|Southwest Asia News Digest
Kerry Meets President al-Assad To Build U.S.-Syria Cooperation
April 2 (EIRNS)Following a three-hour meeting with Syrian President Bashar al Assad on April 1, U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) told reporters, "Let me just say that I am convinced, and it's why I come back here, and it's why I am engaged in this effort. I am absolutely convinced that carefully calibrated diplomacythat if that is what we engage in, that Syria will play a very important role in achieving a comprehensive peace in the region and in putting an end to the five decades of conflict that have plagued everybody in this region," reported CBS News. Kerry added, "That's our hope, that's our challenge, and we're committed to continue to work at it."
Kerry was in Damascus after visiting Lebanon, and shortly before the U.S. Senate was slated to approve the nomination of Robert Ford as Ambassador to Syria. Ford has reportedly already been in Damascus, but has not yet presented his credentials to the Syrian President, pending Senate approval. The Syrian government is happy that the United States has appointed an ambassador, after five years of suspension of full diplomatic relations, but senior officials in the Syrian government and Parliament have made clear to the United States that Syria will not break its close relations with Iran, as some inside the United States are demanding in return for diplomatic relations. Rather, Syria is communicating to the United States through various channels, that it can be an important bridge to resolving conflicts which the U.S. has had with Iran, and with others in the region.
Israel Goes Flight-Forward with Attack on Gaza
April 2 (EIRNS)On Good Friday, Israel launched 13 airstrikes against Gaza, in retaliation for alleged Palestinian rocket fire into Israel which turned out to be "a false alarm," according to the Israeli Defense Forces. The targets in Gaza included a cheese factoryone of the few food facilities that still exist in Gaza, after Israeli strikes destroyed a flour mill and other food facilities in January 2009 attacks. While the Israeli government claims that it had to attack because there were 35 alleged rocket attacks from Gaza during the month of March, the Israeli attacks are actually a flight-forward response to international criticism of Israel's behavior.
One reflection of this panic by the Netanyahu government and its lobby in the United States, is an April 2 Letter to the Editor in the New York Times by Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman, which whines that the "Obama Administration has gone off track" in its "excessive focus on settlements," and suggests "that Israel is harming American interests" (referring to an interview with Gen. David Petraeus). On April 1, another Netanyahu "heavy hitter" in the United States, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, wrote an op-ed, complaining that "the conflict between the U.S. and Israel must end now."
The attack on Gaza may just create more of a backlash against fascist Netanyahu's policies.
Former Israeli Defense Official Pushes Attack on Iran by November
April 4 (EIRNS)Israel's former Deputy Defense Minister, Gen. Emphraim Sneh, averred in an op-ed in the March 31 Ha'aretz, that "Israel will be compelled to attack Iran's nuclear facilities by November unless the U.S. and its allies enact crippling sanctions that will undermine the regime in Teheran," reported Newsmax.com. Sneh threatened, "An Israeli military campaign against Iran's nuclear installation is likely to cripple that country's nuclear project for a number of years. The retaliation against Israel would be painful, but bearable."
Lyndon LaRouche responded today, "Oh, yeah? These characters have to be subjected to a mental examination, and incarcerated for a suitably long period, to make sure they have the estimate right. Those idiots!" LaRouche has repeatedly exposed the British control over such Israeli geopolitical provocations, designed to unleash a perpetual war in the region.
Then on April 4, suicide bombers detonated three car bombs in Baghdad, proximate to the embassies and consulates of Iran, Egypt, and Germany, killing at least 35 people and wounding more than 200. The bombings came two days after an attack by gunmen who raided homes south of Baghdad and killed 24 people.
Turkey Arrests al-Qaeda Suspects Following Moscow, Athens Bombings
March 29 (EIRNS)Today's Turkish daily Zaman reports that Turkish counterterrorism teams have detained 22 suspected members of al-Qaeda, in simultaneous operations conducted in three provinces including Aksaray, Manisa, and Ankara. The raids are said to be followup operations to raids conducted last January, when 120 al-Qaeda members were arrested.