Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

18 October 2005 Events in Iraq

Kirkuk. One Iraqi Army soldier was killed and another three wounded when gunmen ambushed them in the downtown al-Wasiti district of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad.

Balad. Police said they found the bodies of six poultry factory workers who were members of the Mehdi army, a militia loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, in a river bed at Balad, about 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad. Relatives said the men had disappeared 14 days ago.

Mahaweel. Three civilians were killed and another seven wounded on Monday night when gunmen attacked the Sunni al-Rahman mosque south of Baghdad.

Baghdad. Ayed Abdul Ghani, an adviser to Industry Minister Usama Abdul Aziz al-Najafi, a Sunni Arab, was killed by gunmen outside his home in Baghdad.

Rutba. Two U.S. marines were killed on Monday by small-arms fire near Rutba, 370 km (230 miles) west of Baghdad near the borders with Syria and Jordan. Four insurgents were also killed in the clash.

Baghdad. Iraqi elections officials downplayed accusations of fraud in the popular referendum on the Constitution and said the final vote tally would take time. In Nineveh Province, the Sunnis have accused the Kurkds of stuffing the ballot box to guarantee a "yes" vote which the Kurds deny. Envoy James Jeffrey, Iraq Coordinator for the Department of State, said he was pleased with the referendum process, which displayed fewer irregularities than in January.

New York. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan predicts that the new Constitution will not end the violence in Iraq.

Baghdad. A carbomb wounds three civilians.

Baghdad. Iraqi authorites observe a very high level of discretion on the trial of Saddam Hussein, which opens tomorrow. Meanwhile, Iran has forwarded charges of its own to Iraqi judicial authorities. Saddam and seven of his lieutenants will be tried tomorrow for the 1982 massacre of 143 Shi'ites in Doujail. They face the penalty of death by hanging. It is expected that Saddam's attorney, Khalil al-Doulaimi, will request a postponement.

Tehran. Iran has forwarded a judicial dossier to Iraq charging Saddam Hussein with bombardment of schools, mosques and homes, the use of chemical weapons, genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of international charters during the Iran-Iraq War, said Iranian Judiciary spokeman Jamal Karimi-Rad.

Stockholm. Former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix says he belives the trial of Saddam Hussein is "very important" while stating that the fall of the Iraqi dictator was the only advantage gained by the US-led invasion.

Jericho. Two Palestinian activists, both members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, escaped a prison where they were being held by the Palestinian Authority. Wajdi Tawfiq Akel and Mahmoud Adel Edis of Jenin were arrested and jailed for attacks on Israeli settlers.

23:56 Washington. The US military will investigate if its warplanes and combat helicopters were responsible for the deaths of civilians during a recent operation in Ramadi. The US military claims it killed only "terrorists."

23:54 A young US citizen, accused of participating in a plot to assassinate President George Bush, was whipped and tortured while imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, said a physician. Allen Keller, a physician specializing in the diagnosis and treatement of torture victims, said that Ahmed Abu Ali was tortured while in custody in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile two other physicians, Dermatologist Robert Katz and Richard Schwartz, contractors to the FBI, said that the marks on Ali's back were caused by "abnormal pigmentation."

23:46 Washington. Security needs in Iraq will require more funding and reconstruction projects will have to be abandoned, said Stuart Bowen, the US special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, in testimony to a House committee. Of the $30 billion earmarked for Iraq, only 7% has not yet been spent and 26% of the funds are being used to protect existing installations.

23:27 Washington. Billions of dollars spent by the US in Iraq on water purification, power generation and sewage treatment projects have been wasted due to untrained Iraqi maintenance workers, said Congressman Henry Waxman. As of June 2005, water purification and sewage treatment projects financed by the USA and costing $52 billion are either out of service or operating at less than normal capacity.

23:22 Beirut. The spokesman for the UN commission investigating the death of Rafiq Hariri has been temporarily evacuated from Lebanon due to threats on his life. The nature of the threats against Tunisian national Nejib Friji have not been revealed.

