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 26, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Injured Palestinians Treated by Iran, Then Trained for Terror - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)

    Since the start of the latest fighting, hundreds of injured Palestinians from the territories have been taken to Iran, via Jordan.
    A special Iranian committee attends to the Palestinians, sends them to military training courses, and gives them orders.
    In recent months, Israel's Shin Bet security service has detained Palestinians who returned to the territories after medical treatment in Iran, and who were then involved in terror attacks at the behest of Iran.


Intelligence Predicts Hussein's Reaction to Attack - Walter Pincus (Washington Post)

    U.S. intelligence officials believe that although Saddam Hussein maintains a tight grip on his government, he could be overthrown by a military coup if U.S.-led ground troops were about to invade his country.
    "The expectation has been that the closer [Iraqi military leaders] perceive the end is near, the more people inside will be willing to raise their hands," one senior intelligence analyst said this week. However, "it is unlikely to happen until after they hear guns start firing."


U.S. Deploys New Anti-Missile Radar in Gulf - Eric Schmitt with Philip Shenon (New York Times)

    The U.S. military has deployed a sophisticated ground-radar system to help protect allied and American forces in the Persian Gulf region from Iraqi missile attacks.
    The Joint Tactical Ground Station is a mobile system that alerts commanders to hostile missile launchings, using data from space-based satellites.
    American commanders also plan to deploy Predator and Global Hawk surveillance aircraft, which can patrol continuously for 24 hours, as well as E-8C Joint Stars ground-surveillance planes, to detect mobile launcher movements and guide bombers to their targets faster with improved communications equipment.
    Special Operations Forces will probably deploy to western Iraq in the opening hours of any war to destroy missile launchers that threaten Israel.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Israeli Airliners to be Shielded Against Missiles - Joshua Brilliant
    Israel Wednesday decided to equip its civilian passenger planes with systems that would deflect shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. The decision seems to have been spurred by last month's attack on an Arkia Boeing 757 in Mombassa, Kenya. Israel Radio said the plan calls for "a joint project with the U.S. to produce an advanced system." Such cooperation is being sought to speed up the project and reduce its costs. (UPI)
  • How the U.S. Interrogates Terrorism Suspects
    In the multifaceted global war on terrorism waged by the Bush administration, one of the most opaque - yet vital - fronts is the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects. The U.S. government handles prisoners in a brass-knuckled quest for information in which the traditional lines between right and wrong, legal and inhumane, are evolving and blurred. While the U.S. government publicly denounces the use of torture, national security officials defended the use of violence against captives as just and necessary. They expressed confidence that the American public would back their view. (Washington Post)
  • Fearful Bethlehem Christians Dream of U.S.
    In hundreds of homes in Bethlehem there is only one wish this Christmas: to obtain a visa for America. The Christians are fewer than 50,000 among more than three million Palestinians and they are leaving at an estimated 500 to 1,000 a year. While they made up 17% of the population in the 1940s, they are now an insignificant minority of 1.7%. "There is a new mentality which says Palestine is Islamic, making us second-class citizens," said Fr. Peter Madros, a Roman Catholic priest. (Telegraph-UK)
  • How to Fool UN Inspectors, From an Iraqi with Experience
    Ahmed, who left Iraq in 1999, was assigned in 1992 to help Dr. Rehab Taha, now known as "Dr. Death" for her work on bioweapons, at an unmarked complex called Al Hakam, 60 miles south of Baghdad. "The [UN] inspectors visited quite often, but the regime kept the real capacity of the plant hidden," he said. Scientists and engineers "were coached" on how to deal with inspectors, Ahmed says. "We were asked to hide things, to give as little information as possible, to omit things and emphasize others, then to give a detailed report on what we had said to security officials." "The regime knows how to hide things. They have had lots of practice." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Iraqi Rockets Sent to Syria for Use by Hizballah - Ze'ev Schiff
    Some of the equipment transferred from Iraq to Syria in recent weeks was apparently earmarked for Hizballah in Lebanon, to be used in opening a northern front against Israel in the event of an American offensive in Iraq. The shipments contained Iraqi rockets with a range of 100 to 150 kilometers, and possibly also various items that Iraq wanted to hide, such as chemical or biological weapons.
