Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with the Fairness Project
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see web version.

DAILY ALERT

March 14, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

U.S, UK May Use Israel, Jordan Air Space - Mark Odell and Peter Spiegel (Financial Times-UK)
    The U.S. and UK could use Jordanian and Israeli airspace to launch air strikes on Iraq if Turkey continues to refuse permission for allied bombers to operate out of its airbases.
    Officials on both sides of the Atlantic have said that Amman has tacitly agreed to overflight rights for allied aircraft.


New U.S. Airstrips in Iraq Likely - Thomas Hargrove (Knoxville News Sentinel)
    The Turkish Parliament's refusal to allow the U.S. to land troops for an attack on Iraq has led to speculation that the Pentagon will quickly build runways in northern Iraq in territory held by friendly Kurds.
    Military observers took interest in Alabama Gov. Bob Riley's announcement Tuesday that the 877th Army National Guard Engineering Battalion had been ordered to active duty.
    The 620-member battalion is specially equipped to construct "airfields, landing zones and similar projects" and will be assigned overseas, Riley said.
    "Activation of a specialty reserve unit this late usually means an unforeseen problem has arisen," said Loren Thompson, a military analyst in Washington.


Iraqi "Secret Surrender" Negotiations Underway - Barbara Starr (CNN)
    U.S. officials said Wednesday that "secret surrender" negotiations have begun with key Iraqi military officials in hopes some military units will not fight the U.S.
    One senior official said some elements of the Iraqi military may have already agreed not to fight.
    According to assessments by both the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, the leadership around Saddam Hussein is "brittle."
    The U.S. has already dropped hundreds of thousands of leaflets with specific instructions on how to position units so they are not considered hostile.


Iraq Hiding Its Tanks, Claims Deserter - Luke Harding (Guardian-UK)
    A defector from Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard claimed Thursday that the Iraqi army was confident it could withstand massive bombing by America because it had hidden vast amounts of military equipment in civilian areas.
    His division had taken special precautions to ensure its heavy weapons, including Soviet-built T72 and T62 tanks, survived American attacks.
    They would then emerge from hiding to ambush invading American troops.
    "The tanks and armored vehicles have been carefully hidden," he said. "The U.S. army will never find them. The commanders think that in any air bombardment only 5%-10% of the Iraqi army will be damaged."
    Three new execution squads had been set up within the Republican Guard, with orders to shoot any soldier who attempted to desert, he said.
    "We all agreed that if the war starts and we are unable to run away we will fight. We decided it was better to be killed by the U.S. than to be killed by one of the execution units."


BBC Film Compares Israel to Iraq - Jenni Frazer and Simon Rocker (London Jewish Chronicle)
    In the BBC film, "Israel's Secret Weapon," due to be broadcast on Sunday, program presenter Olenka Frenkiel challenges former Israeli Premier Shimon Peres: "There's a cry going up talking of a double standard, that the world has to check Iraq for nuclear installations, but not Israel."
    A clearly angry Mr. Peres says of Saddam Hussein: "He's not a leader, he's a killer. You cannot say it of us." But Ms. Frenkiel retorts: "Even in Israel, there are some who do."
    The film goes on to state that Israel used "a new gas" against Palestinians in Gaza in February 2001.


Palestinian Political Survey (IMRA)
    A Palestinian public opinion poll conducted in February 2003 by Birzeit University asked respondents about their political affiliation.
    The results: Fatah 21%, Hamas 15, Independent, with Islamic leaning 13, Islamic Jihad 7, Independent, with Fatah leaning 3, PFLP 2, PPP 1, DFLP 1, Independent, with leftist leaning 1, other Islamic factions 1, other nationalist factions 1 none 34.
    The list of rising social problems surveyed included internal violence, PA corruption, early marriage (under 16), and citizens taking over other people's land by force.


Revenge Killing Sparks Riots in Nablus - Khaled Abu Toameh
(Jerusalem Post)
    In a revenge killing in Nablus Tuesday, PA police officer Samer Bishawi opened fire at Aksa Martyrs Brigades leader Abu Jubran, killing him instantly.
    Abu Jubran's friends later went on a rampage in Nablus, burning down shops and houses owned by Bishawi's family.
    Abu Jubran, 32, was on Israel's wanted list, and sources said he had murdered Bishawi's older brother.
    Three weeks ago, the head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service in Dahariya, south of Hebron, was killed in what was described as an act of revenge.


