|Southwest Asia News Digest
LaRouche: Putin-Olmert Meeting Is Extremely Important
Oct. 19 (EIRNS)Lyndon LaRouche evaluated the Oct. 18 three-hour meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Russian President Putin as follows:
"This is extremely important, because we know exactly what it is. The point is, that the question is Iran ... it involves everything, including the U.S. policy on this missile-defense thing. And so, what Putin is going for, is to get a package which is attractive to a number of people, and see what can fly from it. It's obvious. And therefore, from the standpoint of Israel, are they going to go to this Annapolis meeting or not? The Annapolis meeting question hangs, to some degree, on specifically that question, why should they go? Maybe it's a liability to go. Maybe it's better that Israel doesn't go at all, rather than go to a boo-boo session.
"I think that's what the issue was," LaRouche continued, "because, obviously, Olmert would have to have that kind of information, and he would run like hell to Moscow to get it. A several-hour discussion? That is not a minor thing, especially with an Israeli talking to a Russian leader."
An Olmert spokesman told Ha'aretz newspaper, "Russian President Vladimir Putin exhibited great understanding of the Israeli position regarding all matters on the agenda, especially the Iranian issue. There was an open and serious atmosphere, and the prime minister is very pleased with the results of his visit."
LaRouche remarked, "Absolutely! That's exactly what I would expect. So, something worked. What, we don't knowbut something did."
Iran Must Be Included in Persian Gulf Security Arrangement
Oct. 17 (EIRNS)If there's to be peace in Southwest Asia, then all of the powers of the region must be included in any security architecture, and especially both the U.S. and Iran must recognize realities that they now refuse to accept. That was the response of Trita Parsi, the president of the National Iranian American Council, and the author of a new book entitled, Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the U.S., to a question from LaRouche PAC on how to get out of the pattern of balance-of-power politics that has dominated the region for the last 50 years or so.
Parsi, speaking at a book event hosted by the American Conservative Defense Alliance in Washington, D.C., said that the United States would have to recognize that Iran is a major regional power. Iran would have to accept Israel as a fact, though Iran has come closer to this than the Bush/Cheney regime has come to accepting Iran as a major regional power, as indicated by Iran's 2003 offer of a "grand bargain" to Washington, that included implicit acceptance of the Saudi peace offer that included a two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Parsi warned that if this is not done, "We'll see a continuation of the balance-of-power game that means a war every 7 to 12 years." He said this situation does not exist anywhere else in the world, because security architectures elsewhere are all-inclusive. "In the Middle East, we've pursued bilateral defense deals with individual states at the expense of other states."
Parsi also traced back the roots of the current situation in the Persian Gulf region to the U.S. decision to exclude Iran from the 1991 peace talks in Madrid. That exclusion, resulting from U.S. hubris after the defeat of Saddam Hussein, allowed the hardliners inside Iran to pursue a policy that Ayatollah Khomeini had actually prevented them from doing during the 1980s, which was to send soldiers to fight with the Shi'ites against Israel in Lebanon. "You can't create a stable order by excluding someone," Parsi said. "That gives them the incentive to undermine it."
Iraq Awards Power-Plant Contracts to Iran and China
Oct. 18 (EIRNS)The Iraqi electricity ministry has awarded contracts to Iran and China for the construction of power plants, alarming U.S. officials, today's New York Times reports. One Iran power project will be built in Sadr City in Baghdad. Iran will also provide cheap electricity from its power grid to southern Iraq, and will build another plant between the Shi'ite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, both in Iraq. The Chinese plant will be built in Wasit, by the Shanghai Heavy Industry firm.
The United States has already spent $5 billion on electricity projects in Iraq, with almost nothing to show for it. White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said today that the Administration doesn't have details on the projects, and of the Iranian and Chinese deals that "if it's legitimate and it's a good, productive way to contribute to helping the Iraqis rebuild, great." But, "if they are doing something that is a clandestine way to bring in foreign fighters into the country or to cause additional mischief, in addition to what they've already been doing, then we would be concerned."
Sanchez: Iraq War 'A Nightmare With No End in Sight'
Oct. 13 (EIRNS)Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez (ret.), the top U.S. commander in Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004, slammed the White House, the State Department, and the lack of leadership in Congress, for the disaster in Iraq. In a speech to military reporters and editors meeting in Arlington, Va. on Oct. 12, Sanchez said that "America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in Iraq." He attributed this failure to the failure of the Bush Administration to "employ and synchronize its political, economic and military power"; to the failure of Congress to provide focused oversight; to partisanship in both the Democratic and Republican parties, that has led to political decisions "that have endangered the lives of our sons and daughters"; and to "America's lack of commitment, priority and moral courage in this war effort."
As a result, "America is living a nightmare with no end in sight." The political leaders of the country "have unquestionably been derelict in the performance of their duty. In my profession, these types of leaders would be immediately relieved or court martialed," he said.
This is the first time Sanchez has spoken out publicly since he retired from the Army in 2006, and was, in many ways, the victim of the misleadership that he describes. He arrived in Iraq as the most junior three-star general in the Army, in the aftermath of the decisions by Paul Bremer, the U.S. proconsul in Baghdad, to disband the Iraqi Army, and purge Ba'ath Party members from their jobs, which created the conditions for the insurgency that began to build up that Summer. Sanchez described Gen. David Petraeus's "surge" strategy as a "desperate attempt" by an administration that has not accepted the political realities of this war. "Continued manipulations and adjustments to our military strategy will not achieve victory," he said. "The best we can do with this flawed approach is to stave off defeat."