|Southwest Asia News Digest
Arab League Brings Spirit of Westphalia to UNSC
In the true spirit of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, the Arab League brought "a collective Arab initiative" for a regional peace agreement with Israel before a special session of the United Nations Security Council called at the request of the 22-member League of Arab States. Addressing the Sept. 21 session, Bahrain Foreign Minister Ahmed Al-Khalifa, in the name of the League, declared that, "for the sake of future generations in the region," the group of Arab states came before the UN "to shoulder its responsibilities and play its role in contributing to the attainment of a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace in the Middle East region and the world as a whole. Our aim is to have a stable and secure Middle East in which hostility is replaced with friendship and prosperity for its people. Such friendship and prosperity will not be exclusive to the region, but would also benefit the entire world," he stated.
"In the past, we have witnessed the horrors and repercussions of war. However, our peoples are determined today not to see the continuation of such horrors. The persistence of the Arab-Israeli conflict has had dire consequences and is exhausting the resources of the region. It is creating instability. It is also allowing extremist forces to flourish. We ought to work for reconciliation and conciliation. We should act to heal the wounds which have accumulated for over 50 years.
"Our objective in calling for this meeting is not to apportion blame or to exchange accusations. It is rather to address the situation in the Middle East in a constructive spirit and in a forward-looking manner.
"The Arab states are prepared to consider that it is possible to bring an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict; they are prepared to enter into a peace agreement between themselves and Israel," he stated. "They are prepared to establish normal and full relations with Israel in the context of a comprehensive peace, which requires: full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories; arriving at a just and agreed solution to the Palestinian refugee problem; and acceptance of an independent sovereign Palestinian State with holy Jerusalem as its capital."
Calling upon the UN Security Council to help arrange direct negotiations, Sheikh Al-Khalifa concluded with the statement that "we have a good change now to obtain peace and should not allow it to slip away. If we lose this chance, we will all be losers. Peace is the precondition for stability, prosperity and development in the Middle East, and the world."
Qatar Minister Invokes Rabin's Words To Urge Peace
The Foreign Affairs Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Al-Thani, invoked the words of Israel's martyred Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, to urge peace, in his address to the UN Security Council special session on the situation in the Middle East. "We are aware that a large majority in Israel shares our desire for peace, irrespective of provocations and sacrifices. I recall what Yitzhak Rabin said in the Knesset in 1993: 'We are destined to live together on the same soil in the same land.' I know that quoting the words of Rabin will cause me to be criticized in my country, but they are words of truth. We have to realize we cannot chose our neighbors or our enemies," he stated.
White House Moves Forward with Plans To Bomb Iran
U.S. military and intelligence critics of the Bush-Cheney perpetual war policy warned that the administration is moving forward with plans to bomb Iran, according to several sources. High-level military experts in Washington, D.C. expressed tremendous alarm Sept. 22 that Lyndon LaRouche's assessment of a Bush-Cheney strike on Iran in the near term, was confirmed by discussions and movements by the military. In response to one of these reports, LaRouche again warned that Bush will make his move against Iran "without warning," without going to Congress, without going to the United Nations, and without consulting with U.S. "allies." The most likely scenario, LaRouche said in discussions with his intelligence staff, is that Bush will give an order for strikes against Iran from Offutt Air Base in Nebraska.
Several in-depth alerts were issued by critics of the Iraq war and imperial policy about what is going on regarding Iran:
* Writing for The Century Foundation, Retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner warned in a reported titled, "The End of the 'Summer of Diplomacy,' " that some in the Bush Administration are undeterred by concerns of active duty military leaders and are pushing forward for air strikes, not only against Iran's nuclear program, but also against the government itself, to "decapitate" the regime.
* A lengthy article in the Sept. 21 issue of The Nation, headlined "War Signals," says that "The Nation has learned that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have issued orders for a major 'strike group' of ships ... to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's Western coast." The strike group includes the aircraft carrier Eisenhower, as well as a submarine escort. The Nation quotes Gardiner, and a number of other military and intelligence officials, including 27-year CIA veteran analyst, Ray McGovern, who said, "This is very serious."
