.

14:17 Rutbah. Dramatic death toll in helicopter crash. 31 US troops died in Rutbah in western Iraq while on a rescue mission.

13:50 Baghdad Allawi: "Gobbled up by neighbors if the US withdraws". In an address to a group of tribal leaders in Tikrit, PM Iyad Allawi stated that Iraq's neighbors will occupy the country should the US pull its troops out before Iraq is militarily prepared.

13:08 Kirkuk. Carbomb kills at least nine. Nine are dead and 12 wounded in a carbombing in Kirkuk.

12:39 Baghad. RPG attack kills one US soldier and wounds two others. A US patrol came under RPG attack north of Bagdad, killing one US soldier and wounding two others. One of the wounded is in grave condition.

12:05 Kirkuk. Chaldean bishop says voting is a patriotic and religious duty. Monsignor Louis Sako of Kirkuk calls on Iraqi Christians to vote.

12:04 London. Blair: After elections, wide areas of territory to be turned over to Iraqi forces. Tony Blair tells the Financial Times that the USA and the UK will turn over wide areas of Iraq to the control of Iraqi security forces in order to reinforce the legitimacy of the new Baghdad government.

10:46 Kirkuk. Carbomb targets police headquarters. Three police, two soliders and two civilians were killed in the carbombing of police headquarters. Meanwhile a suicide carbomb detonated in the market square of the Riyad district of west Kirkuk. A third carbomb targeted a US convoy passing through a village between Kirkuk and Hawija, 50 km from Kirkuk.

10:00 Kirkuk. Two carbombings.

09:46 Baghdad. Saddam Hussein has the right to vote by logistics prevent it, says the chairman of the Iraqi Elections Committee.

09:40 Carbomb in Baghdad wounds four US soldiers. A carbomb targeted a US convoy on the road to Baghdad airport, wounding four soldiers.

09:15 Mosul. Video shows kidnapped Iraqi civilians. A videotape found near Mosul shows three kidnapped Iraqi civilians who worked for the Elections Commission. One hostage has been identified as Abdul-Khaliq Ahmed. Ahmed explained in the tape that he worked for the Elections Committe to support two 8-member families.

08:46 Tikrit. Carbomb wounds two. A carbomb targeted a government building in Tikrit, 180 km north of Baghdad.

08:27 Baghdad. Carbomb targets US convoy. A suicide carbomb rammed a US convoy on the road to Baghdad Airport.

08:15 Baquba. Three party headquarters attacked. Insurgents raided three buildings housing political parties in Baquba, killing one policeman and wounding another four.

08:14 Rutbah. US helicopter on rescue mission. A US troop transport helicopter crashed just after midnight in the western desert near the Jordanian border. The craft was sent on a rescue mission to locate a previously downed combat helicopter and evacuate the crew.

07:47 Rutbah. US helicopter crashes near Jordanian border.

07:47 Washington. US to pay $15,000 to US National Guard volunteers. The Dept. of Defense is to pay a bonus of $15,000 to retiring active duty military who join the National Guard.

07:44 New York. Annan interrogated in "Oil for food" scandal. Kofi Annan is being questioned for the third time by the UN-appointed Commission of Inquest. The commission is headed by ex-Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who is to issue a preliminary report on his findings soon.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

January 25 Events in Iraq

The Sunni Islamic Party, which is boycotting the election, has asked for a role in the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution and says that it may recognize the new Iraqi government.

The Iraqi United Alliance led by Shi'ite cleric Abelaziz Hakim, is favored to do well in the elections. However, Western diplomats believe the party will not achieve an absolute majority due to Iraq's secular tradition. It is believed that Iyad Allawi, supported by Washington, will be kept on as Prime Minister and that Hakim will be named Vice-President.

Last night the Iraqi Elections Commission pubished the names of the 7,700 candidates for the national assembly on the web. The location of more than 5,000 polling stations will be kept secret for reasons of security.

Washington. Henry Kissinger and George Shultz have written that they believe that an announcement of a schedule for pullout would be dangerous and would certainly lead to civil war.

The US Department of Treasury announced that it has frozen the funds of a Syrian national, Souleiman Darwich, who is accused of financing the Iraqi insurgency. Treasury spokesman Juan Zarate says the US has notified Syria to do the same and that compliance with the request would be a test for the Syrian government.

London. Human Rights Watch today released a report documenting claims of the abuse of detainees by Iraq's US-trained security forces. The organisation said it had interviewed 90 detainees in Iraq, of whom 72 claimed they had been tortured or abused."Typically, detainees reported being blindfolded with their hands tied behind their back while undergoing interrogation. They said their interrogators or guards kicked, slapped and punched them, and beat them all over the body using hosepipes, wooden sticks, iron rods and cables," the report said. The Iraqi interim government ... appears to be actively taking part, or is at least complicit, in these grave violations of fundamental human rights. Nor has the US, the UK or other involved governments publicly taken up these issues as a matter of concern. The Iraqi caretaker government was also accused of systematic arbitrary arrests, incarceration without trial, prohibition of family visits and denial of access to a laywer.

Washington. Documents obtained by the ACLU reveal that US prison guards sodomized a woman with a broomhandle and tortured other detainees with electric shocks, cigarette burns and beatings. ACLU President Anthony Romero says, The governmental investigations into allegations of torture were completely inadequate and some of the accused have been completely exonerated.

Baghdad. Two employees of the Iraqi Ministry of Trade and an Iraqi interpreter working for US foces were killed by unknown assailants; American forces shot dead an Iraqi civilian when he attempted to pass a US patrol on the highway.

Baghdad. Mobile balloting stations. The location of 5,000 voting stations has not been disclosed. The Iraqi Interior Ministry says the stations are mobile and may be moved at the last minute if directly threatened. Elections Committe Chairman Farid Ayar says final election results will be published 10 days after the close of the polls. Preliminary results may be announced a week after the elections.

Baghdad. Seven policemen were killed when assailants opened fire on a team called to the scene of a possible car bomb.

Baghdad. A bomb blew the gates off a Rashad secondary school in east Baghdad and gunmen opened fire on Iraqi and US forces responding to the blast. A witnesses said two Iraqi policemen and an insurgent were killed in the battle.

