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

April 15, 2003

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info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

Eliminating the Operational Infrastructure of Hamas - One Year Since the Passover-Eve Attack - Hanan Shlein and Itai Asher (Maariv)
    Since the suicide attack on the Park Hotel in Netanya one year ago that killed 29 Israelis during their Passover Seder, Israel has waged a determined campaign against the operational infrastructure of Hamas in the northern West Bank - in Tulkarm, Nablus, Kalkilya, and Jenin.
    Of the 63 Hamas operatives that made up its command structure last year, 37 have been captured, 22 were eliminated in military action, and only 4 remain at large.


Foreign Fighters in Iraq Seen as Threat to Allied Forces - Bill Gertz (Washington Times)
    Thousands of foreign fighters and supporters of Saddam Hussein remain in Iraq and pose a danger to U.S. and allied forces, U.S. officials said Monday.
    The allies have discovered that Iraq was training or harboring guerrillas from North Africa and throughout the Middle East.

    See also Saddam's Secret Foreign Legion - Daniel McGrory (London Times)
    Saddam Hussein imported hundreds of well-trained Islamic guerrillas before the war to spearhead his fight against American and British forces.
    The men came from Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.
    The Americans also captured Chechens fighting with Fedayin units close to Baghdad.
    The "foreign legion" stunned British troops in Basra with their fanaticism and skills in using rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machineguns.


Afghanistan Makes Diplomatic Overtures to Israel (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    Afghanistan's foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah has approached Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom to express an interest in normalizing relations between the two countries, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official said Monday.
    Israel has diplomatic ties with three of Afghanistan's Islamic neighbors - Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.


Useful Reference:

State Department Report on Global Terrorism

CIA Report on Weapons of Mass Destruction


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues


News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Rumsfeld Says Syria Conducts Chemical Arms Tests
    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday accused Syria of carrying out tests involving chemical weapons over the past 12 to 15 months and allowing some Iraqis to flee into Syrian territory. (Reuters)
        See also U.S. Threatens to Impose Penalties Against Syrians
    Secretary of State Colin Powell threatened economic and political penalties if Syria continued to offer safe haven to Iraqi leaders or to defy American demands on chemical weapons and terrorism. (New York Times)
  • White House Escalates Diplomatic Pressure on Syria
    White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said on Monday that "Syria needs to cooperate and not harbor Iraqi leaders." He read from a CIA report to Congress last year that Syria had stockpiles of the nerve agent sarin, that it was "trying to develop more toxic and persistent nerve elements," and that it was "highly probable" that Syria was pursuing biological weapons. He also said that "Syria is indeed a rogue nation" and suggested it must rid itself of Hizballah, a terrorist group that is a principal foe of Israel. (Washington Post)
  • Butler Sees Evidence that Syria Hid Iraq's WMD
    Former chief UN weapons inspector Richard Butler says he's seen evidence that Syria helped hide Iraq's stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. "I was shown some intelligence information, from overhead imagery and so on, that the Iraqis had moved some containers of stuff across the border into Syria and we had reason to believe that those were containers of chemical weapons and perhaps some other weapons. I don't believe the Iraqis wanted to give them to Syria, but I think they just wanted to get them out of the territory, out of the range of our inspections. Syria was prepared to be the custodian of them." (Australian Broadcasting)
  • U.S.-Led Gathering to Begin Remaking Iraq
    The U.S. is convening a meeting of 75 Iraqi community leaders and exile figures in Nasiriyah on Tuesday to formally begin the creation of a new Iraqi government. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Three Israelis Killed by Palestinian Gunfire - Arnon Regular
    Lt. Daniel Mandel, 24, was killed and two soldiers in his Nahal unit were injured, one seriously, in an exchange of gunfire with Hamas terrorists in Nablus on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, a Palestinian gunman opened fire at the Karni border crossing at the northern edge of the Gaza Strip, killing two Israelis and injuring three others. (Ha'aretz)
  • Dozens of Senior Iraqis Flee to Syria - Ze'ev Schiff
    Dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of Iraqi officials escaped to Syria, according to fresh assessments by U.S., British, and Israeli intelligence organizations. (Ha'aretz)
  • Weisglass Takes Road Map Doubts to White House: U.S.-Israeli Discord Disclosed - Nathan Guttman
    The prime minister's bureau chief, Dov Weisglass, presented Israel's reservations regarding the U.S. road map for Middle East peace to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in Washington Monday. It was made clear that the Americans do not fully accept Israel's reservations with regard to at least one of the central points - the order of events. President Bush is apparently of the opinion that there should be simultaneous momentum at all levels and that there is no need for step to follow step. However, America is convinced that the Palestinians must prove the seriousness of their actions against the terrorists as a condition for progress. The litmus test will be in the field and in the powers given to the new PA prime minister and interior minister over the security forces. (Ha'aretz)
        Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem are pessimistic that the U.S. will formally accept Israel's reservations to the road map. The administration has made it clear it wants to see implementation of the road map, and that an Israeli insistence on the reservations now would only lead to a diplomatic confrontation with the U.S. By immediate implementation of the road map, the U.S. expects Abbas to begin collecting illegal weapons and arresting Hamas activists. When this begins to happen, the officials said, Washington will expect Jerusalem to start dismantling settlement outposts that were established after March 2001, when Sharon first took office. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abbas Cabinet Enrages Arafat - Khaled Abu Toameh
    PA officials said Arafat seethed with anger when he saw the list of proposed ministers prepared by newly appointed prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). Abbas loyalists nominated for cabinet positions included Muhammad Dahlan and Nabil Amer, while pro-Arafat ministers Saeb Erekat and Yasser Abed Rabbo were demoted. Palestinian analysts said Arafat's objection to some names on the list shows that Abbas is all but irrelevant. "This simply shows that Abbas can't do anything against Arafat's will," said one Palestinian analyst. "At the end of the day, Abbas will have to cave in or quit, because he won't be able to challenge Arafat." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The UN Should Either Shape Up or Step Aside - Mortimer B. Zuckerman
    The first casualty of the coalition's success must be the notion that the United Nations is the basis for a new world order. The UN not only failed but tried to prevent America and Britain from acting against the Iraqi threat. The UN debate over Iraq was not so much about Iraq as it was about constraining American power. We must ensure that chemical and biological weapons do not fall into rogue hands, and these efforts cannot be subject to vetoes from France and Russia. The UN must look to its own restructuring if it is to grow beyond the weakness and irrelevance that have characterized its conduct with regard to Iraq. (U.S. News)
  • Nothing will be the Same Again - Moshe Arens
    The Arab regime most hostile to Israel has been toppled. Saddam Hussein's defeat brings Iraq a giant step closer to peace with Israel. The close-up experience American troops are having with suicide bombers and other terrorist outrages in Iraq can only lead to better American understanding for the measures Israel is taking to protect its citizens against Palestinian terror. All those astounded by the efficiency of the military use of modern technology will probably remember that after the U.S. armed forces, the Israel Defense Forces has been the army most adept at integrating modern technology into its order of battle. (Ha'aretz)
  • Credibility of Arab Satellite Channels Among War’s Casualties - Raid Qusti
    All along, Al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV in their analysis were telling their viewers in the Arab world that the south had not fallen to the American and British forces, even a couple of days before the capital itself fell. Now that Baghdad has fallen, Saudis are feeling betrayed by their Arab satellite channels who had kept them believing that the Iraqi resistance did have a chance to whip the American forces. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
  • Observations:

