Panel 3: Indo-Pacific, Caucasus, East Europe and Southwest Asia: Pivots for War, or Peace with New Silk Road
March 21 , 2021 (EIRNS)—The third panel of the March 20-21, 2021 Schiller Institute/ICLC conference dealt with the crises and potentials of Southwest Asia, including its prospects for peaceful development in the context of the New Silk Road. Moderator Diane Sare stressed that 7.5 billion people are not Americans, making it indispensable for Americans to pay attention to the broader scope of issues presented in the panel, which featured nine speakers.
The keynote was delivered by Schiller Institute Southwest Asia Coordinator Hussein Askary, who spoke on “Justice for the Nations of Southwest Asia.” He first pointed out that there is no such thing as the “Middle East,” a term originating from the British East India’s structural outlook of seeing colonies from a London viewpoint. Instead, geographical and cultural regions must be conceived as if seen from space, so that all nations are equal from a universal viewpoint. Southwest Asia is a region of 500 million, most of whom are young people who need a constructive perspective as an alternative to the geopolitics that has held the region hostage to crises, regime change, and wars. The alternative to the wars was outlined by Lyndon LaRouche during his visit to Iraq in 1975, also during his 2002 visit to Abu Dhabi. The LaRouche economic model has found active supporters in war-torn Yemen’s youth, as well as among young Iraqis. The Five Seas initiative of Syria before the war pointed in the right direction of regional cooperation, as does the Iraq-China agreement signed years ago but beginning to see realization only in 2018. It needs additional support today. The Schiller Institute made a proposal for “Operation Phoenix” and to recreate “Arabia Felix” as an important player for mankind’s progress. The geopoliticians’ wars against Syria, Iraq, Yemen have worsened the situation, that must be ended, instead the U.S.A., China, and Russia must cooperate in the recovery and development of Southwest Asia as a whole.
The next speaker was Hisham Sharaf, the Foreign Minister of Yemen, who stressed that his nation is not demoralized, although it is in the sixth year of war, with medicines prevented from reaching the country to fight Covid-19, and with the UN donors’ conference yielding just half of the needed amount of funding. But the Yemenis are optimistic that peace can be reached, although not on conditions dictated by the aggressors. The reconstruction of Yemen will occur in the framework of the New Silk Road, to which the Yemenis will be active contributors.
The speaker following, Haidar Al-Fuadi Al-Atabe, Member of the Iraqi House of Representatives, emphasized the importance of activating the Iraq-China Agreement, which aims at restoring Iraq’s infrastructure, creating employment for the young generation, and overcoming Iraq’s dependency of revenues from its oil production. Iraq must become part of the New Silk Road. Al-Atabe also emphasized that in carrying out projects in Iraq, China predominantly trains and employs Iraqis; therefore, tens of thousands of youth would benefit from major projects such as water projects and the Faw Great Port and railway lines connecting it with other parts of the country. All that is possible, if the United States and other powers respect Iraq’s equality and sovereignty, and cooperate with China and the United Nations in rebuilding the country, which could become a bridge for the development of other nations in and beyond that region.
Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, the Director of the China Center at Pakistan’s Sustainable Development Policy Institute spoke next, about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, whose first phase creates 700,000 Pakistani jobs and which will generate 4 million jobs by 2030. The development of this corridor with Pakistan’s port of Gwadar in a crucial role will shorten the transport distances between China and Europe. The entire Southwest Asian region can be transformed, if one principle is activated: cooperation, cooperation, cooperation, if the pressures of history are inactivated by the prospect of general development.
Former Virginia State Sen. Richard Black then spoke on “The Truth Behind the Syria Crisis.” Black stated that he is a combat veteran and an American patriot, but he profoundly rejects what U.S. policies have done, not only to Southwest Asia, but also globally. U.S. policies are just one big violation of a “rules-based order,” and these policies have been the kind of wars of aggression that were banned by the Nuremberg Trial 75 years ago after World War II. Planning the aggressions against Syria occurred in the U.S. already in 2001 with a list of countries targetted for destabilization, regime change and terrorist attacks and other atrocities. Before the war, Syria was a self-sufficient country in terms of food and energy, but ten years of aggression, with rebels trained and armed by the U.S., with the U.S. Army itself invading northern Syria, have destroyed the country. This madness must be stopped, and stopped now, Black declared.
From Syria itself, the next speaker was Dr. Ziad Ayoub Arbache, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Economic Sciences at the University of Damascus, his theme being “Syria after 10 Years of War.” At the beginning of the millennium, Syria designed the Tenth Five-Year Plan (2006-2010), with a vision of the country being transformed by 2020 into a fully integrated economy into the global economy. Under this plan, strategic projects envisaged building the roads, ports, and pipelines that Syria needed for achieving the “Five Seas Vision.” Syria was free of foreign debt. But the “trio of embargo, war and successive sanctions” has destroyed all that. Millions of Syrians have been turned into refugees, which has caused a giant brain drain. It is important to create a mechanism of development justified by the existence of 600 million citizens in the Southwest Asia region, along the concept of the Schiller Institute’s “Peace through Development” which Helga Zepp-LaRouche has presented.
The next speaker was Ambassador Michel Raimbaud, former French Ambassador in Arab, African and Ibero-American countries, and also former director of the French Bureau for the Protection of Refugees. Also mentioning that U.S. list of 2001 targetting many countries including Syria, Raimbaud elaborated on the continuity of war, sanctions, terrorism, and black propaganda launched against Syria which he said clearly is a “victim of international aggression” conducted by powers like the U.S. and the U.K. in ways falling under the Nuremberg Tribunal’s definition of “wars of aggression,” causing 250,000 deaths and 12 million refugees among Syria’s population. The ultimate catastrophe was prevented by the military assistance of Russia.
Concluding the speeches on Panel 3, Jacques Cheminade, president of the French political party Solidarité et Progrès, presented a “Call to Action,” to change the course of policies which he said have put the survival of mankind as a whole at stake. This is a moment of great tragedy, but “we refuse to be Hamlet”; instead, we work for an alternative to a situation which LaRouche decades ago already warned would involve things many times worse than those done by Hitler. What is urgently needed is a positive point of reference, a real constructive perspective for mankind: building a functioning health system in every country, having a Glass-Steagall restructuring of the global financial system, a new system of productive credit, the creation of 1.5 billion new jobs. Instead of staying in the negative dynamic of pleasure and pain, instead of being obsessed with one’s own advantage at the cost of the other, a harmony of interest always giving priority to the advantage of the other must be created. A real attempt to create the basis for a better future for the young generation has to be made. Culture and poetry must spark the creativity in human minds.
The one hour of Q&A which followed the presentations focused again on the role played by geopolitics, particularly by the British, but also on the need for people to develop their minds in order not to be manipulable. The denial of the right of people to development is a Nuremberg Tribunal crime, Helga said, calling for action to make Southwest Asia a cradle of mankind’s progress again which it once was when Baghdad was the most developed city on Earth. This conference is important because it presents people with hard facts on things they never hear about otherwise, Mrs. LaRouche stressed.
Hussein Askary pointed out in response to questions how policies could change, that the mechanism for change is already there with the Belt and Road strategy which nations have to join. Cheminade said that anger shall not be a driver for action, but hope should be, and again pointed to the role of poetry.
Halfway into Panel 3, Diane Sare drew attention to Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s statement regarding the LaRouchePAC, available to read on the Schiller Institute’s website. Also, later in the Q&A period, Mrs. LaRouche read out her Call to China Experts, issued several weeks ago, as a document that as many people as possible should sign, to get the truth about China’s constructive policies out.