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Iraq Steps Up Arms, Money Transfer to Palestinian Areas - Amir Oren (Ha'aretz)
Iraq has stepped up its attempts to move weapons and financial aid to the Palestinian Authority areas, in an effort to resume terror attacks against Israel.
Baghdad's plan is to refocus international attention on the Israeli-Arab conflict and hope for a second front in case of a U.S. attack against Baghdad.
The Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front held a rally in Gaza Thursday where financial grants from Saddam Hussein were handed out to 32 families of Palestinian dead.
Security sources in Israel expressed disappointment with Mohammed Dahlan's failure to reach an agreement with Hamas to restrain its activists against Israel.
According to Gazan sources, Dahlan's loyalists have so far refrained from a head-on clash with the heavily armed Abu Samhadne clan, which controls the drug trade in southern Gaza, and with the two most powerful clans in Rafah, the Abu Taha clan and the Abu Jazir clan.
Clan fighting and blood feuds have claimed 75 Palestinian lives in Gaza during the past two years.
There are growing reports from Bethlehem, Tulkarm, and Nablus about local Fatah leaders clamping down on Tanzim and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, considered military wings of the Fatah political movement.
Reports from Bethlehem say that at least 10 Al-Aqsa operatives have been paid off $300 a piece to commit to ceasing their armed activity.
Medical sources are reporting that the lengthy curfews have resulted in illicit use of ambulances as taxis, with the price starting at NIS 50 for a ride inside Ramallah to as much as NIS 1,000 to carry passengers from Nablus to the Allenby Bridge.
Rival Groups Eye Northern Iraq Oil - Craig S. Smith (New York Times)
Three rival ethnic groups in northern Iraq are already squabbling over the spoils of any future war.
Kirkuk, a city with vast reserves of high-quality oil so close to the surface that in one area natural gas escaping from the ground has been on fire since antiquity, is today controlled by Saddam Hussein and provides a principal source of his oil income.
Iraq's Arabs, ethnic Kurds, and Turkmen all want power over the city and its oil if Saddam Hussein falls.
In an attempt to change the ethnic makeup of the Kirkuk area, Hussein has settled Arabs in the city and pressured the Kurds and Turkmen to change their legal ethnic identity to Arab. The Arab majority will certainly try to retain control of the region if Hussein is removed.
The Kurdish Democratic Party, the more powerful of two Kurdish groups that control northern Iraq, is determined to make Kirkuk the political capital and economic heart of a Kurdish federal state in a future Iraq.
The Iraqi Turkmen Front, a coalition of 26 groups vying for representation in a post-Hussein Iraqi government, has the backing of Turkey.
The dispute suggests that any fighting inside Iraq will not end with Saddam Hussein's ouster.
September 11 and the Arab Media: The New Antisemitic Myth (MEMRI)
A study of the Arab media's response to the events of September 11, titled, "A New Antisemitic Myth in the Middle East Media: The September 11 Attacks Were Perpetrated by the Jews," with a foreword by Congressman Tom Lantos, is available online. An Updated Report is also available.
Palestinian Schools Praise Suicide Bombers (IDF)
Posters glorifying suicide attacks, armed struggle, and leaders of the terrorist wing of Hamas are common in Palestinian educational institutions. See photos taken in Ramallah classrooms by an IDF documentation team.
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Monday, September 16 - Yom Kippur
News Resources - USA and Europe:
President Bush's Speech at the UN (White House)
White House Spells Out Case Against Iraq
The White House has released a report providing specific examples of how Saddam Hussein has systematically and continually violated 16 UN Security Council resolutions over the past decade. The document serves as a "background paper" for President Bush's speech Thursday to the UN General Assembly.
Titled "A Decade of Deception and Defiance," the report also lists the dates of 30 statements from the Security Council president "regarding Saddam Hussein's continued violations" of council resolutions, from June 28, 1991, through May 14, 1998.
