|Southwest Asia News Digest
Arab League Reasserts Peace Initiative
Dec. 13 (EIRNS)On Dec. 12, the Arab League announced its readiness to proceed with a peace deal with Israel on the basis of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said, in a letter to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, "The Arab side is ready to establish a just and lasting peace with Israel in line with the land-for-peace principle, the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant UN resolutions."
While the 2002 proposal says that Israel must allow the return of Palestinian refugees and accept Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, PressTV reports that the Arabs may be making certain concessions to Israel on those two points. A new plan, reportedly agreed on by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on the one side, and Saudi King Abdullah and Prince Saud al-Faisal on the other, reportedly relinquishes these rights. (Saudi Arabia, of course, does not speak for the Palestinians, or the other Arab countries.) Peres did reportedly say that the Arab Peace Initiative, rejected by Israel on the past, must be considered "a serious opening for real progress" in Mideast peace.
The Arab League announcement comes ahead of a meeting on Dec. 15 of the Middle East Quartet (U.S., Russia, EU, UN) and a meeting of the UN Security Council on Dec. 16, which is set to vote on a resolution calling on Israel and the Palestinians to continue negotiations on the core issues during 2009 in efforts to achieve "two states for two peoples." According to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, the core issues include Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. The resolution is said to be the result of an effort by President Bush to cement the Annapolis process so that it continues into the next administration. American UN Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters, with Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin standing next to him, "Now, the U.S. focus is on a smooth hand-off to President-elect Obama that keeps up the momentum for peace," a sentiment with which Churkin agreed.
Sarid: 'Feiglin, His Cronies Are Fascists'
Dec. 10 (EIRNS)The former chairman of the pro-peace Meretz Party, Yossi Sarid, wrote in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz today that Moshe Feiglin, who is number 20 on the Likud party candidates list for the February elections, is a Hitler-admiring fascist; the accusation breaks a longstanding taboo in Israel.
Writing that the Likud is starting to look a little "brown" with Feiglin and his cronies, he quotes Feiglin in an interview with Ha'aretz in 1995: "Hitler was an unparalleled military genius. Nazism promoted Germany from a low to a fantastic physical and ideological status. The ragged, trashy youth body turned into a neat and orderly part of society and Germany received an exemplary regime, a proper justice system and public order. Hitler savored good music. He would paint. This was no bunch of thugs. They merely used thugs and homosexuals."
Sarid writes that it is time to "break free from the shackles of politically correct speech and call these peopleFeiglin and his croniesby their explicit name. They are not 'radicals', but fascists by any acceptable definition. And had they not been bornthrough no fault of their ownto Jewish mothers, they would have been damn anti-Semites to boot."
He quotes Feiglin again: "There can be no doubt that Judaism is racist in some sense.... And when they asserted at the United Nations that Zionism was racist, I did not find much reason to protest. The people who take racism to mean a distinction between racesand this is a very primitive distinctionmust argue that Zionism is racist."
On the Palestinians, Feiglin said bluntly: "There is no Palestinian nation. There is only an Arab-speaking public which has suddenly [!] identified itself as a people, a negative of the Zionist movement, parasites. The fact that they hadn't done so earlier only serves to prove how inferior they are. The Africans have no nations either. Only Zulus, Tutsis."
Brzezinski: Israel's Push for a U.S. Strike on Iran May Hurt Ties with U.S.
Dec. 8 (EIRNS)Israel's continued lobbying for the United States to strike Iran may hurt ties with the U.S., former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski told the Israeli daily Ha'aretz in an interview published today. Brzezinski, an advisor to President-elect Barack Obama, also blasted the failed Middle East policy of the Bush Administration.
"One advice that I would give the Israeli government is not to engage in this campaign for an American attack on Iran, because I don't think America is going to attack Iran, and if it did, and the consequences would be disastrous," Brzezinski said. "It wouldn't be particularly good for American-Israeli relations, and there will be a lot of resentment against [Israel]. There already has been some after the war in Iraq." He added that if Israel did attack Iran, it would not succeed in knocking out all of Iran's nuclear facilities, but would embolden Iranian extremists.
"I don't know if Iran believes the military option is real, but I think it's not a real option for the U.S., and it is not a real option for Israel, because Israel doesn't have a capability to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities," Brzezinski said. "It can damage them, so it can only delay the process, while intensifying Iranian extremism and welding together Iranian nationalism and Iranian fundamentalism, which I don't think is in anyone's interest. Last, but not least, Israel really cannot execute an effective strike without our permission. Because if you look at the map, you can see the reason why it is so."
Brzezinski went on to criticize the Bush Administration's performance, and to stress that the Obama Administration must act immediately to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, which is the key to peace in the region.
Iranian Sunni Terrorist Tied to British-Saudi Nexus
Dec. 13 (EIRNS)Iranian officials say they have documents that show that the United States and Britain are backing a terrorist group that has been kidnapping and killing police and civilians in a region of southeastern Iran bordering Pakistan. The group, called Jundullah (God's Soldiers), recently killed 16 Iranian police officers that it had kidnapped earlier this year. It is led by Abdolmalik Rigi, who is said to be part of the al-Qaeda network (which is Sunni).
Ebrahim Raisi, first deputy to Iran's judiciary chief, told state radio, "There are documents that show that Britain and America are supporting Rigi's terrorist group with arms and information." According to Iran's PressTV, Raisi singled out the British for "providing critical intelligence" to Jundullah. PressTV had reported on Dec. 8 that the Arabic website Nahrainnet cited informed sources that Saudi intelligence has been supporting Jundullah to carry out kidnappings in southeastern Iran.
That Jundullah might be a proxy for destabilizing Iran was first reported by Seymour Hersh in the April 5, 2007 New Yorker. Hersh confirmed what sources had already told EIR: that the Bush-Cheney Administration was reorienting its Middle East policy to support Sunni groups against the Iranian government (Iran is overwhelmingly Shi'a), and against Shi'as in general. A month later, ABC News reported that Dick Cheney had discussed the Jundullah operation directly with then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Intelligence sources told EIR at the time, that Musharraf refused to support expanding Jundullah's operation. The Iranians would now appear to have evidence tying Jundullah into the British-BAE-Saudi network.
Larijani To Respond to U.S. on Talks with Congress
Dec. 8 (EIRNS)Iranian Majlis (parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani is prepared to respond to a letter from the co-chairmen of the U.S. Congress Dialogue Caucus, which called for a meeting between members of the Iranian Majlis and U.S. Congress, MP Kazem Jalali told a press conference in Tehran on Dec. 7.
Jalali, who is rapporteur of the Majlis Commission on National Security and Foreign Policy, showed a photocopy of the U.S. letter to reporters. The letter was signed by the co-chairmen of the U.S. Congress Dialogue Caucus, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Walter Gilchrest (R-Md.). It calls for a transparent dialogue between representatives who are familiar with the national interests of both nations.