|Southwest Asia News Digest
From the Maghreb to Madison: The Global Mass Strike Comes to Wisconsin
Feb. 18 (EIRNS)Demonstrations against austerity are exploding in the state capitals of the United States, and this is nothing less than a global mass strike in response to the worldwide breakdown crisis. There is no "local" situation, said Lyndon LaRouche today, the breakdown is "global," and you have to say, "global." Wisconsin is an extension of what happened in Egypt, in Tunisia, and is happening in Bahrain. "So, I'm referring to the Governor of Wisconsin, as the Sheikh of West Bahrain," LaRouche said. See this week's EIR InDepth: "From the Maghreb to Madison: The Global Mass Strike Comes to Wisconsin."
Obama Kills Peace with Veto of UN Resolution vs. Settlements
Feb. 19 (EIRNS)On Jan. 19, in thorough disgust with the Obama Adminstration's capitulation to warmonger Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a resolution condemning Israeli building of settlements on the Palestinian Territories was submitted to the UN Security Council by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the majority of Arab nations that support Palestinian statehood.
Less than one month later, on Feb. 18, the United States vetoed the resolution, against the otherwise unanimous support for it (14 out of 15 states) among the members of the UNSC. In addition, the resolution was supported by 120 sovereign state members of the General Assembly.
Obama's idiotic decision to veto the resolution flies in the face of warnings sent to him in a letter signed by dozens of former American ambassadors, cabinet officials, policy makers, rabbis, and academics. The signers of the letter, which was initiated by Steven Clemons of the New America Foundation, include former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, former Ambassadors Chas. Freemen, James Dobbins, Wendy Chamberlin, Edward Walker (to Israel), Nicholas Veliotes, John Gunther Dean, Richard Murphy, Thomas Pickering, William Quandt, retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (who had been deputy to Colin Powell), and former CIA senior official Paul Pillar, to name just a few.
"The time has come for a clear signal from the United States to the parties and to the broader international community that the United States can and will approach the conflict with ... the respect for international law required if it is to play a constructive role in the conflict's resolution," the letter to Obama said, and told him to instruct UN Ambassador Susan Rice to vote for this resolution.
Obama's whorish electoral politics trumped truthfulness, as his administration gears up to raise over $1 billion for his 2012 election campaign. The Washington Post wrote Feb. 19, that the resolution "would have angered Israel and its U.S. supporters, including Republican lawmakers who had urged the Obama Administration to stand with Israel at all costs."
In fact, the pressure from the Congress was bipartisan. Reps. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) circulated a letter on Feb. 17 to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to "strongly make it clear that the U.S. will oppose any UN efforts to pressure Israel on the 'settlements' issue." The Walsh-Crowley letter, with 110 signatures, followed on the heels of an effort by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who wrote a letter to Obama, last month, demanding that he "pledge in response to this letter to veto any UN Security Council resolution that criticizes Israel regarding final status issues."
Ambassador Rice blithely told the Security Council that the U.S. veto should "not be understood to mean we support settlement activity." In fact, she said, "Continued settlement activity violates Israel's international commitments, devastates trust between the parties and threatens the prospect for peace." But a resolution declaring Israeli settlement activity illegal (which everyone knows is true) would risk "hardening the positions of both sides," she said.
However, the veto has killed the phony "peace process" that British agent Obama, and his Oxford-trained UN Envoy Susan Rice pretended to support, while allowing the Netanyahu government to get away with murder, and the Palestinian Authoritywhich is extremely weakis saying so. Just after the veto, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said, "This veto is not going to help the peace process, and it is going to complicate things in the Middle East.... The whole area is boiling and this American attitude is not going to help stabilize the region."
On Jan. 19, just as the UNSC resolution was being introduced, Palestine Liberation Organization senior official Nabil Sha'ath, who also is serving as a negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, and has served as the PA's acting foreign minister, told BBC television that the U.S., Britain, and the UN should stop blocking a resolution under Article 7, and enforce the resolution, just as they had done with the resolution against Iraq concerning weapons inspections.
Sha'ath said that international law demands that the Israelis get "out of our country," and that the end of illegal occupation is the only way to avert a failure of peace negotiations, which would lead ultimately "to an Apocalypse."
Pentagon's Deep Concerns Over Unrest in Arabia
Feb. 16 (EIRNS)Washington intelligence sources confirm the reports of "deep concern" at the Pentagon over the protests in the oil-rich Persian Gulf state of Bahrain, base for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which operates at least one aircraft carrier in the Gulf at all times, along with an "amphibious ready group" of ships with Marines aboard.
A spokeswoman for 5th Fleet, Navy Cmdr. Amy Derrick-Frost, said on Feb. 16, "We are monitoring the situation here, as the protests are not directed at the U.S. military presence." Bahrain is one of four Gulf states with U.S. Patriot missiles based on their soil to defend against "potential" attack from Iran.
Meanwhile, the Middle East Newswire reported the arrival of a flotilla of American warships, which consists of the USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group of six warships, in the Suez Canal. Some of the helicopters on many of their decks have been put there to carry and drop the 2,200 marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which has been bolstered by two special operations battalions. The USS Scranton, which is designed to support special forces operations, also has joined the flotilla.
The newswire says the U.S. claims that the warships are there in preparation for the possible evacuation of Americans from the region.
'Ambrose of Arabia' Fears Arab Mass Strike Will Send Oil Prices Soaring
Feb. 18 (EIRNS)The City of London's own would-be Lawrence of Arabia, Ambrose Evans Pritchard, fears the Arab mass strike could drive oil prices as high as its 2008 peak, $147 a barrel.
Pritchard pointed to the deaths in Bahrain and in Libya, and quotes Faysal Itani, of the consultants Exclusive Analysis, as saying, "Bahrain is the main danger, not because it is intrinsically important, but because it could trigger intervention by Saudi Arabia. We have heard reports that the Saudis have already dispatched troops and equipment to put down the uprising."
Itani adds, the "real issue" is whether the ferment spread to Saudi Arabia. "The Kingdom's Eastern province is also mostly Shi'ite and contains the vast majority of is oil reserves.... We do not believe things are as docile as presented. There is very high unemployment, deeply aggrieved minorities, and the army has been kept weak and divided for political reasons."