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues


News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Iraq Moves Scud Missiles within Striking Distance of Israel
    U.S. officials reported seeing Iraqi surface-to-surface missiles (Scuds) moved into western Iraq within striking distance of Israel. The Defense Department is also seeing movement of Iraqi troops and heavy artillery toward the south. (FOX News)
        See also Saddam May Launch First Strike
    U.S. officials fear that once President Bush signals the U.S. is headed to war, Saddam Hussein will strike pre-emptively. Specific new evidence indicates that Iraqi activity in the western desert shows the strong likelihood Scud missiles are hidden there. Detailed new intelligence from the southern Iraqi oil fields shows that many of the 700 wells have now been wired with explosives, connected to a central command post, so Saddam could easily set the wells ablaze. Recent surveillance indicates Iraqi artillery batteries have been moved dangerously close to Kuwait, where 135,000 U.S. troops are now stationed. The artillery is capable of firing shells filled with poison gas. The U.S. is now considering moving against all three of these targets before any war begins in an effort to prevent Saddam from acting first, sources said. (ABC News)
  • U.S. Shifts Missile Ships to War Positions in Red Sea
    The U.S. military is moving a dozen or more missile-firing ships from the Mediterranean into the Red Sea, bordering Saudi Arabia. The White House has set Monday as a deadline for Iraq to begin disarming. If it does not, a U.S.-led attack could come any day afterward. (Washington Times)
  • Powell Rejects Notion that U.S. Policy Driven by Jewish Interests
    Secretary of State Colin Powell flatly rejected on Thursday any suggestion that the Bush administration's confrontation with Iraq was engineered by Israel or American Jews. Powell told a House appropriations subcommittee that the drive to compel Iraq to disarm stretches back over two administrations and 12 years of UN resolutions. "It is driven by our own national interest," Powell said. (AP/CNN)
        See also Powell at New Turning Point in His Evolution on Iraq War
    With the Bush administration's diplomatic efforts on Iraq seemingly on the verge of collapse, this is an excruciating moment for Mr. Powell, another turning point in his evolution from skeptic to advocate of a war to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Now after months of diplomacy and inconclusive inspections in Iraq, aides say Mr. Powell is prepared to call for a cutoff in negotiations over a UN Security Council resolution, not simply because he understands the danger of troops sitting in the desert but also because he has lost patience with both Iraq and the French. (New York Times)
  • Saudi Rulers Walk Political Tightrope
    As U.S. forces gather in the Persian Gulf to prepare for a war against Iraq, Saudi leaders have engaged in one of the Middle East's great conjuring acts: facilitating a U.S. attack while casting a veil over the role of U.S. forces in the kingdom that will help carry it out. An estimated 8,000 U.S. soldiers and airmen are holed up on military bases scattered around the kingdom, well out of sight of Saudi citizens. (Washington Post)
        See also Foreigners Targeted in Saudi Arabia
    In Saudi Arabia - traditionally a bastion of law and order - foreigners are targeted, some provincial officials are assassinated, and guns are in high demand. Last Saturday's discovery, in a shopping mall in the Red Sea port of Jeddah, of three sticks of dynamite timed to explode at mid-morning, was another stark reminder that residents can no longer take public security for granted. (Financial Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • 2 Israeli Security Guards Killed by IDF Fire - Amos Harel
    Two Israeli security guards near a Hebron-area West Bank settlement were killed Thursday afternoon as the result of a mistake by IDF troops who were scouting for terrorists, said IDF Major General Moshe Kaplinsky. The two victims were Yoav Doron, aged 22, from Jerusalem, a 2nd lieutenant in the crack Egoz reconnaissance unit of the Golani brigade, on leave from the army, and Yehuda Ben-Yosef, 22, from Ma'aleh Adumim, who recently finished his army service in the same unit. The IDF announced an investigation into the incident. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Slays Six Armed Terrorists in Jenin
    An IDF special unit entered the Jenin refugee camp on Friday to arrest wanted members of the Islamic Jihad. The force was spotted by a lookout and the Palestinians opened fire on the IDF force. The force returned fire and killed six armed terrorists, who had rifles, grenades, and IDF uniforms in their possession. (Maariv)
  • Two Israelis Shot in Jerusalem - Amos Harel and Jonathan Lis
    Two Israelis were seriously wounded Thursday afternoon in a shooting attack on their car in the Musrara neighborhood of Jerusalem. The gunman fled toward the Arab neighborhoods of the city. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arafat Delays Prime Minister Move - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Yasser Arafat is withholding his endorsement of a parliamentary bill that gives extensive powers to his prime minister, according to Palestinian sources. Arafat's refusal to accept the wishes of the Palestinian legislators has forced them to convene again next week to discuss amendments designed to placate him. Palestinian officials said Thursday that Arafat is opposed to the bill "because it gives the prime minister too many powers." Many Palestinians remain skeptical that Mahmoud Abbas's appointment will bring about real change in the PA. According to a professor at Bir Zeit University, "There will never be democracy or serious reforms as long as Arafat is around. Abbas will end up as a servant under Arafat." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Oslo Agreement a Trojan Horse - Amir Rapaport
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon said in an interview: The solution to the rockets on Sderot is deterrence. We saw in the past how the local residents sought to prevent launchings for fear of IDF reaction.
        I have no doubt that the Palestinian security forces have the ability to act. This question has arisen ever since they arrived in 1994. Every time a decision was made to act, they acted effectively. They are just waiting for a decision.
