In this issue:

London Times Caught with Foot in Mouth About IAEA Iran Decision

Senior Diplomats Lament Obama's Failure in Mideast

Iran Names Brits, Saudis in Jundallah Bomb Attack

From Volume 36, Issue 42 of EIR Online, Published Oct. 30, 2009
Southwest Asia News Digest

London Times Caught with Foot in Mouth About IAEA Iran Decision

Oct. 23 (EIRNS)—The London Times push for a confrontation with Iran today, claiming that Iran's delay in answering the International Atomic Energy Agency's proposal to ship the bulk of its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for reprocessing, was an outright rejection. While the IAEA had pressed the four negotiating countries—Russia, France, the United States, and Iran—to sign its draft agreement by today, the request by Iran to delay giving its final answer until the middle of next week was received properly.

The IAEA issued a statement declaring, in part: "Iran informed the Director General today that it is considering the proposal in depth and in a favourable light, but it needs time until the middle of next week to provide a response. The Director General hopes that Iran's response will equally be positive, since approval of this agreement will signal a new era of cooperation."

The U.S. State Department issued a statement, confirming that it had been informed by the IAEA of the Iranian request, and that it hoped there would be no further delays.

In response to the delay, which the British press falsely characterized as an outright rejection, the London Times published a banner headline, "Barack Obama's Policy on Brink of Collapse as Tehran Does Last-Minute Nuclear Stall." The article began by gloating, "President Obama's policy of diplomatic engagement with Iran is close to collapse as Tehran backtracks on a crucial deal aimed at cutting its stockpiles of nuclear fuel."

A senior U.S. intelligence source closely involved in Iran policy told EIR today that he was not surprised at the request for a delay. "We don't know exactly what is up in the Iranian deliberations, but there is a good rule to follow in negotiating with the Iranians: If it is straight and easy, it will not work." He explained that there are two factors, outside the negotiating process itself, that are shaping the decision in Tehran. First, the political situation inside the country is unresolved and very complex. Second, there is likely a faction inside the Revolutionary Guard, who believe that Iran needs to have a nuclear weapon, and want to proceed to build a bomb. "This makes a decision more difficult, and certainly more time consuming," he concluded.

Senior Diplomats Lament Obama's Failure in Mideast

Oct. 19 (EIRNS)—Two highly respected diplomats—former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman and Syrian Ambassador to the U.S. Imad Moustapha—delivered powerful speeches laying out the tragedy of the last nine months of the Obama Presidency for Southwest Asia, the Arab world, and, especially, the Palestinians. Speaking at the annual National Council on U.S. Arab Relations conference on Oct. 16, Freeman gave the closing keynote, beginning with a chilling fact: Every single communication from a senior al-Qaeda leader since 9/11 has repeated that the U.S. tolerates and supports the Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians. "The threat we Americans now face derives less from al-Qaeda than it does from widening Muslim rage at continuing humiliation and injustice," Freeman said.

Freeman continued, "A just and durable peace in the Holy Land that secures the state of Israel should be an end in itself for the United States. But the fact that the conflict there enfevers and radicalizes the Islamic body politic worldwide should make the achievement of such a peace an inescapable, central task of United States strategy...." That is why it is right for Obama to devote energy to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But, in the face of "contemptuous rejection from Israel ... the Obama Administration is unwilling, at least for now, to put pressure on Israel...."

"In Israel's own estimation and that of the region, the Jewish state is at a turning point. Time is running out on the prospects for peaceful engagement between it, the Palestinians, other Arabs, and non-Arab Muslims. No peace is conceivable without the full use of American moral and economic leverage to bring Israel to the negotiating table ... to compel Israel to make the choices necessary to achieve mutually respectful coexistence with the Palestinians and other Arabs...." But, Freeman said, it is unlikely that Obama would be willing to risk the political destabilization that would ensue in both Israel and the United States. Israel's alternative to peace based on mutual respect would have to be "to sustain military hegemony in perpetuity.... It is hard to see this as a formula that leads to anything but eventual disaster...."

Ambassador Moustapha told the conference on Oct. 15 that "goodwill is not enough." He joked that he is no longer able to make cynical jokes about the U.S. government, as he did under George W. Bush, but at the same time, there is nothing that Obama has actually done to fulfill his promises or the high degree of hope that the Arab world had in him after his Cairo speech. The best he could say is that the Obama Administration promised Syria that it would not "lambast" them in the press as the Bush-Cheney government had done, but rather talk to them in private.

But there is still hypocrisy and double standards from the U.S.—for example the rejection of the Goldstone Report on war crimes in Gaza, and the attack on Syria for calling for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. That was called anti-Semitic by the U.S.—yet the U.S. proposes a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

With about 30 countries represented, the disappointment in and growing dislike of Obama was palpable, but participants, especially American liberals, tried—unsuccessfully—to keep up the pretext of "Cairo euphoria."

Iran Names Brits, Saudis in Jundallah Bomb Attack

Oct. 20 (EIRNS)—An Oct. 19 suicide attack inside the Iran border with Pakistan killed 42 people, including two senior commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, in the Balochistan region that spans the border. While Iran blamed the U.S. and Britain, Iran state television was more specific with respect to Britain. It quoted "informed sources," according to The Times, which said the British government was directly involved by "organizing, supplying equipment and employing professional terrorists." According to The Age of Australia, Iran also pointed to Saudi Arabia's role in building up the terrorist group Jundallah, which took credit for the attack.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki summoned the Pakistani Ambassador to make a formal protest, since the terrorists came from Pakistan's territory. The Pakistanis immediately agreed to cooperate with Iran, and meetings between the two countries on the attack have taken place.

The bomber, identified as Abdol Vahed Mohammadi Saravani, blew himself up near a Revolutionary Guards convoy traveling to the city of Pishin in Sistan Balochistan province. Among those killed was the deputy commander of the Guards' ground forces, Gen. Noor Alis Shoushtari, who was also a senior official of the al-Quds Force, an elite intelligence unit. Also killed was the provincial commander for Sistan Balochistan, Rajab Lai Mohammadzadeh.

The Jundallah group has a base in Pakistan and is deeply involved in the drug trade; they have been responsible for other attacks in the same region. This province is the principal transshipping point for heroin and opium coming from Afghanistan. The same group attacked a mosque in the Balochistan city of Zahedan, Iran, just weeks before the Iranian election. In July 2009, the Tehran Times ran an article quoting the brother of Jundallah-Balochistan founder Abdul-Malek Rigi, which identified Abdul-Malek activities as running drugs from Afghanistan, as well as smuggling Arab fighters into Afghanistan for al-Qaeda. The article also charges that Jundallah received U.S. support for destabilizing Iran during the Bush-Cheney period—a charge that was made by Cheney-watchers in the United States.

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