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

June 18, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

Saudi Mischief in Fallujah, Iraq - Stephen Schwartz (Weekly Standard/ FrontPageMagazine)
    Most Western media have reported the continuing attacks on U.S. troops in Fallujah, west of Baghdad.
    In a piece dated June 1, the Saudi website alsaha.com, which propounds the extremist views of the kingdom's official Wahhabi sect of Islam, proudly reported the combat deaths in Fallujah of two Saudi subjects.
    Meanwhile, on the ground in Iraq, Newsweek of June 16 quotes a U.S. intelligence officer in Baghdad as saying that, increasingly, Iraqi sources are identifying the armed men who are organizing to fight the coalition forces as Wahhabis.
    Said the U.S. intelligence officer, "Now, all of a sudden, these Wahhabi guys have been appearing. We're hearing that word a lot more: Wahhabi."
    The end of the war has provided the Wahhabis a new pretext for infiltration - humanitarian relief. The International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), investigated by U.S. and other governments for involvement in the funding of terrorism across the globe, is lauded in the Saudi daily Al-Watan for its "relief work" in Sunni districts of Iraq.
    According to Iraqi sources inside the country, Wahhabi imams in the Fallujah mosques, as well as dozens of agitators from Saudi Arabia, have begun aggressive preaching of suicide bombings against coalition forces as part of a campaign of guerrilla warfare.
    There is a scheme to defeat the American intervention, and it originates in Saudi Arabia.


Iran Aids Libyan Missile Program - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
    U.S. and other intelligence services have discovered that Libya is paying large sums of money to Iran for expert aid to help develop a mid-range missile, and Tehran has sent a team of missile experts to Libya to advance the program.


Australia Shuts Down Hamas Charity - John Kerin (Herald Sun-Australia)
    A charity backing an armed offshoot of the militant Palestinian group Hamas will have its assets frozen in Australia.
    The Al-Aqsa Foundation has been listed by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer under UN-backed Australian legislation that freezes funds of organizations with suspected terrorist links.


