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 24, 2003

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info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

British MP in Saddam's Pay, Say Secret Iraqi Documents - David Blair (Telegraph-UK)
    Labour MP George Galloway, a leading critic of Anglo-American policy toward Iraq, received at least £375,000 a year from Saddam Hussein's regime, according to Iraqi intelligence documents found in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Baghdad.
    According to a letter from the head of the Iraqi intelligence service, Galloway, a man "promoting the right path," received between 10 and 15 cents per barrel on three million barrels of Iraqi oil exported every six months.


Iraq Combat Reveals Flaw in Patriot System - Peter Cheney (Toronto Globe and Mail)
    During the Iraq war, the Patriot antimissile system was involved in three friendly-fire accidents when it shot down a U.S. Navy F/A-18, a U.S. Air Force F-16, and a British Tornado fighter.
    Four air crew were killed in the incidents.
    Many believe the blame may lie with "identification friend-or-foe" equipment used by the pilots.
    See also Vaunted Patriot Missile Has a "Friendly Fire" Failing (Los Angeles Times)


Mass Grave Tells of Saddam's Last Purge - Catherine Philp (London Times)
    American military officials are investigating a mass grave believed to contain the victims of a political purge carried out in the last hours of Saddam Hussein's regime.
    "We believe what we have here is a war crimes site," said Major Crawford, the National Guard commander guarding the site.
    Relatives identified some of the bodies as men arrested in raids on Sufi mosques in Baghdad since the beginning of the war after the regime apparently uncovered plans for an uprising by members of the persecuted minority.


For Reference:

Transforming the State Department, April 22, 2003 - Newt Gingrich (American Enterprise Institute)


