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 27, 2003

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info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

Tactics Show Iraqis Learned Lessons of War - Vernon Loeb (Washington Post)
    Iraqi attacks badly damaged about 30 Apache Longbow helicopter gunships and disabled two Abrams tanks and a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
    The Iraqis used a French-made Coronet antitank missile to knock out the tanks, a senior defense official said.
    The tanks had been shot in their soft spot - a rear grille covering the engine. The tanks' four-man crews escaped in both cases, a testament to the Abrams's design.
    In attacking a formation of about 40 Apache Longbows on Monday, the Iraqis staged a classic helicopter ambush first perfected by the North Vietnamese in the 1960s.
    Iraqi troops dispersed throughout a palm-lined residential area and opened fire with antiaircraft guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and a wall of fire from rifles and other small arms as the aircraft flew low overhead.


How Iraqis Prevent Surrender of Forces (FOX News)
    Intelligence reports indicated Iraqi forces in and around Basra were dressing up as U.S. soldiers, then accepting the surrender of other Iraqi soldiers and executing them, senior defense officials said.


Iraqi Soldiers Say It Was Fight or Die - Dexter Filkins (New York Times)
    The Iraqi private with a bullet wound in the back of his head suggested something unusually grim.
    One Iraqi prisoner after another has told captors that many Iraqi soldiers were fighting at gunpoint, threatened with death by tough Saddam loyalists.
    The wounded Iraqi, whose life was ebbing away outside an American field hospital, had been shot with a small-caliber bullet, most likely from a pistol, fired at close range.


