|Southwest Asia News Digest
Only Cheney Impeachment Can Stop War Against Iran
Nov. 19 (EIRNS)The collective judgment of knowledgeable professionals, including Lyndon LaRouche, military-intelligence officers, and as expressed in Rep. Dennis Kucinich's impeachment resolution, now before the House Judiciary Committee, is that, without the immediate initiation of impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney, war against Iran is virtually inevitable in the very near future.
"Riyadh Worried About an American Attack Against Iran," was the title of a half-page article in the French paper Le Figaro on Nov. 15. The article had the following kicker: "Fearing retaliation from Tehran on its oil installations, Saudi Arabia has made a rapprochement towards Moscow, which the Iranians listen to in this nuclear crisis." Such a shocking statement underscores the hair-trigger nature of the situation.
U.S. military experts, polled by EIR, have told Members of Congress, in private discussions, that there is no time to stop a bombing of Iran, once President Bush gives the order. According to one source, the Eighth Air Force, assigned to the Strategic Command (STRATCOM), has a detailed, updated bombing plan ready to go, as part of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's "Global Strike" doctrine. An initial bombing run would not necessarily involve assets of the Central Command, but merely strategic bombers from STRATCOM. Most Americansincluding Congressmencould wake up one morning to find that war against Iran had already begun.
It is no secret that the U.S. military, especially outside the Air Force, has no desire to go to war against Tehran. The horror which such an attack would set off has been the subject of many forums on Capitol Hill, as well as elsewhere.
But it undoubtedly came as a shock to many when Adm. William Fallon, head of the Central Command, gave an interview to the Financial Times, published Nov. 12, in which he categorically rejected the idea of an American preventive attack on Iran. Admitting that dealing with Iran was "a challenge," he nevertheless declared that a U.S. attack was not "in the offing." Fallon told the reporters, "None of this is helped by the continuing stories that just keep going around and around and around that any day now there will be another war, which is just not where we want to go. Getting Iranian behavior to change and finding ways to get them to come to their senses and do that is the real objective. Attacking them as a means to get to that spot strikes me as being not the first choice in my book."
The CENTCOM chief next implicitly hit at Cheney and at President Bushwho have both threatened Iran and U.S. allies with World War III if Iran gets close to having a nuclear bombwarning that "generally, the bellicose comments are not particularly helpful." The admiral called on the Iranians to signal their openness to cooperate: "We need to see them do something along the lines of 'we are serious about having a dialogue' and then maybe we can do something."
LaRouche: Leave Pakistan Alone; Focus on Israel-Syria Talks
Nov. 19 (EIRNS)The U.S. government should drop the Cheneyac pressure on Pakistanit is only making a mess of the situation, Lyndon LaRouche said Nov. 19.
The only reason for the U.S. pressure on President Pervez Musharraf, LaRouche said, is that Cheney wants a war on Iran, and to leave as his legacy a mess in the whole region.
We should concentrate on making some progress. Allow the Annapolis meeting to develop some daylight, LaRouche said. Frame it on the idea that negotiations between Israel and Syria will go ahead. This will change the whole environment in a way in which the Palestine-Israel issue can be successfully addressed.
Certain people are out to disrupt a pending peace settlementto stir things up in Lebanon, to stir things up between the Turks and Kurds, and thus make trouble for the U.S. at a time when a peace is possible, LaRouche charged.
Don't be overly concerned about having an agreement in advance of the Annapolis meeting on the final communiqué. The key is to get people there, and get discussion going in the context of understanding that forward movement is possible on Syria-Israel peace discussions. If you look at the Annapolis meeting in that context, LaRouche said, then you can see the possibility for clearing the deck for negotiations and actual progress.
Colin Powell: Iran Is Years Away from a Nuclear Bomb
Nov. 19 (EIRNS)"I think Iran is a long way from having anything that could be anything like a nuclear weapon," former Secretary of State Colin Powell declared in his Nov. 18 address to the National Bank of Kuwait's annual international symposium, titled "Opportunity and Crisis in the Middle East."
