|Southwest Asia News Digest
Turkey May Be Drawn Into Perpetual War Scenario
Oct. 28 (EIRNS)With 100,000 troops on the border of northern Iraq, Turkish officials said on Oct. 28 that a military solution to the problem of Kurdish separatists using bases in Iraq is on the table.
A Turkish invasion of Iraq would be the next link in the chain of the British perpetual war scenario, which lies behind the post-9/11 war drive of Dick Cheney and the U.S. neocons. There are tens of millions of ethnic Kurds scattered through Turkey, Iran, and northern Iraq, an arrangement put in place by the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement for the apportionment of spheres of interest in the Ottoman Empire. Now it is detonating.
Turkish-Iraqi talks broke down on Oct. 26, and the Turkish army sent more equipment to the border on Oct. 28, according to Reuters. Turkey's 100,000 troops are backed by jet fighters, helicopter gunships, and tanks. Army sources said today that preparations are now almost complete.
Ankara has demanded that Iraq hand over members of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whom they blame for more than 30,000 Turkish deaths since the start of the separatist campaign in 1984.
The leader of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government, Masoud Barzani, refuses to hand over anyone, "no matter the cost." However, he said he would not allow PKK officials to use the Kurdistan region for attacks on Turkey.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the Iraqi government that he supported a crackdown on the PKK, but wanted a peaceful solution. Iran has also faced cross border attacks by the PKK.
Solana Says It's the Same Larijani
Oct. 25 (EIRNS)EU negotiator Javier Solana met an Iranian delegation led by former chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani Oct. 24 in Rome, and reported on the meeting in an interview with the daily La Repubblica. He said that he "found the same Larijani whom I had met earlier, and his role was the chief negotiator." Asked whether Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Tehran has changed anything in the negotiations, Solana said that he had "a detailed report from the Russians on President Putin's visit and I will meet him next Friday in Lisbon." Solana said he wants to reserve his judgment "until I have spoken to him longer and in detail," however "I am sure that in Tehran [Putin] defended our positions, those agreed upon by the six" (USA, Russia, France, Germany, Great Britain, and EU).
On Russia itself, Solana said that "the last meetings in Moscow between Russians and Americans have brought about some openings" on the BMD issue.
In the past days, Italian media has speculated that Larijani's resignation as chief negotiator on the nuclear issue, in the aftermath of Putin's visit to Tehran, was a move to force Iranian President Ahmadinejad to fall in line with more moderate forces.
Rice 'Peace' Mission a Flop
Oct. 21 (EIRNS)U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ended a five-day peace mission to Israel and Palestine with a meeting on Oct. 21 in London with Jordan's King Abdullah II. According to news accounts, Rice's trip failed in her primary mission: to get Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to agree on the wording of a policy document, to be signed by them at a peace conference in Annapolis, Md., which the Bush Administration has been trying to put together for late November or early December of this year. Rice was quoted by The Australian, "The teams are serious, the people are serious, the issues are serious, and so I am not surprised that there are some tensions."
Perhaps one reason that the talks did not succeed, is that Rice was travelling with Elliott Abrams, the National Security Council's Middle East policy chief, and a rabid neocon, who is dead-set against any final peace agreement, and who has his own agenda for destroying the Palestinian National Congress, by provoking confrontation between Hamas and Fatah. As Lyndon LaRouche observed, "Rice does not trust Abrams, and Abrams does not trust Rice. So how can there be any kind of diplomatic progress when the U.S. negotiators are working at cross-purposes?"
The situation is further complicated by the fact that Olmert has been given an ultimatum by the Israeli religious parties, and by rabid right-winger Avigdor Lieberman: Any talk on final status issues, including final borders, the status of Jerusalem, and the right of return for Palestinians, will bring down the Olmert coalition government. Without the backing of the National Religious Party, Shas, and Lieberman's right-wing party, the government would lose a vote of no confidence in the Knesset. On the other hand, if those issues are not on the table at Annapolis, at least as key items in the joint declaration, to be taken up in future talks, the Palestinians will not attend, and none of the Arab states will attend.
According to news accounts, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley will return to the region within days, to resume the effort started by Rice, and Rice herself will be returning to Israel and Palestine at the end of October or early November.
Lebanese Fire on Israeli Planes Flying Over Southern Lebanon
Oct. 25 (EIRNS)Lebanese troops fired 150 rounds on Israeli warplanes flying low over southern Lebanon. This is the first time since the month-long 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon that Lebanese troops have fired on what Israel describes as its frequent "reconnaissance" flights. Nations throughout the region have protested these overflights, as has the United Nations.
Before the 2006 war, Hezbollah used to open fire on Israeli planes flying over Lebanese territory. After the ceasefire, the Lebanese army deployed 15,000 troops and the UN deployed 13,000 UNIFIL troops in the South.
A Lebanese journalist told EIR that there are fears of another Israeli war against Lebanon, as Bush and Cheney have upped the ante against Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.
Israeli Minister: Israel Ready To Give Up Golan for Peace
Oct. 26 (EIRNS)Israeli Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ghaleb Majadele said Israel is ready to withdraw from the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria and the entire Arab world.
"Syria still sees peace as a strategic goal, and is closer with Israel than with Iran. President [Bashar al-]Assad knows quite well that the solution is not far away," Majadele told the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai in an interview published Oct. 26.
Commenting on the proposed Middle East peace conference to be held in Annapolis next month, he said, "Israel will not be able to normalize relations with Arab nations without paying the price of anything related to the Palestinian issue." He reiterated that he doesn't rule out the possibility that "the fate of the settlements in the West Bank will be the fate of the settlements from the Gaza Strip."