22:17 The lawyer for Saddam Hussein announced that he would seek a postponement of the trial by at least three months.

21:54 Baghdad. The outlawed Ba'ath Party has urged its members to attack US and Iraqi forces on the opening day of the trial of Saddam Hussein: Let us strike the army and the security forces of the puppet regime, its leaders and its traitors.

21:41 Tikrit. Dozens of supporters of Saddam Hussein demonstrated in Tikrit and in Dour, north of Baghdad.

19:36 Beirut. Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas expressed concern at the "illegal entry of arms and supplies to Palestinian militias in Lebanon." Abbas said he supported Lebanese efforts to forbid the presence in Lebanon of armed, pro-Syrian organizations but insisted on a the opening of a Palestinian Embassy in Lebanon.

19:18 New York. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held talks with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Syria.

18:51 London. The families of British soldiers killed in Iraq have set up camp in front of the Prime Minister's residence to demand an independent inquiry into the legality of the war. Susan Smith, 44, whose son was killed in Iraq, says the group was inspired by Cindy Sheehan.

18:42 St. Petersburg. The director of the Israeli Cultural Center was beaten and robbed in the street.

17:56 Paris. Lebanese parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri held talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on armed Palestinian factions in Lebanon. Abbas said the groups were not above Lebanese law.

17:33 Paris. Lebanese parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri will fly to Cairo where he will hold talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak before the pubication of the Mehlis Report at the end of the week. .

17:43 London. NGOs demand a fair trial for Saddam Hussein. Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International note irregularities and inadequacies in the Iraqi Special Tribunal.

17:42 New York. Paul Volcker, Chairman of the Oil-for-Food investigation committee, said a culture of laissez-faire within the UN led to oil smuggling and kickbacks despite UN sanctions. Mr. Volcker was careful to avoid the term, culture of corruption, used by Republican Senator Norm Coleman.

16:42 Baghdad. Saddam Hussein's rights have been «violated» in the legal process following his capture, one of his top American lawyers said Tuesday on the eve of the deposed Iraqi leader's trial. Ex-U.S. attorney-general Ramsey Clark also cited reports by international human rights groups, like the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch and the Britain-based Amnesty International, which questioned if Saddam will receive a fair trial.

16:31 Washington. President George W. Bush met with Quartet Special Representative James Wolfensohn at the White House to discuss progress in Gaza following the Israeli evacuation.

16:14 Ahwaz (Iran). Twenty people were arrested in connection with an attempted bombing, two days after twin bombings killed six and wounded hundreds in the Arab province of Khouzistan

16:03 Cairo. Egypt is trying to defuse tension between the United States and Syria, the Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. The last thing Egypt wants is to see another point of tension in the region, he said before flying to Moscow for talks with the Russian government, which has long been allied with Syria. Aboul Gheit did not disclose details of the Egyptian initiative, but a top Egyptian diplomat said Cairo wants to avoid a situation like the U.S.-Iraq standoff, which culminated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

16:02 Baghdad. PM Ibrahim Jaafari says no Iraqi will weep for Saddam Hussein.

15:44 Rafah. More than 250 members of Fatah announced that they have left the political movement to protest the lack of internal freedom. In an open letter, 259 Fatah members announced their decision to break with the organization.

15:38 London. Tension continues to mount between London and Tehran, which accuses the UK of involvment in acts of terrorism last weekend in Iran.

15:31 Baghdad. The government of Iraq announced that Abu Moussab al-Zarqawi prefers foreigners to the "soft" Iraqis as emirs within his organization. [Lame attempt at Black Ops--Nur].

15:18 Ramadi. The deputy governor of Anbar province Talib al-Dulaimi was shot dead by gunmen. His bodyguard was also killed in the attack.

15:24 London. Amesty International says it opposes the death penalty for Saddam Hussein.


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