|Southwest Asia News Digest
UN Anti-Drug Czar Urges Help to Iran's Anti-Drug Fight
May 22 (EIRNS)A top anti-narcotics official, Antonio Maria Costa, the executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) based in Vienna, reporting on his three-day visit to Iran, called for the international community to support Iran's fight against narcotics trafficking from Afghanistan. In a report from the UNODC's official website, Costa reiterated that Iran has, to the best of its capabilities, worked to block the path of heroin trafficking from Afghanistan to the West.
"It is estimated that the narcotics which traffickers manage to transit through Iranian soil is around 2,500 tons annually, and that the Iranian anti-drug campaign officers have managed to confiscate a third of it," Costa said. "The Iranian Narcotic Drug Campaign Special Forces are among the best in the world, but the responsibility they are shouldering alone is the shared duty of entire world nations, and therefore Iran should not be left alone in this tough campaign.
"The greatest volume of the world's narcotics is produced in Afghanistan, and if it were confiscated by Afghanistan's neighbors, the quantity that the traffickers would manage to smuggle to the West would be way smaller." He added, "So far, 3,700 Iranian Special Drug Forces have lost their lives in their relentless anti-narcotics campaign in confrontation with traffickers who are armed to the teeth."
Iran has erected over 1,000 kilometers of embankments, canals, trenches, and cement walls along its eastern border, in its efforts to block the trafficking of heroin from Afghanistan, which is also smuggled into Iran through Pakistan. On visiting the border today, Costa praised Iran for its efforts. "Most of the world's opium is produced in one country [Afghanistan]. The more drugs that are seized near production areas, the less drugs will reach Western streets," he said.
During his meeting with Secretary General Ahmadi Moghadam of the Iranian Drug Control Headquarters, Costa congratulated the Iranian authorities for the record number of opium seizures made in the country, as well as for the establishment of an information and intelligence center against drug trafficking with Afghanistan and Pakistan, which resulted in a successful joint operation in March 2009.
Beware the Neo-Con Cabal Around Netanyahu
May 18 (EIRNS)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has surrounded himself with a cabal of neo-con advisors linked to and financed by the same American neo-con billionaires and foundations that have backed him for decades.
The daily Ha'aretz reports today that some of the top people in Netanyahu's government are from the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center, among them, senior fellow at Shalem's Institute for Economic and Social Policy, Omer Moav, a Thatcherite economist who now heads the Finance Ministry's Council of Economic Advisors. One of Moav's most recent articles was entitled, "Who Needs Employment Security?"
A former senior fellow is historian Michael Oren, whom Netanyahu has named Ambassador to the U.S. Oren is a right-wing Zionist revisionist historian. Another is former Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon, who, under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, ran the brutal repression of the second Palestinian Intifada. A fourth is former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky, who will soon be named to head the Jewish Agency. All oppose the two-state solution, and all see Iran as an "existential" threat.
Shalem is the most heavily financed think tank in Israel. Its chief financiers are all neocons and oppose the two-state solution. They include George Rohr, founder of New Century Holdings, the largest foreign investment company in Russia. His father, Sami Rohr, is a real estate magnate in Miami and Bogota, Colombia; Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino king; the Berstein family of New York; and Ron Lauder, son of Estee Lauder and heir to the cosmetic fortune, has been a top financier of Netanyahu's political career. Both the Bernstein family's Tikvah and Avi Chai Foundations back the neocon movement in the U.S. and Israel. The Bernstein and Rohr families are big financial supporters of the Chabad Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish revivalist movements.
Shalem founder and director Yoram Hazony was an admirer of the late fascist Meir Kahane.
Israeli Peace Activist: Netanyahu Can't Deliver
May 21 (EIRNS)Ori Nir, the Israeli chairman of Americans for Peace Now, who was previously a Ha'aretz reporter for 16 years, and then editor of Forward, was the main speaker on a May 21 conference call sponsored by Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP).
In answer to a somewhat censored question submitted by EIR, Nir confirmed that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had been unable to deliver anything following his recent visit to the United States, and that he would have to "zig-zag between throwing red meat to his backers, and doing what the United States insists he do." The first showdown has already occurred on settlements, with Secretary of State Clinton insisting that all settlement activity be stopped. The Israeli government closed a small settlement consisting of eight huts today, and publicized it as an act of goodwill toward Obama.
Briefed on these developments, Lyndon LaRouche commented, "Obama is not ready to break with Hillary Clinton."