In this issue:

Obama Trapped in his Own Libya Lies

Protests in Arab World Met with Violence

Neocons See Overthrow of Syria's Assad as Step to Iran Regime Change

From Volume 38, Issue 14 of EIR Online, Published Apr. 8, 2011
Southwest Asia News Digest

Obama Trapped in his Own Libya Lies

April 1 (EIRNS)—Regardless of whether the Libya intervention was warranted or not, President Obama is now caught up in his own lies about the nature of the Libyan military operation. According to a senior U.S. intelligence source, Obama has been lying through his teeth about the Libyan mission.

In his televised address on March 28, Obama claimed that the overall mission is strictly to prevent humanitarian disaster and to enforce the no-fly zone. This is a lie: The actual objective is to oust Qaddafi. The problem is that UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Obama lied to both Russia and China, to get them to simply abstain, rather than veto the UN Security Council resolution authorizing the military action.

Now the entire Permanent Five UN Security Council process is in shambles, as one after another Russian government official, from President Dmitri Medvedev to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have indicated. The fact that Rice lied to Russia and China to secure their abstention, and then Obama lied to the American people in his statement about Libya, when he claimed that the "coalition" was not out to overthrow Qaddafi, have provoked a backlash.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who opposed any American involvement in the Libya operation from the outset, was on Capitol Hill on March 31 with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen. In what was views as tantamount to a slap in the face to Obama, Gates declared that no U.S. troops would be on the ground in Libya as long as he remained Secretary. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is warning close colleagues that Obama is about to draw the United States, gradually, into a Vietnam-style quagmire, and she is furious at the double-cross by the President, Rice, and others.

Lyndon LaRouche said early on in the Libya crisis, that Gates and Clinton are in a near-impossible situation, because Obama is a psycho. They are trying to make the best of a total mess. As Gates made clear on the Sunday talk shows on March 26, he hopes and prays that Qaddafi will either be killed or forced to take a deal and leave Tripoli.

The defection of Mussa Kussa, Libya's chief of intelligence and foreign minister up until March 30—was a psychological blow to Qaddafi. Now Qaddafi's son, London School of Economics dandy Saif al-Islam, has sent a personal emissary to London to try to cut a deal for a transfer of power to him, and a guarantee of no international prosecution. The chances of such a deal being worked out are unknown at this point.

A week ago, a group of military officers tried to kill Qaddafi, reports a Washington intelligence source, but the attempt failed, and the officers were all killed. After the incident, Qaddafi ordered all his top generals to bring their entire families to the Qaddafi compound, to make sure there are no more defections.

On the battlefield, even with covert U.S. and European "contractors" giving weapons training and other military support, the rebel forces are showing themselves to be a ragtag bunch of untrained civilians, with more heart than brains or military experience. Gates has insisted that the bulk of the military operations to maintain the no-fly zone and protect Libyan civilians be transferred to the Europeans, which means that there will likely be a total fiasco. Unless someone succeeds in taking a pot-shot at Qaddafi and bringing this conflict to a sudden, merciful end, the Libyan affair is starting to look more and more like a slide into a quagmire.

Protests in Arab World Met with Violence

April 1 (EIRNS)—In some Arab countries, protesters defied the rulers' strong-arming and took to streets on the traditional Muslim prayer day.

In Syria, where the protesters called it a Day of Martyrs in memory of those who were killed by security forces last week, it was another violent day. Thousands of Syrians shouting "We want freedom!" took to the streets, defying security agents who tried to beat them back with gunfire, tear gas, and batons, witnesses and activists said. At least three people were killed, bringing the death toll from two weeks of protests to at least 75.

In Oman, demonstrators demanded the release of protesters who have been imprisoned. Witnesses say at least one demonstrator was killed following clashes after Friday prayers in the industrial port town of Sohar, where anti-government protests first erupted in late February. Reports indicate that security forces fired water cannons and used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters in the northern part of the country.

In Yemen, where President Ali Abdullah Saleh is holding on to power by his fingernails in the face of massive demonstrations and defections from his rank and file, tens of thousands of rival demonstrators rallied in the streets of the capital, Sana'a, some showing support for the government, while others protesting against it. Anti-government protesters gathered outside Sana'a University to call for an immediate end to Yemeni Saleh's 32-year rule.

In Jordan, the protesters, calling themselves March 24 Youth, held their rally in an Amman suburb after a similar protest in a central square the previous week had been broken up by security forces, leaving one dead and 120 injured. The protesters demanded the dissolution of parliament and the resignation of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit. Jordan's main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, urged King Abdullah II to intervene and propose a package of reforms that ensure respect for freedom, and to avert divisions that happened in other Arab countries.

In Bahrain, where thousands of Saudi troops have poured in to muzzle the protesters, the British-Saudi plan to unleash a sectarian bloodbath within the Muslim community, continues unabated. The official line is: Bahrain is back to business as usual. Shi'ite protesters are off the streets after a month of paralyzing demonstrations, the ruling al-Khalifa family says. But police checkpoints dot the highways around the tiny Sunni-led kingdom. Saudi tanks are deployed around the lavish shopping malls in the capital.

Neocons See Overthrow of Syria's Assad as Step to Iran Regime Change

April 4 (EIRNS)—U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and former Iran-Contra criminal Elliott Abrams are trying to use the political unrest in the Arab world to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in an attempt to revive the 1996 neo-conservative/Likudnik playbook for regime change, titled "Clean Break: A New Strategy for Security the Realm." That document, prepared for Benjamin Netanyahu in his first term as Israeli prime minister, identified Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Syria's Assad for immediate overthrow, to be followed by [U.S.] war against Iran. From the election of Bush and Cheney in 2000, until 2003, when the invasion of Iraq began, Lieberman and Abrams, who was then at the National Security Council, were among those spreading the disinformation used to justify the Iraq War.

Syria, like every other Arab country, is being hit with a mass-strike wave, driven by a revolt of young people against the economic misery coming from the global financial collapse. Lieberman and Abrams have wanted a military intervention against Assad since at least 2000, and are now using the unrest to again try to target Assad for the Qaddafi treatment. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, March 27, Lieberman said Assad could be the next target of the Libya "precedent"—i.e., air strikes and overthrow.

Abrams was even more direct in an op-ed in the Washington Post March 26, headlined "Ridding Syria of a Despot," where he says Assad should be overthrown because of his support for the elected Palestinian government party in Gaza, Hamas, and for Lebanon's Hezbollah. This would be a stepping stone for overthrowing the regime in Iran, he argues.

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