Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with the Fairness Project
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

March 4, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Was Planning New Attacks on the U.S. - Mark Hosenball and Evan Thomas (Newsweek)
    The CIA believes that "KSM" was getting ready to hit the U.S. again. According to a Feb. 26 intelligence report, "KSM is actively involved in Al Qaeda attack planning in CONUS [continental United States]. He has directed operatives to target bridges, gas stations, and power plants in a number of locations, including New York City."
    Some of this intelligence came from a Qaeda operative now in custody, who told investigators that at one point Mohammed had planned to blow up bridges and gas stations in New York and Washington as part of the 9-11 attacks. Though those attacks never came off, Mohammed intended to return to finish the job.
    His plan: Qaeda operatives would steal or hijack tanker trucks and crash them into fuel pumps at filling stations, while other terror operatives would slash the suspension cables on bridges.


Terrorists Aim at Pearl Harbor - Bill Gertz (Washington Times)
    Terrorists linked to al Qaeda have targeted U.S. military facilities in Pearl Harbor, including nuclear-powered submarines and ships.
    According to officials familiar with the reports, al Qaeda is planning an attack on Pearl Harbor because of its symbolic value and because its military facilities are open from the air.
    The attacks would be carried out by hijacked airliners from nearby Honolulu International Airport that would be flown into submarines or ships docked at Pearl Harbor in suicide missions.


