In this issue:

Primakov: Bring in Quartet, India, China To Resolve Middle East

Five-plus-One Meeting with Iran Positive; Follow-Up Scheduled

Will Foreign Ministry Shake-Up End Iran Talks?

Iran's Press TV Quotes EIR on British Imperialism

From Volume 37, Issue 49 of EIR Online, Published Dec. 17, 2010
Southwest Asia News Digest

Primakov: Bring in Quartet, India, China To Resolve Middle East

Dec. 9 (EIRNS)—Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov called today for bringing China and India into the group of international mediators trying to resolve the crisis in the Middle East. Primakov, who has decades of experience in the region, speaks Arabic, and was formerly head of the Russian Oriental Institute, had called for creating the Strategic Triangle for cooperation among Russia, China, and India, in December 1998, when he was prime minister.

"It is necessary to activate the Quartet [the U.S.A., UN, EU, and Russia] and to expand the mediator mission on its base," Primakov said in a speech to the annual conference of the Valdai Group, held this year in Malta. According to Novosti, he "poured cold water" on the Quartet's defunct 2003 "road map," noting that Israel is to blame for the failure of talks about freezing settlement construction in occupied Palestinian territory. Talks had finally resumed in September 2010 after 20 months, but the Israeli side continued construction in the West Bank, and the talks collapsed.

Five-plus-One Meeting with Iran Positive; Follow-Up Scheduled

Dec. 8 (EIRNS)—According to a senior U.S. intelligence source, the Dec. 5-8 talks in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1—the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany—were serious and substantive. Of special importance, said the source, is that a detailed proposal was put on the table by the P5+1, and that the Iranian negotiator will take the proposal back to Tehran for review. The announced follow-up meeting in Turkey in January will be crucial, because Iran will come back with proposed modifications, and the door is not closed on an agreement. The source added that, after the first day of comprehensive talks, there were bilateral meetings of great significance between the Iranian delegation and Russian and Chinese participants.

Countering the U.S. media's lying coverage that the two days of talks were "inconclusive," the source emphasized that no one expected a definitive answer from the Iranian delegation at this first meeting. The fact that they committed to a follow-up meeting in a month's time is an indication that there is serious deliberation underway. "The Iranians clearly want the talks to continue," the source reported.

What remains to be seen, is how President Obama reacts. Sources report that Obama is now very open to the idea of an Israeli preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, perhaps as early as the middle of next year. In his increasing desperation about his 2012 reelection campaign, Obama has capitulated to Israel's fascist Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, abandoning the demand for a settlement freeze. An Israeli attack on Iran would be sure to trigger yet another American engagement in a land war in Asia.

Will Foreign Ministry Shake-Up End Iran Talks?

Dec. 13 (EIRNS)—Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency, and Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was named as the Acting Foreign Minister of Iran, according to a decree by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today. In this unexpected move, Ahmadinejad essentially fired Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Ahmadinejad had wanted his own man as foreign minister, but was overruled. In the 2005 election, Mottaki had backed Ali Larijani, who is now Speaker of the Parliament (Majlis), and who is critical of Ahmadinejad's power-grab, beyond Constitutional authority.

Whether the ouster of Mottaki is specifically a move by the Conservative bloc against Ahmadinejad, including an unsuccessful effort to impeach him in October, is not known at this time. But the timing of the change is noteworthy, coming a week after the conclusion of the promising P5+1 talks with Iran (see above).

While Western war-monger circles are playing this up as an Ahmadinejad coup, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented that, "Whether one person or another is foreign minister is not as important as ... what the policy of the Iranian government is in dealing with the international community on this very important matter."

The replacement of Mottaki also comes at the point that the Iranian Foreign Ministry has called in the British ambassador for a dressing down after the Brit attacked Iran for human rights violations.

Iran's Press TV Quotes EIR on British Imperialism

Dec. 8 (EIRNS)—Under the headline, "Middle East Crises in U.K.'s Interest," the website of Iran's Press TV broadcast a live five-minute interview with EIR Ibero-American specialist Gretchen Small, who is quoted as saying: "The British imperial interests are determined to provoke [tension] in the [Middle East] region." The following is the transcript of Press TV's entire interview with Small, and the video is posted at

The interview began after Press TV reported that Israel has condemned the move by Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay recognizing a sovereign Palestinian State within the 1967 borders of Israel and Palestine. The three Latin American countries sent a formal letter of recognition to Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Dec. 6.

Press TV: What do you think of the move by these Latin American countries? Does it help or hurt the peace process?

Small: There is no peace process as it stands now. So, this is a helpful move, because it is a mechanism of justice. It is a simple matter of morality and justice, so that the Palestinian state be recognized. It is useful for putting Europe and the United States on the spot, because they have been letting [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's government simply trample on even any pre-chances of negotiating.

So, that stance is very good. It is part of a greater move to get international recognition, perhaps, of Palestine as a state in the United Nations next year. But it is not sufficient to stop the war, which British imperial interests are determined to provoke in your region. Because they think the way to get ... out of the collapse of their financial system right now is by blowing up the world.

Press TV: More than 100 countries, including two permanent UN Security Council members, China and Russia, have already recognized Palestine as a state. Why is it that still no independent Palestinian state exists? Kosovo did it just recently and it seems to be working.

Small: That is because of who has blocked it all along. That is the British empire and British imperial interests, who want this crisis to continue. That is how they control nations and the world.

One thing very interesting on the Latin American side is Argentina's type of move. I think it is quite interesting. I would look and expect more interesting moves from Argentina vis-à-vis the Middle East—even Brazil, which has a relatively decent policy. Brazil still wants to play the game. Argentine President [Cristina Fernández de Kirchner] last March began mobilizing her country directly against British colonial interests. So, they are thinking outside the box and that is what the people around the world have to look at: Who are the invisible puppeteers controlling the strings?

Press TV: What do you mean by Brazil wants to play the game?

Small: Brazilians are pragmatists. They want to be permanently part of the UN Security Council and they [will] sell out anything that comes, to get there. So they want to be a big player, but they want to be a big player in the world that exists.

There are talks of disintegration of the world's financial system. We are talking about nations that are going to have to choose which side they are going to be [on]: for sovereign nation-states and a return to credit systems and end all this speculative stuff that is going on, or are they going to play deals and appeasements. The Brazilians always want to be at the table, but they do not want to overturn the chessboard.

Press TV: What do you think is going to happen to the rift between the two major Palestinian groups, the Fatah and Hamas? If countries around the world continue to recognize an independent Palestinian state, it is going to have to include Hamas as well, as Hamas has been limited to Gaza.

Small: The Palestinian people have the right to decide among themselves about the nature of that state. It is certainly up to the Palestinian people as a whole to determine who are going to be their representatives and how that state should be made up.

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