|Southwest Asia News Digest
Attack on Iran Being Stoked in U.S., Israel
July 27 (EIRNS)As the danger of a British-directed coup inside the United States rises, so does the threat of a war against Iran, which would be part and parcel of that coup operation. Three recent developments highlight that danger.
First, answering war-mongering questions at Senate confirmation hearings on July 26, on his appointment to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey replied, based on communications he's had with Iraqis since his last tour there: "It's their observation, in some cases supported by intelligence ... that Iran's activities in southern Iraq are intended to produce some kind of Beirut-like moment and then, in so doing, to send a message that they have expelled us from Iraq." The reference to Beirut is to the October 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks at the Beirut airport, which killed more than 250 Marines and led to President Reagan ending the U.S. military mission in Lebanon. One expert pointed out to EIR, that the greatest point of vulnerability of the remaining U.S. troops in Iraq will come as the drawdown leads to outright withdrawal, which complicates force protection.
Secondly, a report in the July 27 Jerusalem Post plays up a joint U.S.-Israeli missile-defense exercise, "Juniper Cobra," scheduled to take place in early 2012. While these maneuvers have taken place each of the last five years, this year they are going to be far more developed, testing interoperability of U.S. and Israeli defenses in the event of a war with Iranexplicitly. Last week, Gen. Mark Welsh, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, part of U.S. European Command (of which Israel is a part) was in Israel planning the maneuvers. The U.S. is deploying a second Aegis missile-defense ship into the Mediterranean soon, and will deploy another X-Band radar system into southern Europe, which is identical to a system given to Israel by the U.S. in 2008.
The Washington Post fanned the flames, July 27, with a report playing up the conflict between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Analysis from an undisclosed Middle Eastern country, said to usually have good intelligence on Iran, suggests that the fight between the two has spilled over into the nuclear area, where Ahmadinejad has recently stated that Iran could go public with plans for nuclear weapons, while Khamenei is far more cautious, fearing international reprisals. The Post claims that Khamenei has transferred parts of the nuclear program from Ministry of Defense officials close to Ahmadinejad to units more loyal to the Supreme Leader.
Mass-Strike Protests in Israel vs. Netanyahu
Aug. 1 (EIRNS)Less than two weeks after protests against housing costs began with tent cities on the streets of Tel Aviv, more than 150,000 Israelis protested July 30 against the economic breakdown, with the participation of the Histradrut labor federation. There were 50,000 protesters in Tel Aviv; more than 10,000 gathered outside the residence of Netanyahu, with banners that read, "A whole generation wants a future." Another 10,000 rallied in Haifa.
The protests have been growing since tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in central Tel Aviv on July 23, in a protest against the housing shortage and high rents. This is clearly part of the mass strike hitting Israel, and a direct reaction to the corruption of the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which clings to its right-wing anti-peace agenda on the one hand, and the corruption of its financial base which are the real estate interests. Netanyahu's real estate speculators build expensive condos which are sold to rich Diaspora Jews, and remain empty for most of the year. More deeply felt is the fact that income among the lower 80% of the population continues to collapse, while the government continues to build houses in the highly subsidized settlements in the Occupied Territories.
Protesters include a full cross-section of society from young to middle-aged, including Holocaust survivors, many of whom are among the poorest Israelis. It also includes the Arab sector. The demo is part of a Facebook movement that began with the erecting of tent cities through Israel.
Daphni Leef, initiator of the protest, in her speech called upon the government to find solutions to increasing housing prices. "We're constantly being asked what we want and we say, 'Affordable housing for all.' They tell us, 'Suggest solutions,' and we say, 'Why? That is what we have elected representatives for.' " Leef added, "Under these conditions we will soon have no dreams. There is no time to dream when you're constantly looking to cover your rent. There's no time to dream when you're constantly looking to cover a mortgage. We are the power, we, the nation, we are not suckers." She added, "You, Bibi, with your wild policy and your irresponsibility, you pushed us into a nadir. You, Mr. Netanyahu, caused usthe Facebook generationto head to the streets and protest."
On July 24 protesters marched to the Knesset, where they erected their tents. By July 26, demonstrations had spread to Haifa and other cities, and in response, Netanyahu canceled an official visit to Poland.
Comparing the mass demonstrations to those of Spain and Egypt, the lead editorial in Ha'aretz July 25 asserted: "As with their counterparts in Spain, Portugal and Greece, and the courageous revolutionaries who overthrew the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes, these young, educated professionals also expressed significant discontent with the distorted priorities of their government. They too demanded a more just distribution of resources, a commitment by the state to the well-being of its citizens and even restoration of the welfare state."
On July 28, Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini met with leaders of the housing protests in Tel Aviv to say that Histadrut will be joining their struggle starting July 30 and will take part in their talks with the government.
Ben Eliezer: Restore Rabin's Policy: Stop Settlements, Develop Israel
Aug. 2 (EIRNS)In an interview today with the YNet Israeli news agency, Labor Party Knesset member Benyamin Fuad Ben Eliezer warned that the mass-strike protest and Netanyahu's lack of response to the economic misery is the worst crisis that Israel has faced since the War of Independence. A former Cabinet minister who has served both in Defense, and in Industry, Trade and Labor, Ben Eliezer demanded that Netanyahu restore the development policy of slain pro-peace Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin.
"The major thing Rabin did was give an order to freeze construction in settlements and transfer all the funds from the [Palestinian] territories to within Israel. Then he put everything into construction for young couples and infrastructure," said Ben Eliezer.
"Billions go into settlements. Billions have gone. If we don't stop this a disaster is imminent. These people [the protesters] have had enough. They have learned that there is no longer an option of a leader saying something and the people following blindly."
China May Use Barter System To Trade with Iran
July 25 (EIRNS)China and India together buy about one-third of Iran's oil, but are experiencing payment difficulties because of the anti-Iran sanctions, the Financial Times reports. China may owe as much as $30 billion, and India $5 billion, to Iran. The U.S.-imposed sanctions against Iran make it extremely difficult to conduct dollar-denominated business. The unpaid oil bills have built up over the past two years, and the governments are looking at how to "offset" the debt.
Tehran and Beijing are in talks about using a barter system to exchange Iranian oil for Chinese goods and services. China is dominant in Iranian business, involved in everything from building tunnels to exporting toys. China has been expanding into Iran's oil sector, as European companies such as Shell and Total have been deterred by the difficulties of operating because of the sanctions. Another possibility is for Iran is to accept payments in Chinese yuan and the Indian rupees.
MeK Pays Millions to U.S. Politicians To Get Off Terror List
July 30 (EIRNS)The Mujahedin-e-Khalq, or People's Mujaheddin, which has been conducting terror operations against Iran for decades, and is on the official U.S. terrorism list, is paying U.S. politicians and policy officials millions of dollars in an effort to itself removed from the U.S. terrorism list, according to the July 29 Financial Times. These political operatives are paid between $20,000 and $100,000 to give one public speech for the group. Those on this payola list include more than 40 former officials, including former Justice Department official and ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; Jim Jones, President Barack Obama's first National Security Adviser; Wesley Clark, the retired army general; and former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Relations committee; Michael Mukasey, Attorney-General in the George W. Bush Administration; former U.S. Representative to the UN John Bolton; and former Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean, are also among recipients of MeK's largesse.
The group has also hired the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to lobby on Capitol Hill.
Ahmad Moein, executive director of the Iranian American Community of Northern California, one of the groups behind the lobbying effort, claimed the figures are exaggerated.