16:46 Paris. 23 reporters killed in Iraq. The World association of newspapers says 23 reporters were killed in Iraqi in 2004. The second most dangerous country for reporters in 2004 was the Philippines, where 11 journalists were killed.

16:43 Moscow. Putin cancels 73% of Syrian debt. Syria will only repay $1.5 billion of its $13.4 billion debt owd to Russia. Syrian President Bachir Assad is in Moscow for talks.

15:04 Baghdad. Allawi cannot indicate when US troops will leave. Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi announced a plan for gradual handover of security reponsibilities to Iraq forces but cannot say when US troops will leave.

14:56 Baghdad. Hospitals prepare for elections. Iraqi Health Minister Alaadin Alwan announces plan for hospital mobilization prior to elections in preparation for possible casualties.

14.43 Baghdad. Mystery of cash transfers abroad unveiled. Four ministers in the Iraqi caretaker government authorized the shipment of $200 million in US banknotes to banks in Jordan and Lebanon. A scandal developed around the transfer when Ahmed Chalabi accused Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan of having been an agent for Saddam Hussein and of transferring $500 million abroad from the Iraqi Central Bank. Shaalan then threatened Chelabi with arrest for defamation. Walid Khadouri, a columnist for the Saudi newspaper Al-Hayat, reports that the transfer was made to pay for the purchase of helicopters and light weaponry from Poland in order to guarantee that the order would be placed quickly and to avoid delays caused by banking operations. Mr. Shaalan took advantage of the absence of the Iraqi Central Bank Director, Sinan Al-Chebaïbi, to prevail upon his deputy to transfer $500 million in cash for the purchase of military equipment. The deputy at first demurred, then agreed to the transfer in tranches of $100 million. Two tranches had been transferred when the scandal broke a week before the election. Mr. Al-Chebaïbi has since returned to Baghdad and has repatriated the money.

14:37 Baghdad. Ansar al-Sunna claims credit for assassination of Judge Shameri.

13:10 Manchester. The Guardian reports only 38% of Britons support war. Tony Blair's popularity continues to decline.

12:53 Baghdad. Reuters reports that the video showing Roy Hallams only confirms that he was kidnapped. It is not proof that he is still alive. Hallams was kidnapped 1 November 2004.

12:48 Liberation: Florence Aubenas is alive. The French newspaper Liberation says it has unconfirmed reports that its missing Baghdad correspondent Florence Aubenas and her Iraqi interpreter Hussein Hanoun are alive

12:40 Baghdad. US prisoner pleads for assistance from Gheddafi. US hostage Roy Hallams pleas for help from Arab governments and Muammar Gheddafi in video.

12:02 Amman. Death squads target Saddam Hussein's legal defense team. The lead attorney of Saddam Hussein's defense team says death squads have been formed in Iraq to target Hussein's defense counsel.

11:53 Damascus. Assad says elections will have disastrous consequences. Syrian President Bashar Assad said during a visit to Moscow that he believes the elections in Iraq will have disastrous consequences and may lead to the disintegration of Iraq.

11:46 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi attacks 10 balloting stations. Armed militants linked to Abu Musab al Zarqawi attacked 10 balloting stations in the Province of Salaheddin north of the capital. Three balloting stations in the center of Tikrit were hit by mortar and RPG fire during the night and a fourth was hit this morning.

11:42 Baghdad. Shit'ite Judge and brother-in-law killed. Insurgents assassinated Iraqi Judge Qais Hashim Shameri as he left his home in east Baghdad. His brother-in-law was also killed.

11:42 US soldier killed in Baghdad.

11:41 Five US soldiers killed in road accident. Five US soliders of the 1st Infantry Division were killed in a road accident around 8:00 pm near Khan Bani Saad north of Baghdad.

11:39 Baghdad. Hostage pleads for help. US hostage Roy Hallams was shown in a video with a pistol pointed at his head pleading for help.

10:32 Baghdad. Eleven police dead in clashes. In eastern Baghdad, clashes erupted in the Rashad neighborhood when Iraqi police fired on insurgents handing out leaflets warning people not to vote in Sunday's elections. Armed men attacked a police station, prompting US troops to intervene.

Monday, January 24, 2005

January 24 Events in Iraq

Shia politicians vie for Prime Minister's slot. The leading candidates for prime minister are thought to be Adil Abdul Mahdi, the Iraqi finance minister and a leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq; Ibrhaim Jofferey, the head of the Dawa Party; Hussein Shahristani, a nuclear scientist; and Ahmad Chalabi, who marshaled support for the toppling of Saddam Hussein's government in the Bush administration and has since become a pariah. All are candidates for the United Iraqi Alliance, which has announced that the new government will be secular. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, a cleric who is the chief of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the scion of a prominent religious family and an oft-mentioned candidate for prime minister, would be relegated to the background. [NYT]

Milan - Insurgency is one thing and terrorism another. There is a distinction between the actions on the battlefield and indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population. Milanese Judge Clementina Forleo has dismissed charges against three Islamists accused of international terrorism for having volunteered as kamikazis to fight in Iraq with Ansar al Sunna, which has no connection to al Qaeda. The threesome, Buyahia Maher, Tumi Alì Ben Sassi, and Mohamed Daki, arrested in 2003, have been released from preventative custody. Judge Forleo cited Article 18, Section 2 of the UN International Convention on Terrorism which legalizes insurgent actions provided they do no specifically target civilians. [Italian fascists are spitting nails over this.--Nur].

Baghdad. Ansar al-Sunna assassinated an Iraqi working for a contracting firm providing security to CIA personnel. Meanwhile an Iraqi policeman and a soldier were killed in three separate attacks north of the capital in which two police were also wounded.

Jerusalem. Israeli Labour leader Shimon Peres said Iran has become the source of every danger in the Middle East in an interview broadcast via Israeli military radio. Peres stated that the US may use a military option to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions. Mossad Chief Meir Gadan told the Knesset that Iran was about to cross the point of no return and that in two years Islamic republic will have the bomb. Israel has threatened to take unilateral military action against Iran.

Tokyo. Most Japanese want their troops out of Iraq before March. A survey by the Kyodo Press Agency reveals that most Japanese want Japan's contingent pulled out by March 2005.

