|Southwest Asia News Digest
Just Weeks From War with Iran?
On Sept. 28, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice publicly pronounced that Washington would give European diplomacy with Iran a few weeks, and then they would move for sanctions at the United Nations. "You know what this is," Lyndon LaRouche commented. "After two weeks the countdown to an attack will begin," and with that the countdown to World War III.
Over the last week in September, EIR has been engaged in a concerted effort to alert policymakers in Washington and throughout the world that an unannounced, preventive attack on Iran is the likely move by the Bush-Cheney Administration. Some immediate Congressional action is the best course to prevent such an unjustified "sneak attack." See this week's InDepth, where EIR lays out the evidence that such an attack is planned, quoting EIR's own diplomatic and intelligence sources, along with published information from Col. Sam. Gardiner (ret.), former Reagan Administration official Paul Craig Roberts, Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (ret.), and others.
Hans Blix: U.S. Should Talk to Iran
Hans Blix, the former chief of UN weapons inspections in Iraq, in testimony before the National Security Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee on Sept. 26, was asked by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) whether or not it would be in the interests of the U.S. to talk to Iran. Blix said, "Yes."
Blix said the European talks with Iran point in the right direction. Iran could be get assured supplies of nuclear fuel, and the only thing that's missing is assurances of security. Kucinich echoed him that, "There have to be assurances that we're not going to attack," to which Blix replied "assurances of security are more effective than threats of attack."
Blix also said definitively that war could have been avoided with Iraqciting the success of the inspections. He headed the inspections from November 2002, until the Bush regime began its preventive strike on March 17, 2003.
NIE: Global Jihadist Movement Is Expanding
The few declassified pages of April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), entitled "Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States," are consistent with the leaked disclosures to the New York Times and other press outlets over the weekend of Sept. 23-24. The NIE reportwhich is the most authoritative report on national security issues produced by the U.S. governmentsays that "the global jihadist movementwhich includes al-Qaeda, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cellsis spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts."
The report continues: "Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion.
"We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere.
"The Iraq conflict has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight." [Emphasis added.]
Fifty-One Anti-War Dem Vets Running For Congress
"We're going to take that Hill in November," vowed military veterans running for Congress as Democrats, at a press conference on Sept. 27. The Veterans Alliance for Security and Democracy, also known as VETPAC, held a press conference with Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa) and 11 military veteran candidates. Richard Klass, the executive director of VETPAC, reported that there are 51 candidates, 50 for the House and one for the Senate, who are veterans that VETPAC is supporting. Murtha denounced the "scurrilous attacks" that have been made against him because he disagrees with the war policy. "Everything I've said [about Iraq] since Nov. 17 of last year has been right," he said, and then he noted the signs of strain on the Army from the repeated deployments, and warned, "The lack of readiness of the forces means we have no Army ground force strategic reserve to meet the challenges that we have around the world."
Murtha was followed by Paul Bucha, chairman of VETPAC and a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, who vowed that in the face of attacks like that on Max Cleland in 2004, "never again will we be quiet." Then the 11 candidates each made brief remarks on why they were running, starting with Duane Burghardt, running in Missouri's 9th District, who noted, "[W]e once had a great administration that calmly reassured us that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Now we have an administration that offers only fear itself."
UN Rights Council Slams Israel for Palestinians' Plight
South African attorney John Dugard, who is responsible for drafting a report on the conditions of the Palestinians for the United Nations Human Rights Council, slammed Israel for its responsibility for the "intolerable" conditions in which the Palestinians are forced to live. Ha'aretz reported Sept. 26.
"I hope that my portrayal of hardships experienced by such people will trouble the consciences of those accustomed to turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the suffering of the Palestinian people," Dugard told the council. "Gaza is a prison, and Israel seems to have thrown away the key. What Israel chooses to describe as collateral damage to the civilian population is, in fact, indiscriminate killing prohibited by international law."
Dugard also criticized Western governments for cutting off aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian National Authority. "In effect, the Palestinian people have been subjected to economic sanctionsthe first time an occupied people has been so treated. Palestinian people are punished for having democratically elected a regime unacceptable to Israel, the U.S., and the European Union."
Iran's Nuclear Plant To Go Online in November 2007
Iran's Bushehr plant should become operational in November of next year, said the president of Russia's Atom Stroi Export Company, Sergei Shmatko, on Sept. 26. Shmatko said that Russia would supply nuclear fuel for the plant in March 2007. An additional protocol was signed in his meeting with Iranian nuclear authorities setting September 2007 as the date for completion of Bushehr. Shmatko put the amount of nuclear fuel to be supplied at 163 fuel assemblies weighing approximately 80 tons.
The deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Mahmoud Jannatian, said that given the progress in the project over the past six months, the specified schedule is quite feasible. Iran has been critical of Russia's perceived delays in completing the plant and putting it on line. This has been going on for some time, actually years. The vice president and head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh, urged his Russian counterpart, Sergei Kiriyenko, in talks in Moscow, to expedite work, by increasing the shifts to three at the plant. Iran now says that if Russia does not complete the plant on schedule, it will proceed to do so alone.
Leaked 'Signal' Tells Israelis About Back-Channel Talks with Saudis
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert denied having met with Saudi King Abdullah, as had been claimed in Yediot Ahronot. This led to speculation that Olmert or one of his advisors met Saudi Prince Bandar, former Ambassador to the U.S., who was in Jordan ten days ago. Nonetheless, Olmert denied everything in an interview with Yediot Ahronot Sept. 25: "I neither met the Saudi King nor any other official who should touch off sensations in the press." All Olmert would say is that he made certain positive comments during the Lebanon war on Saudi Arabia's position, but nothing concerning the Saudi peace initiative.
The media speculation, followed by Olmert's interview, occurs in the context of a combination of peace overtures, especially the Arab peace initiative and pressure within Israel for diplomatic initiative.