Reactions to the Bush Speech:
Skillful Speech Makes Iraq a UN Problem
- Bronwen Maddox
This was the most politically skillful speech that President Bush has given. Bush's shrewdest tactic was to cast Iraq as the UN's problem, rather than the United States' target. Reciting the list of "broken promises" by Saddam Hussein, he noted that these were promises made to the UN, not the U.S. It had a duty to act, he argued.
(Times - UK)
Learning from Bush's Address - Ze'ev Schiff
There are a number of conclusions that Israel can draw following the address by President Bush: The first is that Israel must hurry its preparations, in all relevant areas, for a possible regional war that may include it as a target. The second is that preparations must also include the possibility that extremist organizations, such as Hizballah in Lebanon, will take advantage of the outbreak of war in order to attack Israel. (Ha'aretz)
Bush Challenges UN to Prove its Legitimacy
- Gerald M. Steinberg
The president reframed the international discussion on Iraq. He reminded his audience that the League of Nations talked itself into irrelevance and that the UN is on the verge of the same fate. Bush changed the focus of the debate from the critiques of American unilateralism to the failure of the UN and the international community to act responsibly in ridding the world of the dangers posed by Saddam Hussein's reign of terror and tyranny. "To assume the regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the future of the world," Bush said.
The Iraqi Front:
British Troops Head for Iraq War
Advance parties will begin deploying to Kuwait within two weeks in preparation for an attack on Iraq which could involve up to 30,000 British troops.
(Telegraph - UK)
Australian PM Supports Ousting Saddam
Speaking on the anniversary of September 11, Australian Prime Minister John Howard gave his strongest backing to date for removing Iraq's President Saddam Hussein. Eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and removing Saddam Hussein were two sides of the same coin, Howard said.
(Sydney Morning Herald)
The Insiders' Iraq
- David Ignatius
Hussein can ultimately count on the loyalty of only a few thousand hard-core fighters. Once the U.S.-led attack has begun, Iraqi tribal leaders and even the commanders of some elite Republican Guard units will change sides. Intelligence officials said their contacts inside Iraq have urged the U.S. to break Hussein's power by striking at the leadership of his Republican Guards and other units that maintain political control in the Sunni Muslim central regions. "If you can put out his eyes, we'll move," was one recent message from inside Iraq.
Hussein's regime is beginning to lose control of Shia-dominated southern Iraq. In the key southern city of Basra, some Baath party officials have tried to cut deals with rebel Shia groups they expect may soon be in control.
Iraq Attack a Certainty, Says Israeli Spy Chief - Chemi Shalev
Israel's chief of military intelligence, Major General Aharon Ze'evi, reported at a cabinet meeting this week that an American offensive against Saddam was a fait accompli, adding that the timing was "imminent." In private conversations with American officials and lawmakers, Israeli leaders from left to right are voicing nearly unanimous, unequivocal support for an American offensive.
Bush: Arafat a Complete Failure
Scott Pelley (CBS News): "Arafat has to go?"
President Bush: "He's been a complete failure as far as I am concerned. Utter disappointment."
(60 Minutes II)
Palestinian Economy Set on Backward Path
The Palestinian economy is set on a path of "de-development" that is becoming ever harder to reverse. According to the latest assessment by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, since October 2000 the gross domestic product of the Palestinian economy has fallen more than half, unemployment has tripled, and more than two-thirds of households are living below the poverty line.
Israel's Position at UN Improves
As the United Nations begins its three-month General Assembly this week, observers describe an improved climate for Israel.
With much of the world focused on the possibility of a U.S.-led war against Iraq, attention has shifted away from the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Jewish leaders also contend that countries simply are tired of anti-Israel antics that distract attention from other pressing issues.
News Resources - Israel and Mideast:
Palestinian Rocket Hits Negev Kibbutz
A Kassam rocket hit a home in Kibbutz Sa'ad in the western Negev, nearly five kilometers from the Gaza Strip, Thursday night. The rocket landed in the kitchen of the house, causing extensive damage. No one was at home at the time. It was the second attack on the community in recent weeks. In response, Israeli soldiers entered Gaza and blew up six workshops used to manufacture rockets and mortars.
