|Southwest Asia News Digest
Blair Sides with Netanyahu Against Quartet at Peace Talks
Aug. 26 (EIRNS)Against the wishes of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell, President Obama invited "Quartet Representative" Tony Blair to the Sept. 1 opening dinner of the direct talks between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister and British puppet Benjamin Netanyahu.
In the run-up to the talks, Blair, who has been hyperactive in the region over the last week, sided with Netanyahu in saying that there should be "no pre-conditions" and that the previous near-peace agreements be discarded as applicable. In contrast, the Quartet, which Blair ostensibly represents, issued a statement from its pre-direct negotiations in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary Clinton, calling for the talks to be based on a freeze of settlements, and a guaranteed withdrawal to the pre-1967 War borders. Whereas Netanyahu only accepted Clinton's invitation to the talks based on a "no-pre-conditions" formula, the Palestinians only accepted an invitation based on the Quartet statement.
Now, Netanyahu and hardliner Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have stated that they cannot divide Jerusalem under pre-1967 bordersi.e., so that East Jerusalem can be capital to a Palestinian Stateand they cannot turn the moratorium on the settler crazies into a permanent freeze, or Netanyahu's right-wing coalition government will fall. Meanwhile, President Abbas has said that if there is not a settlement freeze, he will break off direct talks.
While using the position of "Quartet Representative" to fatten his fortunes in one conflict-of-interest after another, Blair has performed next to nothing of his main Quartet assignment, namely, developing the West Bank and Gaza Strip for statehood. In the West Bank he takes a tourist-oriented "bottom up" approach to the economy, and in the Gaza Strip, he has refused to fight Netanyahu's deliberate policy of keeping the general population near starvation after "Operation Cast Lead" targetted civilian food production, businesses, and a smattering of infrastructure.
Egypt Moves on Nuclear Power Plant
Aug. 26 (EIRNS)The start-up of the Bushehr nuclear power reactor in Iran, the first in all of the Middle East and North Africa, has created momentum for pushing forward reactor projects that have been on the drawing boards for years. Yesterday, Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah, called for Lebanon to build a nuclear reactor, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced plans to start building the country's first nuclear power plant, naming a site on the Mediterranean coast.
Mubarak's announcement marks a major breakthrough. The site is at El Dabaa, which was first considered for a nuclear power reactor back in the 1970s. Work on building the infrastructure for a proposed French reactor was begun in the 1980s, but the project collapsed for lack of financing. Since then, the tourist tycoons have been fighting to build hotels there. Now the government has won the fight, after a decision by the Supreme Council of Nuclear Energy, in consultation with Mubarak. Presidential spokesman Suleiman Awad is quoted by AP as saying that studies by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency have demonstrated that El Dabaa is the best site for reactors.
Egypt's Minister of Electricity Hassan Younis said the decision is meant to prioritize the project. He added that bid proposals for the plant's construction will be opened by the end of the year.
In Lebanon, in a speech televised over Hezbollah's Al Manar TV station on Aug. 24, Nasrallah called on the nation to build a nuclear power reactor. "The cost of building the Bushehr reactor was less than Lebanon's investment in the electricity network. I call on the government to build a nuclear reactor to generate electricity, and then we can also sell energy to Syria, Cyprus, and other countries in the region," he said.
All the countries in the region want nuclear power stations. The United Arab Emirates has recently signed a contract for nuclear cooperation with South Korea to build four reactors. Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, and Sudan have all announced plans for developing nuclear energy, over the last year.
U.S. State Department: Iran Nuclear Plant Not a Risk
Aug. 26 (EIRNS)When State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley put out the statement on Aug. 21, that Iran's first operational nuclear plant was not seen as a risk for the creation of nuclear weapons, it reflected intense negotiations between the U.S. national security team and Russia, commented high-level U.S. intelligence sources. Crowley stated: "Bushehr is designed to provide electricity to Iran. It is not viewed as a proliferation risk, because Russia is providing the needed fuel and taking back the spent nuclear fuel, which is the principal source of potential proliferation."
At the same time, these sources report, the leading Israeli pushers of the British Empire's war against IranPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebermanwere warned by Russian officials at the highest level that the Bushehr plan was under Russian supervision.
But as Lyndon LaRouche emphasized in an LPAC release on Aug. 16, the real source of the war danger is the British hysteria over the total collapse of the global dollar/sterling financial system. The British, he warned, can trigger an attack on Iran by Israel, utilizing their imperial control over key regional assets, including both the Jabotinsky apparatus in Israel and factions of the Saudi royal family.
There is no question that British assets inside the U.S. continue to demand war through their propaganda outlets, which include the Weekly Standard (July 26 cover story, "Should Israel Bomb Iran? Better Safe than Sorry"), the Atlantic Monthly, and neocon John Bolton's mouth, which had been flapping on Israeli Radio for a preemptive strike even before Bushehr went on line.