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 5, 2003

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info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

KSM: "We Left Out Nuclear Targets, For Now" (Guardian-UK)
    Yosri Fouda of the Arabic television channel al-Jazeera is the only journalist to have interviewed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the al Qaeda military commander arrested at the weekend:

    It was only after my 48-hour encounter with the masterminds of the "Holy Tuesday" operations in New York and Washington that the world, including the CIA and FBI, came to learn that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is al Qaeda's number three and that his importance to the group as a terrorist organizer in the field exceeds that of his boss, bin Laden.
    I looked Khalid in the eye and asked: "Did you do it?" The reference to September 11 was implicit. Khalid responded with little fanfare: "I am the head of the al Qaeda military committee," he began, "and Ramzi [Ramzi bin al-Shibh] is the coordinator of the Holy Tuesday operation. And yes, we did it."
    "About two and a half years before the holy raids on Washington and New York, the military committee held a meeting during which we decided to start planning for a martyrdom operation inside America. As we were discussing targets, we first thought of striking at a couple of nuclear facilities but decided against it for fear it would go out of control....It was eventually decided to leave out nuclear targets for now."
    Was al Qaeda still active? "Yes it is, and it always will be as long as we are in jihad against the infidels and the Zionists."


9/11 Paymaster Captured in Pakistan - Susan Schmidt (Washington Post )
    Captured in the raid last weekend in Pakistan together with al Qaeda operations chief Khalid Sheik Mohammed was Mustafa Ahmed Hawsawi, a Saudi who was the alleged paymaster to the Sept. 11 terrorists, overseeing the hijacking plot's finances through bank accounts in the United Arab Emirates.
    When Pakistani authorities rousted a sleeping Mohammed and two companions in Rawalpindi Saturday, Hawsawi sought to hide his identity, claiming he was a Somali.
    Hawsawi opened accounts at Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai in June 2001 and wired money to bank accounts opened by the hijackers in the U.S.
    Just before the Sept. 11 attacks, some hijackers wired their remaining funds back to the Hawsawi account.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Powell: U.S. Can Wage War Without Turks
    Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday that the U.S. would make plans to wage war against Iraq without Turkish help if the government in Ankara did not reverse its refusal to take part "in the next several days." Powell said the U.S. military was "flexible enough" to handle an invasion of Iraq with or without the Turks, and that the U.S. and Turkey would remain "close friends for many years in the future." Administration officials concede that opinion polls indicate that nearly 90% of the Turkish people oppose a war with Iraq. (New York Times)
  • Millions Raised for Qaeda in Brooklyn, U.S. Says
    Sheik Muhammad Ali Hassan al-Mouyad, a prominent Yemeni cleric apprehended in Germany on charges of financing terrorism, "boasted jihad was his field and trumpeted his involvement in providing money, recruits and supplies to al Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist groups and said he received money for jihad from collections at the Al Farooq mosque in Brooklyn," Attorney General John Ashcroft said Tuesday. (New York Times)
  • Thousands of Troops Already in Iraq
    Several thousand allied special forces, including more than 300 British SAS personnel, are already operating inside Iraq. British defense sources say two SAS Sabre squadrons - about 240 men - plus more than 100 support troops are engaged in various parts of Iraq, part of joint special operations which include more than 4,000 American and Australian special forces, with headquarters in Qatar and bases in Jordan, Kuwait, and Turkey. Their insertion into Iraq coincides with intensified air attacks. In January it was reported that a team of 35 SAS men was operating in western Iraq as part of a 100-strong allied force looking for Scud missile launchers that could be used to attack Israel. (Telegraph-UK)
  • American Among 21 Killed in Airport Bombing in Philippines
    A bomb ripped through an airport in the southern Philippines Tuesday, killing at least 21 people, including an American missionary, and wounding more than 100. Some security officials said that members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a separatist group, had carried out the attack in cooperation with Abu Sayyaf, a smaller separatist organization linked by the U.S. to al Qaeda. (Washington Post)
  • Iraqi Athletes Pray for Country's Liberation - David Whitley
    Not that long ago, Issam Thamer al-Diwan was one of the best athletes in Iraq. Now, he is hunched over, his ankles scarred from shackles, and he is unable to walk to the end of the street. Al-Diwan is the head of the Iraqi Olympian Council, a group of exiled athletes who fled the country they once represented, and they want the world to know why. Saddam Hussein's son Uday is the head of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, which critics say is merely a front for torture, theft, and murder. Uday runs the world's only Olympic headquarters with its own prison. The country sent 43 athletes to the 1980 Olympics; it sent four to the 2000 Games. Al-Diwan hands a visitor a piece of paper with the names of 52 athletes he said the regime has executed. "The Iraqi people are praying for the first bomb to drop. They want to be free," al-Diwan said. (Orlando Sentinel)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF: Israel Currently Out of Iraqi Missile Range - Gidon Alon
