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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

November 20, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

U.S. Improves All-Weather Fighting Capability (Houston Chronicle/AP)

    This time, Iraq's climate will be less of a barrier to military operations, experts say. "We have a tremendous, substantial, all-weather capability that we did not have in Desert Storm days," said retired Rear Adm. Stephen Baker, planning and operations chief for an aircraft carrier battle group during the 1991 conflict.
    The Pentagon now has satellite-guided bombs and cruise missiles that can hit their targets in bad weather. Satellites, surveillance planes, and pilotless drones are equipped with radar that can see through clouds, smoke, fog, and dust, and track the movement of enemy troops and vehicles.


Iraq Takes Delivery of Powder Used in Chemical Arms (Washington Times/AP)

    Iraqi scientists know how to make chemical weapons that can penetrate military protective clothing, and Iraq imported up to 25 metric tons last month of a powder that is a crucial ingredient to such "dusty" weapons.
    The powder, sold under the brand name Aerosil, has particles so small that, when coated with deadly poisons, they can pass through the tiniest gaps in protective suits.


Equality in the Air Force - Thomas L. Friedman (New York Times)

    If you want to get a feel for how far ahead the U.S. military is from any of its allies, let alone its enemies, read the fascinating article in the November issue of The Atlantic Monthly by Mark Bowden about the U.S. air war over Afghanistan.
    Bowden describes the attack of a U.S. F-15 jet fighter on a Taliban truck caravan.
    The co-pilot bombardier - a woman - locates the target and directs a 500-pound bomb into the lead truck. As the caravan is vaporized, the F-15 pilot shouts down at the Taliban: "You have just been killed by a girl."


