|Southwest Asia News Digest
Egypt Planning Four Nuclear Power Stations
Sept. 23 (EIRNS)The Egyptian government announced its intention to build four nuclear power stations at El Dabaa, on the Mediterranean coast. The announcement follows the decision by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to designate El Dabaa as the site for Egypt's first nuclear power station.
The announcement was made by Minister of Electricity and Energy Dr. Hassan Younis, in an address before the 54th session of the conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Younis said that a financing committee will meet under Finance Minister Dr. Youssef Butros Ghali late this month to select the best means of funding the station, which is expected to cost $4 billion. While they hope that international agencies might finance the project, Egypt is prepared to fund it, itself, if that fails.
When the four stations are completed at El Dabaa, they will produce 4,000 megawatts of electricity. The committee in charge of drafting the tenders for the stations has not yet finished its work. According to Egyptian nuclear industry sources, the construction of nuclear desalination plants at the El Dabaa site is also planned.
While Younis called for taking practical steps for subjecting Israel to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a means of contributing to security and stability in the Middle East, he also said that Egypt has offered all its experience in the peaceful uses of atomic energy to other African and Arab countries.
On the sidelines of the same IAEA meeting in Vienna, Russia, and Kuwait signed a five-year nuclear cooperation agreement, according to World Nuclear News, Sept. 22. The memorandum of understanding was signed between the Kuwait National Nuclear Energy Committee and Russia's Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation.
Ahmad Bishara, the secretary general of Kuwait's National Nuclear Energy Committee, said, "The memo ... stipulated training cadres, exploration for metals, establishing a network of nuclear reactors in Kuwait, and building a relevant infrastructure." A few weeks ago, Kuwait announced that it intended to construct four 1,000-megawatt atomic energy reactors over the next decade.
Rosatom director general Sergey Kiriyenko said Russia is involved in bidding for building reactors in Jordan and Egypt, and has signed an intergovernmental civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Bahrain. It is actively developing its nuclear cooperation with the United Arab Emirates, and is pressing ahead with an agreement to build Turkey's first nuclear power station.
Israel Refuses To Recognize UN Authority
Sept. 27 (EIRNS)For the second time in 12 months, a fact-finding report by the UN Council on Human Rights has accused Israel of violating international human rights law. And for the second time in 12 months, Israel has refused to recognize the authority of a United Nations body that is investigating its conduct in the treatment of Palestinians and humanitarian groups that aid the Palestinians.
According to the Sept. 23 report of the "International fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance," established by the mandate of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2010, Israeli officials said point-blank on Aug. 18, that there would be no cooperation, access, or information provided to the UN on the flotilla incident of May 31, 2010, in which nine humanitarian workers, including an American citizen, were killed by Israeli commandos.
The mission, headed by Judge Karl T. Hudson-Phillips, Q.C., former Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago, and a retired judge of the International Criminal Court, sought broad international cooperation, especially from Israel and Turkey. But repeated requests for Israel's cooperation were refused.
The report says, "Notwithstanding a most cordial meeting on the 18 August 2010, the Permanent Representative of Israel advised in writing at the end of the meeting that the position of his government was one of non-recognition of and non-cooperation with the Mission. In the hope that this position would change before the conclusion of its work, the Mission left with the Permanent Representative a list of requests for information." No response to the follow-up letter was received.
Israel's acting with impunity has the complete assent of the Obama Administration and the British government.
One year ago, a UN press release of Sept. 15, 2009 stated: "The UN Fact-Finding Mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone [today] released its long-awaited report on the Gaza conflict, in which it concluded there is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity."
Israel also had refused to cooperate with this investigation, and launched an international campaign of character assassination against Justice Goldstone. The conduct of the Netanyahu government presaged its refusal to comply with, or even acknowledge, the enforcement of agreements that Israel had made with the Palestinians such as the Oslo Accords, and the "Road Map."
But the record of Israel's outlaw actions stands as official evidenceand is growing. On Sept. 27-28 in Geneva, when the UN Human Rights Council meets, the official report of the mission that investigated the killing of the nine humanitarian workers on the Mavi Marmara, will add to that record.
The mission report notes that more than 100 witnesses were interviewed in Geneva, London, Istanbul, and Amman, Jordan. Thousands of documents, photographs, and media reports were reviewed, including the full scope of publicly released transcriptsonly a small portion of the totalfrom the "Turkel commission" which was set up to conduct Israel's own investigation.
"The report presents a factual description of the events leading up to the interception of each of the six ships in the flotilla as well as a seventh ship subsequently intercepted on 6 June 2010, the deaths of nine passengers and wounding of many others and the detention of passengers in Israel and their deportation."
It also contains "a legal analysis of facts as determined by the Mission," and "concluded that a series of violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, were committed by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotilla and during the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation."
Olmert Calls for Dividing Jerusalem, but Bibi Lets Bulldozers Roll
Sept. 27 (EIRNS)Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in an op-ed in the Sept. 24 Jerusalem Post, called for the holy sites of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, be put under a trusteeship controlled by Israel, the future Palestinian state, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. He also called for the non-Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem to become part of the capital of the Palestinian state. These proposals parallel those that former President Bill Clinton raised in the final weeks of his Presidency in 2000.
Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu and his British masters, however, have no intention of pursuing sanity. Netanyahu rebuffed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the so-called Quartet's call to extend the moratorium on building settlements, and is confident that Obama will continue to follow Britain's script for perpetual war in Southwest Asia. On Sept. 26, Netanyahu gave the green light for ending the moratorium on building of new settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, and bulldozers immediately went into actionclearing space for 2,000 new housing units in the settlement of Ariel outside Jerusalem, and allowing Israeli fanatics to set up their "hilltop outposts," which are used as para-military beachheads by the radical settlers.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and chief negotiator Nabil Shaath, have warned that the PA will end the direct talks if the settlements begin building again, but reportedly no action will be taken until after Abbas meets with leaders of other Arab nations on Oct. 4.