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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

October 17, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

PLO Rep in Lebanon Receives Canadian Citizenship After "Investment"

    Yasser Arafat's representative in Lebanon, brigadier general Sultan Abu Al-Ainein, recently received Canadian citizenship after making a $450,000 investment in Canada.
    The passport was picked up from the Canadian embassy in Beirut by an agent, since Abu Al-Ainein, convicted by a Lebanese court of weapons trading and hiding fugitives, couldn't reach the embassy himself.
    Abu Al-Ainein also owns a hotel in Cyprus and a number of houses and cars. All of his investments are registered in the name of his wife and son, Riyad, who both received Canadian citizenship as well. (Al-Sabeel - Jordan)


Another Step Closer to War - Kenneth T. Walsh

    Hundreds of special-operations troops are training in Jordan as part of a scheduled exercise, and they could be called upon during the first hours of an attack to neutralize Iraq's Scud missile threat. The U.S. Army has tripled its presence to about 6,000 troops in Kuwait, and 2,000 Marines are currently conducting war games off the Kuwaiti coast.
    The U.S. Navy plans to have three aircraft carrier battle groups near Iraq by December. The military may move several Army divisions to the region, including the 101st Airborne, 3rd Infantry, and 1st Cavalry.
    Military leaders want a short window between the final buildup and the start of an attack, reducing the risk of an Iraqi pre-emptive strike. (U.S. News)


Waiting for Showtime - Owen Matthews

    The Turks are certainly acting as if war may be imminent. Last week some of Ankara's top brass inspected the Diyarbakir air base in Turkey's southeast that could become a staging ground for U.S. troops.
    Hilmi Ozkok, chief of the general staff, confirmed that Turkish troops are already on the ground in northern Iraq, purportedly chasing separatist guerrillas.
    The Turkish Red Crescent announced that it was preparing tents, blankets, and medicine in the event of a refugee exodus of the sort seen in the 1991 Gulf War.
    Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has officially handed over operational control of any assault to Turkey's military, giving them a free hand if war breaks out. (Newsweek)


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Bush Backs Retaliation by Israelis if Iraq Attacks; Sharon Characterizes Bush Administration as Friendliest in History
    Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Sharon in Washington, President Bush said today that he fully expected that Israel would aggressively retaliate after any unprovoked Iraqi attack. (New York Times)
        See also Bush-Sharon News Conference
    Bush: If Iraq attacks Israel tomorrow, I would assume the Prime Minister would respond...to defend himself.
    Sharon: As far as I remember...we never had such relations with any president of the United States as we have with you, and we never had such cooperation in everything as we have with the current administration. I would like to thank you for that. (White House)
  • Al Qaeda Prisoner Links Saudi to Bali Blast
    Omar al-Faruq, an al Qaeda-trained Kuwaiti arrested in Indonesia in June, has told U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan that the spiritual leader of the radical Indonesian group Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakr Bashir, was given $74,000 by a Saudi to buy explosives from Indonesian army officers earlier this year. (Financial Times)
        See also Indonesia Links Muslim Group With Terrorism (New York Times)
  • Council on Foreign Relations Report Blasts Saudi Backing of Al Qaeda
    "For years, individuals and charities based in Saudi Arabia have been the most important source of funds for al Qaeda, and for years the Saudi officials have turned a blind eye to this problem," according to a new report by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. The administration must pressure the Saudis - as well as other governments - to crack down on terror financing. (Washington Post)
  • Israel is Largest Market for U.S. in Middle East
    Bilateral trade between the U.S. and Israel grew to $19.5 billion in 2001, making Israel America's 20th largest goods trading partner and the biggest market for U.S. exports in the Middle East, according to a statement issued Wednesday by White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. (U.S. State Department)
  • Yemen Targets Al Qaeda
    Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih has mounted a multi-front offensive against al Qaeda elements in his country, forming an anti-terrorism alliance with Washington. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • U.S. Plans Next Steps on Israeli-Palestinian Track
    A three-stage diplomatic "road map" drawn up by the U.S. was presented by Assistant Secretary of State William Burns to Prime Minister Sharon's bureau chief, Dov Weisglass, Wednesday. Burns is planning to visit the region to advance the plan. The first stage involves reform of the Palestinian Authority, culminating in elections that move Arafat into a purely symbolic role. In the fall of 2003, an international conference is to be convened at which negotiations on establishing a temporary Palestinian state will begin. The final stage will be talks on a permanent-status agreement, which will be concluded in 2005-2006.
        An Israeli source said the plan is acceptable to Israel, since it sets performance benchmarks rather than a rigid timetable. (Ha'aretz)
  • Dahlan Resigns, Slams PA Leadership
    Former PA Gaza security chief Muhammad Dahlan has resigned as Yasser Arafat's national security adviser to protest the delay in implementing reforms in the PA. According to the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, Dahlan told a group in Gaza City that he had advised Arafat to stop the intifada after the September 11 attacks. He also described the Palestinian people as a "mob" inclined to radicalism and rejection, and Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi as the "leader of the local Taliban. He thinks that he's Mullah Omar." (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Dahlan's Resignation and Arafat's New Cabinet - Danny Rubinstein (Ha'aretz)
  • Jordan Battles Anti-Normalization Groups
    The Jordanian government is waging a battle against trade unions that oppose the development of economic ties with Israel and the West, and has asked them to disband all committees opposing normalization with Israel. Cabinet members in Amman have accused the unions of causing serious damage to the Jordanian economy. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Did the Gulf War Ever Really End? - Gerard Baker
    The sense that the U.S. failed to complete the task in 1991 is reinforced by the impression that the current Bush administration - many of whose top foreign policymakers were participants in the first Iraq conflict - is animated by a desire to settle old scores. Several figures acknowledge that had crucial moves been made then, the U.S. would not now be preparing for a new war. (Financial Times/New York Times)
  • The Future for Palestinian Reform - Meyrav Wurmser
    President Bush's call for new Palestinian leadership immediately threw Arafat and his regime into crisis, emboldening those Palestinians seeking greater freedom. U.S. policymakers should cease meeting the PA's ministers and the PLO's delegates and instead endorse and pin their hopes for reform on Palestinian voices that are genuinely interested in creating a Palestinian democracy. (National Review)
  • Talking Points:

    Saddam's Fall Would Cause Arafat's Demise - Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad (AP/Ha'aretz)

    Major General Amos Gilad, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, told journalists and diplomats at a briefing at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs' Institute for Contemporary Affairs, founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation:

    • Saddam Hussein is a strong backer of the Palestinian cause and is a symbol to tyrants like Yasser Arafat and others. If Saddam collapses, it will create an earthquake in this region and would accelerate deterioration in support for Arafat even among his closest allies. The fall of Saddam Hussein is likely to bring about the fall of Yasser Arafat as well.
    • There is no way there will be coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians under Arafat's leadership. Arafat sponsors terror, believing he can weaken Israel and win more concessions. His passing from the scene would help Israel and the Palestinians to return to peace talks.
    • In the 1991 Gulf War, Arafat sided with Saddam, a position that left the Palestinians weakened after Iraq's resounding defeat, forcing them to scale back their expectations. A second U.S. attack that ousted Saddam would result in the Palestinians reducing some of their demands.
    • In the recent fighting, Israel took over parts of the West Bank and imposed curfews in many areas in an effort to diminish terror, not to stop it. Israel hopes to lift the curfews and leave the areas as soon as possible in order to alleviate Palestinian suffering.

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