|Southwest Asia News Digest
Livni Wins Razor-Thin Victory in Kadima Primary
Sept. 19 (EIRNS)Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni won the leadership race for the head of the Kadima Party, beating Shaul Mofaz. While Mofaz, a former chief of staff and defense minister under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is considered a hardliner, Livni is believed to support peace negotiations with Syria as well as the Palestinians.
Livni's election could prove to be a Pyrrhic victory, since it was won by just 431 votes, about 1%. Even this was seen as a result of manipulation, because the media has been accused of releasing exit polls throughout the day, even before the polls closed, that claimed a 12% margin in Livni's favor. Mofaz conceded defeat, and announced he was withdrawing from politics and therefore will not support her in the next election. This has serious implications for her support within Kadima, where Mofaz had the backing of the right wing of the party who were mostly, like Mofaz, former Likud members. Such a division could lead to a split in the party if elections are held.
Livni now has to form a new government which could be very difficult, and if she fails, new elections will have to be held. In the meantime, Ehud Olmert remains as caretaker prime minister. Labor Party chairman Ehud Barak, according to Ynet, wants a unity government with the Likud to be formed, while Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu is calling for new elections, which he believes he would win.
Peres on Iran: War Must Not Be an Option
Sept. 19 (EIRNS)On the eve of his departure to New York to attend the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, Israeli President Shimon Peres ruled out war as an option in dealing with Iran's nuclear program.
"War should never be an option, or even the first option," Peres said. "We must first try every other operation." Peres then called for strong economic sanctions against Iran, saying, "We have to go to the most sensitive area," which he says is the economy. This is the message he will bring to the UN.
Fundies and Likud Fascists Behind UN Rally vs. Iran
Sept. 20 (EIRNS)"End Times" Christian fundamentalists and fascist neocons are trying to build up steam for a British-designed Israeli and/or U.S. strike against Iran before the Bush Administration leaves office.
On Sept. 22, the National Coalition To Stop Iran Now, sponsored by the ultra-right/organized crime-linked Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, will rally in New York, ostensibly to ban Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from speaking at the UN. (This is the rally which attracted so much media attention when Hillary Clinton refused to attend (after which the organizers then dis-invited Sarah Palin.) But the real reason is not to block Ahmadinejad's speech, but rather to create an "outcry" against Iran, fire up the Christian Right, and push Congress to adopt resolutions against Iran, so that Dick Cheney can launch the British empire's war against Iran.
The UN rally is part of an international propaganda campaign to get an Iran War. According to well-informed Israeli sources, the war-mongers around Cheney triedunsuccessfullyto engineer the Kadima Party election in favor of Gen. Shaul Mofazone of Cheney's closest allies internationally (see news item in this Digest). Mofaz has been demanding for the last year that the U.S. strike Iran to eliminate its nuclear program.
To give the advantage to Mofaz, there were secret trips made (separately) to Israel by Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice in the weeks before the Sept. 17 election, reported EIR's Israeli sources. Cheney met with Likud head, fascist Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak of the Labor Party, and Mofaz, but shunned both Kadima candidate Tzipi Livni and outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Also involved in the propaganda is the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ), backers of the Israeli extreme-right terrorists, which has produced a web-based video that accuses Iran of planning a new holocaust against the Jews. The ICEJ has collected 55,000 signatures for the UN to sanction Iran at the UN Security Council, and will be prominent at the rally in New York.
The pressure for a war against Iran before the Bush Administration leaves is meeting heavy resistance from the U.S. military, from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and from a strong faction inside the intelligence community. But there is still a "50/50" chance that the insanity factor will prevail, and the Administration will attack Iran.
IAEA Report on Iran; U.S. Threatens Further Sanctions
Sept. 15 (EIRNS)The United States is threatening further sanctions against Iran following the release of the latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the IAEA Board and to the UN Security Council; the report itself is under seal, although various news organizations claim to have it.
Wire services say the IAEA report charges that Iran has blocked the IAEA investigation, and quote a UN/IAEA official as saying that "we've arrived at a gridlock" and a "dead-end."
But the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz states that the IAEA has not been able to come up with any evidence to contradict what Tehran says about its program. The IAEA insists that Iran prove a negative, saying that without more Iranian cooperation, "the IAEA will not be able to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran."
The United States, however, warned of further sanctions. "This report shows once again that Iran is refusing to cooperate with the international community," said White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe. "The Iranian regime's continued defiance only further isolates the Iranian people. We urge Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities or face further implementation of the existing United Nations Security Council sanctions and the possibility of new sanctions."
Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA, Ali-Ashgar Soltanieh, said there is nothing for the IAEA to investigate regarding alleged weapons programs. "The Americans did a lousy job with the CIA and associated terrorist groups that work with them," AP reports him sayinga reference to Iranian charges that the U.S. intelligence obtained from the Mujahideen e-Khalq (MEK/MKO) terrorist group, concerning Iranian weapons programs, was forged.
Renewed Push in Congress on Iran Embargo Bill
Sept. 20 (EIRNS)A pair of bills is now pending in the House and Senate that call for a petroleum embargo of Iran, combined with interdiction and inspection of ships. A real danger is that the bills, which have 275 co-sponsors in the House and 50 in the Senate, could be attached to something like a must-pass budget bill and rammed through with little notice.
Five co-sponsors in the House have withdrawn their names under constituent pressure and/or realizing the war danger embedded in the resolutions. The latest to withdraw was Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on Sept. 8; the others are Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Tom Allen (D-Me.), and Lacy Clay (D-Mo.).
No new official action has been taken on either House Concurrent Resolution 362, introduced in May, and referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, or on Senate Resolution 580, introduced in June and referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The bill was debated during a contentious House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on U.S. policy toward Iran on July 9, when a number of Republicans and Democrats charged that the bill could trigger war. Both the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) are reportedly lobbying heavily for the bills behind the scenes.
More Arrests in Turkey's Ergenekon case
Sept. 19 (EIRNS)There have been more arrests of members of the Ergenekon criminal intelligence network that has been linked to coup attempts and acts of terrorism in Turkey. In a sweep by police in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, Turkish police arrested 19 people, including 6 Army officers. The officers including two lieutenants as well as students at the military academy. Levent Temiz, the head of the ultra-nationalist youth movement of the National Movement Party known as Ulku Ocaklan, who is suspected to have been involved in assassinations and terrorism, was among those arrested.
The Ergenekon has ties to military and intelligence networks and was the subject of a 2,500 page indictment by the Turkish prosecutor. Eighty-five people have been arrested, including the former head of the Gendarmes, a top retired military army commander. The network has its roots in the Young Turk organization founded by the British intelligence services in 1908 to penetrate the Ottoman Empire.
Ergenekon Link to U.S. Consulate Attack
Sept 20 (EIRNS)Turkish police have determined that one of the participants in the July attack on the U.S. consulate in Istanbul was linked to the Ergenekon ultra-nationalist crime network. According to wiretapped telephone discussions, Erkan Kargin, one of the terrorists killed in the attack, held telephone discussions with more than one of the Ergenekon suspects now under arrest. According to a report in Zaman, Kargin was in contact with an Ergenekon cell which was trying to infiltrate the Isamilaga religious community in Istanbul, according to unnamed police sources.