|Southwest Asia News Digest
LaRouche: Cheney, London Pushing Wider War in SW Asia
Jan. 10 (EIRNS)Lyndon LaRouche has issued the following strategic assessment, based on recent discussions with sources in Washington and in Southwest Asia:
"Based on a series of recent reports, it is our assessment that Vice President Dick Cheney, with backing from London, is pressing for a broader confrontation in Southwest Asia, that would extend the already ongoing, disastrous Gaza incursion, into a multi-front war, engulfing Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. This effort, which has reached a critical threshold in the past 48 hours, is part of the same London-directed global showdown that we see with the recent Ukrainian actions, aimed at creating a major Europe-wide energy and security crisis, that could lead to a new Eurasian war.
"We have received credible reports that Cheney, in league with British and Saudi factions, is attempting to pressure the Israeli government and military into a suicidal extension of the conflict against Hezbollah and Syria. The broader purpose is to give Cheney the opportunity, during the closing hours of the present Administration, the justification to launch American military actions against Iran, despite powerful opposition from within the Pentagon, the CIA, and the State Department. Such actions have been prevented, up until this moment, through a concerted opposition from within those U.S. institutions, as reflected in frequent public statements by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff head Adm. Mike Mullen, and others.
"This effort to create a series of impossible strategic crises for the incoming Obama Administration, at a moment when they hope to concentrate their initial efforts on the onrushing global financial disintegration, and the fullscale collapse of what remains of the U.S. economy, is, by our direct information, a focus of Vice President Cheney's activities. We are pursuing reports that Cheney has personally intervened, as recently as Jan. 8, to promote an Israeli second-front war against Lebanon. We have credible indications that the same Anglo-Saudi circles of 'Al-Yamamah' notoriety, are directly engaged in weapons trafficking, aimed at triggering this expansion of the crisis. So far, Israel has not fallen into this expanded 'Sykes-Picot' trap; however, there is an ongoing London-directed effort, working through Cheney and other assets, to break that opposition, before Barack Obama is inaugurated on Jan. 20, as the 44th President of the United States.
"It is my personal assessment that the gravest danger of such an escalation, as well as other provocations, as in Ukraine, is between now and Jan. 16. I shall be addressing this matter as a feature of my scheduled Jan. 16, 2009 international webcast. However, I determined, based on reports I have received in the past hours, that this crisis demanded my immediate comment. I share the view of some leading figures within the U.S.A. national security establishment, that the threat of an attack on Iran, is not off the table, entirely. Until Bush and Cheney have left office, this threat, and other similar global strategic provocations, remain a very high possibility. Under these circumstances, it is critical to understand that Cheney is a hand grenade, in the fist of the British."
Iraq: We Will Not Be Eastern Flank of Arab World vs. Iran
Jan. 6 (EIRNS)A senior Iraqi government official, speaking in Washington, set back the Cheneyac dream of an Arab war against Iran, by declaring that Iraq, will not be the eastern flank in any such confrontation. He was responding to a question from a representative of the "bomb Iran" faction, who demanded that the terrorist Iranian group MeK, still being held in Camp Ashraf in Iraq under U.S. protection, be allowed to be used against Iran. The official forcefully replied that if Iraq were to allow that, it would allow itself to be used against Iran the same way that Saddam Hussein was used in the 1980s. "We are not in that business anymore," he said. Iraq's concern, he said, is to design a completely new strategy for a peaceful relationship with Iran, based on mutual respect between two sovereign governments. "We are not interested in being the eastern flank of the Arab world against Iran," he said.
The official noted that Iraq has "a very bad history" with the MeK, and needs to deal with that problem free of the U.S. agenda. He characterized the MeK as a "dangerous cult." Iran, he said, has agreed to give most of its members a general amnesty, and allow them to go to other countries, if they wish, except for 54 individuals who are wanted for particular crimes.
Turkish Leaders Blast Israeli Policy in Gaza
Jan. 5 (EIRNS)The Turkish government, which was mediating peace talks between Israel and Syria, and was reportedly approaching the point of achieving direct talks between the two nations, right before the Israeli army launched its assault on Gaza, is enraged at Israel's invasion of Gaza. Both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gül, along with the Foreign Ministry, have been denouncing Israel's behavior.
Hours after the Israeli invasion, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement: "Israel's launch of a ground incursion, despite all our calls, has aroused indignation and further increased our concerns. We find Israel's launch of a ground incursiondespite warnings by the international community and reaction within international public opinionunacceptable, and we condemn it.... It is obvious that escalating the tension will bring no use to anybody. Looking for a resolution to the problem through military means will yield no result other than more blood and tears. We are once more calling for an end to Israel's military operation without leading to more loss of lives and without making the region more unstable; for an immediate end to hostility; and for a permanent ceasefire. We expect the UN Security Council to immediately intervene in the situation and take the necessary steps to bring the incidents under control."
Speaking at a press conference after meeting with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Jan. 3, prior to the invasion, Erdogan declared: "A six-month-long truce was maintained, and Hamas observed it. But Israel didn't stick to the deal for lifting the embargo. People in Gaza are living in a sort of open-air prison. Actually, Palestine in general is a prison. Humanity should be sensitive at this point," Erdogan said, referring to an Egyptian-brokered truce which Hamas refused to extend on Dec. 19. Israel says its blockade, enforced for much of the period since Hamas won the Palestinian general elections in 2006, is designed to prevent Hamas from obtaining weapons.
Erdogan continued: "I'm calling on the entire world again. Why don't you show the sensitivity you showed in Georgia? Russia at the time started an incident in Georgia. The UN, the U.S., the EU countries, and others mobilized rapidly," he said, referring to the fact that Russia invaded U.S.-allied Georgia in August after the Georgian army tried to take control of South Ossetia, a Russian-backed breakaway region. "Everybody remains unmoved while Gaza is shot with disproportionate power."
On his return to Turkey, Erdogan went even further, charging Israel with "inhumane actions" which will "bring it to destroy itself.... Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents."
Turkey, which is now on the United Nations Security Council, can be expected to play a major role in discussions in that body on the Gaza situation. As a key interlocutor of Israel, as well as of the Arab world, it is in an ideal position to take up its mediation position again, once the British-induced madness of the current invasion has been brought to an end.
Jordan Withdraws Ambassador from Israel
Jan. 10 (EIRNS)Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel and said he will not return until Israel signs a ceasefire agreement with the Palestinians. Ambassador Ali Al Ayed, who was already in Amman, will simply not return. This is the way it was done when Ariel Sharon was prime minister; it was a number of years before the ambassador returned. The Egyptians at the time did the same.
Jordanian King Abdullah II, according to the Israeli wire service Ynet, told Al-Jazeera that Israel was plotting "a conspiracy against the Palestinian people and the future of Palestine. We must be aware of this conspiracy and, God willing, we, along with Arab and other countries, will stop Israel's agenda as soon as possible. We will work with other countries in the coming days to press Israel and its army to stop the aggression on Gaza." He further stated that Jordan is "concerned and upset, and fears what could happen after Gaza, the aftermath of Gaza."
Israel's war against Hamas threatens to destabilize Jordan, where half the population are first-, second-, and third-generation Palestinians who were forced to flee Palestine following the 1948 and 1967 wars.