Baghdad. Following a taped message from Abu Mussab al Zarqawi, Shi'ite cleric Sheik Hammam Hammoudi of the United Iraqi Alliance has called upon Sunni clergy to disassociate themselves from the Jordanian rebel leader.

Amman. Amman expresses satisfaction over the pending arrest of Ahmed Chalabi. Jordanian government spokesperson Mrs Asma Khodr Khodr expressed satisfaction at the possible arrest of Ahmed Chalabi. Chalabi is wanted in Jordan and that's why we approve of his arrest. If he is arrested and handed over to Interpol, we shall demand his extradition. Chalabi was found guity by an Amman court for fraud after the collapse of the Petra Bank and sentenced him to 22 years in prison in abstentia.

Fallujah. US and Iraqi forces searched for Abu Mussab al Zaqaqi inside Fallujah following rumors that the Jordanian was inside the city. Rumors have it that Zarqawi is escorted by two German-make sedans. Anyone known to own a German sedan had their residence searched. Furthermore, the identity plates of all such vehicles were photographed and registered.

Baghdad. Fears concerning the success of elections are growing for reasons other than religion. Iraqi Finance Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, a Shi'ite candidate on the United Iraqi Alliance, believes that there will be voter fraud because of lack of observers.

London. Assyrians victims of ethnic cleansing. Former head of the Anglican Church Lord George Carey has inaugurated a campaign of support for Iraqi Assyrians. Rev. Khoshaba George of the Assyrian Church of London says the invasion worsened the situation of Assyrians in Iraq. Prof. Simo Parpola, an expert in Assyrian culture, says current levels of violence affecting Assyrians are as bad as those seen during WWII, when 250 000 Assyrians were massacred. According to Lord Carey, Their churches and monasteries are attacked, people are killed, and one young churchmember was kidnapped and decapitated. The Assyrians trace their roots to 3 000 BC. There are approximately 800 000 Assyrians in Iraq.

Baghdad. Death threats directed at attorney for Saddam Hussein. Iraqi attorney Khalil Doulaïmi has received death threats and has learned that hit men have been hired to assassinate him. Ziad Khassaouneh, spokesman for Saddam Hussein's defense team, says the group holds the American administration and the Iraqi caretaker government resonsible for Doulaïmi's safety.

Strasbourg. The High EU Representative for Foreign Affairs Javier Solana says the absence of Sunni participation in the upcoming elections would be a catastrophe for the country.

Kabul. Afgan President Hamid Karzai calls on Iraqis to go to the polls in "pride and glory" as did the people of Afghanistan.

23:23 Washington US troops to remain at least until 2007. Gen James Lovelace says US troop levels in Iraq will remain at 120,000 for the next two years

22:34 Samarra. Zarqawi followers vow to place snipers on rooftops. Snipers will be deployed to rooftops on 30 January to prevent voters from going to the polls. Al Zarqawi has called for intensification of the war against the occupation.

23:10 Guantanamo. 23 prisoners attempted mass suicide. Prisoners in Camp Delta, formerly known as Camp X-ray, attempted simultaneous suicide by hanging between 18 and 26 August 2003. The US military said the action was merely a display to intimidate new prison guards.

17:18 Kirkuk. Arabs withdraw from elections. Arab Sunni and Shi'a running together on the Unified Arab Front slate have decided with withdraw from Sunday's elections per Front Secretary General Wasfi al Assi. The decision cam after the Elections Committee authorized refugee Kurds from other parts of Iraq to vote within election precincts in the city of Kirkuk.

16:12 Baghdad. Clashes near airport. Clashes between insurgents and US troops have broken out in the vicinity of Baghdad airport. Two Royal Jordanian airliners were prevented from landing and returned to Amman. Eight released Chinese hostages were unable to leave the country due to flight cancellations.

14:40 Baghdad. Allawi's party in sights of al Zarqawi. Twenty-four hours after having declared war on the Iraqi elections, Abu Musab al Zarqawi passed from words to deeds and dispatched a suicide bomber to Allawi's party headquarters. The carbomber was unable to penetrate inside the building of Iraqi National Accord; the device exploded at the same checkpoint where a suicide carbomb on January 3 killed three people. This time a dozen or so are wounded; most seriously injured are the checkpoint guards. A hospital spokesman says seven guards and three civilians are injured.

14:32 Baghdad. Important al Qaeda figure arrested. Baghdad says it has arrested Sami Mohammad Said al-Jaf, also known as Abu Omar al-Kurdi, who is thought to be behind at least 32 carbombings including the attack which killed UN special representative Sergio de Mello. [This is old news which is being recycled to serve Allawi's campaign; originally reported on 30 December 2004--Nur].

13:07 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi lieutenant arrested. Iraqi police say they have arrested a man whose nom de guerre is Abu Hilal.

12:40 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi distributes video showing execution of Egyptian truck driver. In a video distributed by al Zarqawi, a Turkish truck driver is executed in broad daylight in the middle of the street. The victim, Ibrahim Mohammed Ismail, worked for the Kuwaiti firm, 'Shallai', which supplies potable water to US troops. Ismail was shot in the head after having 'confessed' to be working for the United States.

09:41 Baghdad. Carbomb targets Allawi party headquarters. A column of smoke was seen rising from the Green Zone; five police are injured. Meanwhile, running water was restored to Baghdad after the municipal water supply was sabotaged on 15 January, affecting 40% of Baghdad households.

09:01 Dubai. Al Zarqawi executes 2 Iraqi truck drivers. Al Zarqawi distributes a video showing the execution of two Iraqi truck drivers who worked for a Lebanese trucking company delivering supplies to US troops in Ramadi.

Agence France Presse Editorial

Playing it by Ear: The Iraqi Elections

The elections in Iraq will be the first international test of George W. Bush's second term in office. The President hopes to foster democracy in the Middle East and to find an exit for US troops deployed to Iraq. Bush enjoys repeating the phrase, It's an historic moment, even though the White House has emphasized that the 30 January vote "will not be perfect" and that it is only the first of three elections to be held in 2005. The Bush Administration has changed its rhetoric several times to justify its decision to go to war with Iraq in March 2003. Failing to find weapons of mass destruction, the administration began to emphasize its aim of overthrowing dictator Saddam Hussein; the pretext has now evolved into the installation of a democratic regime in Iraq as part of President Bush's Greater Middle East Initiative.

