|Southwest Asia News Digest
Giraldi: London's Iran 'Weapons' Dossier Is a Forgery
Dec. 30 (EIRNS)London has been accused of once again "cooking the books" to provoke a war against Irana repeat of the Tony Blair/Bush-Cheney operations against Iraq in 2001-03. Former CIA agent Phil Giraldi told Inter Press Service (IPS) reporter Gareth Porter that U.S. intelligence has concluded that the "dossier" on Iran's nuclear weapons program that was publicized in the Times of London on Dec. 14 is fraudulent. "U.S. intelligence has concluded that the document published recently by the Times of London, which purportedly describes an Iranian plan to do experiments on what the newspaper described as a neutron initiator for an atomic weapon, is a fabrication," said Porter. Giraldi also reported that his sources say that the United States is not involved in the forgery.
Giraldi, who writes for The American Conservative and antiwar.com, was one of the earliest analysts to report on the involvement of the operatives allied with former Vice President Dick Cheney in the forgery of the Niger "yellow cake" documents that were used to go to war against Iraq. He identifies the Times as a frequent channel for disinformation and war propaganda.
"The Rupert Murdoch chain [which owns the Times] has been used extensively to publish false intelligence from the Israelis and occasionally from the British government," Giraldi told IPS.
On Dec. 28, Lyndon LaRouche warned of London's role in provoking war against Iran in a statement published by LaRouche PAC. See EIR InDepth.
Murder of Palestinians Is Evidence of Netanyahu War Footing
Dec. 29 (EIRNS)The killing of three Palestinian men in Nablus on the West Bank, on Dec. 27 by Israeli special operations forces is being called a case of cold-blooded murder by their families, reported the Palestinian Media Center on Dec. 28. "Ghassan Abu Sharikh, and Raed Aserkji both were formerly held in Israeli jails and, along with Annan Sobh, were assassinated by a special unit and infantry soldiers," reported the PMC. "B'Tselem [an Israeli] human rights group has demanded the Israelis open an investigation.... The organization's spokeswoman Sarit Mikaelli told AFP: 'Based on the testimonies at the scene, it seems that two of the three ... were not armed and were shot when they tried to surrender.' "
The three were killed allegedly in retaliation for the killing of a Jewish settler in Nablus by unknown gunmen, but the action, praised by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, brought criticism from the United States, because it undermines the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. The assassinations occurred in "Area A," which is supposed to be under PA control, with no Israeli security forces permitted to operate there.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is blasting the U.S. government for "questioning" why the Israelis acted preemptively and unilaterally, breaking previous agreements with President Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and the PA. This is just the beginning of a new round of destabilization, reported EIR's Washington source, who noted that the three men were reportedly part of the PLO's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
There is no evidence that they had anything to do with the killing of the Israeli settler, but the incident is being blamed in some Israeli media on Abbas. The incident, according to the Washington source, suggests that there are factions in Israel that are trying to provoke a new Intifada, to sabotage any Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The timing is indicative of this: Obama Administration Middle East peace emissary George Mitchell is due to arrive in the region right after the New Year, reportedly carrying draft Memoranda of Reference (MORs) to try to get talks to resume. The incident also comes at a critical moment in negotiations between Israel and Hamas over a prisoner swap, involving Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and PLO leader Marwan Barghouti.
Israeli Press: Strike Against Iran Coming?
Dec. 30 (EIRNS)Within hours of the publication of Lyndon LaRouche's statement warning of the danger of a British-orchestrated war using an Israeli strike against Iran, Israeli military correspondent Amos Harel wrote in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz that 2010 will be "the year of Iran." "Israel is striving to develop a military option," according to Harel. "Judging by certain leaks and remarks emanating from Jerusalem, the use of force seems to be a real possibility. Such preparations are necessary: The Israel Defense Forces must have a military plan in case other measures fail....
"Military preparations are also essential to prod the United States and Europe to exert maximum pressure on the Islamic Republic. This will not happen unless Western states come to believe that Israel Air Force planes are starting to rev up their engines."
In a reference to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Harel went on: "This date with destiny has caused some Israeli leaders to adopt a messianic tone. Some even see a tempting opportunity to change the wider strategic reality in the region." He wrote that while Air Force pilots are confident in their ability to strike targets, more senior military officials see "their primary mission as preventing any foolish acts in the coming year." Nonetheless, the General Staff will only follow orders of the government.
Harel warned: "The Air Force is capable of delivering a certain amount of explosives to a given target and bringing most of its aircraft back home intact. But it is doubtful whether Israel can allow itself to act against the wishes of the United Statesto stand alone against an Iranian response and begin an open-ended operation against a nation of 70 million people."
Harel also warned that another disaster like the 1982 war in Lebanon must be avoided, and quoted Maj. Gen. (res.) Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, former head of Military Intelligence, who cautioned about internal developments in Iran, citing the nuclear program and the anti-government demonstrations, saying, "Both of them moved up a gear in the past six months, but it is unclear which will reach its destination first. The regime is losing its legitimacy with so much blood spilled on the streets. Israel must now show caution and patience."
While praising President Obama's caution in dealing with Iran, saying he "has acted exactly as he should," Harel concluded, "What Israel needs now is a responsible adult, one who knows how to pull the emergency lever should the need arise. If such an adult cannot be found in Jerusalem, we must hope there is one sitting in the White House."