        I'm often asked about freeing up a battalion of soldiers by withdrawing under fire from settlements in the territories. I answer that from my professional security perspective, I know the significance of a withdrawal under fire - this won't save a battalion, it will require another brigade.
        Read the Palestinian analysis. They refer to this struggle as coming out from the belly of a Trojan horse. This is a Palestinian statement, which I think is correct. (Maariv)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Can We Find the Weapons? - Jonathan B. Tucker
    Assuming that Iraq does possess stocks of chemical and biological weapons, the Bush administration needs a coherent and practicable action plan to address these proliferation threats that might include the following elements: A promise of lenient treatment to members of the Iraqi security services who come forward with verifiable information about the location of weapons of mass destruction. Also, a substantial monetary reward for information leading to hidden weapons. Sealing the borders of Iraq to the extent possible to prevent rogue elements of the security services from smuggling out weapons of mass destruction, relevant documents, or key scientists. An offer to Iraqi weapons scientists of attractive employment opportunities in peaceful areas of research. A model could be the International Science and Technology Centers in Moscow and Kiev, through which the U.S., EU, and Japan have employed hundreds of former Soviet weapons scientists in peaceful research projects. Only if these measures are taken would a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction, rather than exacerbate it. (Washington Post)
  • The Appointment of Abu Mazin: Symbols and Substance - Asher Susser
    Abu Mazin's rise to prominence does represent positive change. He was one of the few PLO officials who were involved in the secret talks that led to the Oslo accords and he has become a firm believer in the real need for a settlement with Israel. Abu Mazin does not have an independent power base, but he does have the firm support of key figures in the Fatah new guard, such as Jibril Rajoub. So long as Arafat is not incapacitated, it will be very difficult to sideline the wily old "Mr. Palestine." Abu Mazin is, therefore, unlikely to emerge immediately as a serious rival to the historical Palestinian leader. (Dayan Center - Tel Aviv University)
  • The Next Stage of War - Michael Barone
    Former CIA Director James Woolsey suggests that, once we are secure in Baghdad, the U.S. should tell Syria's Bashar Assad, "You have to get out of Lebanon now." Then we should help the Lebanese uproot the Hizballah terrorists who hold southern Lebanon. This will be a blow against the mullahs of Iran, who control Hizballah, which many regard as a larger and more dangerous group than al Qaeda. Michael Ledeen suggests aiding the overwhelming majority of Iranians who want to oust the ruling mullahs. We should be getting in touch with those who are fighting for freedom in Iran, and aid and encourage them overtly or covertly in any useful way we can. (U.S. News)
  • Jews and War - Jonah Goldberg
    Jim Moran might be right. If the "Jewish Community" were more opposed to this war, it might not happen. But that's not because the Jews are pushing this war. Rather, it's because the moral arguments are such that Jewish Americans are persuaded like most everyone else, ideological differences notwithstanding, by the president's case. A rising moral tide lifts all boats, even Jewish ones. (National Review)
  • Where Bush Stands on Israel - Daniel Pipes
    Last April, the President delivered a major address that backed Israel and condemned Arafat. In June 2002, he said, "When the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbors, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state." Three months later, the State Department unveiled something it called the "concrete, three-phase implementation road map." This road map can plan on a Palestinian state by 2005 by dispensing with Bush's requirements of the PA and instead requesting only token assurances from it. This duality leads to heartburn on all sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict. (National Post-Canada)
  • Perles of Wisdom - Amir Taheri interviews Richard Perle
    Saddam Hussein is not the symbol of Arab dreams, hopes, and aspirations. No one has harmed Arab interests as much as he has in the past few decades. Why is it that the Arab countries are the only ones whose real income per head has fallen in the past two decades? Because they are not free. Because they have suffered from dictators like Saddam Hussein. Richard Perle chairs the Defense Policy Board. (National Review)
  • Israelis Built, Deserve, Nation - Lou Marano
    Israelis are entitled to Israel not because of the ancient Jewish commonwealth, and not because of Jewish suffering in Europe, but for the same reasons Americans are entitled to America - because they built it, and what you create is yours, Yale professor David Gelernter said Monday. Rather than stressing its distinctive Jewishness and talking to the world about Jewish history, a better strategy is to explain Israel in its global context, he said. For example, after World War I and World War II, "France didn't care whether Germany loved her, or liked her, or accepted her....It was perfectly reasonable for France to count on eternal menace and to reject as absurd that she make security concessions (such as relinquishing Alsace-Lorraine) in order to get Germany to accept her." (UPI)
  • Liberating Iraqis is Main Justification for War - Rosie DiManno
    The most urgent and compelling reason for invading Iraq is the one never mentioned by bickering diplomats at the UN: 24 million Iraqis, 24 years of barbarous misrule, government by thuggery. France and Russia care so profoundly for peace? The Russians have been so restrained in Chechnya, responsive to international condemnation of atrocities committed by its troops? The French-brokered peace deal in the Ivory Coast has worked so well? I don't understand why liberating Iraqis - Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Christians, Turkomans - from despotic tyranny has such little moral traction. (Toronto Star)