However, George W. Bush never mentioned Iraq once in his inaugural address last Thursday. His speech was devoted to defeating tyrants and promoting democracy around the world. More than 1,360 US troops have been killed in action since March 2003 and Iraq has been plunged into violent chaos, which the caretaker government has been unable to suppress. The participation of the international community in the upcoming elections is reduced to a barest minimum. Premier Iyad Allawi himself has admitted that the security measures planned for the elections are inadequate. Brent Scowcroft, former advistor to George Bush Senior has recently estimated that the level of violence will continue to rise following the elections, with a risk of civil war between Sunnis and Shi'as.

Such somber analyses are dismissed by the Bush Administration, which insists on holding the elections as scheduled. Bush would like to accelerate training of the Iraqi security forces to replace the more than 150,000 US troops present in the country. Washington does not want to establish a timetable for pullout and retains the formulaic response that this will happen only with the mission is accomplished. But the contours of the mission remain fluid and will continue to evolve between the elections of a new, legitimate government by Iraqi voters and the elemination of the "terrorists."

Reelected with 50.8% of the vote in a race against Democrat John Kerry, Republican President George W. Bush believes that his Iraq policy has been validated by his victory at the polls. The Republican party, which has a solid majority in Congress, will not lose ground in the 2006 congressional elections. But according to a recent opinion poll, 52% of Americans now believe the decision to go to war against Iraq was wrong. The conflict is extraordinarily costly and the White House is about to present a new request to Congress for $50 billion to continue to finance the intervention.

The results of the Iraq elections and a possible stabilization of Iraq will further determine the evolution of Bush administration policy towards the traditional allies of the US who are opposed to the war, such as France and Germany. Despite his manifest willingness to improve relations with the other side of the Atlantic since reelection, there are no obvious signs of increased cooperation.

Jean-Louis DOUBLET (AFP)

Sunday, January 23, 2005

January 23 Events in Iraq

Najaf. City to be divided into 4 sectors; road traffic prohibited. For five days beginning 25 January, road traffic will be prohibited and residents will not be allowed to leave the city, which will be cordoned off into 4 security sectors. Hotel guests have been warned to leave now or to be forced to stay in the city, says Gen. Ghaleb al Yazaeri. The general also warns that anyone violating the prohibitions will be arrested on the spot. However, a press headquarters has been set up to provide security to journalists wishing to cover voting in the city.

Baghdad. US Ambassador John Negroponte optimistic on elections. We foresee a high turnout in the north and the south of the country. There may be areas with problems in the center, especially within the provinces inside the Sunni Triangle but even in those areas, every effort is being made to provide security allowing the highest number of residents possible to vote.

Baghdad. Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib says a nationwide curfew will be imposed on 29, 30 and 31 January from 8:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Baghdad. Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib refuses to comment on rumors that Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi was captured on Saturday.

Geneva. UN considers its elections mission accomplished. The UN considers its work done in preparing Iraq for elections. However the UN is concerned that the elections will only be partial and that they may lead to more civil strife.

Paris. French journalists unhappy with government effort to locate Florence Aubenas and her interpreter Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi. Reporters Sans Frontières Secretary General Robert Ménard believes the French government is not doing its utmost to obtain information on the whereabouts of Libération journalist Florence Aubenas.

Baghdad. Ahmed Chalabi, who has been threatened with arrest by the Iraqi Defense Ministry accused Hazem Shaalan of moving millions of dollars out of the country for mysterious ends. Mr. Chalabi gave a press conference in a Basrah hotel on Sunday, saying it was highly suspect to move such an amount ($300 million) in cash. Meanwhile Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib says there has been no arrest warrant issued for Mr. Chalabi.

London. Trooper Kevin Williams, of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, will appear before a court martial charged with shooting dead an Iraqi civilian, while Private Alexander Johnston, of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers, is to face trial accused of the unlawful wounding of a 13-year-old boy.

London. UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw affirms Teheran's right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and suggests that military action is undesireable.

23:07 Washingon. US doubles bounty on Bin Laden to $50 million.

16:40 Dubai. Guerrillas show video of execution of guard. Ansar al Sunna shows hostage's identity papers before executing him, saying it is a warning to other apostates.

15:56 Baghdad. Cinese embassy locates released Chinese hostages.

15:40 Tehran: A US attack on Iran would be a "strategic error." Teheran dismisses US threats as psychological warfare but warns Washington, We do not consider such an attack probable, unless a certain country wants to commit a clamorous strategic error. says Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi during the ministry's weekly press briefing.

14:00 Baghdad. Allawi says elections will end violence.

12:40 Nassiriya. Hospital fire kills 14. Fourteen are dead and seventy-five are injured in a fire in Nassiriya Hospital. The fire broke out at 2:00 am due to a probable short circuit. Seriously injured patients have been evacuated to the Italian military base, Camp Mitica.

11:00 Camp Victory, Baghdad. Soldiers sentenced in court-martial. Two US soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division were found guilty in the homicide of Iraqi interpreter Mrs. Luma Hadi. Charley Hooser, 28, of Midland, Texas, was sentenced to three years in prison for pulling the trigger; Rami Dajani, 24, a Palestinian student residing in the USA, received a sentence of 18 months for providing the homicide weapon. Both received a dishonorable discharge. Mrs. Hadi's daughter, Sara, aged 6, has not been informed of her mother's death. The US military paid $25,000 in compensation to the family of the victim.

10:30 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi declares war on democracy. A message from Abu Musab Zarqawi says he will strive to disrupt the 30 January elections. We have declared war without mercy on the principal of democracy and those who subscribe to it.

08:39 Baghdad. Chinese embassy awaits word on whereabouts of released Chinese hostages.

