|Southwest Asia News Digest
Senior Jewish Statesmen Pressure Congress vs. Netanyahu Madness
Nov. 1 (EIRNS)Henry Siegman, the former director of the American Jewish Congress, and now director of the U.S./Middle East Project warned in an New York Times op-ed today that Obama should not try to kiss up to the hysteria of the Israeli rightwing and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Siegman writes, "[A] White House campaign to ingratiate the president with Israel's public could be far more damaging [to the peace effort], because the reason for this unprecedented Israeli hostility toward an American president is a fear that President Obama is serious about ending Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
"Israelis do not oppose President Obama's peace efforts because they dislike him; they dislike him because of his peace efforts. He will regain their affection only when he abandons these efforts."
The real nub, Siegman explains, is a "pathology" of ideology that is aided and abetting by the major U.S. Jewish lobby organizationswhich actually is against what 80% of American Jewish people believe. That pathology, Siegman explains, is "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's message that the whole world is against Israel, and that Israelis are at risk of another Holocausta fear he invoked repeatedly during his address in September at the United Nations General Assembly in order to discredit Judge Richard Goldstone's Gaza fact-finding report...."
Meanwhile, Justice Richard Goldstone, a South African Jew and supporter of Israel, is himself fighting back against the lies being used by the Israeli government to bury the findings of his UN Commission on war crimes committed prior to and during the Gaza "Operation Cast Lead," December 2008-January 2009. On Oct. 29, Goldstone wrote a lengthy letter to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, ripping apart the assertions in H.R. 867which demands the U.S. reject and block the UN Goldstone report in every "multilateral fora." Goldstone delivers a point-by-point refutation of the "whereas" assertions in the resolution. The "whereas" clauses are so inaccurate that is impossible to accept that they are not deliberate lies.
One glaring example is that the resolution says that "whereas" the "mandate" for the UN investigation was only directed at Israeli war crimes, the U.S. should oppose this UN Report in every forum. Goldstone corrects: he personally insisted that the mandate include both Israeli and Palestinian violations of international lawwhich it did. Enough said!
Goldstone's full letter is being circulated by the American Jewish organization, Americans for Peace Now.
Congress Moves To Sabotage U.S. Cooperation with Russia, China on Iran
Oct. 28 (EIRNS)In an explicit move by British pawns in the U.S. House of Representatives to sabotage the U.S. State Department's efforts to cooperate with Russia and China in resolving the Iran nuclear situation, the House Foreign Affairs Committee today approved legislation to try to impose an embargo on Iran's importation of gasoline and refined petroleum products.
The mark-up of the "Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act," followed by a committee hearing on the Middle East, resembled more of an AIPAC fundraising rally than a serious Congressional deliberation. With a few exceptions, committee members were falling over each other to show how tough they can be in defense of Israel.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) was the among the most explicit in targetting China, attacking China's oil investments in Iran, and noting that China's investment in Iran now surpasses that of Germany.
The four committee members who spoke in opposition to the bill, all said that it would undermine the Administration's diplomatic opening toward Iran. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) charged that targetting China is a big part of this bill, noting that China is helping Iran develop the capacity to refine petroleum. He also stated that the legislation will disrupt what the President is trying to do, which is seeking a nuclear-free Middle East. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) both said that the unilateral sanctions imposed by the bill would tie the hands of the Administration and undermine its efforts.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said Congress should give Obama's diplomatic efforts a chance to work, since 30 years of no dialogue, and 15 years of sanctions, haven't accomplished anything, and, he pointed out, in contrast to all the previous talk about how sanctions would help the Iranian opposition, that the Iran protesters and dissidents don't want us to impose sanctions.
In the afternoon hearing, Rep. Ron Klein (D-FLA.), a strong advocate of cutting off firms that trade with Iran, said bluntly that the question of sanctions comes down to Russia and China, noting particularly that China is playing a substantial role in Iran. The State Department's Jeffrey Feltman responded, to no avail, that China has played a constructive role in the P5+1 regarding Iran.
Former Marine Combat Captain Resigns Afghanistan Post
Oct. 27 (EIRNS)A former U.S. Marine Corps officer, Capt. Matthew Hoh, who has served the last five months for the State Department as Senior Civilian Representative in the Zabul Province in Afghanistan, has gone public with his Sept. 10, 2009, four-page letter of resignation from his post, saying, "I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end. To put it simply: I fail to see the value or the worth in continued U.S. casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war."
He says, "The U.S. and NATO presence and operations in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non-Pashtun soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified. In both RC East and South, I have observed that the bulk of the insurgency fights not for the white banner of Taliban, but rather against the presence of foreign soldiers and taxes imposed by an unrepresentative government in Kabul...."
After detailing the multi-faceted and multi-level corruption of central and local Afghani governing bodies, and the election fraud, he adds, "Our support for this kind of government, coupled with a misunderstanding of the insurgency, reminds me horribly of our involvement with South Vietnam...."
The content of Hoh's letter echoes what senior retired military leaders, intelligence officers, and diplomats have told EIR over the last two monthsthat the Afghanistan situation cannot be won by military means. Hoh also says that the Obama Administration's stated goalto prevent al-Qaeda from regrouping in the area"would require us to additionally invade and occupy western Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, etc."
The Washington Post reports that after Hoh wrote his letter, he was implored not to resign by top administration officials, including Richard Holbrooke, and Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, the current U.S. Ambassador to Kabul, who offered him a special post alongside the Ambassador. To no avail.
Lebanese President Accuses Israel of Being Behind Katyusha Attacks
Oct. 29 (EIRNS)Lebanese President Michel Sleiman has accused Israel of being behind the rocket attacks that Tel Aviv has blamed on the Lebanese Hezbollah organization. Sleiman charged Israel with deploying its own collaborators in south Lebanon to fire Katyusha rockets into Israel in order to keep tension high in the region. Earlier this week, these rockets landed in northern Israel, an event which Israel used as an excuse to fire artillery into south Lebanon.
According to Ha'aretz, the Lebanese daily A-Sapir charged that Israel's declarations that it will continue its intelligence activities in south Lebanon proves Sleiman's charges. Israel maintains an extensive intelligence apparatus in south Lebanon that dates back to the time it had occupied a strip of territory along the border, and sponsored the so-called "South Lebanon Army." It also operates through drug-trafficking networks which smuggle narcotics into Israel for the local market and transshipment into Europe.
The Lebanese army had investigated where the Katyusha rocket was fired from, finding that was fired from a house of a local mayor who had had nothing to do with the action. They also found four rockets in another location that had been readied for firing.