|Southwest Asia News Digest
The LaRouche Doctrine To Stop World War III
There can be no lasting peace in Southwest Asia unless the major actors in the region are brought into the equation, and given a proportionate voice in the process. Lyndon LaRouche reformulated this crucial point in an Aug. 3 declaration, a point he had exhaustively developed in his April 2004 "LaRouche Doctrine." See this week's InDepth for LaRouche's Aug. 3 statement and the BueSo party's leaflet in Germany calling for LaRouche's plan. Also in this week's InDepth, is the first English-language translation of the extraordinary statement of unity by the Christian and Muslim religious leaders of Lebanon.
General Michel Aoun Defends Hezbollah
Lebanese Gen. Michel Aoun gave a highly interesting interview to the French daily Le Figaro, Aug. 4 on the war in Lebanon. After he returned to Lebanon following the Syrian withdrawal last year, General Aoun created the Free Patriotic Current (CPL), which represents some 35% of the electorate. Rejecting the narrow identification of "Christian," CPL leaders state that 20% of the membership of this movement is Muslim, and that that number is growing.
"Gen. Michel Aoun surprised the Lebanese by concluding an electoral alliance last spring with the Hezbollah," states Le Figaro in a short introduction. "At the head of the Free Patriotic Current (CPL), he is campaigning mainly on two issues: to make the political system non-confessional and the fight against corruption." On the question of a multinational "stabilization' force, Aoun says clearly, "I am totally opposed. Such a force would not stabilize anything, it will on the contrary unleash a new war. It will be an occupation force to make war against the Hezbollah and to ensure Israeli security. But Hezbollah will respond. That's why the French don't want to be a part of it [without a previous political accorded. Le Figaro]
"I don't want foreign forces in Lebanon. French soldiers are welcome as observers of the UNIFIL.... But we don't want them as a dissuasive force," Aoun continued.
Asked how, in that case, to reassure Israel, Aoun declared that, "A cease-fire is enough. We can guarantee its respect. The Israelis must accept a process of negotiations. The Hezbollah demanded it two hours after the capture of the Israeli soldiers. Why is the international community against the law? Where is the prestige of the Security Council when for an act of warthe capturing of two Israeli soldiers ... the Israelis counterattack killing a thousand?"
In its final question, Le Figaro asserted that certain Christians are unhappy with Aoun's alliance with the Hezbollah (concluded in an electoral entente document signed in February 2006), to which Aoun replied, "I don't live either with the French or the Americans, but with a Shi'ite community of 1 million people. It is an important component of the Lebanese population with whom one must live in peace. My priority, since I returned to Lebanon, is to de-sectarianize the conflicts, so that the Lebanese can be unified whenever there's a crisis. I could have chosen to resolve my ideological differences with Hezbollah via confrontation; I chose dialogue instead. It is through dialogue that one can succeed in integrating the military branch, in the army, under the responsibility of the state, once Lebanon has recovered the territory and prisoners held by Israel."
Lebanese PM: Why Does International Community Do Nothing?
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora addressed the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 3 via a written speech, in which he emphasized "the agony of the nightmare facing Lebanon for the past three weeks," and asked, "Why does the international community stand by while such callous retribution by the State of Israel is inflicted upon us?" Siniora noted that, "Indeed, this is the seventh in a series of outrageous and wanton invasions of Lebanon," and catalogued the "unchecked and unpunished ... toll on human life and infrastructure."
He emphasized the determination of Lebanon to survive as a nation and said of the seven-point plan he presented at the International Conference for Lebanon in Rome, that the "Lebanese people are virtually united in their belief that the plan, which deals with all outstanding issues, can stop this senseless war." The Prime Minister emphasized that the meeting of the Islamic-Christian Summit of Aug. 1 ensured "a broad national consensus and preserving our delicate social equilibrium."
Israeli Peace Movement Blacked Out as Protests Continue
There are daily demonstrations and vigils by the Israeli peace movement and leftist groups, gathering 100 to 5,000 people in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and other places. 3,000 Women in Black, Israeli and Arab, marched through Tel Aviv on the July 29-30 weekend, mourning the slaughtered and calling for an end to the war. (The numbers seem small, but given Israel's population of under 7 million, 5,000 is the equivalent of 200,000 in the U.S.)