Israel Programs Report Upswing - Rachel Pomerance (JTA)
    Israel programs are reporting a marked rise in attendance for student trips to Israel this summer and in yearlong academic programs starting at summer’s end.
    Some yearlong programs are now approaching or even surpassing their pre-intifada levels.
    Overall, trips for this summer and coming year are up by 80%, according to Michael Landsberg, executive director of the North American aliyah department of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
    “When abnormality becomes normality,” he said, people adapt.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Facing Well-Planned Attacks in Iraq
    A pattern of skillfully executed assaults on U.S. troops has led U.S. authorities to believe they are facing more than chaotic violence and street crime. Baath Party members, Republican Guard soldiers, and paramilitary fighters have coalesced into small groups bent on undermining U.S. efforts at reconstruction, Bush administration officials say. With hundreds of infantrymen supported by helicopter gunships and armored vehicles, U.S. forces in the past two weeks have swept through neighborhoods and villages north of Baghdad dominated by Sunni Muslims, searching for weapons caches and rounding up thousands of suspects. While most resistance fighters are thought to be Iraqis, some are from outside Iraq - "sort of guest-worker jihadists who came in during the war and are not going back to where they came from until they are either killed or captured," said Pentagon official Joseph Collins. (Washington Post)
        See also Saddam Loyalists Ally with Islamists
    A shadowy group of Saddam Hussein loyalists calling itself al Awda, meaning "the Return," is forming an alliance with Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda for a full-scale uprising against the U.S.-led occupation in mid-July. The information comes from leaflets circulating in Baghdad, as well as a series of extended interviews with a former official in Saddam's security services. Among al Awda's membership were a considerable number of former Iraqi commandos and well-trained soldiers, who now had no jobs or prospects of employment. The two main Sunni Muslim Islamist groups are Jaish Mohammed, or "Mohammed's Army," in the north, which began operating in Jordan even before the war, and Islamic Jihad in the west. Each has similar commitment to the hard-line Wahhabi philosophy, originating in Saudi Arabia, that places them within the al Qaeda sphere. One band from Jaish Mohammed was eliminated by U.S. troops last week at an encampment on the Euphrates River. In a recent sermon in a Fallujah mosque that was packed with adherents and broadcast by loudspeakers to many more outside, a preacher demanded, "Fight the Americans. Don't deal with them. Don't shake hands with them. They are dirty." (Washington Times)
  • French Arrest 150 From Iranian Opposition Group
    French authorities Tuesday arrested more than 150 members of a long-established armed Iranian opposition group, accused them of organizing terrorist acts, and seized $1.3 million in $100 bills. The move against the Mujahedeen Khalq, or People's Mujahedeen, effectively shut down its operations in France, while the timing of the action seemed to send conciliatory signals to Iran. The French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, said the broad crackdown was necessary because the group wanted to use France as an international base of operations to supplement their activities in Iraq. The Iranian government praised the French action. (New York Times)
        See also Iranian Woman Sets Herself Ablaze in Paris Protest
    An Iranian woman set herself ablaze in Paris on Wednesday during a protest against a mass round-up of left-wing Iranian exiles in France. (Reuters/MSNBC)
  • Italy Steps Out of Line on Palestinians
    Silvio Berlusconi is on a collision course with his European Union counterparts just two weeks before Italy takes over the EU's rotating presidency. The issue that has incensed senior diplomats is the Italian prime minister's recent trip to the Middle East, where he in effect challenged the EU's foreign policy stance on Yasser Arafat by refusing to visit him. (Financial Times-UK)
        See also Berlusconi Rebuffs France Over Israel Trip
    Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told France on Tuesday it should ''shut up'' about his Middle East policy. (Reuters/MSNBC)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Attack Car Near Kfar Saba, Murder Israeli Child
    Shots fired at a car exiting the Trans-Israel Highway toll road near Kibbutz Eyal killed a 7-year-old Israeli girl, Noam Leibowitz, and wounded an 11-year-old and an adult Tuesday as they drove home from a bar mitzvah celebration in Jerusalem. The attack occurred inside the 1967 "green line" near the Israeli town of Kfar Saba, which lies on the other side of the road from the West Bank town of Kalkilya, north of Tel Aviv. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF: Terrorists Found Hole in Defense Wall - Felix Frisch and Eli Waked
    An initial IDF investigation of the attack reveals that the two Palestinians planned it well in advance and went under the wall separating Kalkilya from the highway through a water culvert, cutting through metal bars that blocked the opening. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Palestinian Rocket Hits Negev Moshav
    A Kassam rocket was fired from Gaza Wednesday at Moshav Nativ Ha'asara in the Negev. The rocket apparently exploded on the roof of a building and then fell into the living room below. The structure was severely damaged, but the residents of the house escaped without injury. Nativ Ha'asara was set up by Israelis who were evacuated from Sinai following its return to Egypt in 1982. (Ha'aretz)
  • Dahlan: PA Not Ready for Security Control in Gaza
    The Palestinians on Tuesday stated their refusal to commit to a timetable for accepting security responsibility in the northern Gaza Strip because of the delay in reaching a cease-fire agreement between the PA and the terrorist organizations. (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S.-Israel Understandings on Possible Cease-fire
    Government sources in Jerusalem said Tuesday that Prime Minister Sharon's bureau chief, Dov Weisglass, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice agreed during their recent meetings in Washington that should a terror attack occur while a cease-fire is in force, Israel will not retaliate harshly if it is convinced that the Palestinians are making a genuine effort to prevent terror. In addition, Israel will refrain from targeted killings of wanted Palestinians, except in the case of a "ticking bomb." The Americans said they will support any Israeli action meant to foil an imminent attack. Israel made it clear that it reserves the right to defend itself, even in territories where security responsibility is transferred to the Palestinians, should they prove incapable of eradicating terrorism. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Needs Cease-fire Approval from Damascus HQ - Gideon Alon
    The Gaza branch of Hamas needs approval from the Damascus political bureau for a cease-fire, Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday. Ze'evi said more international pressure must be applied to force Damascus to close the offices of the rejectionist front organizations located in the Syrian capital. In addition, more pressure needs to be applied on Saudi Arabia and Iran to halt the transfer of funds to Hamas.
        Ze'evi also said that the student demonstrations in Iran are not destabilizing the Tehran regime, since the protesters have not yet managed to recruit the overall Iranian public. (Ha'aretz)
  • Attorney General Opposes Releasing Barghouti - Baruch Kra
    Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein sent a letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Tuesday expressing his firm opposition to the possibility of releasing Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, currently on trial for murder and conspiracy, as part of any agreement with the Palestinians. "He is an architect of terror from the highest level," Rubinstein wrote, "and his trial, which is in an advanced stage, should continue until its completion." (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Sarah and the Saudis - Editorial
    Sarah Saga, a 23-year-old American mother, is now holed up with her two children in the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah in a desperate bid for freedom. Back in September Prince Bandar, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S., claimed it is "absolutely not true" that any American women were in his country against their will. Ms. Saga's flight to the consulate suggests otherwise. For under Saudi law no woman - even an American - is free to leave that country if her father or husband forbids it. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Riding Low - Ehud Ya'ari
    If anything, PA Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas emerged from the Aqaba event even weaker than he came in. Hamas and the other Palestinian terror organizations have been heaping curses on his pronouncements about the end of the armed resistance. Especially significant is the sudden rise of firm resistance to Abu Mazen from within his own, and Arafat's, Fatah movement. (Jerusalem Report)
  • Iran's Mullahs in a Corner - Eli J. Lake
    In Tehran, demonstrations against the government have raged for more than seven straight days - and spread to other cities - forcing the regime to bring in outside militias to attempt to put down popular unrest because the local police have refused to act. The Islamic revolution of 1979 has turned into a corrupt and autocratic regime despised by its subjects. In Tehran, young people openly hold hands, drink alcohol, and listen to rock music. The police in the big cities have stopped enforcing Islamic moral codes in any meaningful sense. Some women in the recent protests have taken to burning their veils. The country's oil workers have stopped working because they have not been paid in some cases for two months. Books on Persian pre-Islamic culture are among the most popular in Iran's bookstores. (UPI)
        See also Iran: Ripe for Revolution? - Editorial
    Will the ruling Islamic clerics soon be ousted by an Iranian people-power revolution? Not likely. Rebellion in Iran may be years away, yet the U.S. needs action soon. Iran might have a nuclear device within a few years. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Observations:  