Rival Kurds Join to Topple Saddam - Michael Howard
The leaders of the two Kurdish groups controlling northern Iraq have agreed to set aside long-standing rivalries and adopt a united approach on the country's future. Massoud Barzani of the Kurdistan Democratic party and Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan have signed an agreement to resolve their differences and commit themselves to a "democratic, federal Iraq."
Kurds could raise as many as 80,000 fighters and are seen as an essential part of any U.S.-led attempt to change the regime in Baghdad. The KDP and the PUK control the predominantly Kurdish region of northern Iraq which has been free from Baghdad's control since 1991, with the KDP controlling the east and the PUK controlling the west.
(Dawn - Pakistan)
See also In Iraqi Kurdistan the War Has Already Begun - Tim Judah
(New York Review of Books)
Jordan Vows to Keep Out Iraqi Refugees
Jordan is making preparations to prevent the influx of Iraqi refugees into its territory in the case of a U.S. attack against Iraq.
In recent years, tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens have moved into Jordan and settled there. An estimated 300,000 Iraqis are now in Jordan, the vast majority of them illegally. Al-Hayat reported Thursday that the Jordanian authorities have begun blocking the entry of Iraqi nationals into the kingdom. Jordanian sources also expressed concern that Iraqi agents may seek to undermine the internal stability of the kingdom.
Palestinian Businesses Moving Out of Territories
Palestinians have been increasingly moving their businesses to neighboring countries in recent months.
The phenomenon is new, and did not occur during the first year of the intifada, when business owners hoped things would improve. A medical equipment plant associated with Mussa Arafat (Yasser Arafat's cousin) transferred its operations to Egypt. Textile plants have been transferred to Jordan, Morocco, and other countries.
Retailers have also begun transferring their core businesses to Jordan and Egypt. (Globes)
U.S.-Mideast Trade Plummets
Middle East trade with the U.S. has fallen by some 20-26 percent since the events of September 11, Molly Williamson, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of commerce, told a Washington conference on U.S.-Arab relations. Overall annual trade between the U.S. and the Middle East stood at $65 billion in 2001. There were two key exceptions: Jordan - where trade has grown by 26 percent in the first six months of 2002, and Morocco.- where trade has grown more than 50 percent.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis
(Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Speech He Couldn't Give - Benjamin Netanyahu
The urgent need to topple Saddam is paramount. The commitment of America and Britain to dismantle his terrorist dictatorship before it obtains nuclear weapons deserves the unconditional support of all sane governments. Contrary to conventional wisdom, what has destabilized the region is not Israeli action against Palestinian terror, but rather the constant pressure exerted on Israel to show restraint, which has unwittingly emboldened its enemies and inadvertently increased the threat of a wider conflict. (Globe & Mail - Canada)
Finish the War - Liberate Iraq - Former Sen. Bob Kerrey
In a very real way the war against Iraq did not end in 1991. The U.S. has spent more than $1 billion a year on a very real and very risky military intervention against Iraq for the past 11 years to enforce the no-fly zones and the embargo. The truth is that our current multilateral military effort already qualifies as an invasion of Iraq. The real choice is between sustaining a military effort designed to contain Saddam Hussein and a military effort designed to replace him. It has been a terrible and tragic mistake for the U.S. to be in favor of freedom every place on earth except in Arab nations.
(Wall Street Journal)
Where Iraq Fits in the War on Terror
- Madeleine K. Albright
We should pick this fight [with Iraq] at a moment that best suits our interests. And right now, our primary interest remains the thorough destruction and disruption of Al Qaeda.
