|Southwest Asia News Digest
Iran Nuclear Crisis: Reality and Fantasy
The showdown with Iran desired by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and his warmongers did not materialize this week, even after Iran broke the UN seals on the uranium enrichment project, Aug. 10, under the watchful cameras installed there by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Cheney gang wants to bring Iran before the UN Security Council to secure a resolution that justifies military strikes and sanctions.
According to knowledgeable sources in Washington, one of the main obstacles to Cheney's plans is the mobilization by Lyndon LaRouche, which began on July 27, against Cheney's 'Guns of August' (see EIR Online last week).
Iran's rejection of the European Union's proposal regarding its nuclear energy program, on Aug. 5, was blown up in the international press as a sign of "defiance," and the trigger for an international crisis.
In reality, Tehran's moves represent Iran's commitment to pursue its nuclear energy program legally, within the parameters set by the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which it has signed, and under the close surveillance of the IAEA.
Iran rejected the proposal made by the EU-3 (Great Britain, Germany, and France) in the name of the European Union, was that it denied Iran the right to certain technologies, guaranteed by international treaties, specifically, the right to the full nuclear fuel cycle.
Although the complete text says the EU would accept the civilian nuclear program, it forbids access to uranium enrichment. The EU text says the West is willing "to support Iran to develop a safe, economically viable and proliferation-proof civil nuclear power generation and research program that conforms with its energy needs; and fully support long-term co-operation in the civil nuclear field between Iran and Russia." And: "Iran would have access to the international nuclear technologies market where contracts are awarded on the basis of open competitive tendering." However, "the E3/EU would support the development of Iran's civil nuclear program ... excluding fuel-cycle related activity" (emphasis added).
Then: "The E3/EU recognize that Iran should have sustained access to nuclear fuel for the light water reactors forming Iran's civil nuclear industry." Thus: "As Iran will have an assured supply of fuel over the coming years, it will be able to provide the confidence needed by making a binding commitment not to pursue fuel cycle activities other than the construction and operation of light water power and research reactors." Specifically: "the E3/EU would also expect Iran to stop construction of its heavy water research reactor at Arak, which gives rise to proliferation concerns."
The Iranians could not accept such restrictions, which they characterized as "humiliating" and an "insult," as a matter of principle. As Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi stated, the proposal was rejected because it ignored Iran's right to the nuclear fuel cycle, to the production of fuel and to enrichment." The fuel cycle is specifically allowed under the NPT, to which Iran is a signatory, therefore the EU resolution "runs counter" to the Treaty, and the additional protocol that Iran signed with the IAEA. This was pointed out by Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Deputy Director Mohammad Saeedi. Regarding a possible IAEA resolution against Iran, Saeedi said, "Iran would not accept the resolution if it happened to run counter to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the additional protocol."
The Iranians are correct: There is no legal basis for the demands made by the EU, that they abandon their uranium enrichment program. For this reason, it was difficult for the IAEA, in its emergency session Aug. 10-11, to respond with harsh actions. In a resolution approved without a vote on Aug. 11, Iran was urged "to reestablish full suspension of all enrichment-related activities including the production of feed material, including through tests of production at the uranium conversion facility." The IAEA also called on director Mohammed ElBaradei to prepare a comprehensive report on Iran's compliance, by Sept. 3. There was no mention of referring the matter to the UN Security Council.
Netanyahu as Israel's Generalissimo Franco
With his Aug. 7 resignation from the Israeli government, Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu announced his intention to topple Prime Minister Sharon; Netanyahu would be following in the footsteps of earlier fascist movements in the tradition of the Falange of Spanish dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco, and the Squadristi of Benito Mussolini.
Netanyahu's resignation has one purpose: to create an anti-Arab fascist party to ruleafter the Gaza withdrawal. The goal is to prevent a Palestinian state from ever being formed.
Netanyahu is playing on the hysteria of the tens of thousands of settlers, right-wing activists, and messianic Zionist fascists who have taken to the streets of Israel protesting, and in many cases rioting, against Sharon's disengagement plan calling for the evacuation of all the Israeli settlements in Gaza, now underway.
The latest poll among members of the Likud Party revealed a dramatic shift: If a leadership election were to be held today, Netanyahu would receive 47% and Sharon only 33%.
