|Southwest Asia News Digest
Palestinian Ambassador in Public Dialogue with EIR
June 5 (EIRNS)In opening remarks to the Palestine Center Symposium on "40 Years After the 1967 War: The Impact of a Prolonged Occupation," Palestinian Ambassador to the U.S. Afif Safief, cut through the usual rhetoric about the "Road Map" and the "peace process" by asserting that Israel has adopted the doctrine of permanently annexing the Palestinian lands up to the Jordan River. And, in a well-placed critique of the farce of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's frequent trips to his region, Safief noted that whenever Rice says anything, National Security Council staffer Elliott Abrams tells Jewish Republicans: Don't worry, it's all process and no substance.
Reflecting on the anti-Franklin Roosevelt paradigm-shift which occurred in U.S. policy towards the region after President John F. Kennedy's assassination, the ambassador related an anecdote from the biography of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. She recounted that when Meir attended the Kennedy's funeral, the new President, Lyndon B. Johnson, leaned over to assure her that now that he was President, there would never be a danger that the U.S. would repeat what "Eisenhower did" in 1956. What Eisenhower had done was to pressure Israel to give up its military attack, with France and Britain, on the Suez Canal. Safief also rejected the assertion that Israel had to act precipitously in 1967 because its existence was threatened. Facing off against Egypt, Israel had 3,000 bombers that could carry out six sorties per day, while Egypt had 1,000 bombers that could carry out only two sorties per day, he said.
An EIR reporter asked the opening question, saying she agreed with Safief's characterization of the Israeli "rejection of Arab acceptance," and drew attention to the national drive to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney, which EIR supports, and which is now a bill in the U.S. Congress (H.R. 333) introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). EIR pointed to Cheney's Middle East advisor, who is an "author of 'Clean Break,' which seeks to eliminate the two-state solution completely," and asked whether Safief sees any chance for peace under this Bush-Cheney Administration.
Safief answered by reiterating a challenge to the Palestinian leadershipthey must see that a common position of courage, creative ideas, and the engagement of the intelligentsia in the political process is vitally necessary. He commented that he has spent 18 months "on the lecture tour" on U.S. campuses and other locations, and sees that "this is a fight for the hearts and minds that we can win," and that the population is moving towards embracing justice.
Call for a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as Capital
June 8 (EIRNS)The Pakistani Ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, speaking as the chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) group at the United Nations in New York, said today: "Peace in the Middle East can only be attained by an Israeli withdrawal from the Arab lands, including the Occupied Palestinian Territories and East Jerusalem, as well as the occupied Syrian Golan, and the realization of two states living side-by-side in peace."
"Without a just settlement of East Jerusalem, which must be the capital of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State, there can be no durable peace in the Middle East," the ambassador added.
Members of Congress Reject 'Korea Model' for Iraq
June 9 (EIRNS)Leading members of the House of Representatives took on the White House assertion that they are adopting the "Korea model" and have no intention of ending the Iraq occupation for decadesmaybe the next century. As EIR has reported, neo-con luminaries such as Eliot Cohen and Irving Kristol were, within days of 9/11, talking about a "Hundred Years' War" on terrorism.
But leading members of Congress have taken aim again at the White House's failed policy in Iraq.
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) told ABC-TV's "This Week" June 3, "There's a bloodbath now that is going on" in Iraq, and the only solution is for the U.S. to redeploy out of the country. Murtha also demonstrated today on the ABC News show, "This Week," that he is one of very few elected officials with a competent and full intelligence picture on Iraq.
Murtha said that in order to stop the civil war, the Iraqis have to "change their constitution," which now excludes the mostly Sunni former members of the Ba'ath Party. He said that every important indicator points to failure: for example, the high number of Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers killed this month; the fact that there is less education and less production of oil and other necessities than before the war. These have to be taken up by the Iraqis themselves. This situation is not being adequately reported, said Murtha, adding, "I've lost a lot of confidence in a lot of military leaders, because they say what the White House wants them to say."