(New York Times)
Sinister Secrets Secreted - Arnaud de Borchgrave
A go-anywhere-do-anything inspection regime in Iraq voted by the UN Security Council (assuming no vetoes from France, Russia, or China) could not possibly detect a door-sized opening on the side of a hill, covered with soil, that leads down to huge underground hangars where WMDs are stored. Libya's Moammar Gadhafi has employed thousands of Korean and Filipino workers for the past 20 years, a quarter-mile underground, building a $25 billion project that, when finished, will include huge underground storage areas made of reinforced concrete suitable for anything from storing supplies to hiding WMDs. Gadhafi has never made a secret of his nuclear ambitions.
How to Confront Saddam Hussein
The newest issue of Strategic Assessment includes two articles on how to confront the threats posed by Saddam Hussein. Target: Iraq, by Dr. Ephraim Kam, explores the potential challenges, risks, and advantages embedded in each of the options open to the U.S. Inspecting Iraq: An Action Agenda, by Dr. Ephraim Asculai, formerly of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, outlines the measures necessary to reinstate an effective monitoring system for weapons of mass destruction. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies - Tel Aviv University)
A Roadmap from Crawford to Baghdad - Raymond Tanter
The case in favor of preemptive war rests on several propositions: The threat from Iraq is high. There are several solid precedents for preemptive war. Containment and deterrence are less effective against rogues, suggesting preemption may be necessary. UN authorization for preventive war against Iraq is unnecessary. More explicit authority for regime change would be politically prudent. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Most Hated Man in Gaza Tells How He Was Led Astray - Stephen Farrell
It began with the recruitment of a young Palestinian reading King Lear in the British Council library.
It ended two years later with the spymaster vanished, and the young Palestinian claiming he had been blackmailed into treachery. Akram el-Zatma, a self-confessed collaborator with Israel, is a dead man talking.
(Times - UK)
The Model of the Mythological Sabra
- Meron Benvenisti
Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon is one of the most authentic representatives of the mythological sabra - childhood in a proletarian home in socialist Kiryat Haim, membership in a pioneering youth movement, self-actualization in an Arava kibbutz.
His analysis and conceptual outlooks are grounded in the conceptual, mythical, and educational world of what is called "the Labor movement." Former prime minister Ehud Barak says of Ya'alon, "His integrity is unblemished. His perceptions of the nature of the conflict, its essence and its roots, are correct." (Ha'aretz)
The Modern Islamic State
- Prince Hassan of Jordan
Long before the discovery of the New World, the Islamic world was a refuge for those escaping from religious and intellectual discrimination. Pluralism and respect of diversity were adopted by the Prophet Muhammad and the Khalifs who succeeded him. Extremist violent actions like the events of September 11, 2001, are absolutely immoral and no modern Islamic state should condone them.
Why Terrorism Works - Alan Dershowitz (Salon.com)
- Palestinian terrorism has worked. You can't think about terrorism without thinking about Palestinian terrorism. Palestinians began international terrorism. It started with them in 1968. They used it as the first resort, not the last resort. They invented it, they perfected it, they benefited from it, and they taught the world how to use it and that it would be successful.
- Everybody knows of the plight of the Palestinian people. And yet when you put the Palestinian situation in comparison to, say, the Kurds, the Tibetans and the Armenians, those claims are certainly no greater. In fact, they're probably considerably lower; they've never been offered a state. The Palestinians were offered a state and they turned it down.
- Why has the pope met with Arafat seven times and never met with a Kurdish leader or an Armenian leader? It's a reflection of the success of Palestinian terrorism.
- If Palestinian terrorism against civilians is justified, so is al Qaeda terrorism against the World Trade Center. There is no difference.
- It's terrible when a young child is killed in a crossfire. But when that happened, everybody in Israel, and most Americans, were crying. When a kid is deliberately killed in Israel, Palestinians cheer. That's a big difference morally. You can't have a moral equivalence there, and I think that's what causes terrorism. The moral success of Palestinian terrorism is what led Osama bin Laden to calculate that he will get tremendous support around the world for Sept. 11.
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