    Weekend Features:

  • Militants in Iraqi Enclave Tied to al Qaeda Likely to Be Target of War - Karl Vick
    The Halabja Valley, an enclave just inside Iraq and close to the mountainous border with Iran, has been taken over by radical Islamic Kurds, the Ansar al-Islam, who field an estimated 900 fighters, including some 100 Arab extremists who arrived last year from Afghanistan. (Washington Post)
  • If War Hits, Kurds See Way to Grab Old Lands - David Rohde
    In Kirkuk, Saddam Hussein forcibly expelled an estimated 100,000 Kurds to cement Arab control, according to Kurdish officials. In the countryside around Kirkuk and Mosul, he bulldozed hundreds of Kurdish villages and built Arab villages on the ruins. "We will not prevent anyone to go back to their homes and land," said Karim Senjari, the interior minister of the western half of the Kurdish enclave. "It's their right to go back to their place of origin." (New York Times)
  • Iran Plays the Waiting Game - Reuel Marc Gerecht
    The worst outcome for Iran would be a dedicated American effort to destroy the Sunni Arab power structure and to give Iraq's Shiite majority real political muscle. Iran's clergy, which is also Shiite, would see a democratic Iraq dominated by Shiites as a worrisome model for their country's restless youth. (New York Times)
  • Lebanon - A Candidate for Democracy - Neil Swidey
    In a desert full of despots, the lush green of Lebanon was always something of an oasis - an Arab nation with a vibrant civil society, free press, market economy, and the closest thing to a Western-style democracy in the region. Much of that was crushed during the country's vicious 16-year civil war. If Washington is serious about its democracy initiative, they argue, it should begin in Lebanon, both by helping to reverse the slide away from democracy and by using it as a case study to understand the forces - good and bad - that might emerge in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. (Boston Globe)
  • Iowans Educate Iowans on Israel
    Iowa community and political leaders have joined together to urge all Americans to support Israel. Free Nations United, a grassroots national organization, wants to educate Iowans about the threat of terrorism to democratic countries through television ads. "Israel is an ally of freedom and human rights. And both the people of Israel and the U.S. share common values. At this moment of crisis, as Israel is under siege by terrorists, Americans have a responsibility to stand with this Jewish state," Free Nations United spokesman Randy Tate said. Iowa Senate President Pro-Tem Jeff Angelo said he plans to introduce a resolution to the Iowa Legislature soon that supports Israel. (TheIowaChannel.com)
  • Observations:

    The Rage, the Pride and the Doubt - Oriana Fallaci (Wall Street Journal)

    • I often say to myself: "How good if the Iraqis would get free of Saddam Hussein by themselves. How good if they would execute him and hang up his body by the feet as in 1945 we Italians did with Mussolini." The Italians, in fact, could get free of Mussolini because in 1945 the Allies had conquered almost four-fifths of Italy.
    • I know war very well. I know what it means to live in terror, to run under air strikes and cannonades, to see people killed and houses destroyed, to starve and dream of a piece of bread, because, as a member of the Resistance, I was myself a soldier. At the same time, I don't accept the slogan, that "All wars are unjust, illegitimate." The war against Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito was just, was legitimate. When peace stands for surrender, fear, loss of dignity and freedom, it is no longer peace. It's suicide.
    • This war should not happen now. It should have happened one year ago. One year ago nobody questioned that another Pearl Harbor had been inflicted on the U.S. and that the U.S. had all the right to respond.
    • In 1991 the Iraqi army disintegrated so quickly, so easily, that even I (as a war correspondent) captured four of its soldiers. I was behind a dune in the Saudi desert, all alone, when four skeletal creatures in ragged uniforms came toward me with arms raised. I delivered them to the Marine in charge.
    • In Europe your enemies are everywhere, Mr. Bush. What you quietly call "differences of opinion" are in reality pure hate. Europe is no longer Europe. It is a province of Islam, hosting almost 16 million Muslim immigrants. It lodges thousands of Islamic terrorists whom governments don't know how to identify and control.


    To subscribe to the Daily Alert, click here to send a blank email message.
    To unsubscribe, click here to send a blank email message.