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • OPEC Ramps Up Output to Keep Lid on Crude Prices
    Saudi Arabia and other OPEC oil producers are flooding world markets with crude oil, a shift that experts say should help offset any economic dislocation from a military strike against Iraq. "OPEC has increased production dramatically in the last 30 to 45 days, which is why we're seeing the price fall," said Larry Goldstein, president of the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation in New York. Goldstein said that OPEC production has continued its rapid rise this month and may be running as much as 3.5 million barrels a day above the official limit. (Sydney Morning Herald/Los Angeles Times)
  • G.I.'s Train on Iraq's Border
    The U.S. Army has quietly doubled the number of its troops in Kuwait and is practicing offensive operations close to the border with Iraq. U.S. forces currently total about 12,000. Because many Army units have been rotated through Kuwait over the past decade, many officers and soldiers who might be called on to fight would be returning to a familiar arena. (New York Times)
  • Syria and Iraq Tighten Ties
    Hundreds of Iraqis sell goods on the streets of Damascus, their presence a signal of how dramatically relations have improved. Trade is booming after border controls were eased two years ago. From almost zero, Syrian exports to Iraq reached $1 billion last year. Western officials and oil analysts say Syria is importing about 150,000 barrels a day of Iraqi oil in contravention of UN sanctions. Syria's oil exports have soared without any commensurate increase in domestic production. (Newsday)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Amram Mitzna Wins Labor Party Election
    Haifa Mayor Amram Mitzna, who has promised to withdraw from the territories and negotiate with the Palestinians under fire, was elected chairman of Israel's Labor Party on Tuesday. (Ha'aretz)
  • A Zionist Response to Murder
    Esther Galia, a long-time employee of the Bank of Israel and a founder of the village of Kochav Hashahar, north of Jerusalem, was murdered Monday by a terrorist gunman while driving home from work. At her funeral Tuesday, Pinhas Wallerstein, head of the Benjamin Regional Council, said a new neighborhood of Kochav Hashahar will be built to honor her memory, which would be the best response to the murderer who "can go home and boast of how he killed a mother of seven children." (Ha'aretz)
  • Hizballah Likely to Attack During U.S.-Iraq War
    Hizballah could take advantage of any U.S.-led assault on Iraq to launch missiles at targets in Israel, a senior IDF officer said on Monday. Hizballah has an estimated 1,000 highly-trained fighters, and thousands more who can be called upon at short notice. Hizballah has more than 8,000 Katyusha rockets, including long-range missiles capable of reaching Haifa and its environs, in addition to an armory of mortars, anti-tank missiles, artillery, and explosives. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Two Terrorists Killed in Attack on Kfar Darom
    Two Palestinian terrorists began firing at IDF positions in the Jewish village of Kfar Darom in the Gaza district Tuesday evening. After a protracted gun battle that included tank fire at the abandoned building they were using for cover, a bulldozer collapsed the structure. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • U.S. to Review Aid to Arab World
    The United States is reviewing all its aid to the Arab world, including Egypt, to see how much it can redirect to programs that promote democracy and the rule of law, a State Department official said Friday. The Egyptian government has upset the U.S. at least twice this year, first by jailing prominent Egyptian-American sociologist Saadeddin Ibrahim and more recently by allowing state television to broadcast a series which American Jewish groups say is anti-Semitic. (Ha'aretz/Reuters)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Islam's Other Victims: India - Serge Trifkovic
    While India had produced one of the world's great civilizations, in the course of 17 invasions beginning in the early 8th century, Muslim invaders demolished temples, plundered palaces, killed vast numbers of men, and carried off their women and children to slavery. The massacres perpetrated by Moslems in India are unparalleled in history, but they are almost unknown outside India. (Front Page Magazine)
  • Declaring War on Saddam Would Be the Moral Option - George Weigel
    Is pre-emption ever morally justifiable? When a vicious regime that has used chemical weapons domestically and in war, a regime that has no concept of the rule of law and that flagrantly violates its international obligations, works feverishly to obtain and deploy further weapons of mass destruction, it seems to me a compelling moral case can be made that this is "aggression under way." Moral reason tells us that some states, because of the regime's clearly aggressive intent and because there are no effective internal controls on the regime's behavior, simply cannot be permitted to acquire weapons of mass destruction. (Telegraph - UK)
  • Trading with the Enemy - Michael Freund
    The 35th annual Baghdad international trade fair held last week was a smashing success. More than 1,200 companies from 49 nations, including France, Germany, Spain, and Denmark, converged on the Iraqi capital in the hopes of taking home some lucrative contracts worth millions. It's good to know America's European partners are taking such a principled stand. (National Review)
  • Say No to Divestment - Nelson Moussazadeh and Sam Yebri
    Israel is the only nation that has offered statehood to the Palestinians. Israel's Arab citizens exercise full voting rights and serve in the Israeli Parliament. Regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation, every person in Israel enjoys freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and due process. Israel has the only independent judiciary in the Middle East; its Supreme Court even protects the civil liberties of homicide bombers. (Yale Daily News)
  • Talking Points:

    Will Iraqi Troops Collapse or Fight? - Ann Scott Tyson (Christian Science Monitor)

    • The Iraqi military lost about half its Army and Air Force during the Gulf War. Many of its 2,200 main battle tanks, 3,700 armored vehicles, 300 combat planes, and 2,400 artillery weapons are obsolete, according to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
    • The regular Iraqi Army, with about 300,000 troops stationed mainly around Iraq's borders, is demoralized, low-paid, and unlikely to fight, experts say.
    • Encircling Baghdad to protect the regime and prevent coups d'etat is the better-trained Republican Guard, with about 70,000 to 80,000 troops organized in six armored and infantry divisions.
    • Inside the city protecting government installations and key leaders are 15,000 to 25,000 Special Republican Guard troops. These elite units are trained in urban warfare. Along with other security forces, they are heavily drawn from Hussein's native hometown of Tikrit and have better pay and living conditions. Elements of such elite forces are expected to hold their ground in the cities, at least temporarily, according to U.S. and Iraqi military officials.


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