|Southwest Asia News Digest
Russia Begins Fueling Iran's First Nuclear Plant
Aug. 21 (EIRNS)Put the geopolitical maneuvering aside for the moment. The launching of the first nuclear power plant in Iran, which began on Aug. 21, with the loading of nuclear fuel rods in Iran's Bushehr plant, represents a major achievement in the face of the British Empire's policy of "technological apartheid" and genocide against developing nations. Russian and Iranian nuclear specialists, accompanied by Iran's atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi, and Russia's nuclear agency head Sergei Kiriyenko, attended the Aug. 21 ceremony, after which the low-enriched uranium rods began to be packed into the reactor.
The loading is expected to take a week, after which time it will take two to three months until the plant begins to produce the much-needed electric power. The plant will initially function as a 500 megawatt reactor, but eventually be raised to 1,000 MW. The Russian-Iranian contract calls for the Russians and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to continue to supervise operations, and for the spent fuel rods to be returned to Russia.
The activation of the plant occurs 36 years after Iran, then under the Shah, began to pursue the use of peaceful nuclear energy, with contracts for two plants to be built by Germany in Bushehr. That was 1975, when the Non-Aligned Movement nations, headed by such statesmen as India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, were fighting vigorously for their fundamental rights to the world's most advanced science and technology.
The British Empire, however, was equally determined to prevent these and all other nations from developing. Thus, they deployed their puppets, among them, Henry Kissinger, to carry out intense intimidation to prevent economic development. Governments were toppledas in the case of Iranand leaders were killedas in the case of Pakistan's Zulfikar Ali Bhuttoin order to prevent these nations from "going nuclear."
Following the British-backed Khomeini revolution, Iran's nuclear program was scrapped. During the subsequent Iran-Iraq War, in which the British sought to have each side kill off as many of the other as possible, Bushehr was bombed by the Iraqis. It was not until 1995, that the Russians made the contract with Iran for finally developing the Bushehr plant.
While there were many delays, presumed to be related to Russia's applying political pressure against Iran's more radical inclinations, in the face of British-American pressures, the Russian government has now delivered on its promise to complete the peaceful nuclear plant.
Israel Minister Calls for U.S. Ultimatum against Iran
Aug. 21 (EIRNS)Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz has said that the United States "must" issue an ultimatum to Iran, demanding it curb its nuclear program or face military attack within weeks.
Steinitz is quoted in Ynet.com as saying, "The U.S. must issue a clear ultimatum to Iran, tell it that if it does not change its behavior within weeks, the military option that has been on the table up until now will become relevant. It's time for the whole world, under U.S. leadership, to issue Iran a clear ultimatum that if it does not change its ways in a clear and verifiable manner, it can expect an American attack, or at least a naval blockade."
Steinitz disputed a statement by former U.S. ambassador to the UN and neoconservative dogmatist John Bolton, claiming that Israel has only days to attack the Iranian reactor at Bushehr, saying, "Bushehr is only one reactor, and not necessarily the most significant one in respect to the nuclear issue. However, Iran's progress in enriching and its aspirations for nuclear weapons continue and must be stopped."
Meanwhile Gary Samore, President Obama's advisor on nuclear issues, told the New York Times that it would take at least a year for Iran to assemble a bomb. "We think that they have roughly a year dash time." According to the Times, the U.S. has told Israel this.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun that Iran was prepared to open talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, on its nuclear program.
Mercenaries To Replace U.S. Troops in Iraq
Aug. 19 (EIRNS)The New York Times reports that, with the planned pull-out of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, many of the operations now performed by the military will be taken over by "private contractors," from the "privatized military" long promoted by the former Secretary of State George Shultz and banker Felix Rohatyn, among others.
"The State Department is planning to more than double its private security guards, up to as many as 7,000," reported Times journalist Michael Gordon yesterday. "Defending five fortified compounds across the country, the security contractors would operate radars to warn of enemy rocket attacks, search for roadside bombs, fly reconnaissance drones and even staff quick reaction forces to aid civilians in distress, the officials said." The article also reports opposition from those who want to keep regular army forces on the ground, but this is not to be discussed openly before the November election.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley confirmed some of these details in an Aug. 19 briefing: "We have very specific plans to increase our security ... as the military is leaving. This will be expensive. This is not a cheap proposition." Crowley said the State Department will increase the private security contractors to 7,000, reported Reuters.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq Michael Corbin gave a rather up-beat picture of the situation in a public briefing on Aug. 18. U.S. forces have been drawn down from the 144,000 during the period of combat, to 50,000. These will remain for the greater part of a year. Where things will stand after that is still not clear.
As there is no Iraqi government to negotiate with, the U.S. still "doesn't know what the 'partnership' will look like after that," admitted Colin Kahl, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East. The two briefers expressed hope that with the training missions of the police and the Iraqi Army which are to be conducted by the remaining troops, an Iraqi force will "be stood up" by the time U.S. troops leave in 2011a dubious assumption, given the situation on the ground. U.S. troops will, however, continue to patrol the border between the Kurdish and the Arab sectors of Iraq, Kahl indicated.
The U.S. is building two embassy branch officesin Kirkuk and Mosulin addition to the embassy in Baghdad. Consulates are going up in Basra and Erbil. All of these will be secured by private contractors. Corbin claimed that only contractors who have registered with the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, and who accept the stipulations set by the Ministry, will be able to work in Iraq. He agreed that if there were a collapse of Iraqi forces, a significant increase of terrorism, or the reemergence of militia activities, the whole plan would have to be revised.
Is Obama Pushing for a Coup in Turkey?
Aug. 16 (EIRNS)The Financial Times of London reports today that President Barack Obama has threatened Turkey with cutting off arms sales, if it doesn't change its policy on Israel and Iran. Obama made this threat personally to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the newspaper asserts. "The President has said to Erdogan that some of the actions that Turkey has taken have caused questions to be raised on [Capitol] Hill about whether we can have confidence in Turkey as an ally. That means that some of the requests Turkey has made of us, for example in providing some of the weaponry that it would like to fight the PKK, will be harder for us to move through Congress," said an unnamed "senior administration official." But, the FT notes, it is not so easy for Congress to block an arms deal without putting forward specific legislation.
Obama told Erdogan that Turkey has failed the U.S. as an ally, because it voted against the sanctions against Iran. He also told Erdogan that Turkey should "cool its rhetoric" against Israel for having killed nine Turkish citizens in an attack on the flotilla bringing aid to Gaza in May.
Another U.S. official is quoted as saying, "They [Turkey] need to show that they take seriously American national security interests."
This occurs just at the time that tensions between Erdogan's government and the Turkish military are at their highest, over a 2003 coup plot, for which 102 Turkish active duty and retired officers were indicted. It also comes at a time when the British have unleashed the PKK terrorists, who are being supported by their agents inside the Turkish security apparatus.