|Southwest Asia News Digest
Primakov Makes Explosive Revelations About Hariri
Just a day prior to the presentation of a UN report on the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov revealed to the Russian press, that he was mediating a meeting between Hariri and Syrian President Bashar Assad, just before the former was murdered. He stated:
"I was on friendly terms with Hariri and met him a week before the assassination. He invited me to his place to join him for an early breakfast. He knew I was planning to meet with the Syrian President later in the day and asked me to mediate a meeting with him." Primakov said he thought the meeting was being prevented. He went on: "While talking to Assad in Damascus, I felt he, too, would like to meet with Hariri, so I absolutely mistrust allegations that the Syrian President could be behind Hariri's assassination."
U.S. Causes 'Thirty Years War' in Iraq
The truth that the U.S. has churned up a Thirty Years War of religious conflict in Iraq was an analysis put forward by several speakers and audience members in a Capitol Hill colloquy sponsored by the Middle East Policy Council (MEPC). Ambassador Chas Freeman, president of the MEPC, opened the Oct. 14 forum, by likening the Iraq war to the Spanish Civil War, indicating that it too could go global. The event focussed on the direction of the Shi'ite groupings in the region, and what that means for the U.S.
An Arab professor in attendance, Ambassador Freeman, and several others, said that the U.S. invasion has created a Thirty Years War situation, by playing off the Kurds and the Shi'ites directly against the Sunnis.
Panelist Dr. Juan Cole, a specialist on Shi'ism said that if the constitution is passed this weekend, there is a danger of many more years of violence, because of the exclusion of Sunni Muslims from the political process. Dr. Ken Katzman, who works for the Congressional Research Service, told the audience that he had been one of the members of the "intelligence community," who warned explicitly that the Shi'ite group supported by the U.S., the SCIRI, and other Shi'ite organizations would have their own agenda, which the Administration would not like, and could not controlbut this was ignored. Katzman also gave a powerful presentation on Sept. 15 at the hearing called by Rep. Lynne Woolsey (D-Calif) on why the U.S. must come up with an exit strategy,
This broad discussion of the "Thirty Years' War" in Washington, referring to Iraq, is a welcome, and long-overdue, public recognition of what both Lyndon LaRouche and Helga Zepp-LaRouche have been saying for the last three years. In February 2005, at a conference of the Schiller Institute/ICLC, Helga Zepp-LaRouche gave a brilliant talk on this subject, referring to Frederich Schiller's essay on the Thirty Years War, and his drama, Wallenstein.
Beast-Man Bolton Demands War with Iran
In an interview with BBC in London, on Oct. 15, the Cheney-Bush Administration's lame-duck UN envoy John Bolton demanded war against Iran. "I think that the Iranians have been pursuing a nuclear-weapons program for up to 18 years," said Bolton, accusing Iran of concealment, deception, threats, lies, and intimidation. "The real issue is whether an international community is going to accept an Iran" which is "determined to get nuclear weapons deliverable on ballistic missiles" which it will "supply to terrorists."
Bolton, in June 2003, told the House International Relations Committee that the plan for his Proliferation Security Initiative was for the U.S. to "be willing to employ more robust techniques, such as economic sanctions, interdiction and seizure, and, as the case of Iraq demonstrates, preemptive military force where required.... We now know that Iran is developing [several facilities] for nuclear weapons. While Iran claims that its nuclear program is peaceful and transparent, we are convinced it is otherwise."
Rice Detoured to Russia, in Anti-Iran Campaign
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had a tour of some Central Asian countries, flew to Paris to meet her counterpart, as well as President Jacques Chirac, and discussed Iran, reported Agence France Presse Oct. 15. She reiterated her demand that Iran return to negotiations with the EU, to "restore the confidence of the international community that they are not trying to build a nuclear weapon." She said negotiations were one important route, but referral to the UN Security Council was another. Chirac said it was important to continue the EU dialogue with Iran, "in close coordination with Russia," and "in complete openness with the U.S."