01:46 Brasilia. Brazil mobilizes to work towards release of hostage. Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim asks Middle Eastern countries to assist Brazil in working for the release of Joao José Vasconcelos who has been kidnapped by insurgents.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

January 22 Events in Iraq

Baghdad. US soldiers shoot their interpreter in the head. Specialist Charley Hooser and Specialist Rami Dajani shot their 28 year-old female Iraqi interpreter and mother of one child in the head, then claimed she committed suicide. The soldiers were "joking around" inside an interrogations room in Camp Cropper when they placed a 9mm pistol against the interpreter's head and fired. The incident took place on 27 November 2004. The pair was court-martialed in Baghdad. [With US troops doing such a fine job on people who work for them, who needs guerrillas?--Nur]

23:40 London. 400 more British troops to arrive. 400 more UK troops are expected to arrive in Iraq over the weekend to reinforce security arrangements for the upcoming election.

20:30 Baghad. Video shows Brazilian hostage. Al Jazeera TV has broadcast a video produced by insurgents showing a Brazilian engineer who has been taken hostage. So far, the kidnappers have made no demands.

16:01 Hilla: Attack on Iraqi military. Six Iraqi soldiers were wounded by a carbomb in Hillla, 100 km south of Baghdad.

14:37 Baghad. Ex-pat Iraqi voter registration extended. Iraqi voters living abroad may continue to register through Tuesday due to low turnout.

13:13 Baghad. Airport to be shut down. Baghdad airport will be shut down on 29 and 30 January.

11:02 Kuwait city. US Apache helicopter crashes while on a training flight, killing one US soldier and injuring another over northwest Kuwait City.

09:27 Dubai. Al Arabiya TV reports Chinese hostages released. The Nuamaan Brigade of the Islamic Resistance Movement has released eight Chinese laborers held hostage near Ramadi.

08:50 Baghdad. Wedding party bombing casualty toll. At least 11 are dead and 27 injured in the suicide bombing of wedding celebration in Kar al Awsat, 20 km south of the capital.

NY Senator Schumer Sees Mirage

January 7, 2005

Dear Ms. Cubicle:

The intelligence reports that I have received indicate that although significant discoveries of weapons of mass destruction stockpiles or production capacities have yet to take place, such discoveries remain very possible.

Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate

January 22, 2005

Dear Senator Schumer:

The Washington Post recently pubished a story saying the search for Saddam's weapons of mass distruction has been abandoned by the Iraq Survey Group.

Unless you wish to be seen as lying to your constituents, may I suggest that you revise your statements concerning Saddam Hussein's WMD to conform to reality.

Nur al-Cubicle

Friday, January 21, 2005

January 21 Events in Iraq

Latest from Baghdad

Shaalan, Allawi and two other ministers may have stolen $300 million in cash through bogus armaments purchase. Story from the NY Times.

Al Zarqawi attacked Iraqi Shi'ites, whom he termed rafidha, for participating in the US assault on Fallujah in a recorded message yesterday. Al Zarqawi also denounced Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

Ansar al-Sunna announced that it has executed a Briton and a Swede.

Three contractors were killed by insurgents in Makhloul, north of the capital.

Chalabi to be arrested after Aïd al-Adha. The Iraqi Defense Minister Hazim al-Shaalan says that the caretaker government will arrest Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, after the feast of Aïd al-Adha for defamation of Mr. Shaalan. We shall arrest him and turn him over to Interpol. He will be arrested for tarnishing the reputations of the Defense Ministry and the Minister of Defense. declared Mr. al Shaalan to al Jazeera. [Shaalan is a clown and a windbag--Nur.]

Allawi gets his hands on man ordered to kill him in 1978. Prime Minister Iyad Allawi tells al Iraqiya TV that he has tracked down the man who tried to murder him with a hatchet in his London home in 1978. Recently we have begun to reap the fruit of cooperation with certain neighboring countries....Two days ago, one of them handed over an Iraqi who tried to kill me. He is a criminal who tried to assassinate me when was in London and I had to spend a year in the hospital. On 21 November Allawi filed a suit against Saddam Hussein, considered the brains of the operation, Saddam's half-brother and head of intelligence Barzan al-Tikriti and covert coordinator Farouk Hijazi.

Kidnapping or hoax? Two weeks ago a reporter for the French daily Libération went missing, yet Florence Aubenas has shown no signs of life. The French Defense Ministry said on Thursday that lack of information tends to discount the plausibility of a kidnapping.

Six Iraqi soliders killed north of capital. Six Iraqi soldiers were killed in separate incidents north of Baghdad and another twelve were wounded. A US soldier was also killed an another wounded during a military operation in Dhuluya. One insurgent is also dead.

22:50 Baghdad. Allawi admits insecurity will prevail for elections. Allawi admits that plans for maintenance of security for the elections by Iraqi and US forces are inadequate to stop planned guerrilla attacks on Election Day, January 30th.

22:00 Baghdad. Carbomb targets wedding celebration, many are dead. A suicide bomber at the wheel of an ambulance packed with explosives drove his vehicle into a building hosting a wedding party in Kar al Awsat, 20 km south of the capital.

20:53 Rome. Berlusconi will consider pullout following elections. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says Italy will begin planning for a pullout after the 30 January elections. I spoke to Blair anad Bush about it. It is an exit plan.

18:31 Baghdad. Video shows dual decapitation. Another two Iraqis, both civilians, were decapitated by followers of Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi. The video was uploaded to the Internet. Both confessed to be working for the Americans in a US military base west of the capital.

18:22 New York. CIA confirms authenticity of al Zarqawi message. US intelligence confirms authenticity of 75-minute al Zarqawi message broadcast yesterday.

17:30 Ramadi. Militants linked to al Zarqawi carry out public beheading of Iraqi soldier. Miltants beheaded an Iraqi National Guard in broad daylight in front of a crowd and left his body in the street with a message warning others of the fate of collaborators. Nine armed individuals suddenly pulled up in two vehicles, got out of their cars with a prisoner and decapited the victim in front of passers-by. The rebels then placed the victim's head on his chest. Ramadi, 110 km west of Baghdad is perhaps more unstable and dangerous than Fallujah, where the situation is far from being under control following a large-scale American offensive. The urgency of controlling Fallujah seems to have become less of a priority.