Murtha rejected any permanent U.S. presence in Iraq as in the "Korea option," now being mooted by Administration officials. "The Korea model is not realistic," Murtha said. "How are you going to resupply these troops?" He reiterated his call for a redeployment of the troops in Iraq to isolated posts away from the center of action. When queried about the incremental "drawdown" of troops being floated by Iraqi commanders Petraeus and Odierno, Murtha said that the numbers that have been proposed are just not sufficient, and would leave the troops as easy targets in a civil war.
When the need for new appropriations comes up again in September, there will perhaps be a bigger, even veto-proof majority that will set a timetable for withdrawal.
Then on June 8, a bipartisan grouping led by Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, and Democrat Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, introduced a bill which would terminate the Iraq War authorization in six months. The bill, H.R. 2605, would "sunset" the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq, 180 days after the bill is signed.
In a statement introducing the bill, Paul noted that the original objectives of the 2002 Authorization are over. "With both objectives of the original authorization completely satisfied, Congress has a Constitutional obligation to revisit this issue and provide needed oversight and policy guidance. We ignore this obligation at risk to the United States and, very importantly, to our soldiers in harm's way in Iraq," the Congressman stated.
ElBaradei Warns: 'New Crazies' Want To Attack Iran
June 2 (EIRNS)Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warn that "new crazies" want to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. Although not naming names, the UN nuclear watchdog's obvious reference was to the neo-con cabal around Vice President Dick Cheney, made in an interview for a BBC Radio 4 documentary that was aired on June 1. In his strongest warning yet, ElBaradei said, "I wake every morning and see 100 Iraqi innocent civilians are dying. I have no brief other than to make sure we don't go into another war or that we go crazy into killing each other. You do not want to give additional argument to new crazies who say, 'Let's go and bomb Iran.'" Asked who the "new crazies" were, he replied: "Those who have extreme views and say the only solution is to impose your will by force." He added the point that you cannot "bomb knowledge," and attacked such thinking, pointing to the disastrous consequences of the war in Iraq.
ElBaradei did not have to mention Cheney's name for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to get the message. In a press conference in Madrid, Rice tried to claim that everyone, including Cheney supported her policy. "The President of the United States has made it clear that we are on ... a diplomatic course. That policy is supported by all the members of the Cabinet and by the Vice President of the United States."
Earlier in the week, more than one of Cheney's aides, including David Wurmser, were quoted as saying the diplomatic track was useless. The International Herald Tribune cited unnamed European officials who expressed serious worry that Cheney's "red line," where he deems a strike should be launched, may be coming soon.
British Military Pro Says: Admit Defeat in Iraq
June 1 (EIRNS)Former British military commander, Gen. Sir Michael Rose, said the situation in Iraq was impossible, and that the occupying powers should leave. Rose, who commanded the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia-Hercegovina from 1994 to 1995, said, "There is no way we are going to win the war and [we should] withdraw and accept defeat because we are going to lose on a more important level if we don't." He said a withdrawal date should be set. "Give them a date and it is amazing how people and political parties will stop fighting each other and start working towards a peaceful transfer of power," he said, according to AFP today.
Speaking at the annual Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts in Hay-on-Wye, Rose compared the war with the American War of Independence. He said: "How was it a small and extremely determined body of insurgents, thieves, and deserters [sic] could inflict such a strategic and potentially disastrous defeat on the most powerful nation in the world? The answer will be familiar to anybody who is looking at what is happening in Iraq today. Those who don't read history are condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past."
Israeli Military Official: Syria Does Not Want War
June 6 (EIRNS)Following weeks of loose talk of an alleged war danger posed by Syria, an unnamed senior official of the Israeli Defense Forces told the Jerusalem Post that Syria has no intention of starting a war, but "unnecessary chatter" can lead to "a military escalation."
All intelligence reports show that Syria has no intention of starting a war, the IDF official told the English-language Israeli daily. He criticized various institutions for "creating a wartime atmosphere and a misleading feeling that there were preparations for a violent conflict either on the Israeli side or on the Syrian side.... This wartime atmosphere has nothing to do with reality or with the assumptions of army intelligence. It may cause a crisis in itself. In the past, unnecessary chatter caused military escalations that were not in keeping with the wishes of the leadership."