|Southwest Asia News Digest
Jordan Attacks: No Peace Possible Till Cheney Is Out
Irregular war attacks are in full swing in Iraq, Israel, the Palestinian National Authority, and, as of Nov. 9, the usually relatively calm Jordanian capital of Amman, where three Western-based hotelsthe Radisson SAS, the Grand Hyatt, and Days Innexploded in nearly simultaneous attacks, apparently by suicide bombers. The biggest blast hit the Radisson, at a wedding party, with 250 guests. By Nov. 10, some 67 had been reported dead and 110 injured.
But one anomaly in the Jordan attacks must be noted: Four Palestinians were killed, including Maj. Gen. Bashir Nafeh, head of Palestinian military intelligence, along with Col. Abed Allun, an official of the Palestinian Security Forces; Jihad Fattouh, the brother of the Palestinian Parliament speaker; and Mosab Khoma. The four were on their way back from Cairo, Egypt, reported Palestinian negotiator and government advisor Saeb Erekat. Both the Palestinian Authority and the militant opposition, Hamas, condemned the Jordanian attacks.
Meanwhile, a dubious Internet claim was made by al-Qaeda in Iraq, led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, that they are responsible for the attack, uncharacteristically claiming that they were targetting the collaborators with Israel.
But there is also a question raised as to whether these attacks are tied to Israeli security services, which have resumed the policy of "targetted assassinations," i.e., extra-judicial murders, and which have a history of carrying on wetworks in Jordan, killing Palestinian leaders.
No conclusions can or should be reached, until a total forensic investigation is carried out. But the targetting of Jordan, one of the two Arab countries which has signed a peace treaty with Israel, is both ominous and lawful, since Jordan has been repeatedly called upon, by the United States and the European Union, to aid Road Map "diplomacy," and has tried, at great risk, to oblige.
It is a simple fact that the "preventive war" policy of Vice President Dick Cheney, who is still in control of U.S. war policy, has put Arab countries in an untenable position. And George Bush's recent war declaration against an imaginary march of radical Islam to create a "new Caliphate from Barcelona to Indonesia" is both laughable and tragic. With Bush's identification of radical Islam as the enemy in the "war on terror," it is Cheney's "perpetual war" doctrine that is on the march.
The Amman attacks occur against a backdrop of continuous threats and destabilizations from Washington:
* Syria is targetted by a U.S. war and regime-change plan, which was to have been justified by a UN Security Council resolutionuntil opposition from UNSC members, especially Russia, prevented an immediate trigger. But a report from veteran military analyst William Arkin, on Nov. 8, says that the Pentagon already has a plan of attack drawn up, albeit scaled down from a full Iraq-style assault.
* Israel has received a green light from the Bush Administration to resume killings of Palestinians, and invasions of the West Bank and Gaza. Predictably, these assassinations, including the killing of Palestinian children, presaged revenge terrorist attacks against Israelis.
More than anything else, the continuing occupation of Iraq, the targetting of Sunni populations by the U.S., including civilians, and new revelations that the U.S. used napalm and phosphorous in assaults on Iraqi cities, inflame the region.
There is no peace possible with Cheney, "Vice President of Torture and War," still in command.
EIR Spokeswoman Mirak-Weissbach on Lebanon TV
Muriel Mirak-Weissbach recently appeared on the popular "Bilarakib" show on Lebanon's NTV, a program directed by Maria Mahlouf, who has interviewed Lyndon LaRouche, Jeffrey Steinberg, and other LaRouche associates. An earlier interview she conducted with Mirak-Weissbach just after the murder of former Lebanese leader Rafiq Hariri, which exposed the "Clean Break" scenario behind the assassination, caused waves in the region. That interview focussed on the neo-cons' plot for war against Iran. NTV regularly carries material from EIR.
This more recent interview concerned Iraq. The response was reportedly very positive, as people were shocked at the comparison made to the Allied bombings of Dresden, and other German cultural centers, at the end of World War II, aimed at destroying the cultural identity of the population. Dr. Ashraf Bayoumi, Abdel Majid Rafai, and Mahmoud Osman also participated in the program.
Did Cheney Okay Chemical Weapons in Fallujah Assault?