Poll: Some Traditional Allies Not Seen as "Friends" - Dana Blanton (FOX News)
    Slightly more Americans say Egypt is a friend of the United States than say France is, with almost half saying France, a traditional U.S. ally, is not a friend.
    The latest FOX News poll, conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, finds that an overwhelming majority (90%) thinks Great Britain is a friend, followed by Israel (70%) and Turkey (52%) - the only countries to receive positive majorities.
    Less than half of Americans think Germany (46%), Egypt (41%), France (38%), and Saudi Arabia (30%) are friends of the U.S.
    Furthermore, about equal numbers say Saudi Arabia (49%), France (47%), and Syria (46%) are not friends.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • General Dismisses Rebuff by Turkey
    The U.S. ground commander who would lead an invasion of Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, said Tuesday he was prepared to attack "with or without Turkey." In the meantime, 24 cargo ships carrying the 4th Infantry Division's vehicles, supplies, and equipment remained off the Turkish coast. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Won't Add Saudis to Religious Freedom Blacklist
    The Bush administration has rejected a recommendation by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to place Saudi Arabia on an American blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom. The commission had concluded that, with the demise of the Taliban, Saudi Arabia is probably the worst oppressor of religious rights in the world. (Newsweek)
  • Terror-State Citizens Still Getting U.S. Visas
    The State Department is still issuing nonimmigrant visas allowing citizens of Iraq and other terror-sponsoring nations to visit the U.S. Between June 1 and February 23, says the State Department, it issued more than 19,000 visas to citizens of the seven countries the department lists as states that sponsor terrorism. More than 11,000 of these visas were issued to citizens of the five terror-sponsoring states in the Middle East - including 5,849 to Iranians, 3,673 to Syrians, 1,042 to Iraqis, 1,037 to Sudanese, and 188 to Libyans. (Human Events)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Hamas Co-founder Nabbed in Gaza - Margot Dudkevitch
    Sheikh Muhammad Taha, 65, one of the co-founders of Hamas, was among six Hamas fugitives arrested by soldiers during a raid on the El-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Monday. Hours after the troops pulled out of the camp, at least two Kassam rockets were fired at Sderot. One landed near the backyard of two homes and one or two others in open areas.
        Brig.-Gen. Gadi Shamni said the rockets were fired from the Beit Hanoun-Jabalya area. "The PA is doing nothing to prevent the firing of rockets, and that is the reason the army is forced to move against the threat," he said. The Taha clan is responsible for "bomb attacks, Kassam attacks, planning and dispatching terrorists, and incitement," Shamni said. As troops prepared to arrest members of the Taha family and blow up their home, they were confronted with fierce opposition, as gunmen fired automatic weapons and RPGs, hurled grenades, and detonated seven bombs, one containing 100 kilograms of explosives. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas's Political Leadership Now a Target - Matthew Gutman
    The arrest of Muhammad Taha sent shivers down the spines of Hamas's political leaders, who are all too aware that their immunity from Israeli security forces may have ended. "Our failure to act against Hamas [previously] has consisted of a de facto agreement that we will not touch them. And that is wrong, and unnecessary," said Yoni Fighel of the International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Patriots to be Deployed in Tel Aviv Area - Amos Harel
    U.S.-supplied Patriot anti-missile batteries will begin deploying in the greater Tel Aviv area Tuesday, as a back-up system to the Arrow missile killer meant to protect the densely populated center from the potential threat of Iraqi Scud missiles. The deployment of the Patriots, which have been kept until now at Israel Air Force bases, apparently indicates that the American attack in Iraq may be near. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Criticizes Draft Palestinian Constitution - Aluf Benn
    Foreign Ministry officials are critical of a draft constitution prepared by a Palestinian team. The preamble, drafted by Palestinian Minister Nabil Sha'ath, says that throughout history, "the Palestinians conducted their legendary jihad against the colonialist forces of the old and new world." The proposed government structure would give the president veto powers over laws. "The Palestinian prime minister will be a rag, and all the praise Arafat has received for the impending appointment of a prime minister are nothing more than eyewash," said a government source. (Ha'aretz)
  • French Families Accuse Arafat of Genocide in Paris Court
    Seven French families of victims of terrorist acts in Israel have lodged two complaints in a Paris court against Yasser Arafat, accusing him of genocide and crimes against humanity, lawyers Pascal Besnier and Michel Calvo said Monday. Because they do not regard Arafat as a true head of state, the plaintiffs also consider that he is not covered by international laws protecting a national leader from prosecution in a foreign land. (DPA/Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Permission from the Powerless - George F. Will
    More than 4,330 days have passed since Iraq put itself in material breach of UN Resolution 687 of April 3, 1991, which ordered it to report within 15 days on the locations, amounts, and types of all its chemical and biological weapons and "nuclear weapons-usable" materials. The "second" UN resolution on Iraq would actually be the 18th. The idea has arisen that any use of American power, even after successive acts of war against it, requires the permission of France, Russia, and China, which have not sought UN blessings for their respective military interventions to discipline Ivory Coast, to grind the Chechens into submission, and to suffocate Tibet. (Washington Post)
  • The High Price of Waiting - Mortimer B. Zuckerman
    Fear of war is not unreasonable. But the question, properly put, is whether the cost of action is greater than that of inaction. The answer is clear: Inaction will not cause the danger from Saddam's regime to diminish but to grow. Which is why it is time to implement UN Resolution 1441, authorizing military action against Iraq. As the German newspaper Die Welt put it, such action "would not be might over right but right over might." (U.S. News)
  • Reading Saddam's Mind - Michael R. Gordon
    If attacked, the Iraqi leader does not plan to mount a determined defense of his borders. He plans to make his stand in Baghdad, playing the starring role in a drama that is designed to portray his regime as a victim holding out against an advancing American Army. It is as much a political strategy as a military one. (New York Times)
  • Saddam's French Connection - Melana Zyla Vickers
    Has Iraq financially supported French politicians and political parties? With the socialist economic model that links both France and Iraq, few business deals between the state-controlled conglomerates are made without heavy massaging by French politicians. (Weekly Standard)
  • Observations:

    U.S. Plugs Israel into Real-Time War Monitoring - Nathan Guttman (Ha'aretz)

    • According to the Wall Street Journal, Israel and the U.S. have set up a joint command post in Tel Aviv at which Israeli army officers will be able to view real-time pictures of the movements of American war planes over Iraq in the event of a war.
    • A senior U.S. official said the best way to restrain the Israelis was to let them see for themselves that the U.S. was doing everything possible to eliminate the Iraqi threat.
    • In addition, an American early warning system that is hooked directly into U.S. intelligence satellites over Iraq was transferred to Israel a few weeks ago, giving Israel direct access to information on any Iraqi missile launches at its territory, with no delays and no filtering.
    • Israel becomes the only country other than the U.S. hooked directly into the U.S. Central Command's communications system.
    • The U.S. has also set up a special sub-command, headed by a general from one of its special forces units, for the destruction of missile launchers in western and southern Iraq. The command will seize airfields in western Iraq even before America begins the ground war and will use them as bases for anti-missile operations in the area.


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