|Southwest Asia News Digest
CENTCOM Commander Urges Diplomacy, Not War, With Iran
Sept. 23 (EIRNS)Associated Press reports that in an interview with Al-Jazeera television in Qatar Sept. 21, the chief of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), Adm. William Fallon, said that he does not believe that current tensions with Iran will lead to war, and urged greater emphasis be placed on dialogue and diplomacy.
"I expect that there will be no war and that is what we ought to be working for. We should find ways through which we can bring countries to work together for the benefit of all.... It is not a good idea to be in a state of war. We ought to try and to do our utmost to create different conditions," Admiral Fallon is quoted (ellipses as reported by AP). Fallon is also quoted in a partial transcript released today by Al-Jazeera, that "This constant drum beat of conflict is what strikes me which is not helpful and not useful."
Cheney Reported To Be Pushing Israel to Attack Iran
Sept. 23 (EIRNS)Newsweek magazine reported today that Vice President Dick Cheney is considering a plan to have Israel launch missile attacks against Iran's nuclear site, in order to trigger an Iranian reaction which would be used to justify direct U.S. involvement. Newsweek quotes David Wurmser, until recently Cheney's Middle East advisor and a neo-con lunatic, telling a group of people: "Cheney had been mulling the idea of pushing for limited Israeli missile strikes against the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz ... in order to provoke Tehran into lashing out." Newsweek reports that it had corroborated Wurmser's remarks.
Blackwater Atrocities in Iraq Expose Ugly U.S. Strategy
Sept. 21 (EIRNS)"If the United States does not back the Iraqi government on its decision" to ban the Blackwater mercenaries, after they killed 20 Iraqis, "the entire U.S. invasion, occupation, and Iraq policy will be exposed as a fraud," a high-level retired U.S. military officer, with decades of experience in the Persian Gulf, told EIR today. If the U.S. overrides the Iraqis, it will be clear to the world that there is no Iraqi sovereignty whatever, and that the mercenary firms have a "license to kill." The slap in the face to Iraqi sovereignty will also cause a new spike in the insurgency against the U.S. occupation.
Blackwater's erosion of military discipline is another nail in the coffin of the U.S. military, which has been strained to the point of being "broken," first because of the nature of Vice President Dick Cheney's imperial deployment of unilateral, preventive war, and second because the war was unnecessarilyand deliberatelyprolonged, by setting up an occupation to enrich Anglo-American "profiteers" like Halliburton, Cheney's company, which is still paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Blackwater killings are exactly what EIR exposed in its April 7, 2006 issue, in a feature called "Halliburton's War," where it warned that Iraq was to become "the PMCs' [private military corporations] Shangri-la: the first truly neo-feudal imperial occupation of their post-Treaty of Westphalia world," by decision of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and their hand-picked occupation chief, Paul Bremer.
EIR uncovered that the design to hand the "preventive war" in Iraq over to mercenaries modelled on the British East India Company's imperial death squads, was the brainchild of Synarchist financiers Felix Rohatyn and George Shultz. As early as 1995, in a series on the British empire's assault on the nation-state, EIR exposed the role of Aegis, Sandline, and the PMC killers in Africawho today are the major contractors in Iraq. EIR's story on the Shultz/Rohatyn duo behind Cheney's war plans can be found here: "Rohatyn, Shultz, Cheney 'Privatization' Scheme To Wreck U.S. National Security" (EIR March 28, 2006).
Claims of Syrian Nuclear Site Are Israeli Disinformation
Sept. 21 (EIRNS)The claims, as leaked from the U.S. National Security Council to the Washington Post last week, that the U.S. has "new information" showing Syrian nuclear sitesis pure Israeli disinformation, reported a well-informed U.S. intelligence source to EIR. The U.S. has no independent intelligence as to Syrian nuclear sites, the source said, citing the false statement in the Sept. 21 Post that the United States is "believed to have provided Israel with some corroboration of the original intelligence."
This is not true, said the source, and is especially dangerous because the Republican Partyand some Democratsnow consider the report of Syrian/North Korea cooperation on a secret nuclear program to be an article of faith. This is a repeat of the type of lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, that were hoked up through neo-conservative channels in Israel, to Prime Minister Tony Blair's office in Britain, and into the U.S.
The source drew attention to the report in the Sept. 13 Post that, "The new information, particularly images received in the past 30 days, has been restricted to a few senior officials under the instructions of national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, leaving many in the intelligence community unaware of it or uncertain of its significance." This "intelligence" is a fraud, said the source.
Rice Backs Israel's New Action Against Gaza
Sept. 19 (EIRNS)Just hours after Israel's security cabinet declared Gaza an "enemy entity," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew in to assure the Israelis that they had the full backing of the Bush Administration. During a joint press conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Rice stated, "We are hopeful that [bilateral dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians] can move forward to common understandings of a way forward to the creation of a Palestinian state, so that the that two states can live side by side in peace and freedom." But when asked specifically about the Israeli declaration, Rice declared that "we will not abandon the innocent Palestinians in Gaza," but "Hamas is indeed a hostile entity. It's a hostile entity to the United States as well."
During their press conference, both Rice and Livni managed to ignore the fact that the Palestinians had a free and fair election in 2006, and that, since then, the U.S., Israel, and the European Union have been punishing the people of Gaza for voting the "wrong" way.
In a statement released on Sept. 19, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called on the Israeli government to reconsider its decision to declare the Gaza Strip a hostile territory. He warned Israel that cutting off vital services (electricity and natural gas) to Gaza, as Israel has threatened to do, was a violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws.
Bombing May Sabotage Moves To Break Lebanese Deadlock
Sept. 19 (EIRNS)A car bomb in Beirut today killed Member of Parliament Antoine Ghanem, and killed or wounded over two dozen others. Ghanem, an MP since 2000, was a member of the right-wing Christian Phalange party. The bombing set off fears in the region that the broadly supported initiative of Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, to convene the Parliament on Sept. 25, to elect a President to succeed the outgoing Emil Lahoud, would be sabotaged. The deadlocked Parliament has not met in six months. Since there is fear of Lebanon splitting into two parts, there is widespread support for Berri's initiative.
Ghenem himself recently told the Maronite League that Berri's initiative is the only serious solution. The Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Peter Sfeir, who spent last week in discussions at the Vatican, held a meeting with the Lebanese bishops upon his return, encouraging support for Berri's initiative. The bishops issued a statement the same day as the bombing, saying that no parliamentarian should boycott the session, as that would be tantamount to boycotting the nation. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora just returned from talks in Saudi Arabia, where King Abdullah also expressed support for Berri's initiative.
But the bombing set off fevered anti-Syrian, anti-unity reaction. MP René Moawad, for instance, lashed out, blaming Syria for the bombing. "It is the end to any dialogue. We will not dialogue with murderers," he threatened. To add fuel to the fire, the White House issued an official statement calling the bombing "a politically motivated assassination. The victims of the assassinations have publicly sought to end Syria's interference in Lebanon."