|Southwest Asia News Digest
Saudis, Brits Unleash Sectarian Bloodbath in Bahrain
April 20 (EIRNS)London's Independent reported on April 19, quoting eye witnesses, on the demolition of Shi'a mosques in Bahrain, which is an overwhelming Shi'a-majority nation, under the rule of Sunni King Al Khalifa. The demolition of these mosques is part of a plan hatched by the Saudis and the British to evoke an irrational response from Irankeeper of the Shi'a faithand an eventual sectarian bloodbath in the region.
The demolition of Shi'a mosques in Bahrain was orchestrated by the 1,000-plus Saudi troops who have moved into Bahrain with tanks, and was witnessed by Bahrainis, who were engaged in a mass protest for months against poverty, lack of opportunities for the youth, and oppressive policies of the Bahraini King.
Among the mosques demolished was the Al-Watiyya Mosque, known as Qadam al-Mahdi, in Mahuz village. The destroyers also demolished Imam Jawad (a.s) Mosque in Hamad town.
"So far, they have destroyed seven Shi'a mosques and about 50 religious meeting houses," said Ali al-Aswad, an MP in the Bahraini parliament. He said that Saudi soldiers, part of the contingent that entered Bahrain last month, had been seen by witnesses helping demolish Shi'a mosques and shrines in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.
A photograph taken by activists and seen by the Independent shows the golden dome of the shrine lying on the ground and later being taken away on the back of a truck. On the walls of Shi'a mosques that have been desecrated, graffiti has been scrawled praising Sunni King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and insulting the Shi'a.
Yemen, Syria at a Boiling Point; Protests Continue in Oman
April 24 (EIRNS)Although a deal brokered by the Saudi-run Gulf Cooperation Council on the fate of the deeply-despised Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been accepted by Saleh, according to Yemeni officials, it is likely that it may not fly. A mass of protesters took to the streets of the capital city of Sanaa today to protest against a clause that appears in the brokered deal, granting Yemen's President immunity from prosecution.
The protests spread across 14 provinces, according to witnesses and journalists on the ground. Witnesses reported hundreds of thousands of protesters in Sanaa alone. The Organizing Committee of the Youth Revolution denounced the proposal in a written statement today. "We, the youth of revolution, reject any proposal that does not hold Saleh accountable for the killing of over 140 revolution protesters," the committee said.
It is likely the new agreement will be used by Saleh and Saudi Arabia to buy some more time before the inevitable end to Saleh's reign occurs. There is little doubt that Saudis are the main prop holding up the brutal Saleh regime. The political agitation that erupted in Yemen earlier this year has no possibility of coming to an end unless Saleh is ousted, but it has also negatively impacted investment projects of Saudi Arabia. It has directly affected Saudi Arabian ventures in Yemen, resulting in an 80% fall in some sectors, reports claim. Abdullah Murai, chairman of the Saudi-Yemen Business Council, said that the total investment by Saudi Arabia in Yemen amounts to US $4 billion.
In Oman, more than 3,000 protesters took to the streets of the southern city of Salaleh on April 22, demanding political reforms and greater freedoms. Protesters chanted "Freedom!" and "The people want to bring down corruption," as they marched through the streets of downtown Salaleh towards the Dhofar government building. They also demanded the trial of former ministers sacked in recent cabinet reshuffles, accusing them of corruption.
In Syria, at least 13 mourners were shot dead on Saturday as Syrians swarmed the streets to bury scores of demonstrators killed in massive protests, and two MPs resigned in frustration at the bloodshed. Activists said the death toll from the nationwide protests could top 100, pending confirmation of a list of names. Two independent MPs from the protest hub city of Daraa, Nasser al-Hariri and Khalil al-Rifai, told Al-Jazeera television they were resigning in frustration at not being able to protect their constituents. There was no sign of any let-up from President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces used live ammunition against demonstrators nationwide, witnesses and activists told AFP.
Unlike the mass protests in Yemen, Bahrain, or Oman, the Syrian uprising has generated support in the West. Council on Foreign Relations fellow and perjuror Elliott Abrams, a known Zionist propagandist in Washington, in an article, "Syria: Where is President Obama?" on the CFR's website, called for strong measures by the Obama Administration against the Syrian government. "What has been the Obama Administration's response? To toughen up its rhetoric a bit, but to do nothing," Abrams said.
Meanwhile, Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on April 23 condemned the use of force against protesters in Syria, and called on the Syrian government to carry out "profound political reforms."
Netanyahu Urged Olmert To Initiate Israeli Attack on Iran
April 21 (EIRNS)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing for an Israeli strike against Iran for years. According to documents provided by Wikileaks to Ha'aretz, Netanyahu, in 2007, made such a proposal to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
A telegram classified "Confidential," dated July 20, 2007, sent to the State Department by Marc J. Sievers, the political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, dealt with the formation of a new Israeli government following the disastrous Second Lebanon War. Olmert was then head of the Kadima Party and in a government coalition with the Labor Party. According to the telegram, Netanyahu, who heads Likud, offered to join in a coalition with Olmert, but only if he was committed to an attack on Iran. One of Netanyahu's advisors, whose name was not revealed in the message, told American officials, "The advisor commented that the possibility of a national unity government, bruited in the press, is a possibility, but only if Olmert initiated such a move in order to galvanize Israel for action against Iran. He said that in such a scenario, Netanyahu would probably accept an offer of the Foreign Ministry."
Ha'aretz reports that this was the second time that Netanyahu had made such a proposal. In the Summer of 2005, Netanyahu resigned as finance minister in Ariel Sharon's cabinet over the Gaza disengagement plan. In December of that year, Sharon left the Likud and founded Kadima. At the time, Netanyahu told Sharon he would "support him if he acted against Iran before the elections," as Aluf Benn reported in Ha'aretz two years ago.
Sen. Rockefeller: U.S. Should Get Out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya
April 22 (EIRNS)"I have grave misgivings about being in Iraq for another week. We should be out of Iraq this year altogether," Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) told the Charleston Gazette. "We are not going to win. It is not in the cards. Many Asian countries have a totally tribal culture.... It is the same thing in Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen."
"I didn't object to four days of bombing in Libya. But now the CIA is on the ground. That makes me nervous," Rockefeller, a prominent Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, continued. "Libya makes no sense to me. I don't think we should be there at all. We should get out of there and we should get out of Afghanistan. We can't win there. We can't change the country.... Do you want three failed wars in a row?"