16:11 Baghdad. Carbomb targets mosque, 15 dead and 40 wounded. A carbomb detonated as the faithful were departing the Shi'ite Shuhada al-Tashif mosque, in the Umm al-Maaleg district of Baghdad, after special prayers on the feast of Eid al-Adha. The feast recalls the intervention of Yahweh to save Isaac, son of Abraham, from sacrifice. A large crowd of children had assembled in front of the mosque as members of the Dawa Party handed out candy, pastries, wrist watches and souvenirs to celebrate the feast and to promote its image. As the crowd was leaving, a car accelerated into the throng and rammed a minibus, which was parked in front of the mosque. The subsequent devastating explosion propelled metal shards and fragments through the crowd, causing a massacre.

15:51 Copenhagen. Five Danish soldiers found guilty of torture charge. The Danish news agency Ritzau reports that a military tribunal has found five members of its forces guilty of torture in an installation near Basrah. The highest ranking solider was an officer, Reserve Capt. Annemtte Hommel, who was reported by her men for mistreatment of prisoners by ordering forced stances and denial of food, water and latrine access to prisoners.

15:51 Las Vegas. Terrorism warning. Security in the city of Las Vegas has been reinforced due to threat of a taxi, limo or city bus bombing. [Nonsense. Someone has hacked the FBI alert system and is pulling their chain.--Nur]

14:09 Samarra. Oil pipeline sabotaged. The pipeline transporting oil from Beiji to Baghdad's Dora refinery was set ablaze.

13:22 Milan. Italian soldier killed in Nassiriya. A machine gunner aboard an Italian attack helicopter was killed this morning in Nassiriya. The helicopter was on a routine mission, flying at low altitude when it was hit by light arms fire, killing Simone Cola.

11:48 Baghdad. Kidnappers of Chinese workmen issue communiqué. Despite the expiration of a 48-hour ultimatum, the kidnappers of eight Chinese laborers have issued an communique: We demand that the Chinese government forbid its nationals to enter Iraq. The kidnappers have promised to treat the hostages with "mercy."

11:00 Hit. Militants assault police barracks. The Hit police barracks located along a highway leading to the Syrian frontier was raided by guerrillas. A group of 15 armed men clashed with police and forced them to flee the barracks abandoning their weapons.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

January 20 Events in Iraq

Iraqification: A geopolitical manoeuvre consisting of pummeling and demonizing the target country before invading it under the pretext of humanitarianism but whose outcome is doubtful due to sorry, we are still in the process of evaluation; please check back again at later time.

New York. The FBI added the names of ten Chinese nationals to its list of four Chinese and two Iraqi terrorist suspects, claimed by the agency to have entered the United States illegally from Mexico to prepare a terrorist act. The alarm was raised yesterday in Boston, said to be the destination of the plotters. [Is Shaalan directing the FBI now?--Nur]

Baghdad. Ansar al-Sunna says it kidnapped and executed a British national and a Swede in central Iraq.

24:00 Basrah. Al Zarqawi claims credit for base bombing. Abu Musab al Zarqawi has claimed credit for the suicide bombing targeting the British Army base in Shabia.

23:07 London. Nine British troops wounded in Shabia. Nine British troops were wounded together with several Iraqis in an explosion near the British Army base in Shabia, 30 km south of Basrah.

22:55 Washington. Six activists arrested. Six members of Code Pink were arrested by security personnel. The group had obtained tickets for the VIP section at the Inauguration, during which they stood up and shouted, Bring the Troops Home!

21:36 Baghdad. Aqueduct sabotaged. The Baghdad aqueduct was sabotaged, reducing the city's water suppy by over 30%.

20:30 Mosul. Five insurgents killed. Hundreds of US troops have entered the city making dozens of house-to-house searches in which 5 Iraqi insurgents were killed.

17:19 Basrah. Iraqis wounded in explosion. An explosion occurred inside a British military base near Basrah. Several Iraqis are wounded.

17:00 Osnabrueck. Judge in British torture trial issues appeal. Judge Advocate Michael Hunter appealed for "great care" in comments concerning the trial to ensure a fair trial. Meanwhile Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has written to British newspaper editors warning them not to publish material that could prejudice the court martial.

16:16 Samarra. 5 Iraqi soldiers killed. Four Iraqi soldiers died in the explosion of a bomb in downtown Samarra and a fifth was killed by artillery fire in Siniya, 200 km north of Baghdad.

15:05 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi says Israeli and Jordanian troops participated in Fallujah offensive. Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi claims that Israeli and Jordianian troops took part in the assault on Fallujah. It is known that 800 Israeli troops took part in the battle as well as Jordanian troops, whose officers helped plan the assault on the city. Al Zarqawi released a 75-minute tape in celebration of of Eid al-Adha, the feast of Sacrifice.

13:48 Baghdad. US troops in action in the north. New US offensive in Mosul.

13:05 London. Court martial of British troops accused of torture suspended. A spokesman for Tony Blair says the trial has been suspended without supplying details.

10:50 London. UK pressures US for pullout calendar. The UK is pressuring the US to establish a schedule for withdrawal of its troops 18 months from now, reports the Daily Telegraph. Tony Blair hopes that President Bush will formally agree to a date for pullout within two or three months.

09:50 Washington. Inauguration: Pharaonic pageant and little consensus. America prepares to crown George W. Bush for a second term with fantastic celebrations, galas and polemics over the cost of three days of celebration. Opinion polls show that the President begins his second term in the White House with the lowest approval rating of any president since the Second World War. Data drawn from a Gallup survey conducted for USA Today and CNN indicate that Bush junior has the a popularity ranking of 51 per cent. Concerning the war in Iraq, for which Bush claims to have received full and definitive ratification thanks to the results of November 2nd, 52% of Americans now believe that the invasion was an error vs. the 47% who believe it was the right thing to do. It is therefore a divided nation which Bush is preparing to lead over the next four years. The rest of the world has a different opinion. A survey by BBC World Service in 21 countries reveals the widely-held opinion that Bush's re-election has made the world a more dangerous place. On average 58% of those surveyed are convinced that Bush's reelection has made the world more dangerous--Bush's inaugural address is anxiously awaited. The Grand Festival of Democracy as Bush has defined it will cost $40 million. The bill will be footed mostly by large corporations-- including Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco, Occidential Petroleum, Ford Motor Company, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan-Chase, Morgan Stanley, Fedex, UPS and US tobacco companies--and private donors, most of whom are also financiers of the President's reelection campaign.

