|Southwest Asia News Digest
LaRouche Doctrine for Iraq/SW Asia Only Viable Peace Plan
On June 24, EIR contributor, and editor of the LaRouche movement's Arabic language website, Hussein Askary, was the guest on The LaRouche Show, the weekly Internet broadcast, where he discussed Lyndon LaRouche's 2004 solution for stabilizing Iraq. Iraq is destroyed as a nation by the U.S. invasion and events following, said Askary, and the only solution remains LaRouche's perspective for regional development for Southwest Asia/North Africa, pivoted on the U.S. support for creation of a sovereign, economically viable Palestinian state alongside Israel. Askarey was joined by Ali Sharraf of the LaRouche Youth Movement. The one hour audio is archived on www.larouchepub.com/radio/index.html
'The Politics of Starvation' in the Palestinian Territories
A bleak picture of life in Gaza, Palestinian Territory, was presented at a forum in Washington, D.C. June 23, of the Council for the National Interest. The event, "The Politics of Starvation" in Gaza and the West Bank, took place in a very small room in the U.S. Capitol. CNI president Eugene Bird, a retired foreign service officer, identified at the outset that the problem in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is in Washington, with an administration that not only has no idea what to do, it wouldn't listen if someone told it what to do; and a Congress that hasn't had meaningful hearings on where U.S. policy in the region should go, and instead takes direction from the Israel Lobby.
Moderator Rafi Dajani, of the American Task Force on Palestine, noted that there's a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but "it's going to be solved in the political realm." He also noted the connection between the Palestinian economy and political and social stability. "Israel is the prime determining factor in the Palestinian economy," he said, and as Israel clamps down tighter, the more political and social instability there is. He also argued that the punitive U.S. and Israeli policy actually has the effect of strengthening Hamas in the Palestinian street.
The speakers were Timothy Rothermell, the former chief of the UN Development Program in Jerusalem, with 30 years of aid experience in the Palestinian territories, and Laila El Haddad, a Palestinian journalist trying to raise a son in Gaza. In short, the Israeli occupation, in combination with the sanctions imposed against the Hamas-controlled Palestinian National Authority, are leading to a humanitarian crisis, including starvation, and a social explosion. Palestinian civil servants who are the backbone of Palestinian civil society aren't getting paid, the GDP is collapsing, and poverty is skyrocketing. Food insecurity has reached over half the population because of Israeli blockades and market disruptions. Israeli withdrawal has meant that Gaza is now even more of a prison than it was before, because Israel still controls the borders, the airspace, and coastal waters. Palestinians can't engage in trade, families can't reunite or travel out of Gaza, unless the Israelis let them. "The current trajectory is very dangerous. Really, Gaza is on the brink of an explosion," warned El Haddad.
Senate Pushes Starvation of Palestinians with Anti-Hamas Bill
The U.S. Senate passed a bill June 23, by an unrecorded voice vote, that cuts off all funding to the Palestinian National Authority, because its officialselected in a democratic voteare from the Hamas. The Palestinian National Authority is banned from receiving aid until it acknowledges Israel's right to exist, renounces violence, and accepts past peace agreements with Israel.
The bill makes an exception to allow funding to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) because he accepts the existence of Israel, and it would also create a $20 million fund for "peace, reconciliation, and democracy."
Despite the fact that this bill does not contain some of the overtly genocidal aspects of the House bill, e.g., not allowing any funds even for humanitarian reasons, it would impose slow genocide.
Iraq Gov't Reported Ready To Offer Peace Plan
The Iraq government has a peace plan, according to the Times of London June 23. The plan, which could be announced by June 25, has 28 points for national reconciliation. These include offering Iraqi resistance groups inclusion in the political process and an amnesty for their prisoners if they renounce violence and lay down their arms, according to the Times.
The plan should include a government promise of a "finite, UN-approved timeline for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq; a halt to U.S. operations against insurgent strongholds; an end to human rights violations, including those by coalition troops; and compensation for victims of attacks by terrorists or Iraqi and coalition forces," wrote the Times. It is also supposed to take action against Shia militias and death squads, and reconsider "de-Baathification," including possible financial compensation for Sunnis purged from the Armed Forces and Civil Service.
The deal supposedly aims at separating the Iraqis from foreign fighters, after months of discreet contacts, undertaken by President Jalal Talabani, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and seven Sunni insurgent groups.
One potential obstacle cited by the paper is possible U.S. reluctance to grant an amnesty to insurgents, not part of al-Qaeda, who have killed U.S. soldiers. A senior U.S. official is cited saying that this is a huge political issue in a U.S. election year, and that the government is divided on it. He said, however, that such things were done after World War II, the Civil War, and the War of Independence. "It may be unpalatable and unsavory, but it is how wars end," he stated.
The report of this peace plan has yet not been independently confirmed.
Regional Consensus: U.S. Must Leave Iraq
The consensus in the Middle East region is that the occupying forces should leave Iraqno matter what. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei issued a call for this on June 21. The leader of the largest Shi'ite party in Iraq, al-Hakim, is in Iran for talks, presumably to discuss withdrawal as well. The Iraqi government is expected to issue an official request in this respect soon.
Iran has convoked a conference in Tehran next month, on stabilizing Iraq, which should include representatives of all Iraq's neighbors, plus Egypt, the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The idea is that, no matter how precarious the situation is in Iraq, it could be brought under control if the occupiers were to leave. The Iraqi people are totally opposed to these forces. The role of neighboring countries in stabilizing Iraq is seen as crucial, particularly regarding economic input.
In his April 2004 LaRouche Doctrine, Lyn had stressed the importance of a regional security arrangement of these countries.
UN Issues Fourth Report on Hariri Killing
On June 10, Serge Brammertz, the second Commissioner of the United Nations International Independent Investigation Committee into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, submitted the Commission's fourth report to the UN Security Council. The report was the second Brammertz had submitted as Commissioner.
While Brammertz made clear that the investigation was ongoing, with more time needed to follow new leads and complete the consolidation of inherited work, the key breakthrough in the report was political. Under the leadership of former Commissioner Detlev Mehlis, the reports were used by the unstable Cheneyac, U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, to fan the flames of war in the region, with threats of regime change against Syria and its the government of President Bashir Assad. Brammertz was able to cool the situation down, and his diplomatic gestures were returned by the Syrian government. He was able to meet with President Assad and other members of the government in Damascus in April and Syrian cooperation with the investigation, which Brammertz noted in the first sentence of his report to the Security Council, is ongoing.
The report's more even-handed approach was met by statements from both the Lebanese and Syrian governments, who both called it "professional." The Commission's mandate was extended for an additional year.