Iraqi Deserters Describe Surveillance - Daniel Williams (Washington Post)
    It is difficult to escape the eye of military commissars assigned to Iraqi units to watch for signs of dissent, deserters say.
    Checkpoints are placed as much to discourage desertion as enemy infiltration, manned by the army, militias and armed members of the ruling Baath Party. "It's a tradition to keep the Baathists in the rear, to keep an eye on us," one said.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Paratroops Drop into Northern Iraq
    In one of the largest paratroop drops since World War II, more than 1,000 U.S. soldiers landed in Kurdish-held northern Iraq Wednesday to secure an airfield for U.S. cargo planes to deliver tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles for the long-delayed northern front. (New York Times)
  • Baghdad Blasts Kill 17 Civilians
    Two large explosions in a working-class district of Baghdad Wednesday reportedly killed 17 civilians and wounded 45. Iraqi officials said an American plane or missile was responsible for the blasts, while Pentagon officials said they had not directed any bombs or missiles at the neighborhood. Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said in Qatar that nobody could be sure the explosions had not been set off by Iraqis assigned by Saddam Hussein to plant a bomb in a public place and blame the U.S. for it. (New York Times)
  • Saudis Call for Cease-Fire
    Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Prince Saud Faisal issued his third call this week for a cease-fire in the war in Iraq. The royal family is finding it increasingly difficult to balance its quiet assistance in the U.S. military campaign and the growing anger of its citizens over the war in Iraq. (Washington Post)
  • War Strains U.S.-Jordan Relations
    Analysts say royal cooperation with America has never been more unpopular, or politically dangerous. According to virtually all Jordanians interviewed besides government officials, the young king lacks his father's fine political touch, relying instead on royal decrees and his security forces to suppress, rather than defuse, public anger. (Newsday)
        See also Jordan's Press Hails Iraqi Resistance
    Jordanian newspapers paid tribute on Tuesday to Iraq's "heroic" resistance against the U.S. and British war machine and predicted that the invading forces will fail to bring them to their knees. (AFP/Hindustan Times)
        U.S. to Grant $1.1 Billion to Jordan
    President Bush asked Congress on Tuesday to approve a grant of $1.1 billion in additional aid to Jordan. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • U.S. Special Aid to Israel Conditional on Economic Plan - Ran Dagoni
    The $1 billion U.S. military grant to Israel, as well as the $9 billion in loan guarantees, is conditional on Israel's implementing the new economic plan, U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel and the U.S. have been in frequent talks over the aid package in recent days. Most U.S. aid recipients are told to implement either political or economic reforms. (Globes)
        Bush's emergency spending request for the war on Iraq rewards 19 countries including Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Turkey, and central and eastern European nations with military and other aid. (ABC News-Australia)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Contemptible Comparison - Editorial
    The comparison drawn on Tuesday by Britain's foreign secretary, Jack Straw, between Iraq and Israel with respect to the violation of UN resolutions was contemptible. From the purely legal standpoint, there is no basis for Straw's charge. Israel, unlike Iraq, is not in violation of any Security Council decision. For all the harsh criticism that can be directed at Israel and its policies, no decent person would ever consider mentioning it in the same breath with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. In doing so, the British minister also demonstrated political stupidity, because his words will merely discomfit those in Israel who seek peace, and strengthen those who reject compromise because "the whole world is against us." (Ha'aretz)
        See also Baseless Comparisons: UN Security Council Resolutions on Iraq and Israel - Dore Gold (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • How Can the BBC be Impartial between Tyranny and Democracy? - Barbara Amiel
    Rather than give listeners in the Arab world information that they could not hear through the government-controlled stations of the region, the BBC Arabic Service simply gives them the same stew with the imprimatur of the free world, and at taxpayers' expense. The BBC Arabic Service has not produced any serious consideration of Saddam's family firm and the political system underpinning it; there has been virtually no discussion of how he keeps control or the role his sons play in the country.
        To be impartial between the Ba'athist dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, the Wahhabi theocracy of Saudi Arabia, and the Islamist terror of the late, unlamented Taliban, on one hand, and Israel, the single functioning democracy of the Middle East, and the West, on the other, is in the same ballpark as being impartial between any of the totalitarian systems of the 20th century and liberal democracy. (Telegraph-UK)
  • "I was a Fool to be a Human Shield for Saddam" - Daniel Pepper
    I am a 23-year-old Jewish-American photographer living in north London. In Baghdad, as a taxi driver was taking me back to my hotel late at night, I explained, as we shields always did, "Bush bad, war bad, Iraq good." The driver looked at me with an expression of incredulity and told me how all of Iraq's oil money went into Saddam's pocket, and that if you opposed him politically he would kill your whole family. A few journalists told me this sort of thing often happened - spontaneous, emotional, and secretive outbursts imploring visitors to free them from Saddam's tyrannical Iraq. Most ordinary Iraqis thought Saddam had paid us to come to protest in Iraq. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Our Coalition - Condoleezza Rice
    Nearly 50 nations with a combined population of 1.23 billion are committed to ridding Saddam Hussein's regime of all its deadly, destructive, and illegal weapons. In addition to operations by American, British, and Australian forces, there are Polish special forces, a Danish submarine, and Czech and Slovak special chemical and biological weapon response forces in the theater. Many more countries are providing supplies, logistical and intelligence support, basing and over-flight rights, and humanitarian and reconstruction aid. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Observations:

    Sudden Revival for the Road Map - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)

    The road map for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stands at the center of President Bush's summit meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at Camp David. According to Jerusalem sources, the Israeli government's updated response to the road map contains "substantial" reservations which Israel will insist on:

    • A change of the Palestinian leadership.
    • The Palestinian state will only be set up, first in temporary borders and later with a permanent status agreement, after bilateral negotiations and an agreement with Israel.
    • Rejection of the Saudi initiative, calling for Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders, as one of the cornerstones of the agreement.
    • Detailing of security demands of the Palestinians, including arrest, interrogation and trial of terror suspects, and clarification that a Palestinian state can only be founded after complete dissolvement of terrorist infrastructure.
    • Freedom of operation for the Israel Defense Forces against terrorism in Palestinian Authority territory.
    • Israel will agree to freeze settlement activity only after quiet has been achieved and will not agree to dismantle settlements during the interim period.
    • Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.


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