Prepared for the
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

December 17, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Syria Opens Second Pipeline to Smuggle Iraqi Oil - Michael Evans (London Times)

    Syria has expanded its oil-smuggling operation with Iraq by opening a second pipeline between the two countries, according to intelligence based on recent satellite photographs.
    Iraqi crude oil is reported to be flowing at the rate of 60,000 barrels a day through the new pipeline.
    The flow of oil through both Syrian pipelines - amounting to an estimated 200,000 barrels a day - has enabled Damascus to increase its own oil exports by around 50 percent.
    Imports of Iraqi oil are illegal unless approved by the United Nations' oil-for-food program agreed upon after the 1991 Gulf War.


A Saudi Link to 9-11? - Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenbal (Newsweek)

    German authorities in Hamburg have charged Mounir el-Motassadeq, 28, a Moroccan citizen, with assisting Muhammad Atta and other members of the "Hamburg cell" that organized the 9-11 attacks.
    A German police official testified that when authorities raided el-Motassadeq's apartment, they found the business card of Muhammad J. Fakihi, chief of Islamic affairs at the Saudi Embassy in Berlin.
    German police memos, first reported in the weekly Die Zeit, show German officials twice sought to question Saudi officials about Fakihi and whether el-Motassadeq visited him during a trip to Berlin two months after the terrorist attacks. But the Saudis never responded to written questions.
    The Saudis also demurred when asked to explain phone records showing repeated calls from el-Motassadeq's apartment to the Riyadh office of Sheikh Safar al-Hawali, a radical imam who helped set up a charity that U.S. officials alleged assisted a Qaeda cell that bombed the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.


Useful Reference:

693 People Murdered by Palestinian Terrorists since September 2000 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    4,887 people have been injured as well, in 15,681 attacks. (IDF/IMRA)


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues


News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Ex-Iraqi Worker Tells of Fooling the Inspectors
    The Bush administration is pressing the current UN inspection team to ferry scientists out of Iraq for interrogation. Only then, administration officials say, will they get useful information on suspected Iraqi nuclear, chemical, and biological arms programs. Failure of Hussein to permit scientists and their families to leave would, in the administration's view, constitute a breach of the latest UN resolution demanding open access to weapons sites. (Washington Post)
  • Britain Invites Palestinians to Talks, But Israel, U.S. Cool
    "I am inviting leading Palestinians to come to Britain in January to a conference along with members of the Quartet and other countries from the region," British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the British parliament. The Palestinians have announced their acceptance of the invitation, but Israel has asked Washington to go slowly on the Middle East "road map" until after the Israeli elections on January 28. (Reuters)
  • Troops Start Countdown to War
    The Americans are so far advanced with their build-up that they could be ready for war at comparatively short notice. By contrast, Britain will need several weeks to deploy. British officials who have seen the Iraqi document say that many biological and chemical warfare materials and missiles that escaped previous UN weapons inspections in the 1990s were still unaccounted for. "We know they have been hidden," one official said. (London Times)
  • Arab Governments Weigh Support for U.S. - Hamza Hendawi
    Despite America's sagging image in the region, many Arab regimes know they have little choice but to stay friends with the U.S. For a multitude of reasons, the U.S. likely will find many Arab rulers offering everything from discreet logistical support to unfettered use of territory and airspace in the event of war with Iraq. "There is a silent majority among Arabs that says the region without Saddam would be a much better place," said Dawood al-Shirian, of the Saudi-owned Al-Hayat newspaper. (Austin American-Statesman/AP)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Israel to "Clean Up" S. Lebanon if Hizballah Attacks - Janine Zacharia
    In an off-the-record meeting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in New York on Monday, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said, according to one source, that Israel may have to "clean up" south Lebanon if Hizballah begins firing missiles. Mofaz also noted that Palestinians are not rising up to challenge Arafat's authority. (Jerusalem Post)
  • "Jordan First" Drive Launched
    A "Jordan First" campaign to boost national loyalty is the focus of a special committee formed by King Abdullah II of Jordan. The King said the campaign was not a call for isolation, but springs from the conviction that Jordan's socio-economic strength needs to be ensured if the country wants to support its Arab brethren. The campaign was kicked off with posters and billboards show five hands hoisting the flag - a man in a business suit, a blue-collar worker, a woman in Palestinian dress, a child, and another woman. (Gulf News-UAE)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • What Syria's Leader Wants from the West - Michael Gove
    The energetic young Syrian President has done what many might have considered impossible - he has turned Syria into an even viler terrorist state. Since September 2000, Syria has stepped up its financial, military, and political support for groups such as Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hizballah. Mr. Blair's response to the Syrian president's illegal occupation of sovereign nations, sponsorship of terror, and continued repression of his own people, has been fawning. The rationale for this tickling of terror's tummy is the old principle of "engagement." Putting to one side the obvious point that Bashar's idea of playing a fuller role in the international community is getting Islamic murderers to blow bits of it up, the Prime Minister should pause to consider just where Western "engagement" with terrorist states has led in the past. (London Times)
  • Assad in London: Theater of the Absurd - Douglas Davis
    Bashar Assad, the man who is being feted, charmed, and honored by Britain's highly manicured political leaders and financial elites, rules a state that hosts a slew of terror organizations, facilitates the drug trade, jails political opponents, abuses human rights, subjugates a neighboring state, espouses anti-Semitism, pursues weapons of mass destruction, offers a smuggling route for illicit Iraqi oil exports, and provides military equipment for the pariah regime of Saddam Hussein. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Manhunt: New Strategy in the War against Terrorism - Seymour M. Hersh
    Referring to criticism of Rumsfeld's insistence on targeting individual al Qaeda members, a Pentagon adviser who worked closely with the Rumsfeld team said, "The idea of not wanting to go after the senior leadership of a paramilitary group that has declared war on you is such a perversion that it's mind-boggling. The problem of a peacetime military is that they cannot conceive of doing what they are paid to do." (New Yorker)
  • Israel's Strategy in Curbing Palestinian Violence - Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror
    The first strategic goal of Israel's current war on Palestinian terror should be to change the mindset of Arab leaders who believe that Israel can be forced to make concessions. The second strategic goal should be to create a new kind of leadership within Palestinian society. The only way to achieve both goals is to fight terror relentlessly, though keeping in mind that Israel will have to negotiate with the Palestinians at the end of the day - another reason beyond the obvious why all efforts must be made not to harm civilians while fighting terror. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Talking Points:

    Aiming at Deadly Weapons - Saxby Chambliss and Jane Harman (Washington Post)

    Four steps are critical to building a better intelligence capability:

    • Make counterterrorism and counterproliferation the highest priorities. Congress has provided for a large increase in the intelligence budget to address the threats from weapons of mass destruction.
    • Improve intelligence collection regarding possible users of weapons of mass destruction. We must map terrorist and proliferation networks and all their financiers, suppliers, and weapons procurers; identify "black" and "gray" markets for illicit materials; and fully understand possible linkages to states.
    • Make intelligence "actionable" - linked to the ability to move quickly to interdict and prevent. Our policymakers need solid, near-real-time information that can support operations to stop attacks and eliminate threats. Our intelligence and law enforcement officers and their foreign counterparts need more training, expertise, and capabilities to focus on warning signs that individuals or terrorist groups are seeking weapons of mass destruction.
    • Build new offensive capabilities. We need better interdiction capabilities - to stop shipments of weapons materials to rogue states, to stop terrorist buyers from procuring materials or building laboratories, and to disrupt illicit research, development, and fielding of weapons technologies.
    Reps. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Jane Harman (D-Cal.) head the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.


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