    IDF Military Intelligence commander Major General Aharon Ze'evi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that although Baghdad did have missiles that could reach Israel, it had not yet deployed any of them to western Iraq, where they would be in range of the country. Committee chairman MK Yuval Steinitz said Iraq poses "very little danger" to Israel at this point. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Drafts Treaty Against Suicide Bombings - Aluf Benn
    The Foreign Ministry has completed a rough draft of an international convention against suicide bombers and will soon begin distributing it to foreign governments in an effort to obtain enough signatures to make it a recognized international treaty. (Ha'aretz)
  • Poll: Israelis Oppose Palestinian State by 2-1
    The poll, conducted on February 25, 2003, by Geocartography (at the request of the Ariel Center for Policy Research), asked Israelis: "In light of the experience that has accumulated since the Oslo agreements, do you support or oppose a Palestinian state?" 61% said they oppose creating such a state; only 31% said they support it. (IMRA)
  • World Bank Paints Gloomy Picture of Palestinian Economy - Arnon Regular
    A report compiled by the World Bank representative to the Palestinian Authority, Nigel Robert, reveals that the gross national income of the Palestinians in 2002 shrunk 40% in relation to 2000, while the Palestinian population in the territories increased by 9%. Between June 2000 and June 2002, exports fell 40 percent. In 2002, donor countries transferred $40 million a month to the PA, yet the PA's debts to private suppliers amount to a staggering $370 million. (Ha'aretz)
  • No Hunger in the Palestinian Authority
    Interviewed on Israel Radio Friday, Major General Amos Gilad denied that the Palestinian civilian infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza has collapsed, causing many Palestinians to join terrorist organizations. "The description is absurd," noted Gilad, adding that education and health services were still operating. "There may be social and economic hardship within the Palestinian Authority but there is no hunger." Israel does everything possible in order to ease the restrictions on the Palestinian population that is not involved in hostile terror activities. "Palestinians enjoy unlimited movement in Jericho, thousands of Palestinian laborers enter and exit the Gaza Strip every day (for work in Israel), and Israel transfers large amounts of money to the Palestinian Authority," said Gilad. He explained that the reason for the economic failure in the territories stems from the fact that the Palestinian Authority prefers armed struggle and terrorism to a political settlement. "As long as Arafat is in power, there is no chance that he will surrender the path of terror, and that is why he must step down as Chairman," said Gilad. (IDF)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran Still Trafficks in Terror - Ephraim Sneh
    Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage says Iran has "done some good things in the war on terrorism since Sept. 11." Tehran's "good things" would have to be monumental to outweigh the enormous damage it has done and threatens to do to the region. Iran supports, funds, trains, and oversees Hizballah terrorists, and has varying ties to other terror organizations: Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Iran has provided thousands of missiles and rockets in southern Lebanon, aimed at Israel's northern towns and villages. (Los Angeles Times)
  • The Prerequisite for Negotiations - Moshe Arens
    The major lesson drawn from the al Qaeda attack on the U.S. on September 11 is that negotiations are possible only with an opponent who has limited objectives - objectives that can be met, or regarding which he is prepared to compromise. An enemy who has unlimited objectives can only be fought and defeated - there is nothing to negotiate. Israel at this time is also facing an enemy with unlimited objectives - Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the terrorist groups associated with Arafat, and the Hizballah aim for the destruction of Israel. There is no room for negotiations with them. (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:

    Beware of Iraqis Bearing Gifts - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)

    • It is best to be aware that the signals coming from leading Iraqi opposition members are not particularly sympathetic to Israel.
    • Recently, I was approached by one of the leaders of the Iraqi opposition - at his initiative - who said "it would be best if Israeli leaders stay away from us and not seek contact with us. A connection with Israel could harm us." He added that, even when the war is over and the opposition takes power in Iraq, "it would be best to stay clear of us."
    • Similar statements have been made by opposition leader Ahmed Chalabi, who said Israel had never been friendly to the Iraqi opposition, "so they shouldn't run after us when we are in power." That isn't exactly correct. Several key Jewish conservatives in the U.S. sponsored Chalabi, opening doors for him in that country.
    • These messages are reminiscent of the Kuwaitis. During the months their country was occupied by Iraq, Kuwaiti leaders embraced American Jewish leaders and Israeli personages. After the war, when they were back in control of their country, they gradually turned their back on Israel.


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