A former U.S. soldier who was interviewed in a Nov. 8 documentary on Italy's RAI-TV, said he had heard, in connection with the U.S. attack on Fallujah, warnings being issued for the use of "Willy Pete," military slang for white phosphorous, which can burn a body to the bone. Also alleged is U.S. use of napalm, a jellied gasoline; both chemical weapons are prohibited by UN conventions.
Former kidnap victim and Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was also interviewed. Sgrena said she had gathered testimonials on the use of phosphorous and napalm in Iraq from several refugees from Fallujah, and wanted to tell the world about it, "but my [Iraqi] kidnappers would not allow me to."
Not mentioned is whether it was this the story that U.S. forces were attempting to cover up when they assaulted the convoy rescuing Sgrena and killed her rescuer, Italian SISMI agent Nicolo Calipari, on March 4, 2005.
U.S. Owes Iraq Millions for Halliburton's Bad Work
A UN auditing board concluded that the U.S. should repay as much as $208 million to Iraq, for overcharges and shoddy work done by Dick Cheney's Halliburton. The International Advisory and Monitoring Board was set up to oversee U.S. administration of the Development Fund for Iraq, the program that replaced the oil-for-food program, into which Iraqi oil revenues and cash seized from the former Saddam regime was deposited. The board said that much of the work Halliburton was contracted to carry out was either done at inflated prices or done poorly. The board recommended that "amounts disbursed to contractors that cannot be supported as fair be reimbursed expeditiously."
A spokeswoman for Halliburton, of course, denied that that there were overcharges, because the charges were incurred at the client's, that is, the U.S. government's, direction. "The Bush Administration repeatedly gave Halliburton special treatment and allowed the company to gouge both U.S. taxpayers and the Iraqi people," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif) in a statement on the new report. "The international auditors have every right to expect a full refund of Halliburton's egregious overcharges."
Rumsfeld Ordered War Plans Against Syria in 2004
Defense specialist Bill Arkin in his Washington Post-based Nov. 8 blog reported that, "According to internal intelligence documents and discussions with military officers involved in the planning, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa was directed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to prepare a 'strategic concept' for Syria, the first step in creation of a full-fledged war plan." The plans include: sealing the Syria-Iraq border, and targetting of alleged "safe havens" for the Iraqi insurgents, infrastructure for Syria's alleged chemical and biological weapons depots, and the regime of Bashar al-Assad itself.
Arkin underscores the hoax of the present U.S.-led campaign against Syria over the assassination of Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri, which occurred months after these war plans were already in the making. Also, since the administration has zero credibility on the question of accusing Syria of having WMD, the reason for war has conveniently morphed into accusing Syria of supporting the Iraqi insurgency, and threatening Lebanon.
Also on Nov. 8, the Boston Globe reported that the U.S. "has cut off nearly all contact with the Syrian government." It has "halted high-level diplomatic meetings, limited military coordination on Syria's border with Iraq, and ended dialogue with Syria's Finance Ministry on amending its banking laws to block terrorist financing."
A Syrian diplomat reported these steps to EIR as well.
Brits Still Cover Up for Special-Ops Soldiers
On Nov. 4, in a Pentagon video press conference, British Maj. Gen. J.B. Dutton, the commander of the British-led multi-national force in southeastern Iraq, emphasized unsubstantiated charges that technology and equipment for making the deadliest type of armor-piercing roadside bombs that have been appearing in recent months, is coming across the border from Iran.
EIR and other reporters, however, were after a different story and peppered Dutton with questions about the British Special Operations Soldiers September scandal.
That incident occurred last September when two British soldiers were arrested by Basra police and subsequently broken out of prison by British troops. The Basra authorities cut off all contact with the British military command for a time, until both sides agreed that such a cutoff wasn't serving any useful purpose. Dutton still refused to clarify what the two British soldiers were doing at the time of their arrest, saying only that "they were operating perfectly within the rules of engagement at the time." He also reported that the British force did not change its mode of operations afterwards, as part of the process of re-establishing communication with the Basra authorities. Both sides issued a "statement of regret," but the Brits added, "We didn't issue an apology because no apology was required, because we have nothing to apologize for."