08:59 Beiji. Brazilian disappears. A Brazilian security contractor disappeared yesterday in Iraq after an attack on a convoy of security workers in which a Briton and and Iraqi were killed. All three worked for Janusian Security Risk Management Ltd, a London-based company.

07:56 Baghdad. Japanese civilian may be held by insurgents. A Japanese engineer working at the Baiji power station may have been kidnapped. It is believed he was caught in an ambush by insurgents as he was travelling along an Iraqi highway in the company of two Iraqi bodyguards, who were both killed on the spot. The identity of the hostage has not been released. However, Japanese Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda stated that it was unlikely that the engineer is Japanese.

07:34 Tokyo. Koizumi, British troops are protecting Japanese contingent. The security for the Japanese contingent in Iraq will be assured by the British after the departure of the Dutch, said Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi during a visit to Japan by Britain's Foreign Minister Jack Straw. The Japanese Constitution forbids the use of force, even in self-defense, by Japanese troops deployed to Iraq.

04h12 Washington. Paul Wolfowitz believes reducing US troop deaths is a priority. Paul Wolfowitz, number two at the Pentagon, says he believes that it is more important to reduce troop deaths in Iraq than to send the troops home. Wolfowitz also said he was encouraged by the number of Iraqis volunteering for the security forces. Wolfowitz puts the number of Iraqi security forces and police at 120,000 but complained of the quality of the recruits, who he said have a tendancy to disappear from their units.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

January 19 Events in Iraq

Ramadi. Violent Clashes. Combat broke out in three districts in Ramadi, 100 km west of Baghdad, after an attack on a US army patrol. US troops supported by ten armored vehicles, reinforced their positions as helicopters and warplanes overflew the city. The death toll is unknown. Witnesses report that a Humvee was destroyed and that a number of civilians were caught in the crossfire.

Baghdad. Cellphone service to be cut off during Iraqi elections. The Iraqi caretaker government announced that in order to provide security for the polls on January 30, cell and satellite phones will be cut the day before, of and after the elections.

19:21 Baiji. British national killed in ambush near power station. Guerrillas ambushed a British national and another colleague working as security guards for a power plant. Their car was disabled and the Briton was then shot. The second guard was kidnapped; his nationality is unknown.

15:30 Osnabrueck. British troops were ordered to punish looters. British troops were ordered to mete out harsh treatment to looters of a food storehouse near Basrah. The order caused soldiers accused of abuse to go beyond acceptable limits.

15:18 Kirkuk. Oil pipeline shut down following sabotage. The pipeline running from the Kirkuk oilfields to Turkey will be shut down for 15-20 days following sabotage in Fatha, near Baiji. Repairs from a prior bombing in the same area had just been completed.

15:10 Mosul. Two Iraqis killed. Miltants released a video showing the execution of two Iraqis who worked for a US communications firm in Iraq installing equipment for the upcoming elections. Ansar al Sunna militants executed the pair by pistol shot. They had been installing wide area network in Mosul and Erbil.

14:49 Baghdad. Ulema demand liberation of Chinese hostages. The Committee of Iraq Ulema call for the release of the Chinese hostages in celebration of Eid al Adha. The Chinese workers were taken prisoner as they were leaving Iraq. During interrogation, the eight admitted that they were employed in the construction of US military installations in Iraq. The group is from Pingtan, in Fujian Province, the same area as that of 11 Chinese workers kidnapped in Fallujah in April.

13:35 Latifiyah. US raid on guerrillas. Eleven Iraqis were killed and nineteen arrested during a raid on the town of Latifiyah, south of Baghdad.

13:14 London. Blair expresses shock. The pictures of British prisoner abuse were shocking and appalling, says Tony Blair. The difference between democracy and tyranny is not that in a democracy bad things don't happen. It is that in a democracy, when they do happen, people are held to account., he said. [It that the dumbest thing a modern British leader has said or what? --Nur]

13:08 Baghdad. Al Zarqawi claims credit for bombings. A group linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed credit for today's bombing of the Australian Embassy and a police barracks.

13:04 Erbil, attacks on Kurds. Two roadside bombs targeted convoys escorting Kurdish notables. The first incident occurred in Erbil when assassins targeted Wirya Maaruf, Director of the local police academy. Maaruf was unharmed. A second bomb targeted a group of Kurdish notables in Dohuk, killing one and wounding another.

12:54 London. UK outrage over torture pictures. Images of prisoner abuse carried out by British troops were broadcast on TV and printed in all major newspapers provoking national outrage.

12:15 Mosul. Roadside bomb targets US military convoy, wounding an Iraqi civilian.

12:00 Baghdad. Sixth carbomb. A police officer was killed and two others wounded when a booby-trapped car exploded south of Baghdad on the highway between Mahawil and Al-Mousayyib (80 km south of Baghdad).

10:57 Baghdad. 26 killed in this morning's carbombings.

10:34 Baghdad. Fifth carbomb. A fifth carbomb exploded in front of the Al-Rafidaïn bank where police where collecting their salaries. One civilian and seven police officers were wounded. At least one death is reported.

11:46 Baghdad. Dutch soliders kill two. At least two Iraqis are dead after Dutch troops opened fire in al Muthana Province. The troops opened fire on a passenger car after the driver ignored orders [in Dutch?--Nur] to stop.

08:30 Baghdad. Fourth carbomb. A fourth suicide carbomb went off in front of the south gate of the al-Mouthanna military base. A white pickup truck of a type typically used by the Iraqi military detonated, killing one civilian and three soldiers. Another twelve persons were wounded.

08:15 Baghdad. Third carbomb. A suicide carbomb detonated southwest of Baghdad Airport, killing two security guards and wounding three others.

07:09 Baghdad. Second carbomb. A second carbomb killed twelve and wounded twenty-three near the al Andalus traffic circle adjacent to the Al-Alwiyya Hospital in downtown Baghdad.

07:06 Baghdad. Carbombing in vicinity of Australian Embassy. A carbomb targeted the Australian Embassy inside the Green Zone. Two Iraqi garbage collectors were killed and seven other were wounded. A 7-story building across the street from the Embassy housing Australian security personnel took the brunt of the blast in which a truckbomb--a cab without the trailer-was driven at high speed into a barricade. Two Australians were slightly injured in the blast, which blew out the windows of the building.