        There are reports that Iraq has been trying to increase the number of Scud missiles at its disposal. The missile cargo captured two weeks ago on a ship bound for Yemen from North Korea was in fact destined for Iraq. The Americans released the ship after Yemen promised to keep the missiles itself. In addition, the Syrians at one point tried to find Scud missiles for Iraq. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Actions Reduce Terrorist Attacks - Amos Harel
    During the last four months, Israeli security forces have arrested 1,800 Palestinians suspected of terrorism, with 400 of them arrested so far this month. The wave of arrests - and the massive IDF pressure in the territories - has dramatically reduced the number of attacks and Israeli casualties. A senior military source said Wednesday the Hamas-Fatah dialogue in Cairo has had no effect on the grass-roots level, where terrorist planners scoff at reports about efforts to reach a pan-Palestinian cease-fire. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Braces for More Terrorism if U.S. Attacks Iraq - Margot Dudkevitch
    The security establishment is prepared for the possibility of an escalation in attacks by Palestinian terrorist organizations in the West Bank when and if the U.S. offensive against Iraq begins, a senior Central Command officer said Wednesday. Officials expect that terrorists will perpetrate attacks to show their support for Iraq and Saddam Hussein. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Lands of the Free - Editorial
    The Freedom House survey, which began informally in 1955 and has been published as an annual report, "Freedom in the World," is a comprehensive study of political evolution, according to civil liberties, independent civil institutions and independent media, as well as electoral politics. This year's Freedom House survey notes the number of Muslim countries that are quietly making progress toward greater political freedom and personal liberty: Afghanistan, Albania, Tajikistan, Qatar, and Turkey, as well as Senegal and Bahrain. While, as a rule, few countries with Islamic majorities are democracies, there is no "inexorable link" between Islam and tyranny. Yet of the world's least-free countries, a striking number are directly associated with the export of international terrorism: Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya. (Washington Post)
  • Powell on Democracy in the Muslim World - Robert Satloff
    On December 12, Secretary of State Colin Powell unveiled the new Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) - a promising set of small-scale, big-bang-for-the-buck, incubator-style projects targeted at critical groups (women, youth, educators) that deserve attention and support. Yet there were a series of political messages within the speech suggesting that the active promotion of democratic change in Muslim countries, especially U.S. allies in the Arab world, may not be such a priority after all. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • The Last Cartoon - Thomas L. Friedman
    Before Gulf War II is launched, there will be a Russian-French or Arab delegation that flies to Baghdad and tries to persuade Saddam to spare his family, and everyone else, from a war - either by disclosing his weapons or by going into exile under Arab or European protection. (New York Times)
  • Talking Points:

    IDF: Iraq Won't Attack Before U.S. Offensive - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)

    Major General Aharon Ze'evi, the head of Military Intelligence, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday:

    • It is highly unlikely that Iraq will launch a non-conventional weapons attack against Israel prior to an American offensive, as this would expose capabilities that Iraq has vehemently denied.
    • Hizballah is expected to keep a low profile during a U.S.-led war in Iraq, fearing that Israel might exploit the opportunity to attack Hizballah rocket and missile positions in southern Lebanon.
    • On the Palestinian front, terror organizations are continuing their efforts to carry out attacks and Israeli security forces are successfully thwarting terror attacks on a daily basis.
    • A successful U.S.-led campaign in Iraq would make it easier to resume negotiations with the Palestinians because it would strengthen pragmatic elements in the Arab world against fundamentalists.
    • The Bush administration agreed to some of Israel's requests for revisions in the "road map" for a Palestinian-Israeli accord, including making the resumption of negotiations conditional on a complete cessation of violence and changes in the PA's leadership. (Ha'aretz)
          See also (Israel Defense Forces)


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