Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with Access/Middle East
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

March 20, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

U.S. Hunting Saddam's Hidden Billions - Robin Gedye (Telegraph-UK)
    Saddam, named by Forbes magazine as equal third-richest ruler in the world with Prince Hans-Adam of Liechtenstein - overshadowed only by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and the Sultan of Brunei - has a known personal wealth exceeding £1.3 billion.
    Saddam has found ways to earn more than £1.6 billion a year since the Gulf war, despite sanctions, through elaborate oil and cigarette smuggling operations and via illegal kickbacks.


U.S. Reaps New Data on Weapons - Barton Gellman (Washington Post)
    The U.S. government has obtained potentially valuable new information on Iraq's biological and chemical weapons programs in recent days from scientists and intelligence agents confronted outside Iraq.
    U.S. and allied intelligence services summoned scores of Iraqi operatives in foreign capitals to present a stark choice. They were told "they could either 'turn,'" said one official, using an expression for switching sides, or be expelled back to Iraq.


Jewish Soldiers on the Brink of War in the Kuwaiti Desert - Stewart Ain (New York Jewish Week)
    There are 1,500 Jewish troops in the Persian Gulf region in a force of 280,000, mostly comprised of Americans but also including the British and Australians.
    More than 1,000 solo seder kits were sent to the troops in early February to ensure their arrival on time.


2.2 Million Internet Surfers in Israel (Globes)
    2.2 million Israelis over 13 years of age, amounting to 32.8% of Israelís total population, currently use the Internet, according to a TNS Teleseker survey.
    Some 50% of all Jewish households have an Internet connection. Every day, 1.5 million Israelis go online.


Useful Reference:

UN Commission on Human Rights

To follow developments at the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, see:

  • Israel Geneva Mission to UN
  • New: U.S. Delegation to the 59th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights


    Key Links

    Media Contact Information

    Back Issues


  • News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Forces Strike Iraq
    On Wednesday afternoon, CIA Director George Tenet told President Bush that the CIA had a fix on the location of Saddam Hussein and others in "the most senior levels of the Iraqi leadership" at a private residence in southern Baghdad. For the next three hours, Bush and his senior national security advisers tore up the carefully orchestrated schedule of violence that the U.S. Central Command had honed for months - in hopes of decapitating the Iraqi government in a single blow. Early Thursday a barrage of 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles slammed into three targets around Baghdad in an attempt to hit Saddam Hussein. (Washington Post)
        See also Text: Bush Announces Military Campaign (CNN)
  • Iraqi Deserters Flee before a Bullet is Fired
    Classified intelligence reports suggest that as many as three-quarters of some Iraqi regiments in the area near the northern no-fly zone have fled. Nearly a quarter of the Republican Guard, whose loyalty to Saddam has until now been unquestioned, were also said to have deserted. (London Times)
        See also Iraqis "Deserting in Thousands"
    In the south, Kuwaiti border guards were turning back Iraqi soldiers, telling them they must wait until the attack began before they could surrender. "We are looking at wholesale desertions in some areas," said an intelligence officer. "In the southern area, where there are six Iraqi divisions, 50% of their officers are planning to surrender once the campaign opens." (Telegraph-UK)
  • SAS Picks Out Targets Behind Enemy Lines
    Several hundred troops from the SAS and its Royal Marines equivalent, the Special Boat Service, as well as the U.S. Delta Force, were on the ground in Iraq Wednesday, marking targets before the allied ground advance, determining priorities based on the size and type of units, and advising Army forward observation officers which should be hit by artillery or air strikes. (Telegraph-UK)
  • 1,000 U.S. Troops Raid Afghan Towns
    About 1,000 American troops launched operations in eastern Afghanistan Thursday in a hunt for al Qaeda members, a spokesman at U.S. Central Command headquarters in Qatar said. The new operation in Afghanistan, called Valiant Strike, is the biggest by American forces in eastern Afghanistan in over a year, military officials said. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Names Iraqis Who Would Face War Crimes Trial
    The Bush administration has identified several senior Iraqi officials who would be tried for war crimes or crimes against humanity after an American-led attack on Iraq, a senior American official said. In addition to Saddam Hussein himself, the list includes his sons Uday and Qusay, Ali Hassan al-Hamid, who was the governor of Iraqi-occupied Kuwait in 1990-91, and Muhammad Hamza al-Zubaidi, who was responsible for atrocities against the Shiites living in southern Iraq in early 1991. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Iraqi Missiles Fired at Kuwait
    Kuwaiti sources report that Iraq launched at least 4 missiles with conventional warheads at U.S. forces in Kuwait Thursday, causing no casualties. Two of the incoming missiles were downed by U.S. Patriot missiles. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • U.S. Hints Forces Operating in Western Iraq to Foil Scud Attacks on Israel
    The U.S. passed messages to Israel early Thursday indicating that American forces are apparently already operating in western Iraq in an effort to head off possible Iraqi Scud missile attacks against Israel. Senior Israeli officials said Thursday that Secretary of State Powell gave Prime Minister Sharon a 90-minute advance warning before the opening phase of the American-led offensive against Saddam. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Public Told to Carry Gas Masks
    The IDF Home Front Command has instructed the public to open their protective kits, practice putting on their gas masks, and carry them at all times. However, sources from the General Staff, Military Intelligence, Air Force, and the uppermost echelons of the Defense Ministry all agreed that, "Nothing will happen here." (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Terrorists Murder Israeli in Samaria - Erik Schechter
    Zion Boshirian, 50, from Mevo Dotan, southwest of Jenin, was driving home from Hadera when two terrorists armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles ambushed his car. Though mortally wounded, Boshirian managed to return fire. Fatah's Aksa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the murder. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. to Grant Israel $1 Billion in Emergency Security Aid
    Israel Radio reported Thursday that the U.S. will grant Israel $1 billion in emergency security aid and $9 billion in loan guarantees. Israel had requested a grant of $4 billion in emergency aid. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abu Mazen Agrees to Serve as First PA Prime Minister - Sharon Sadeh
    Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has accepted the post of Palestinian prime minister, after Arafat asked him on Wednesday to form a new Cabinet. He now has five weeks to complete the task. This is the first time that Arafat has been forced to share power. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Hail Saddam, Burn U.S. Flags in Gaza Protest
    Hundreds of schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip Thursday hailed Saddam Hussein and protested against the American assault on Iraq. (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
        See also British Bank Firebombed in Ramallah in Iraq War Protest (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • From Iraq's Neighbors, Reason to Hope for Peace and Reform - Dennis Ross
    Many Arab leaders in the Middle East began several weeks ago to adjust to what they perceive to be a new reality. They stopped trying to prevent the war and instead began signaling that they wanted neither to be on the wrong side of the conflict nor on the wrong side of the U.S. The political culture in the region has always put a premium on power and adjusted to it. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The New Arab Way of War - Peter Layton
    The new Arab approach to conflict makes effective use of liberal immigration policies that have permitted large numbers of Middle Eastern migrants to settle in the West. Small numbers of fellow travelers and sympathizers are distributed throughout Western nations, able to be activated to provide local support, protection, and knowledge for deploying assassins. Intentionally, there is no obvious state involvement. In his attack, the assassin dies or melts into the crowd, providing no proof of who is responsible. Avoiding giving the West a defined, obvious state opponent is a rational strategy peculiar to the Arab way of war. (U.S. Naval Institute)
  • State Dept. Views Arab Democracy - Joel Mowbray
    In a classified report titled "Iraq, the Middle East and Change: No Dominoes," the State Department declares that democracy will not spread in the Middle East following the fall of Saddam, if democracy even takes root in Iraq. Essentially arguing that the Arab and Muslim populations are not fit for self-rule, State's report claims that "electoral democracy, were it to emerge, could well be subject to exploitation by anti-American elements." State's actions to relegitimize Qaddafi will make freedom there an impossible goal. And if State acts in a similar manner in other Middle Eastern nations, State's predictions that democracy won't take root in the region will indeed become a reality. (National Review)
  • Talking Points:

    Israel Will Defend Itself If Attacked - Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz (TIME)

    • What changes do you think a war will bring in the Middle East?
      It's a clear message to Iraq, Iran, and Libya, and other states that don't have peace treaties with us, that nonconventional capabilities and support for terror are things the U.S. won't allow. These states embody an Unholy Trinity: extreme regimes, nonconventional capabilities that they are trying to extend to nuclear weapons, and support for terror. There is a dimension you can't avoid on the Palestinian front, too. Arafat is a terrorist. The Palestinians must choose a different leadership that won't make compromises with terror.
    • If there is an Iraqi Scud attack on Israel, will you retaliate or refrain, as Israel did in the 1991 Gulf War?
      The reality of 1991 won't repeat itself. The chances that we'll be attacked are low. But if we're attacked, Israel is obliged to defend itself and its civilians. This time it must be clear to everyone who might endanger us, especially the Iraqis, that Israel reserves the right to retaliate.
    • What if the attack is with nonconventional weapons?
      We are a sovereign state, but we are also a responsible state. We won't retaliate automatically. It will be only after an assessment. The ties we have with the Americans are so strong that we won't carry out automatic actions.
    • How long do you think a war will last?
      The surprising thing in this war is going to be the power of the American action in the first stages of the battle. I assess that the war's going to take weeks, but the overall stay for the Americans is going to be quite long. Maybe it's going to be a year or two, or even more, to be sure that in Iraq there's no chaos.


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