|Southwest Asia News Digest
Jordan's Abdullah Warns of Inevitable War
May 22 (EIRNS)In an ABC interview today, King Abdullah II of Jordan said that the Arab Spring, starting in Tunis, was triggered by the world economic crisis, which was hitting particularly hard at young people in the Arab world. This triggered a political awakening. He defended his own response, saying that he immediately created a national dialogue, and issued two new laws, one on political parties and another on electoral reforms. Elections will take place end of the year, and he said that he is confident that Jordan will remain stable.
He then criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for refusing to move forward on the peace process, and warned that the status quo will remain in force for the remainder of 2011, and until there is a new war.
Abdullah explained that there have been either wars or Intifadas every two or two-and-a-half years for decades, because there has been no breakthrough on Israel-Palestine relations. He attacked Israel for coming up with new excuses for why no peace progress has been made. He also said that he is certain, from his own direct dialogue, that President Bashar Assad is in charge and is calling the shots in Syria. He said that Assad needs to reach out and start a national dialogue.
Abbas Calls for International Recognition of Palestinian State
May 17 (EIRNS)In an op-ed in the New York Times, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appealed to the United States and other members of the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinians will present the motion during the September session of the UN General Assembly. Such a recognition "would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice."
Abbas writes: "Minutes after the State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948, the United States granted it recognition. Our Palestinian state, however, remains a promise unfulfilled."
This is a reference to the fact that, at that time, President Harry Truman recognized Israel the very same day that it declared its independence, in spite of the fact that its borders had not been fixed, and it was in the midst of a war with the Arab population in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine. The conflict soon was spun into the first Arab-Israel War which, like all wars in this region, was orchestrated by Great Britain.
Abbas's point is that the argument to recognize a Palestinian state stands on even greater legitimacy than that of Israel in 1948. Abbas writes: "We have met all prerequisites to statehood listed in the Montevideo Convention, the 1933 treaty that sets out the rights and duties of states. The permanent population of our land is the Palestinian people, whose right to self-determination has been repeatedly recognized by the United Nations, and by the International Court of Justice in 2004. Our territory is recognized as the lands framed by the 1967 border, though it is occupied by Israel."
In addition, even the World Bank has certified that the institutions of the Palestinian National Authority are ready for statehood. Thus, if the U.S. and other UN members recognized a Palestinian state, then the other outstanding issues, such as permanent borders, Israeli settlements, East Jerusalem, and the holy places. could be negotiated by two sovereign states.
After all, Abbas writes, "we have been negotiating with the State of Israel for 20 years without coming any closer to realizing a state of our own. We cannot wait indefinitely while Israel continues to send more settlers to the occupied West Bank and denies Palestinians access to most of our land and holy places, particularly in Jerusalem. Neither political pressure nor promises of rewards by the United States have stopped Israel's settlement program."
The fact that Obama will continue to do nothing to push a peace agreement, is underscored by the resignation of his own special Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, on May 13. Given Obama's absolute failure to promote peace, it is not surprising that the last days have seen an escalation of violence in the region during the annual commemoration of the "Nabka" of expulsion of Palestinians from their lands as a result of the 1948 war.
Obama Grovels at AIPAC, But He Sure Didn't Like It
May 22 (EIRNS)President Barack Obama delivered a half-hour speech May 22, at the annual AIPAC convention, and, not surprisingly, he grovelled for campaign cash, but made it clear at a few points that, while he is excellent at grovelling, this Nerobama really doesn't enjoy it. The President emphasized the positive throughout much of the speech, revelling in the introduction he got as the man who finally got Osama bin Laden, swearing to veto any attempt by the Palestinians to win statehood recognition at the United Nations General Assembly in September, harshly criticizing the Hamas-Fatah unity agreement, accusing Hezbollah of terrorism, and vowing to use all means necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
But the President was still clearly angry at being "dissed," in front of the cameras in the Oval Office, at the end of his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 20. At one point, he went into a tirade over the fact that he was "misquoted" and unfairly attacked for his reference to the 1967 Israeli borders, in his previous day's policy address at the State Department.
While Obama is dining with the Queen and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace on May 24 and 25, Netanyahu will be running around Washington, speaking before a joint session of the U.S. Congress and delivering his own speech before AIPAC. In all of this sound and fury, no one in his right mind expects to see any progress on the Israel-Palestine negotiations.
Of Israeli Leaks and Spies
May 19 (EIRNS)It has been revealed that the resignation of Uzi Arad from his position as National Security Advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year was because he had leaked secret information involving secret nuclear talks between the U.S. and Israel. Two investigations found that it was Arad who was responsible for the leak; Arad claimed he did it inadvertently, and he will not be prosecuted.
Meanwhile an Israeli military attaché was expelled from Russia for allegedly spying last week.
Millions Take to the Streets in Egypt Again
May 17 (EIRNS)An estimated 1 million protesters took to the streets in Alexandria, and another 1 million in Cairo, Egypt, on May 13, in another mass show of support for the continuing Arab revolution, and against the second series of neo-Salafi attacks against Coptic Christian churches. The Alexandria demonstration was the largest in that city since the beginning of the protests in January.
The fact that a million or more people also turned out in Tahrir Square in Cairo, delivered a powerful message to those remnants of the old Mubarak security apparatus, who are encouraging the neo-Salafi fanatics to provoke sectarian violence, in an effort to roll back the revolution. A leader of the protest movement in Alexandria told EIR that the turnout was a major victory, because it was a direct call for ecumenical collaboration in moving the process of reform forward.
It was also noteworthy that today, National Public Radio in the United States featured a news report, linking the neo-Salafi violence to Saudi Arabia. Not only are the Saudis pouring money into the most violent and fundamentalist networks in Egypt and other countries around the Middle East. One expert from the Al Ahram Institute explained that the Saudis are out to wreck the Arab Spring revolts, in order to save the status quo and suppress any future demands for reform in the Sunni Arab world. The NPR segment reflected a growing pattern of news coverage, noting that the Saudis are consciously trying to crush the Arab Spring, and are directly financing radical fundamentalist and outright terrorist networks in pursuit of this effort.