In this issue:

LaRouche: Was Yemen Bomb Plot an Obama-Saudi Reichstag Fire Scheme?

Iran Begins Loading Fuel in Bushehr Reactor

Obama Still 'Moving the Goal Posts' on Iran in 'Offer' of Talks

Clinton Sends Message to Turkey on its Republic Day

From Volume 37, Issue 43 of EIR Online, Published Nov. 5, 2010
Southwest Asia News Digest

LaRouche: Was Yemen Bomb Plot an Obama-Saudi Reichstag Fire Scheme?

Oct. 31 (EIRNS)—Lyndon LaRouche has raised questions about the alleged Yemeni al-Qaeda bomb plot targeting two Chicago-area synagogues: Was this a desperate Obama ploy to salvage something out of the Nov. 2 elections, as pressure mounts for his ouster under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment? The question is not whether there were bombs planted inside two desktop printers, shipped through UPS and FedEx to addresses of Jewish sites in Chicago. The question is whether the bombs were a genuine operation of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or a Saudi-engineered operation, to give a boost to President Obama on the eve of U.S. elections.

LaRouche commented today that, with pressure mounting for Obama's ouster under the 25th Amendment, he had been expecting some kind of operation to divert attention and boost Obama's credibility, while creating the basis for a police-state dictatorship in the United States.

News accounts published over the Oct. 30-31 weekend have added further credibility to skepticism about the bomb plot's origins. On Oct. 30, the Yemeni Information Minister, Hassan al Lawzi, reiterated that there are no UPS or FedEx flights from Yemen, and there were no direct flights from Yemen to either the United Kingdom or the United States. A female Yemeni college student, whose name and phone number appeared on the shipping documents of the two packages containing bombs, concealed in desktop printers, was initially detained, along with her mother, but later released, after her alleged links to the alleged bomb plot did not check out.

According to the Sunday New York Times, word of the bomb plot was first provided by the Saudi Interior Ministry, in a phone call between Prince bin-Nayef, the head of the Saudi anti-terrorist program, and White House counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, a former CIA station chief in Riyadh, on Oct. 28. It was on the basis of the Saudi intelligence that the two bombs were discovered in Dubai and in Britain. Prince bin-Nayef, the son of Interior Minister and potential successor to King Abdullah, Prince Nayef, was himself targeted in 2009 by an al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula suicide bomber, in an incident that left the would-be bomber dead, and the prince only slightly wounded. The incident greatly boosted the credentials of the Nayef clan. As the Times reported, since 9/11, Saudi intelligence has greatly increased its penetration of al-Qaeda, and has conducted extensive operations inside Yemen. The alleged mastermind of this latest bomb plot is a leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, a sophisticated bomb-maker. According to a senior U.S. intelligence source, al-Asiri comes from the Saudi-based Asiri tribe, which also operates on the Yemeni side of the border.

That intelligence source, a Middle East specialist, expressed his own deep skepticism about the incident, citing the proximity to the U.S. midterm elections and the central role of the Saudis. "Prince Nayef and his son are on the rise," the source noted. "And if there are any members of Saudi royal family with close ties to the networks behind the 9/11 attacks, it is the Nayef family. They are promoters of the most hardcore Wahhabi networks."

Iran Begins Loading Fuel in Bushehr Reactor

Oct. 26 (EIRNS)—Russian engineers have started loading nuclear fuel into the core of Iran's Russian-built nuclear reactor at Bushehr. The Iranians announced that the reactor will start producing electricity next year. AFP reports that Russia is supplying 82 tons of uranium, which will also be reprocessed by Russia.

"Today, the plant is going through the sensitive phase of loading fuel in the core.... We hope that the electricity produced by the Bushehr nuclear plant will be connected to the national grid in three months' time," state television reported atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi as saying.

The transfer of fuel into the facility began on Aug. 21, in a process that was described as the "physical launch" of the power plant by Russia.

Obama Still 'Moving the Goal Posts' on Iran in 'Offer' of Talks

Oct. 29 (EIRNS)—The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, told reporters that Iran had responded to a "standing invitation" to resume talks on its nuclear program, which have been suspended for the past year.

Ashton said that Iran's letter was a "significant response," and that nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili had said that he was ready to restart talks, "in a place and on a date convenient to both sides," sometime after Nov. 10, reported the Los Angeles Times. The Islamic Republic News Agency added today that Jalili's office welcomes a decision by world powers "to return to talks."

But the "significant development" is already sabotaged because of President Obama. On Oct. 28, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs issued demands that are guaranteed to provoke a hostile reaction from Iran. Gibbs stated that, "Based on the unilateral actions that they [Iran] took, they have increased their enrichment," and therefore, in order "to lift any sanctions, they would have great responsibilities." His statements came in the context of media reports that the United States and the European Union are finalizing details for a new proposal to swap enriched fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) for Iran's low enriched uranium (LEU). Only this time, the LEU being demanded is reportedly 4,400 pounds—about double the amount discussed a year ago at the initiation of Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, who was then head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. This change in terms is likely to be seen as "moving [the] goalposts," warned Federation of American Scientists analyst Ivanka Barashka, and would cause further delays in talks.

On Oct. 21, former National Security Council analyst Flynt Leverett blasted Obama for "lying" about what conditions were acceptable in the 2009 swap offer to Iran, in an April 2010 letter to Brazil's President Lula da Silva. As soon as Iran agreed to what Brazil and Turkey were negotiating with them in good faith belief that the Permanent Five-Plus-One group would accept it, Obama rejected Iran's decision, and moved for super-sanctions at the UN Security Council. Obama's actions are only explicable from the standpoint of the British Empire's century-old Sykes-Picot game in the Middle East.

Clinton Sends Message to Turkey on its Republic Day

Oct. 30 (EIRNS)—Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a laudatory message to Turkey on its Republic Day, reported the Turkish daily Zaman today.

"In the 87 years since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk set out a new vision for the Turkish people, Turkey has risen to become a leading economic power and an important presence on the world stage. The opportunities for Turkey to lead in the 21st century are even greater," Clinton said.

"The relationship between Turkey and the United States is broader and more dynamic today than ever before," she added, while referring to the visits she and President Obama paid to Turkey in the Spring of 2009. According to Clinton, the visits are signs of Washington's recognition of the importance of a strong partnership between the two nations, a partnership "based on mutual respect, mutual interests and mutual responsibility."

Zaman welcomed Clinton's message, noting that voices within NATO had been suggesting that a new rift between the U.S. and Turkey could be brewing over a proposed missile defense system. In recent weeks, the London Economist has attacked Turkey's NATO membership, over Istanbul's support for the humanitarian aid flotilla to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which was attacked by Israeli commandos on May 31, 2010.

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