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Saudis Urge Baghdad to Accept Ceasefire With Iran
[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 28 - July 30, 1988
Ludwig De Braeckeleer (ludwig)     Print Article 
Published 2008-07-31 05:09 (KST)   

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Friday, July 30, 1988

"The last time we choose sides between warring factions in the Middle East, it cost us 241 American Marines."
--Noel Koch, former head of the Pentagon counterterrorism program

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Tehran claims that Iranian soldiers have pushed back the rebel troops fighting with the Iraqis after they had penetrated 100 miles deep inside Iran. Speaking from Washington, D.C., a spokesperson of the rebel group, known as the PMOI, denied the claim and stated that the PMOI had voluntarily withdrawn from Iranian territory.

Saudi Arabia is said to be putting pressure on Baghdad to accept the ceasefire. All through the eight-year war, the Saudis have backed Iraq financially. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador in Washington, has met with Tariq Aziz.

Ali Akbar Velayati, the Iranian foreign minister, reiterated the position of Tehran regarding direct talks with Iraqi officials. Velayati said he would not meet Aziz face-to-face until both sides agree on a firm date for a ceasefire, the withdrawal from occupied land and the exchange of all prisoners.

Middle East News

The UN Security Council passed a resolution that condemns the abduction of US Col. William R. Higgins in Lebanon. The text asks all members to use their influence in any way possible to secure his safe release.

Jordan's King Hussein has renounced sovereignty over the West Bank to the Palestine Liberation Organization. King Hussein also dissolved his country's lower house of parliament, half of whose 60 members were from the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

US Sides With Arafat

For the last eight years, the Reagan administration has debated, mostly with itself, how to address the endless Palestinian crisis. In a late attempt described by an expert as an 11th-hour improvisation, Secretary of State George P. Shultz has taken the very dangerous step of letting the genie out of the bottle.

In exchange for renouncing violence and for recognizing Israel's right to exist, Arafat has been granted statesman status by the US administration. Simply stated, the United States has now chosen a side in the conflict. And this could mean trouble, both for the US and for Arafat.

The Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) of Jibril and the Libyan-hosted Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) do not limit themselves to targeting US assets and personnel according to the desiderata of their sponsors. They also seek the elimination of Arafat. One can safely expect that these groups will commit an act of terror against a US asset intended, at least partially, to ruin Arafat's current efforts.

A defense intelligence summary issued on Nov. 8, 1988, by the US Defense Intelligence Agency's Terrorism Intelligence Branch explicitly predicted that hard-line Palestinian groups would soon set up major terror attacks to discredit Arafat. In late November 1988, Nidal himself confirmed this to investigative reporter David Yallop, who passed the information to MI6 and the CIA.

Back to the Present

Former U.K. diplomat Patrick Haseldine doubts that Foreign Secretary David Miliband will respond to Hans Koechler's letter, in which the former UN observer at the Zeist trial points out an important mistake regarding the verdict. Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah's case was "not guilty."

"The omens do not appear good," Haseldine said.

"The FCO [Foreign Office] website has still not been corrected. And why would Mr. Miliband want to engage in a debate about his issuing of the Public Interest Immunity certificate to the Criminal Appeal Court in Scotland, while the Westminster Parliament is on holiday until October?

"A tardy response will be proof (if any were needed) of the US and British governments' resolve to "Make Haste Slowly" over Mr. Megrahi's Lockerbie Appeal!"

"Saudis Are Said to Step Up Pressure on Iraq to Reach a Cease-Fire," July 30, 1988.


Ludwig De Braeckeleer has a Ph.D. in nuclear sciences. Ludwig teaches physics and international humanitarian law. He blogs on "The GaiaPost."
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ludwig De Braeckeleer

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