|Southwest Asia News Digest
Targetted Nations Respond to LaRouche's 'Guns of August' Warning
The nations in the volatile Southwest Asian region have responded to a new war threat with highest alarm, and have spread the July 27 statement issued by Lyndon LaRouche, far and wide (see "Cheney's 'Guns of August' Threaten the World, EIR Online #31, Aug. 2).
Major dailies, including official government press, carried the "Guns of August" release, for example, in Al Watan and the Oman Daily, both of Oman, in All News Syria, and in The Arab Situation of Egypt as well as Egyptian national television. The leading Arabic daily Al Hayat carried editorial comments three days running, on Cheney's war threat. The Lebanese news service Lebanonwire has carried press releases, articles, and interviews with LaRouche on the subject of the war danger.
And, on Aug. 17, LaRouche was interviewed live on the Lebanese New TV station, for a half hour, on the war threat (see this week's InDepth for complete transcript).
In Egypt, LaRouche's warning has become the hottest political issue. Cairo University professor and strategic analyst Mohammad Selim appeared for one hour, on Aug. 9, on Channel 1 of Egyptian TV, at primetime, denouncing Cheney's war plans and discussing LaRouche's "Guns of August" warning.
In Iran itself LaRouche's "Guns of August" press release spread like wildfire. It went out immediately in Farsi to the press, and EIR correspondent Muriel Mirak-Weissbach was interviewed on three separate occasions by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), on the matter.
LaRouche Warned Against Attack on Military Installation
Rocket attacks fired at the U.S. amphibious assault ship docked in the Jordan Red Sea port of Aqaba on Aug. 19 took place in the midst of high regional tensions and warnings by Lyndon LaRouche of the Bush Administration's "Guns of August" war plans for a strike against Iran with nuclear weapons.
"An attack on U.S. military institutions outside the present areas of active conflict would be a general class of target I would worry about. However, if it has been done before, but is an insult to the U.S. flag, it would be precisely what would lure veteran draft-dodger Cheney's circles into drooling," LaRouche wrote in answer to a recent query on Vice President Dick Cheney's intentions to attack Iran.
True to form, the Washington Post and other media immediately compared the rocket attacks to the 2000 attack on the USS Cole and tied the Katyusha rockets used in the attack to Hezbollah.
U.S. State Department and White House spokesmen thus far have only said the attacks are being investigated and that the U.S. is cooperating with Jordanian authorities.
One of the rockets flew over the bow of the USS Ashland, an U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship, hitting a nearby warehouse. Two other rockets were fired, one also in the vicinity of the Ashland, and another amphibious assault ship, the Kearsarge; another fell only a few meters from the airport outside of the Israeli city of Eilat. Although one Jordanian soldier, who was guarding a nearby warehouse was killed, there were no Israeli or American casualties. Both U.S. warships, which were docked in Aqaba for a joint training mission with the Jordanians, left Aqaba immediately after the attack. Both ships are part of the U.S. Fifth Fleet which is under the U.S. Central Command responsible for South West Asia.
A group allegedly linked to al-Qaeda, called the Abdullah Azzam Brigade, reportedly claimed responsibility in an internet statement. This is the same group which claimed responsibility for the July 23 bombings in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula resort of Sharm el-Sheik.
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz stated that he had met with Jordanian King Abdullah only two days ago, warning him that Israel had intelligence pointing to a possible al-Qaeda type attack.
Jordanian security forces have sealed off the poor Shalala quarter of the port city, and are conducting house-to-house searches in an attempt to find those who fired the rockets.
Iraqi Constitution Fails To Meet Bush Deadline
After postponing a vote twice, at 20 minutes before midnight Aug. 15, the Iraqi Parliament voted to extend negotiations on a new Constitution for another week.
The Bush Administration had put enormous pressure on the Iraqis to fake a resolution to their differences, if that's what it took to meet the U.S.-imposed deadline. But fundamental disagreements over federalism and its derivativesdivision of oil revenues and natural resources, rights to secede from Iraq, women's rights, and related issues of Islamic lawremained.
Baldly trying to save face, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzadwho ran the negotiations, and arrogantly threatened on Aug. 14 that the Iraqis better understand that "a lot of American blood and American treasure has been spent here"lied afterwards that the failure to meet the deadline was the result of a three-day sandstorm a few days back which set back the work on "fine tun[ing] the language" for the constitution.
In reality, no one knows even if any agreement already worked out is left standing, or if negotiators will be starting from scratch again. The bottom line: The neo-con war party is driving Iraq quickly towards chaos and civil war.
Did U.S. Ambassador Attempt To Write 'Iraqi' Constitution
According to the Arabic press Iraq for All, a Kurdish member of the drafting committee told the Washington Post, that "the Americans presented a detailed project, a full text of a constitution." According to Al Hayat, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and a UN representative were present throughout the negotiations!