|Southwest Asia News Digest
LaRouche: Blair, Obama Pushing Civil War Among Palestinians
Sept. 19 (EIRNS)Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the ostensible representative of the Mideast Quartet, is continuing to push Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to drop plans to take the issues of Palestinian statehood and UN membership directly to the UN Security Council, and the General Assembly. According to senior U.S. intelligence sources, Abbas has not yet released the final wording of the resolutions that will be presented, as early as Sept. 20, at the United Nations in New York. In a speech late last week in Ramallah, Abbas made it clear that he intends to go to the Security Council for an immediate vote on Palestine's application for full UN membership.
It is already conceded by both Israel and the Obama Administration that the Palestinians have enough votes in the General Assembly to win status as a non-member state. The Security Council issue is a different matter, because it puts Obama directly on the spot to veto the request.
In the past week, there has been a panicked flurry of diplomacy, including the Blair trip to the region, a visit by U.S. National Security Council Middle East head Dennis Ross, and other actions, aimed at undermining the Palestinian actions. According to one U.S. intelligence source, the United States and Saudi Arabia have been pressuringthrough the Arab Leaguewith threats of a cutoff of aid to the P.A., if it goes forward with the Security Council petition, which would embarrass Obama.
According to another source, Blair has been pressing for a rewrite of the UN application, to include a recognition of Israel as a "Jewish state." All of this will come to a head in the next 24-48 hours, as the UNGA session begins, and both Obama and Abbas are scheduled to address the General Assembly. Netanyahu has also decided to come to the UN, and he, too, will address the General Assembly on Sept. 20the same day that Abbas will speak. Netanyahu is also scheduled to meet with President Obama in New York City.
In several TV appearances on Sunday, Sept. 18, former President Bill Clinton took a very different attitude, arguing that the Palestinian statehood status would be a good thing, and that anyone thinking about cutting off aid to the P.A. in retaliation would be making a big mistake. It appears that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in agreement. A senior U.S. intelligence source reported that last week, U.S. UN Ambassador Susan Rice, rather than Clinton, was sent up to Capitol Hill to brief about 25 House Democrats on the Administration's stance.
EIR Participates in Seminar on Upcoming UN Palestine Vote
Sept. 15 (LPAC)EIR counterintelligence editor Jeffrey Steinberg participated in a panel discussion on Sept. 14 in Washington, D.C., on the upcoming UN General Assembly session and the anticipated vote on recognition of Palestine as an observer state. The event was co-sponsored by the National Council on US-Arab Relations and the International Council on Middle East Studies. The other speakers on the panel were Mark Perry, Phil Giraldi, and Fouzi Al-Asmar. Also participating was Dr. Norton Mezvinsky.
In his brief opening remarks, Steinberg focused on the global crisis, including the complete collapse of the trans-Atlantic financial and monetary system, and the disintegration of the Obama Presidency, including its failed Arab-Israeli "peace initiative," warning that revolutionary changes are underway around the globe, and that the Middle East region is by no means exempt from the impact of those sweeping changes. He referenced Lyndon LaRouche's focus on regional economic development, dating back to the original Middle East Peace and Development Act of 1975, which drew an enthusiastic endorsement from one former official of USAID, who was moderating the event.
The other speakers concentrated more on the immediate developments surrounding the pending UNGA vote and its aftermath.
US Diplomat Accused Saudis of Aiding Philippine Terrorists
Sept. 6 (EIRNS)Recently released Wikileak documents, show former U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Francis Ricciardone accusing the Saudi envoy in Manila of interfering in cases against Saudi subjects who were under investigation for supporting terrorists in the southern province of Mindanao.
The U.S. Embassy in Manila, in a May 4, 2005 cable classified as secret and sent by Ricciardone, expressed alarm at the "disturbing trend" involving Saudi envoy Mohammed Ameen Wali and senior Philippine police and immigration officials. Wali repeatedly met with government officials, arranging the release of at least three Saudis into his custody for deportation, ending the investigation into their terrorist connections. In one case, Ricciardone said, a Saudi named Talhi "had admitted to giving $8,000 to Cotabato (a city in Mindanao) Mayor Muslimin Sema, whose meetings with suspected terrorist financiers caused us to suspend a USAID road project." Saudi envoy Wali then met with the Philippine Immigration Commissioner, and Talhi was released.
Ricciardone said in one leaked cable that the Saudis' public pronouncements against terrorism "are contradicted by a developing pattern of effective Saudi embassy influence on GRP [Government of the Philippines) officials to release suspected [terrorist] financiers." He added that the Saudis had "powerful access and influence with senior [Philippine] law enforcement officials, undoubtedly stemming from the important role the remittances of overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia play in keeping the weak Philippine economy afloat." There are about 1 million Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia.
Ricciardone reported that he told the Philippine foreign minister that "there have been no discernible Saudi efforts to guard against private Saudi funding to extremist Islamic groups here."