Commenting on the potentially disastrous situation Sharon faces in the Likud, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz warned Aug. 10 that Sharon could consider going to war since "it seems as if only a political miracle could change the situation [for Sharon]. A successful disengagement, or alternatively a major military operation, might do the trick...." With the Bush Administration committed to an attack on Iran, Sharon ordering an Israeli preemptive attack on Iran's nuclear facilities cannot be ruled out.
In Israel, it is being taken as a foregone conclusion that Sharon's government will fall after the completion of the disengagement from Gaza, over the real possibility that the Knesset will fail to pass the 2006 national budget, an occurrence which would automatically lead to new elections. Sharon is expected to put any further withdrawals from the Occupied Territories on political ice and devote his energies to winning the elections. A political adviser of Sharon's told Ha'aretz that if Sharon lost the leadership of the Likud, he would run in an "alternative framework".
"Once upon a time, Sharon created the Likud," the adviser told Ha'aretz. "He can create a new Likud."
Commentators are saying this could signal the so-called "big bang " where Sharon's faction would join with parts of the Labor Party and the neo-liberal Shinui party to form a so-called "centrist party," leaving Netanyahu to head the right wing of the Likud, the settlers, and the religious lunatics. This new formation would reject a peace process, and concentrate solely on completing Sharon's Berlin Wall of the Middle East and on the so-called "existential threat of a nuclear Iran."
- Bibi as Israel's Generalissimo Franco -
Netanyahu admitted that stopping the disengagement was a "lost cause," but, playing the would-be hero, declared, "I am not willing to be party to a move that ignores reality and blindly advances toward the establishment of an Islamic terrorist base that threatens the state.... In another 10, 50, or 100 years, I want people to say unequivocally: He was not party to this."
In an editorial comment on the resignation Aug. 8, Ha'aretz declared, "Benjamin Netanyahu's resignation from the government right before disengagement places him, finally, in the spot that suits himas the leader of the extreme right in Israel.... [He] crowned himself as the leader of the nationalist and religious camp...."
With this new political offensive, Netanyahu will become Israel's own Generalissimo Franco, Spain's infamous fascist dictator who came to power in 1939 at the head of his Falangist storm troopers. This comparison was made by Israeli commentator Gideon Samet who wrote in Ha'aretz Aug. 10:
"Likud Member of Knesset Benjamin Netanyahu offered himself this week as the leader of the orange Falangists." Just like Franco, who launched his rebellion against the Spanish republic in 1936, Samet wrote, Netanyahu "has placed himself at the head of the action of a widespread subversive rebellion of which we are now seeing only the beginning." He called Netanyahu's resignation a "putsch-like move," and said that only a "narcissistic Napoleonchik" like Netanyahu would think that "history" will even remember the name Netanyahu 50 or a 100 years hence.
"Generalissimo" Bibi's Orange Falangists will be a combination of revisionist Zionists, loyal to the teaching of Ze'ev Jabotinsky, an open admirer of Benito Mussolini, and the messianic religious Zionism which is predominant in the extremist settlers' movements in the West Bank and Gaza. He will draw spiritual and monetary support from the Christian Zionist allies in the U.S., among the tens of millions of Christian fundamentalists.
The orange-shirted storm troopers of Israel's would-be Il Duce will be drawn from the right wing of the Likud, and will likely be joined by several right-wing factions now in the Knesset who have been mobilizing against the disengagement plan. These include the Renewed National Religious Zionism party, led by Effie Eitam, a "newly religious" former Israeli military officer. Others would include the National Union Party and its two factions, Moledet and Yisral Beiteinu.
The Moledet Party is led by Rabbi Benny Elon, who provided spiritual inspiration for Yigal Amir, the assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. It calls for the "transfer" of the Palestinian population out of the "Land of Israel." The other faction is the ethnic Russian Party Yisrael Beiteinu, whose leader, Avigdor Lieberman, was Netanyahu's campaign manager and Chief of Cabinet when Bibi was Prime Minister at the end of the 1990s. Lieberman left the Likud to form his own party in order to build support for Netanyahu within Israel's Russian community. One of Lieberman's financial supporters is the notorious Russian "tycoon" Michael Cherney, who is hiding out in Israel because he is wanted by the Russian government for mafia-related crimes.
Netanyahu is reportedly on his way to the U.S. where he is expected to solidify ties, and collect substantial funds from the ultra-right Christian Zionists.