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

August 28, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

U.S. Captures Saudis Among Iraq Infiltrators - Shaun Waterman (UPI/Washington Times)
    "We have Saudi Arabian jihadists in detention in Iraq and in Baghdad," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told Abu Dhabi TV.
    "We have Yemenis and Sudanese [and] Syrians," he added.
    One U.S. intelligence official, referring to the number of foreign fighters in Iraq, said, "It's more than dozens. It's probably in the hundreds."


Iraq's Leaky Border with Iran - James Hider (Christian Science Monitor)
    Iraqi police say that Arab fighters from Afghanistan and members of al-Qaeda may be exploiting clandestine routes through the Iraq-Iran frontier, where thousands of Iranian Shiite pilgrims dodge scant border controls with support from members of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and Islamic Dawa, two leading Shiite parties in Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council.
    "Anyone can come in and we can't control this. We can't tell who's a pilgrim and who's a terrorist," says Awat Dawoud, head of customs at the Iraqi border town of Al Munthriya.


Saddam's al Qaeda Connection - Stephen F. Hayes (Weekly Standard)
    The CIA has confirmed, in interviews with detainees and informants it finds highly credible, that al-Qaeda's Number 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, met with Iraqi intelligence in Baghdad in 1992 and 1998.
    According to an administration official familiar with briefings the CIA has given President Bush, the agency has "irrefutable evidence" that the Iraqi regime paid Zawahiri $300,000 in 1998, around the time his Islamic Jihad was merging with al-Qaeda.


