|Southwest Asia News Digest
Peres to Hu: Israel Does Not Want Destruction of Iran
Aug. 9 (EIRNS)China can play a key role in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, not unlike the role it has played vis-à-vis North Korea, Israeli President Shimon Peres told Chinese President Hu Jintao on Aug. 8 in Beijing, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Peres, in Beijing for the opening of the Olympics, also told Hu that Israel does not want to see the destruction of Iran, but is interested in seeking peace and stability in the region.
Hu told Peres, according to the foreign ministry statement: "We are interested in increasing our contribution to peace and stability in the Middle East. We are following every regional development in the Middle East and Iran and we are acting constructively to bolster China's involvement in and contribution to peace and stability." Hu thanked Israel for its support following the Szechuan earthquake a few months ago, and recalled the deep ties that already exist between the two countries. The meeting apparently ended with Peres extending an invitation to Hu to visit Israel.
Israel Petition Urges No Attack on Iran
Aug. 7 (EIRNS)Over 100 academics and peace activists have signed a petition calling on the Israeli government not to attack Iran, and calling for more diplomatic efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis.
The petition, while stating the significance of the Iranian threat, warns that Israel is moving toward an attack on Iran and that "all the arguments for such an attack are without any security, political or moral justification," according to a report in the Aug. 7 Jerusalem Post. It calls on Israel to show more patience with the ongoing negotiations that United States and the European Union are undertaking with Iran. The signers warn that a military strike would constitute "an act of adventurism that could endanger our very existence."
One petition signer was Reuven Kaminer, a peace activist and former provost for overseas students at Hebrew University, who told the Post that he signed because of the urgency with which Israel seems to be mobilizing for a strike against Iran. "Israel is doing this as a loose cannon," he said. "Israel is concerned that Obama will be President and there will not be the conditions for a first-strike policy: that if it has to be done, then it [had] better be done while George Bush is still around." He went on, "The average Israeli is so antagonistic regarding the Iranian regime that he has a tendency not to think logically. We don't condone any of the state policies or thinking out of Tehran, but we're against the statement that [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] is a new Hitler. We don't think war is inevitable." He pointed to the hawkish statements of Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, who has become a major advocate of an attack on Iran. "There's a strong trend in our country to solve these problems on a military basis, even though there are clearly no military solutions," Kaminer said.
Kaminer called for engaging in multilateral talks with Iran and a lot of patience. "These things take time," he said. "I don't know how many years it took in North Korea, but the Iranians don't want to be talked down to. Given their official position that they don't want atomic weapons, that creates objective conditions for patient policies that can come out better than any war."
Coordinators of the petition include: Prof. Gadi Algazi; Judy Blanc; Prof. Rachel Giora; Prof. Anat Matar; Prof. Adi Ophir; Prof. Yoav Peled; Reuven Kaminer, Prof. Haggai Ram; Prof. Yehuda Shenhav; Prof. Oren Yiftachel.
Anglo-Saudi 'BAE' Factor in the Syria Assassination
Aug. 7 (EIRNS)A senior U.S. intelligence source with decades of experience in Southwest Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean, reports that there is strong evidence that Saudi Arabia played a role in the recent assassination of a Syrian general. Gen. Mohammed Suleiman was killed in the port city of Tartous on Aug. 1, in what was described as a professional assassination.
According to the source, while some news accounts blamed Israel for the killing, he is convinced that Saudi Arabia provided critical information and funds for the murder, and that this is part of a larger Saudi effort against the Assad government, including the inciting of Sunni tribal confrontations, targeting Allawites in both Syria and Lebanon. The source encouraged exploring the Anglo-Saudi nexus of the BAE Systems "Al-Yamamah" off-the-books covert slush fund, as part of any serious investigation.
The recent Doha agreement, establishing a unity government in Lebanon, including Hezbollah and the Christian opposition faction of Michel Aoun, as well as the agreement between Damascus and Beirut to resume normal diplomatic relations, has greatly weakened the Saudi grip over Lebanon. The Turkish-mediated talks between Israel and Syria have also undermined the Saudi position, and these factors, the source emphasized, are part of the reason that the Saudis may have played a hand in the assassination of General Suleiman, a key ally of President Assad, who was not well known outside of Damascus.
The recent diplomatic efforts of Turkey and France have broken the isolation of Syria's Assad regime. The targeting of Syria for "regime change" has been a cornerstone policy of the Cheney/neocon apparatus since 2001, and is part of the British long-term strategy of "managed chaos" to prevent any peace agreement in Southwest Asia. According to the U.S. intelligence source, Turkish and French mediation have moved the Israel-Syria peace talks forward, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is in favor of a permanent treaty with Syria, and then Lebanon.
Since September 2007, Lyndon LaRouche has been promoting a Syria-Israel peace deal as a vital means of shifting the entire dynamic in the region, and moving the regional peace process forward.
Arrests Made in Turkish Attack
Aug. 4 (EIRNS)Turkish authorities arrested eight suspects believed to have been responsible for last month's terror bombing in Istanbul, which may be linked to the suicide bombing in Kirkuk, Iraq, the next day.
Although officially, the Turkish government has not said what group was responsible for the Istanbul attack, Interior Minister Besir Atalay told reporters on Aug. 2 that the "attack is the work of a bloody and separatist terrorist organization." Most press are reporting that it was the work of the separatist Kurdish Labor Party (PKK).
Meanwhile the Turkish daily Zaman is reporting that the deadly bombings in Kirkuk and Istanbul, could have been the work of the same group, with the aim of inciting a Turkish-Iraqi Kurdish conflict that could have expanded into a regional war in the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran.
The daily Zaman notes that the Turkish Foreign Minister issued a statement after the Kirkuk suicide bombing, making clear, that it was a "provocation that targeted not only peace and stability in Kirkuk, but also that of Iraq and the overall region."
Kirkuk, which is in Iraq's northern Kurdish region but not part of the Kurdish regional government, has a mixed population of Kurds and Turkmen, and both Sunni and Shi'a Muslims. The suicide bombing touched off incidents between the Turkmen and Kurdish populations in the city. Certain Kurdish parties have begun calling for the city to be annexed to the Kurdish regional government, which would violate Iraqi government policy, and would also be opposed by Turkey.