    Syria Should be Next on America's Hit List - Stephen Pollard (Telegraph-UK)

    • Syria has the most fearsome chemical and biological weapons arsenal of any Arab state - well beyond anything that Saddam ever had. Plants for sarin, VX, and mustard gas were set up near Damascus, Hama, Homs, Aleppo, and Latakia.
    • In 1971, Assad established the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), supposedly a civilian agency to boost Syrian scientific capacity. In reality, the SSRC was the cover for the production of chemical weapons. In 1992, the German government warned German research institutes against dealing with the SSRC since it was involved in the production of chemical and biological weapons.
    • Satellite intelligence shows that Syria's Scud-C missiles, integrated with its chemical warheads, are sited to provide the option of a first strike against Israel's nuclear reactor in Dimona, and take out airports and large cities.
    • In April 2000, General Mustafa Talas, the defense minister, published Biological (Germ) Warfare: A New and Effective Method in Modern Warfare (which was immediately translated into Persian for publication in Teheran).
    • Syria has long manufactured aerial bombs with sarin and has thousands of other chemical aerial bombs carried by Su-22, Su-24, and MiG-23 planes.
    • Syria has 1,000 Scud-C missiles with a range of 300 miles and Scud-D missiles with a 450-mile range. The plan has always been to mount biological warheads on all long-range surface-to-surface missiles.

    The author is a senior fellow at the Centre for the New Europe in Brussels.

    America Stands with Israel, April 15, 2002
    A Day of History and Unity

    One year ago today, the National Israel Solidarity Rally made history in Washington, D.C. Re-live that incredible day. Recapture its spirit. Pass it on to future generations. Own America Stands with Israel - Washington, DC, April 15, 2002, the beautiful commemorative volume celebrating a day of unity and history. Published by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the American Jewish Historical Society.

    • more than 200 vivid color reproductions by noted photographers Ron Agam, Ron Sachs and others.
    • transcripts of memorable speeches.
    • participant reaction.
    • highlights of rally's historical context, national mobilization efforts, and more.
    • organizational, community and synagogue groups, and their members from across the country pictured throughout the book.
    • professional editing and design, printed on high quality paper.
    • acclaimed by top American and Israeli elected leaders.

    Special Discounted Anniversary Price
    Hardcover - $29.95
    Softcover - $19.95

    Order directly from www.ajhs.org. Email info@conferenceofpresidents.org, or call 617-559-8880.


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