Rice then went to Moscow, on an unscheduled visit, and met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, also on the Iran issue. There, the divergence of views was more manifest. Lavrov stated: "All members of the NPT have this right" to enrich uranium, adding that the Russians had no evidence that Iran was pursuing weapons. Rice answered: "It is not a question of rights.... The NPT doesn't come only with rights, but with obligations. This is not an issue of rights, but of whether or not the fuel cycle can be trusted in Iran."
Rice told reporters on her flight to London, the last stop on her trip, that the U.S. has the option of bringing Iran to the UN Security Council "at a time of our choosing," no matter what the IAEA does.
Lavrov also said he saw no reason why Iran should be referred to the UN Security Council. He added that the IAEA was the forum within which the issue should be dealt with.
Beilin: Sharon's Responses Are 'Pavlovian'
On Oct. 16, Palestinian militants killed three Israelis in a drive-by attack, following a week of major arrests and targetted assassinations of Palestinians, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported Oct. 17.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced he was cutting of all contacts with the Palestinian National Authority, which means that negotiations over Gaza border crossings are suspended. Sharon also ordered the several West Bank cities placed under siege, throwing up even more roadblocks.
Yossi Beilin, chairman of the Yahud Party, called Sharon's response of collective punishment, "Pavlovian." Beilin told Israel radio, "The government's reaction is the Pavlovian reaction, the much-expected reaction which plays exactly to the tune of the Palestinian terror groups." Beilin said that the left had warned that the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza would lead to terror attacks in the West Bank, and he further warned that "without immediate and tight cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, what will happen would be worse than before the pullout from Gaza." He said that Sharon has now cut off all contact with the Palestinians and increased the roadblocks and curfews, which policy only increases hatred and will for revenge. "Hamas and Islamic Jihad are rubbing their hands with delightthis is exactly what they wanted to happen as a result of yesterday's attack," Beilin added.
Britain Caught in Iranian Bombings
Iran claims to have proof that the British are conducting a campaign of bombings and attempted bombings in the Iranian south from positions in Iraq.
* In statements to the Iranian Students News Agency, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that his country's security and intelligence services "have come across British footprints" in previous attacks in the oil-rich Khuzestan province.
* Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Hossein Mousapour told the Mehr news agency that two bombings that injured 95 people and killed five in Khuzestan Oct. 15, were very probably carried out by "British agents who were involved in the previous incidents in Ahvaz and Khuzestan." Khuzestan, in southwestern Iran near the Iraq border, has been the site of several bombings that interrupted oil industry operations there. The Oct. 15 bombing occurred in a crowded market in the city of Ahvaz, Khuzestan's capital.
* The Iranians point out that the border in this region is secured by British forces based in Basra, Iraq. Maj. Gen. Seyed Mohammad Hejazi, commander of Iran's militia, said that recent unrest in western Iran "had an English accent."
* The head of the judiciary in Khuzestan, told Jomhuri Islami that the British "agents were attempting to blow up Abadan's refinery, using five Katyusha rockets with a timer on them." The man, Sayed Khalil Akbar al-Sadat, gave no further details. Abadan is the huge refinery built by the British in 1911, when they controlled Iran's oil.
* On Oct. 19, police defused a large bomb under a bridge in Ahvaz, where a double bombing killed six people and wounded more than 100 just days earlier. President Mahmud Ahmadinejad reiterated his suspicions of British involvement. The police had received a tip from local residents about a package under a bridge. The package was wired up and contained "eight anti-personnel mines, approximately 1 kilogram of TNT, one stun grenade and a large number of fuses," according to reports.
* "More than 20 people have been arrested in connection with these incidents in Ahvaz," Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie said. The Kayhan daily quoted Ahvaz Governor Nasser Sudani as saying Iranian intelligence had arrested a man linked to Saturday's bombings who "admitted to being trained by British forces in Iraq."
* The British Embassy in Tehran rejected the "speculation," saying, "Any linkage between the British government and these terrorist outrages is without foundation."