Philosopher Feigned Madness to Survive Hussein's Iraq - Orly Halpern (Toronto Globe & Mail)
    Khudair Meeri, 38, spent years acting like a madman in order to avoid execution by the former Baathist regime for crimes of subversion.
    Today, he is a renowned philosopher in the Arab world and works with one of the psychiatrists who used to give him electric shock treatment.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Ends Military Operations at Major Saudi Air Base
    The U.S. has ended more than a decade of military operations in Saudi Arabia, shutting down the last remaining Air Force unit at Prince Sultan Air Base amid resentment in the kingdom over the American military presence, defense officials said Wednesday. (Washington Post)
  • Iranian Held in Belgium for Buenos Aires Bomb
    Police in Brussels arrested on Wednesday a second Iranian official, Saied Baghban, facing extradition to Argentina for his alleged role in a 1994 Jewish center bombing that killed 85 people, Inspector Alfredo San Martin of the Interpol office in Buenos Aires said. (Reuters)
        See also Arrest of Iran "Terror Envoy" in Britain Triggers Dispute
    Hade Soleimanpour, 47, a former Iranian diplomat who is wanted over the bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina, was arrested in Britain last Thursday. President Khatami of Iran has demanded his release and an apology from the British government. Khatami also said Iran was cutting economic ties with Argentina and would take "strong action" over the issue. (London Times)
  • Rutgers' Palestinian Conference Moving to Ohio State
    A student conference scheduled for November at Rutgers University in New Jersey, sponsored by the Palestine Solidarity Movement, has been transferred to Ohio State University, said Fatima Ayub, a group spokeswoman. "There was so much political controversy about it," Ayub said. "Our contacts with the [New Jersey] governor's office and state Senate there were not as strong as they should have been." (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Continue Attacks in Gaza - Tsahar Rotem
    Palestinians fired at least 13 mortar shells and two anti-tank missiles at Israeli towns and military outposts in the Gaza Strip late Wednesday and early Thursday, Israel Radio reported. There were no injuries. Troops also neutralized several explosive devices in the area, while Palestinians fired shots at IDF bases along the length of the Strip. (Ha'aretz)
  • Opposition Groups to Ignore Arafat's Cease-Fire Call - Danny Rubinstein
    Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other opposition groups are likely to ignore Arafat's call for a cease-fire, and the PA chairman knows it. In recent days, Hamas spokesmen have declared there's no chance of a resumed cease-fire; they say the only thing which engages them now is the planning and execution of reprisals against Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Britain Freezes Funds of Palestinian Aid Group
    Britain's charity authority has frozen the bank accounts of Interpal - the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund. The U.S. charged the Palestinian aid organization last week with funding the radical Palestinian group Hamas. (AP/Ha'aretz)
  • Arafat: They Must Come to Me - Danny Rubinstein
    All the back-room maneuvering among the Palestinian leadership has greatly weakened Abbas and Dahlan, whose demands for complete control over the security forces has not been accepted. Nearly the entire Palestinian street supports Arafat and has no great love for Abbas and Dahlan, whose appointments were perceived as American and Israeli diktats. (Ha'aretz)
  • Abbas Fighting for Political Survival - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hundreds of Palestinians, mostly Fatah and Hamas activists, demonstrated in Ramallah on Wednesday, calling on PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to resign and expressing support for Arafat. The Palestinian Legislative Council is scheduled to meet in Ramallah next week for a crucial vote of confidence on the Abbas cabinet. "Abbas is now fighting for his political survival," said a Palestinian source. "The countdown to his resignation has started." (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Some See End of Road for Abbas, Peace Plan - Charles A. Radin (Boston Globe)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Terror Stings Its Pal, the UN - Alan Dershowitz
    For more than a quarter of a century, the UN has actively encouraged terrorism by rewarding its primary practitioners, legitimating it as a tactic, condemning its victims when they try to defend themselves, and describing the murderers of innocent children as "freedom fighters." By rewarding Arafat and the PLO, the UN made it clear that the best way to ensure that your cause is leapfrogged ahead of others is to adopt terrorism as your primary means of protest. Now that the victims of "national liberation terrorism" are UN employees instead of Jewish babies, maybe the UN will finally come to its senses and understand that by legitimating and rewarding terrorism, they have created a Frankenstein monster that can be turned against any nation, organization, or group. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Spiral of Equivalency - Joel Mowbray
    Intentionally killing civilians from America, Europe, or Asia (or almost anywhere else) makes you a terrorist - but intentionally killing innocent Jews in Israel merely makes you a "militant," at least in the eyes of the "mainstream" media. The USA Todayís editorial page recently informed readers that "both Israeli and Palestinian leaders are captives of fanatical extremists," as if a democratically-elected government seeking to protect its citizens from mass murderers is on a par with a self-appointed dictatorship aiding and abetting those same mass murderers in the intentional slaughter of innocent civilians. (Townhall.com)
  • Send Bandar Home - Stephen Schwartz
    The Saudis and their agents must be booted out of Iraq to prevent further casualties to the Coalition forces. South of the Iraq-Saudi border, the house that Saud built must be evacuated before it collapses on its subjects' heads. And here at home, it is long past time to demand a housecleaning at the Saudi embassy in Washington. Let Bandar go home, and let the Saudi kingdom send us an ambassador we can trust. (National Review)
  • Arafat Still Casts Shadow Over Mideast Talks - Rep. Steve Israel
    In the conference room at PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas's Gaza Strip guest house is a large portrait of Arafat. The symbolism is profound - Arafat overlooking Abbas, overseeing the commitments he makes. It is as if to say, "We know who's really in charge here." The Bush administration's road map to peace can't succeed if it detours around the people in charge of supporting terror - whether they are the religious leaders of Iran, the past leaders of Iraq, or the regimes in Saudi Arabia and Syria. (Newsday)
  • Observations:

    Israel Pushes EU to Declare Hamas a Terrorist Organization (AFP/EU Business)

    • Israel has launched a diplomatic offensive to persuade EU countries to follow the U.S. and classify the political branch of Hamas as a terrorist organization.
    • "We hope to convince the Europeans, particularly countries such as France which are still hesitating to make such a move," Daniel Shek, director of the Israeli foreign ministry's Europe division, said Tuesday.
    • "It is not decently possible to draw a distinction between the military and the political wings as Hamas as a whole claims responsibility for terrorist attacks," said senior Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner.
    • The Israeli push comes ahead of a gathering of EU foreign ministers in Italy early next month which is expected to feature discussions on sanctions against radical Palestinian groups and Hamas, in particular, according to a European diplomat.
    • A majority of EU governments - led by Britain, the Netherlands, and current EU president Italy - are in favor of hardening sanctions against Hamas. But countries such as France have argued in the past that such a move could be counter-productive. All 15 EU member states have to agree to such a classification for it to come into force.


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