* In the American Conservative, former CIA official Phil Giraldi also quotes a number of active military and policy sources as warning that the White House is pushing hard for war against Iran.
Not surprisingly, the insane push for an Iran war comes precisely at the time that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made serious overtures for peace during his trip to the U.S. and the United Nations. LaRouche said that Ahmadinejad's conduct during this trip has been excellent, and that anyone who attacks him for what he is doing here, is an enemy of peace and wants war.
Ahmadinejad at UN Speaks for Defense of the Oppressed
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a universal and ecumenical appeal for justice and defense of the oppressed in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 19.
Ahmadinejad called for appointing three new members of the Security Council, one each from the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the African continent, in order to restore the UNSC's ability to guarantee justice and peace. He accused the United States and the United Kingdom of destroying that role of the UNSC, especially in the cases of the misery of the Palestinians and the 33-day air war on Lebanon:
"The fundamental question is that under such conditions," he said, "where should the oppressed seek justice? Who or what organization defends the rights of the oppressed and suppresses acts of aggression and oppression? Where is the seat of global justice?"
He said that all nations had a right to develop nuclear energy, but some of them "have abused nuclear technology for non-peaceful ends, including the production of nuclear bombs, and some even have a bleak record of using them against humanity." He repeated that Iran's program is purely peaceful, and that the U.S. is using the issue for regime change.
His appeal to the nature of man was universal:
"Human beings are all God's creatures and are all endowed with dignity and respect. No one has superiority over others. No individuals or states can arrogate to themselves special privileges....
"Citizens of Asia, Africa, Europe, and America are all equal. Over 6 billion inhabitants of the Earth are all equal and worthy of respect....
"Peoples, driven by their divine nature, intrinsically seek good, virtue, perfection, and beauty. Relying on our peoples, we can take giant steps towards reform and pave the road for human perfection."
"Whether we like it or not, justice, peace, and virtue will sooner or later prevail in the world, with the will of the almighty God. It is imperative and also desirable that we, too, contribute to the promotion of justice and virtue....
"Is it not possible to build a better world based on monotheism, justice, love, and respect for the rights of human beings, and thereby transform animosities into friendship?"
Though still flawed, his approach to Israel was much moderated from earlier occasions:
"The roots of the Palestinian problem go back to the Second World War," he said. "Under the pretext of protecting some of the survivors of that war, the land of Palestine was occupied through war, aggression, and a displacement of millions of its inhabitants."
Clinton: U.S. Needs To Talk To Iran Directly
In an interview on the NBC Today Show Sept. 21, former President Bill Clinton said, when asked whether the U.S. should be talking to Iran:
"I basically believe that the United States should not be afraid to talk to anyone and should not be reluctant and shouldn't have too many conditions."
"[I]n this case a little groundwork needs to be laid here.... But if you think you might have trouble with somebody, and, God forbid, if you think it could lead to a military confrontation, then there needs to be, at least, maximum amount of contact beforehand."
Hezbollah Leader Speaks To Huge Support Rally In Beirut
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah appeared at a huge rally in Beirut, his first public appearance since the Lebanon war. The rally gathered hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country, and was announced as a "victory rally." Nasrullah declared that the Lebanese had won a "divine, historic, and strategic victory." He spoke in bombed out southern Beirut, to a crowd of hundreds of thousands.
He said Hezbollah would disarm only under the right conditions, and called for a national unity government. The resistance would only hand over its weapons once Lebanon becomes "a strong, just and capable country," Nasrallah said. "There is no army in the world capable of making us drop our weapons as long as there will be people who believe in this resistance," he added. "We don't want to keep our weapons forever and they will never be used against anyone inside Lebanon. These are not Shiite weapons but the weapons of all the religions and the Lebanese and will protect Lebanon's independence and sovereignty."