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues


News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Iran Sends Agents into Southern Iraq
    Iranian-trained agents have crossed into southern Iraq and are working to promote friendly Shiite clerics and advance Iranian interests, said U.S. officials. According to intelligence reports, the agents include members of the Badr Brigade, the militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shiite group with headquarters in Tehran. (New York Times)
  • Shiite Muslims in Saudi Arabia Emboldened by Hussein's Fall
    In an unprecedented move that suggested new assertiveness by Saudi Arabia's Shiite Muslim minority, 13 prominent Shiite clerics from the kingdom's Eastern Province issued a joint public statement Friday welcoming the demise of an Iraqi government that caused Shiites there to suffer for three decades. Saudi watchers said the fall of Saddam had emboldened Shiites in neighboring Saudi Arabia. (Washington Post)
  • Oil Starts to Flow in Southern Iraq
    Crude from Iraq's southern oil fields began flowing through pipelines on Wednesday for the first time since the start of the war five weeks ago, U.S. officials said. Initially, the fuel will be produced only for domestic production. Within six to 15 weeks, Iraq's southern Rumaila oil field could be producing up to 1.1 million barrels a day, said Brig. Gen. Robert Crear. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Suicide Bomber Kills Security Guard, Wounds 14 in Kfar Sava - Roni Singer and Amos Harel
    A security guard was killed and 14 people injured when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up Thursday morning at the train station in Kfar Sava, near Tel Aviv. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, took responsibility for the bombing. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians End Cabinet Standoff - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Yasser Arafat on Wednesday agreed to the appointment of Muhammed Dahlan as minister of state for security affairs, paving the way for the formation of a new Palestinian government. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinian "Street" Supports Arafat in Showdown with Abbas - Khaled Abu Toameh
    A public opinion poll published last week showed that more than 35% of Palestinians support Arafat, while the same poll gave Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) an embarrassing 3%. A Palestinian legislator from Ramallah said regardless of how the crisis ends, Abu Mazen will emerge as a loser: "If he gets what he wants, he will be seen as someone who went against the tide and came to power as a result of foreign intervention." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Sharon: Israel Waiting for Results - Herb Keinon
    Jerusalem took a wait-and-see approach to Wednesday's Palestinian cabinet agreement. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Wednesday, "Israel and its citizens want peace...but it is important that the person who stands on the other side fights terror and also wants peace." One senior Israeli diplomatic official said Jerusalem is waiting to see whether Mahmoud Abbas and his government "can pass the test of performance, not declarations." He said this will depend on the extent to which Arafat is distanced from security and financial policy inside the PA. "To the extent that this happens, and the new government is independent," he said, "we will reciprocate and respond positively." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Outlines Steps to Boost Abu Mazen - Aluf Benn
    At recent meetings in Washington, the prime minister's bureau chief, Dov Weisglass, presented the U.S. government with a list of measures that Israel intends to implement following the swearing-in of Abu Mazen, in order to alleviate the plight of the Palestinian population and improve the functioning of the Palestinian Authority, including the gradual withdrawal of the IDF from PA territory, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the expedited transfer of funds belonging to the PA. Israel has already implemented a number of steps to improve the conditions of the Palestinians, including the renewal of the flow of funds to the PA, a rise in the number of work permits for Palestinian workers in Israel, the lifting of many travel restrictions, and the easing of restrictions on the transfer of goods. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Appointment of Abu Mazen: Symbols and Substance - Asher Susser
    So long as Arafat is not incapacitated, it will be very difficult to sideline him. Abu Mazen is, therefore, unlikely to emerge immediately as a serious rival to the historical Palestinian leader. His appointment is not the end of Arafat by any means, but it may well be the beginning of the end. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies/Tel Aviv University)
  • The Men Who Are Selling Palestine - Ali Abunimah
    Abbas and Dahlan are steeped in the corruption that plagued the Palestinian Authority from its inception. Abbas built a $1.5 million villa amid the squalor of Gaza. Dahlan, too, built himself a villa, one so lavish that it began to sink into Gaza's sandy soil, and had to be propped up with special supports. A 1997 investigative report by Ha'aretz journalists Ronen Bergman and David Ratner ("The Man Who Swallowed Gaza," April 4, 1997) detailed the sources of some of this wealth. Dahlan, according to this report and numerous others, profited from a monopoly on the import of gasoline into Gaza. (Beirut Daily Star)
        See also Dahlan: Setting an Ex-Terrorist to Stop Terrorists - Erik Schechter (Jerusalem Post)
  • De-Baathification, Root and Branch - Jim Hoagland
    Free Iraqi Forces in Baghdad have picked up signs of new underground armed Baathist groupings calling themselves "Those Who Return." As long as there is doubt about whether he lives, Hussein serves as inspiration for such gangs. (Washington Post)
  • Islamist Power Play - Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
    President Bush recently nominated a distinguished scholar, Daniel Pipes, to serve on the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace. Mr. Pipes has devoted much of his career to highlighting the danger posed to the U.S. and to non-Islamist Muslims by the radicals who seek to hijack and dominate the Islamic faith. The effort by pro-Islamist groups to smear Daniel Pipes and to derail his nomination can no longer escape critical public examination. The Pipes appointment sends a powerful message to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, that this administration will resist those who seek to pervert and dominate the Islamic faith toward radical, intolerant, and anti-American ends. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    The New Arafat-Abu Mazen Cabinet: A Roadblock to Middle East Peace
    - Dore Gold (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • President Bush declared on June 24, 2002, that a "new and different Palestinian leadership" was required that would "engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists," and demanded that the Palestinians "dismantle their [terrorist] infrastructure" before the U.S. would back the establishment of a Palestinian state.
    • Yet despite the formation of a new cabinet, Yasser Arafat remains the head of the Palestinian Authority, with powers over finances, security, and future negotiations.
    • Pro-Arafat forces dominate the new cabinet. Some 12-14 ministers are expected to be old Arafat appointees, while only 4-6 ministers will have their loyalty to Abu Mazen.
    • Despite Abu Mazen's control of the Preventive Security Organization, Arafat still commands other, larger security organizations.
    • Arafat refused to accept Abu Mazen's demand that the armed factions of Fatah, like the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, be dismantled.
    • A diplomatic breakthrough in peace-making remains unlikely, especially with Yasser Arafat still in power and pulling the strings of government.


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