    How Europe Can Stop the Hate - Rudolph W. Giuliani (New York Times)

    • Anti-Semitism is the Western world's oldest and most persistent species of hatred. At 13 million, the Jews comprise about 0.2 percent of the world's population - but the Holocaust made clear how virulent hatred of them has been.
    • President Bush asked me to head the U.S. delegation to a conference on combating anti-Semitism, held by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which begins this week in Vienna. The meeting is a direct response to the worldwide surge in anti-Semitic violence.
    • When people attack Jews, vandalize their graves, characterize them in inhumane ways, and make salacious statements in parliaments or the press, they are attacking the defining values of our societies and our international institutions.
    • I will recommend that all 55 members of the O.S.C.E. adopt three important measures against hate crime.
      1. Agree to track hate crimes and recognize them as distinct from other acts of murder, assault, or vandalism.
      2. There must be analysis of and reaction to crime data on a regular basis.
      3. The Europeans should pass hate crimes legislation to stiffen penalties for offenses in recognition of the special threat they represent to a society's stability. Extra penalties are used throughout civilized legal systems - in Europe as well as America - as a way to distinguish acts that are particularly heinous. One of the functions of the law is to teach, to draw lines between what's permissible and what's forbidden. Recognizing the special threat that hate crimes pose to a democracy sends a powerful message that these acts will not be tolerated.
    • These specific measures will be effective, of course, only if the O.S.C.E. countries make broader efforts to address the roots of anti-Semitism. Making sure their citizens have an honest understanding of the Holocaust is vital.
    • Finally, Europe must address the climate that has allowed anti-Semitism to return with such force. Hate flourishes when excuses for the conduct are accepted, or justified by vague connections to international politics.


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