The excerpts below are from a Gush Shalom press release by Adam Keller, July 31, entitled "Day 20 of the Lebanon carnage, and more than a month since the tanks rolled into Gaza."
"We got up with the news of Condoleezza Rice at last putting down her foot (or at least, giving this impression on TV) and forcing a temporary halt to the systematic Israeli bombing of Lebanon's towns and villages. The declaration was made from Washington, after Israel's Defence Ministry agreed to announce it but failed to do so....
"It was, of course, in the aftermath of yesterday's atrocity at Qana, the second mass killing perpetrated in the same unfortunate Lebanese village. What happened yesterday was just too big and too horrible to ignore, as the smaller daily killings of Lebanese civilians were ignoredwith the images from Qana reverberating endlessly throughout the world....
"As reported in the morning papers, the generals were 'greatly surprised' and highly displeased with the order to stop the bombing raids for ... the next 48 hours. As the day wore on, there were more and more bellicose pronouncements and declarations from ministers and generals: there is and will not be a cease-fire any time soon; the 'regrettable' mass killing in Qana was the fault of the victims themselves 'who were warned and did not run away'; ours was and remains 'The Most Moral Army in World'; the ground offensive into Lebanon will not only be continued but will be greatly intensified'.... In the evening it culminated with the mock-Churchillesque televised speech of PM Olmert, complete with the promise of 'pain, tears and blood'.
"The streets are still full of patriotic posters, most of them put up by banks and big corporations and bearing the promoter's logo beside the Israeli national flag and the stirring slogans 'United We Will Win!', 'Israel Is Strong!', 'Everybody Embraces Our Soldiers!'
"Meanwhile, at least many in the mainstream Left who in earlier days remained silent or outrightly supported the [war] have been shocked or moved by the Qana carnage. Meretz leader Yossi Beilin at long last came to the conclusion that the 'continuation of the war is useless and counterproductive'.... A few hours before he made this statement, a leader of the Meretz Youth declared her resignation, feeling 'sick and tired of being involved in a peace movement which supports war.' And a group of Meretz activists, led by former MKs Naomi Hazan and Yael Dayan, participated in [a] protest outside the Defence Ministry....
"The influential dovish commentator Nahum Bar'nea wrote in Yediot Aharonot: '... I have confidence in the army's High Command, but having confidence does not stop me from having painful questions. Didn't the government, the army, the political system, the media, all let themselves be carried away by blind enthusiasm which serves only the enemy? I have heard [...] Peretz boasting that he had 'released the army from all restrictions' about harming 'civilian populations which live at the side of Hizbollah militants.' We saw the results of this 'release' yesterday, with the bodies of women and children ... in Qana.
"So, there is every reason for the anti-war movement to continue and intensify its own 'offensive'. Demonstrations take place every day in various cities. Tonight ... not far from where the Inner Cabinet ministers met to approve a wide-scale extension of the ground invasion into LebanonGush Shalom took part in a coordinating meeting of the main peace groups, which resolved on holding a larger protest in the weekend.
"The speeches of PM Olmert are full of bombastic cliches on 'our heroic boys in uniform', but the 32-year-old Reserve Captain Amir Fester was not convinced: he went to prison yesterday rather than obey the order to enter Lebanon ... his girlfriend Nitzan Lahav told Yediot Aharonot. 'The more the war continued he was increasingly troubled. In the beginning we like everybody supported the war, but we came to the conclusion that within two weeks there will anyway be an agreement with the Lebanese. So why not stop it now and end the killings?' "
Israeli Peace Group Publishes Anti-War Ad
The Israeli Peace Group, Gush Shalom published an anti-war ad in the Ha'aretz daily on Aug. 1. Here is the text of the ad, in translation:
"We warned them and called on them to escape!
"That is disgusting hypocrisy.
"Because we have:
"Bombed the roads.
"Destroyed the bridges.
"Cut off the supply of gasoline.
"Killed whole families on the way.
"There is only one way of preventing more such disasters, which turn us into monsters:
"T O S T O P!
"There is no military solution!"