|Southwest Asia News Digest
Russia and China Veto UN Resolution vs. Syria
Oct. 4 (EIRNS)A watered-down United Nations Security Council resolution against Syria, which included veiled threats of future sanctions, was vetoed today by Russia and China. India, South Africa, and Lebanon abstained. The resolution, introduced by Britain, France, Germany, and Portugal, was the result of weeks of negotiations, with Russia and China threatening to veto if there was any mention of sanctions. But even more serious, statements by the Russian Foreign Ministry and parliamentary leaders after the veto, show that Russia is determined to block the "Libya model" of misusing the UN Security Council for the purpose of regime change.
While the United States voted in favor of the resolution, the Obama Administration was critical of the watering-down process that removed any mention of sanctions from the resolution.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice pitched a fit after the Russia and China vetoes: "The United States is outraged that this Council has utterly failed to address an urgent moral challenge and a growing threat to regional peace and security." Rice condemned opponents of the resolution on the council who, she said, "would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime.... Today two members have vetoed a vastly watered-down text that doesn't even mention sanctions," she told the Council. "Let me be clear: The United States believes it is past time that this Council assumed its responsibilities and imposed tough, targeted sanctions and an arms embargo on the Assad regime."
Russia: Syria Resolution Aims To Overthrow 'Undesirable Regimes'
Oct. 5 (EIRNS)One day after both Russia and China vetoed the draft UN Security Council resolution against Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow will oppose any attempt to "abuse" Security Council decisions to achieve the overthrow of "undesirable regimes."
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the resolution was "based on the philosophy of fomenting tension, contained one-sided accusations against Damascus and an ultimatum-like threat of sanctions against the Syrian authorities.... We have long been warning that we will strongly oppose any attempts to turn the Libyan scenario into a norm and therefore to damage the authority and image of the UN Security Council," the Ministry said in a statement.
It also said Russia is "alarmed" by statements from "the West that the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution on Libya should be a 'model for the alliances' future actions aimed at implementing its 'responsibilities to protect civilians,' " the Ministry said.
"We've warned from the beginning that efforts to turn what happened with the UN resolution on Libya into a model for action by Western coalitions, NATO, are absolutely unacceptable," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters in Moscow. "Russia's misgivings about the Western-backed UN resolution on Syria were repeatedly ignored, giving Russia no option but to exercise its veto," reported Bloomberg news on Oct. 5.
Russian Deputy Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the lower house of parliament's (Duma) Foreign Affairs Committee, said, "Russia has the feeling that a number of Western nations are ready to use outside pressure, including military force, to change the political system in certain countries.... This can't be allowed to become the norm for international relations just because one side has military power."
"The experience of the Libyan resolution taught us a lot, when imprecise language was used by NATO countries to greatly overstep the mandate and to use military force to change the political system in the country and not just to protect civilians," Kosachyov added.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ma Zhaoxu, said: "The Chinese side has always been highly concerned with the development of the Syrian situation, and it has called upon all parties in Syria to stop all forms of violence and push the government of Syria to fulfill its reform commitment, start the Syria-led inclusive political process as soon as possible, and actively support conciliation efforts of regional countries and organizations. The draft resolution submitted by some relevant countries exerted pressure blindly on Syria and threatened to use sanctions, which will not help ease the Syrian situation."
24 Killed In Violent Demonstrations in Cairo
Oct. 10 (EIRNS)Twenty-four people were killed yesterday and 160 injured as a protest demonstration by Egyptian Christian Copts turned violent when security and military forces tried to stop it. The Copts were protesting attacks on Christian churches by Salafi Islamists in Aswan, in the south of the country. Islamists were reportedly attacking the demonstrators too, while other Muslims joined the Copts in protest.
Egyptian sources and several journalists and analysts have accused Saudi Arabia of backing the Salafi/Wahhabi Islamists who are taking over many lower-level institutions such as school councils and local councils, buying influence and support among the poor. In one incident in Almenia province, a Christian girl was banned from coming to school because she refused to wear a head scarf, since Islamists now controlled the school.
It is stated in Egyptian newspapers that American and Zionist groups are supporting the Christian extremists, thus creating two countergangs who are derailing the Jan. 25 Revolution.
In the meantime, the economic situation has not improved and the social crisis is expanding and creating fertile ground for extremist groups with a lot of cash. The state is not really functioning, since the focus has been on purging the institutions of Mubarak-loyalists rather than changing the policy quickly to stabilize economic and social conditions. There has been no economic support from either the U.S. or Europe. The Egyptians themselves refused the IMF/World Bank aid which was offered instead.
London's Iran War Back on the Agenda
Oct. 7 (EIRNS)In the last several days, Israeli-British-neo-conservative hype that Iran is now able to build a nuclear weapon was countered by leading Middle East intelligence analysts. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, a founder of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), wrote a lengthy report for OpEd news, Oct. 5, warning that Israel is again taking aim at Iran, having concluded that Iran is building a nuclear weapon. There is no proof for this, charges McGovern, recalling that since 1995, neo-cons like James Woolsey (then-CIA director) have asserted that Iran is "close" to deploying a nuclear bomb. There was no proof then, and there is still none.
At a forum of the Middle East Policy Council on Capitol Hill Oct. 7, MEPC president Frank Anderson opened the session about Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council saying that when he was an officer of the CIA, he was warned that Iran would have a nuclear bomb "within five years." "I've been retired now 16 years," Anderson said, and there is no nuclear weapon, but the war threats continue.
McGovern said that the main war danger actually comes from Obama, whom Netanyahu believes is so weak that he would not dare to oppose Israel and risk losing Jewish support for reelection. In fact, the Israeli government is so cock-sure, after Obama's UN speech rejecting Palestinian statehood, that it is possible that they would not even inform the U.S. prior to an attack that would then force the U.S. to come in on Israel's side. The plan "sounds crazy," and "it is crazy," writes McGovern, but this is what the Israelis are planning, and the U.S. institutional forces that stopped a war against Iran in 2007-08, when the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) pulled the rug out from under the British/U.S.-led war mongering, are no longer in position. "Adm. Mullen just retired, and Adm. Fallon was fired in 2008 for speaking truth," McGovern wrote, questioning whether "their replacements will be as able to act as counterweight" to those who want to have the war.
An Israeli attack on Iran would come as the result of a British decision to launch a perpetual war, driven by the collapse of its entire imperial order. Netanyahu, like Obama, is a British toy.
India To Engage Iran Over Afghanistan
Oct. 4 (EIRNS)Following a visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to India Oct. 4, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to visit Iran later this month, with a principal purpose to form an agreement with Iran over Afghanistan. (see Asia Digest for details.)