02:10 Washington. Important Mesopotamian art treasures including several 4000 year-old marble and alabaster seals were returned to Iraq by the US Ambassador to the UN. The precious artifacts were stolen from the Iraqi National Museum by a US researcher, who was intercepted by US customs.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

January 18 Events in Iraq

Fallujah. The locations of the polling stations in Fallujah and Ramadi will be kept secret until the last moment.

Expat Iraqis register to vote. A total of 18,104 expat Iraqis registered to vote today, says the International Migrations Office, responsible for monitoring the foreign Iraqi vote. [Word from Detroit is that Iraqis there are Christian and are not registering in droves--Nur].

Beirut. A conference of Iraqi dissidents in Lebanon accounced that one million Iraqis representing all regions, ethnicities and faiths have signed a petition urging the postponement of elections due to the US occupation and the imposed state of emergency.

Baghdad. Police to recruit 100,000 Saddam-era military personnel. The Iraqi police force has hired 50,000 Saddam-era military personnel to fill its ranks. The caretaker government hopes to hire 300,000 Saddam-era soldiers, fired by US administrator Paul Bremer. The Interior Minister hopes the hiring effort will reduce violence in the country.

Paris. French parliamentarian censured. Didier Julia (UMP) was censured by French parliament for his rogue mission to rescue two French hostages in Iraq.

Washington. Most Americans disapprove of war. 55% of Americans disapprove of the way George W. Bush is managing the Iraq crisis, according to a Washington Post/ABC News survey. A Gallup poll conducted for USA Today and CNN indicated that 52% of Americans opposed the war in Iraq.

Osnabrueck. British soldier pleads guilty in prisoner abuse scandal. Cpl Daniel Kenyon and L/Cpls Darren Larkin and Mark Cooley of the Royal Fusiliers are accused of prisoner abuse in Iraq including punches and simulated sex acts in a storehouse near Basrah. The incidents took place on 15 May 2003 in a food storage facility outside Basrah known to British troops as the "bread basket." [Simulated sex scene here--Nur]

21:09 Baghdad. Homemade bomb kills a US soldier.

19:29 Basrah. Two candidates on Allawi's list are assassinated.

19:27 Mosul. US forces arrest 180 suspected insurgents.

15:00 Mossul. Catholic Archbishop demands schedule for US troop pullout. Archbishop Casmoussa issued a plea to the international community to make the United States understand that there must be a plan for withdrawal from Iraq and that Iraqis must have the chance to govern their country with full, and not limited, sovereignty.. As to the upcoming elections, Bishop Camoussa had this to say: As an ordinary citizen, I believe that the elections, per se, are beneficial, because they will restore a voice, long missing, to the citizenry. But I ask myself if the current climate of instability will guarantee their success. Because the situation is very tense, I believe that now is not the time for the elections nor is it wise to hold them.

13:57 Mossul. Casmoussa returns to diocese. Monsignor Casmoussa has returned to his diocese, says Father Dwraid Brbar of the Diocese of Mosul.

13:53 Baghdad. Ministry of the Interior. If elections are boycotted, civil war may result. Iraqi Internor Minister Falah al-Nakib warns of the prospect of civil way if part of the electorate boycotts the elections.

13:43 Baghdad. Chinese Embassy confirms kidnappings. China says eight construction workers have been kidnapped while travelling to Jordan.

13:25 Mossul. Monsignor Casmoussa: I am happy to get back to the bishopric and I can say that I was not mistreated, says Archbishop Basil George Casmoussa per Radio Vatican.

13:23 Beijing. Xinhua: Eight Chinese nationals missing. The Chinese press agency Xinhua says 8 Chinese are missing in Iraq.

12:39 Baghdad. Eight kidnapped Chinese on shown on video broadcast by al Jazeera. Kidnappers issue an ultimatum demanding that Chinese construction companies pull out of Iraq within 48 hours. The rebels, who call themselves the Islamic Resistance Nuamaan Brigade, say they are working for the Americans.

12:36 Rome. Navarro: "No ransom paid" Joaquin Navarro Valls, Vatican spokesman, says no ransom was paid for the releae of Archbishop Basil George Casmoussa.

12:30 Rome. Pope John Paul II expresses satisfaction at release of Syrian Catholic archbishop.

12:06 Baghdad. No ransom to be paid. The Archbishop of Baghdad, Matti Matoka, says the Church will not pay a ransom for the release of Archbishop Basil George Casmoussa.

11:51 Mossul. Archbishop released. Archbishop Basil George Casmoussa has been released by his kidnappers, says Monsignor Petros Mouche of the Diocese of Mossul

11:36 Baghdad. Fifty thousand Iraqi ex-soldiers join police force. Iraqi caretaker government hopes to triple number.

11:26 Basrah, candidate on Allawi's slate assassinated. A candidate on Allawi's slate, Riyad Habib of the Movement for National Reconciliation, was assassinated this morning in Basrah.

10:15 Baghdad. Iraq's borders to close during elections. Iraq will close its borders from 29 to 31 January and impose a nationwide curfew on traffic.

09:34 US marine dies in al Anbar Province.

09:12 Mosul. Kidnapping of archbishop was an error. Father Nizar Semaan of the Diocese of Mosul says kidnapping of archbisoph was an error.

08:48 Baghdad. Carbomb kills three. This morning's carbombing in Baghdad killed three persons.

08:03 Baghdad. Carbomb targets Shi'ite political party headquarters. The headquarters of SCIRI were bombed.

07:39 Copenhagen. Danish troops to leave Iraq within 12-18 months. The Danish newspaper Jyllands- Posten says troops will be withdrawn in 12 to 18 months.

07:38 Baghdad. Two US soldiers killed. Two US marines were killed in a guerrilla ambush.

07:38 Baghdad carbombing. A suicide carbomb targeted the headquarters of SCIRI this morning.

02:57 London. 800 UK troops wounded since March 2003. No details on the seriousness of the wounds but 9 have lost limbs and 2 lost an eye. British KIA number 75.