Powell weighed in against any U.S. military options against Iran, arguing that Iran is not an easy target; that the U.S. has its hands full with Afghanistan, Iraq, and crises such as that in Pakistan; that there is no support for another war among the American people. Were the U.S. to attack Iran, it would be "totally isolated, even as the international community would condemn such an action, while the Iranians will use it to solidify its support within their people," Powell said. We have to be patient, "because there are forces working within Iran, which may bring about positive changes."
More generally, Powell advised, countries of the world, including Kuwait, should take a hard look at infrastructure, health and education systems, and invest in young people. That goes for the United States, too. Powell told the Kuwaitis that he finds it unacceptable that 30% of all American youth today did not complete their high school education.
UN Official: Israeli Siege of Gaza Breeds Extremism, Suffering
Nov. 23 (EIRNS)John Ging, director of operations for the refugee agency UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, said that "crushing sanctions" imposed since the Israeli cabinet declared the Strip to be a "hostile entity" in September, had contributed to "truly appalling living conditions." In a report in today's London Independent, Ging made an unusual appeal to the British Parliament's Britain-Palestine Group, to use its influence to try to alleviate the impact of "indiscriminate" and "illegal" Israeli sanctions in Gaza which display "profound inhumanity" and are "serving the agenda of extremists."
He reported that Israeli cuts in fuel and planned cuts in electricity, which will begin on Dec. 1 according to today's Ha'aretz, along with closures which have had "an atrocious" impact on Palestinian medical care, "destroyed" Gaza's economy, and threaten "Third World" water and sanitation conditions. "This presupposes that the civilian population are somehow more capable of stopping the rocket fire than the powerful military of the occupying power. My message ... is that not only are these sanctions not working, but because of their profound inhumanity, they are counterproductive to their stated purpose, and while Gaza is not yet an entity populated by people hostile to their neighbour, it inevitably will be if the current approach of collective punitive sanctions continues." Ging said that over the past two years, "every hopeful opportunity has been irrationally dashed and followed by even worse circumstances."
Ging said that 649 Palestinians have been killed this year, including 63 children. The figure includes more than 330 killed in internal fighting. He added that UNRWA was unable to provide more than 61% of the necessary calories to refugees. "At present, we do not have sufficient funding to provide just one high nutrient biscuit to 200,000 children in UN schools." Ging added that the "human suffering and misery for the entire civilian population in Gaza was creating fertile ground for the extremists."
Israeli Leader Says Ceasefire with Hamas Is Needed
Nov. 24 (EIRNS)Yossi Beilin, the head of Israel's Meretz-Yachad Party, said, in a Washington Post op-ed Nov. 23, that Israel must start serious negotiations with Hamas. In his column called, "Needed: A Cease-Fire With Hamas, Now," Beilin writes, "Given that the current policy of containment has not quelled the violence across its border, Israel should opt for another way. The only option that I see serving the cause of peace is to enter into a dialogue with Hamas through a third party in order to reach a cease-fire. Such an agreement would include the total cessation of mutual violence; arrangements at the border to allow goods and services to pass in and out of the Gaza Strip; the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier abducted in June 2006; and a commitment by Hamas to prevent all attempts to undermine next week's meeting in Annapolis and the resulting process."
In 2006, immediately after the Israeli attack on Lebanon, which showed the ineffectiveness of Israel against asymmetrical warfare, Beilin called for a "Madrid II" conference that would open new avenues for a universal peace agreement. Lyndon LaRouche gave the Beilin call his full support. On the eve of the Annapolis meeting, which is a far cry from the comprehensive peace conference that Beilin had hoped for, he points out that Hamas is the neighbor of Israelnot Washington, Brussels, or Cairoand therefore Israel should pursue its own interest in a ceasefire with the Palestinians overall.