|Southwest Asia News Digest
LaRouche: Petraeus Should Be Fired for Threatening Iran
Jan. 11 (EIRNS)Gen. David Petraeus should be fired, said Lyndon LaRouche today, when briefed on Petraeus's statement that Iran "can certainly be bombed," in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, at the Tampa, Florida headquarters of the Central Command, which Petraeus heads.
"This guy should be fired," said LaRouche. "He's not working for the United States. Get him out of there. He's working for the British; let them pay him."
Petraeus threatened: "Well, certainly they [Iran] can be bombed. The level of effect would vary with who it is that carries it out, what ordnance they have, and what capability they can bring to bear."
Petraeus has been warned by active-duty and retired military and intelligence officials about the likelihood of massive retaliation against the U.S. through asymmetrical warfare, should Iran be bombed by either the United States, or British puppet Israel, which would be blamed on the U.S. by Iranian hardliners. Such a strike would lead to the consolidation of power by the Iranian hardliners, which is exactly what the British oligarchy has in mind, to continue its perpetual war strategy.
Tariq Aziz Lawyer: Indict Blair for War Crimes in Iraq
Jan. 11 (EIRNS)International law is breathing down the neck of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. On Jan. 10, the British newspaper The People reported that Giovanni Di Stefano, attorney for Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi prime minister who was overthrown and imprisoned by the United States since March 2003, filed criminal charges with the office of British Attorney General Baroness Patricia Scotland, to indict Blair for violations of the Geneva Conventions. "We want Mr. Blair to answer to the law and not to an inquiry that means nothing," said Di Stefano, referring to Sir John Chilcot's Independent Inquiry Commission on Iraq, which is ongoing.
Di Stefano posted an announcement of the proceedings on the website of his law firm, Studio Legale Internationale, on Jan. 9. He had filed, on behalf of his client, two counts of an "Indictment in the [United Kingdom] Central Criminal Court," and has requested an immediate response from the Attorney General. The charges are:
"Count 1 ... contrary to section 1 and article 130 of schedule 3 of the Geneva Conventions Act 1957. PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE: ANTHONY CHARLES LYNTON BLAIR did, between the 20th day of March 2003 and the 15th day of January 2007, procure the commission of a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, in that he wilfully deprived Tariq Aziz, a prisoner of war, of the rights of a fair and regular trial....
"Count 2 ... contrary to section 1 and article 50 of the Geneva Conventions Act 1957. PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE: ... BLAIR did, between the 1st day of January 2002 and the 27th day of June 2007, wilfully cause great suffering to the people of the Republic of Iraq, which suffering was not justified by military necessity and which was carried out unlawfully and wantonly."
This legal action was initiated in December 2009, after Blair made statements admitting that he had no evidence of a threat by Iraq against Britain, or any other country, but still supported the 2003 attack on Iraq because he favored the removal of Saddam Hussein. Baroness Scotland's office has acknowledged receipt of Di Stefano's complaint, according to the British press. London is very touchy about charges of war crimes and violations of the Geneva Conventions, in light of war crimes charges against Israeli leaders for their conduct in the January 2009 war on the Gaza Strip. In December 2009, then-Israeli Prime Minister Tzipi Livni had to cancel a trip to London because her office had been informed that an arrest warrant was pending against her, in a case filed by Palestinian victims of the Israeli attacks.
Top Pentagon Official: No Evidence That Iran Is Building Nuclear Bomb
Jan. 16 (EIRNS)In a Jan. 15 interview with Voice of America, the chief of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, said that the key findings of the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's nuclear energy program are still valid. "The bottom line assessments of the NIE still hold true," he said.
This statement was put out one day before officials from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany (known as the Permanent Five +1 or P5+1) met in New York to assess Iran's response to their offer in October to exchange uranium for nuclear fuel, and to consider possible next steps. While the U.S. representative, Undersecretary of State William Burns, was warning Iran there would be "consequences" of not accepting the offer, the New York meeting ended with no draft proposals for further sanctions. China was strongly against rushing into further sanctions during uncompleted negotiations with Iran. China's position was reportedly backed by Russia.
The NIE was a consensus judgment of all U.S. intelligence agencies, which concluded that Iran had halted all activities which could have led to the development of nuclear arms in 2003. Burgess said the Pentagon had seen no indication that Tehran was planning to resume the program allegedly aimed at developing nuclear weapons.
"We have not seen indication that the government has made the decision to move ahead with the program. But the fact still remains that we don't know what we don't know," Burgess said, adding that the Pentagon would continue to work on verifying that Iran is pursuing peaceful nuclear activities.
Will Domestic Corruption Scandal Threaten Netanyahu?
Jan. 15 (EIRNS)Sarah Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is being sued by her former housekeeper for mistreatment, a suit that could spell trouble for her husband. Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's largest daily, has an interview with "Lillian," who worked for Sarah for six years, and has now filed a claim with the Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court.
"Sarah Netanyahu abused me," Lillian said, "paid me less than minimum wage, didn't pay my social benefits, forced me to work Saturdays even though I observe Shabbat...."
According to the claim, "after Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu was elected prime minister, Lillian was not allowed to call the defendant by her first name." She "would adorn herself in her feathers and shout aloud: 'This is my beautiful house, and I am the mother of the State of Israel.' "
This lawsuit, which is being denounced by Sarah as "slanderous," could evolve into something bigger. For example, it is not yet revealed whether any labor laws were broken in this case, which could create a corruption investigation of the Netanyahu household, as occurred at the end of Benjamin Netanyahu's first term as prime minister.
Senior Iranian Envoy Quits Over Killings
Jan. 15 (EIRNS)A veteran Iranian diplomat who was consul in Norway, Mohammed-Reza Heydari, resigned his post on Jan. 7, and denounced his government's brutal suppression of huge opposition demonstrations last month, The Times of London reported. In an interview with the Norwegian television channel NRK, Heydari said that he decided to resign after Iranian security forces killed a dozen demonstrators on Dec. 27.
"I hope my friends and colleagues in other parts of the world who see and hear me now and know me, will move in the same direction.... I hope they will manage to sacrifice some personal interests and rather think of what is in the interest of their people and their nation," he said.