|Southwest Asia News Digest
Barak: Syria Track 'Potentially Positive'
Jan. 26 (EIRNS)Interviewed by the Washington Post's Lally Weymouth, Israeli Defense Minister and Labor Party chairman Ehud Barak was asked, "Do you think that the Syrian track should be pursued?" He responded, "I think that we have shown ... a respect for Syria, its interests and its leaders. We expect from them to do the same regarding Israel. If this basic kind of element will be there, I think a Syrian track is ... potentially positive." Weymouth continued: "I thought the U.S. has opposed Israel negotiating with Syria," to which Barak replied, "I think they realized in recent years that we understand the Syrian issue better."
Lyndon LaRouche has insisted since last Autumn, that a negotiated Israel-Syria peace is attainable in the near term, and is indispensable to unlock the potential for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
At the same time, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is trying to resolve the humanitarian crisis created by Israel's siege of Gaza, while inviting Hamas and Fatah Palestinian factions to reconciliation talks in Cairo. He called on Israel to lift the siege and manage the border crossing. "They should get things back to normal according to previous agreements and understandings," Mubarak is quoted as saying in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz. With respect to Palestinian reconciliation talks, Mubarak said, "I want this language of violence to stop. Peace could be achieved on the basis of international resolutions and agreements that demand the establishment of a Palestinian state."
In accepting the invitation, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said, "I and all the brothers in the Hamas leadership welcome participating and will seek to make the dialogue a success."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has yet to state whether, as head of Fatah, he would accept Mubarak's invitation. But Palestinian officials say that Abbas will be in Cairo on Jan. 30, to talk with Mubarak about Gaza, after he meets with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
On Jan. 25, rejectionist Palestinian groups in Damascus issued a statement at the end of a three-day National Palestinian Conference, in which they called on Hamas and Fatah to unite in the face of the worsening situation in Gaza, due to the Israeli siege.
Israel Threatens Total Cut-Off of Gaza, After Wall Is Breached
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)After hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from besieged Gaza streamed across the Gaza-Egyptian border to obtain food and supplies, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai announced that Israel wants to sever all connection with the Gaza Strip, including cutting the supply of electricity and fuel and closing all border crossings, and demanding that Egypt take full responsibility for Gaza. This is impossible, because 75% of the electricity in Gaza comes from the Israeli grid. It is not known whether Egypt even has the power capacity to take on that responsibility.
A spokesman for Hamas rejected Vilnai's idea as an attempt to separate Gaza from the occupied West Bank. According to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also said that Israel might seize the chance to sever Gaza from the West Bank, and warned of "grave consequences" for the Annapolis peace effort.
Hossam Zaki, the official spokesman for Egypt's Foreign Ministry, said of Vilnai's plan, "This is a wrong assumption. The current situation is only an exception and for temporary reasons. The border will go back to normal."
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, while calling on Palestinian militants to put an end to their disagreements and work to improve the situation in the impoverished Gaza Strip, also slammed Israel for cutting off fuel supplies to Gaza, saying the peace process "could not afford another failure." He added that Egypt would not allow the residents of Gaza to starve or become victims of a humanitarian tragedy.
U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, who is now in Israel, said that while Hamas itself was to blame for the shortages of basic goods in Gaza, "obviously it is going to be up to the Egyptian government to bring under control the situation along the border."
Herzliya Conference in Israel Invites America's Wackos
Jan. 22 (EIRNS)John Bolton, the neocon who was drummed out of the job as U.S. ambassador to the UN, spoke in Herzliya, Israel today, where he urged the Israelis to plan a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities along the model of what Israel did in Syria last September. Bolton said that there's a "close to zero percent chance" that Bush will attack Iran before he leaves office in Jan. 2009. And, the recent National Intelligence Estimate that said that Iran had ended a nuclear weapons program was (in the paraphrase by Ha'aretz of his remarks), "a politically-motivated report intended to restrict the Bush Administration's room to maneuver."
Israel could hit Iran, suggested Bolton, as the followup to its "stunningly successful military strike" against Syria last September. Bolton repeated his disinformation that the site that Israel hit was a joint North Korea-Syria nuclear weapons project.
Bolton's speech is no doubt just the beginning of the warmongering that will come out of the annual Herzliya conference, which serves as a platform for war party scenarioseven though "all factions" participate in the conference. The other Americans include Judith Miller, formerly the New York Times' biggest liar on Iraqi WMD; Norman Podhoretz, author of "The Case for Bombing Iran"; and Steve Emerson, the Mossad-linked Islam-hater. Dick Cheney's favorite Israeli, Benjamin Netanyahu, will also be speaking.
LaRouche: Watch British Hand Behind Iran Factional Splits
Jan. 22 (EIRNS)Lyndon LaRouche, responding to reports of intensified factional battles among the Iranian government leadership, warned that the British factor must not be overlooked. The British have a long history of running political destabilization operations inside Iran, long-predating the Mossadegh coup, which was run through British Petroleum in the mid-1950s, LaRouche elaborated. Now, London is pursuing a policy of "managed chaos" around the globe, provoking the break-up of nation-states, from Pakistan, to Kenya, to Palestine and Iraq. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has championed the idea that the 21st Century marks a "post-Westphalia" era, in which nation-states will cease to exist. All of these factors, LaRouche concluded, suggest that the British are doing everything in their power to provoke splits in Iran, in furtherance of their efforts to spread chaos, particularly in the Persian Gulf. London is driven to accelerate all of these "managed chaos" projects, due to the global financial crash, which affords a unique opportunity to take down the Westphalian system.
LaRouche's remarks came in the context of reports from Iran of a number of political and economic crises suddenly piling up. The first was picked up in the U.S. news media, including today's New York Times, which quoted from a letter to the Iranian parliament (Majlis) by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in which he reversed an order by President Ahmadinejad, cutting off gas subsidies to remote villages, facing an unusually harsh Winter. The other reports, from sources inside Iran, indicated policy conflicts between the Foreign Ministry and the Supreme National Security Council, a pivotal policy-making body; and heated debate over Iran's nuclear energy program. Reportedly, the economic crisis is intensifying, with riots over gas rationing and other shortages.
It is precisely this kind of situation that the British have historically exploited. For generations, the British Foreign Office and British intelligence have maintained genealogical profiles of regional leaders, tribal hierarchies, and others, in every part of Iran.
Beirut Bombing Ignites Further Chaos
Jan. 26 (EIRNS)On Jan. 25, Captain Wissam Eid, the top Lebanese police investigator responsible for investigating the long list of assassinations of prominent Lebanese leaders, was himself killed in a powerful car bombing. The rate of bombings has increased in the past month, as the government crisis has escalated.
The usual anti-Syrian outcry was raised in response to the murder. The Wall Street Journal blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for bringing Syria into the Annapolis talks, and Sen. Hillary Clinton for saying that she would encourage contact with Syria if she became President.
A Lebanese source told EIR, "Whoever actually is planting the bombs, it is to the benefit of the British and their messenger Cheney."