Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

April 8, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Palestinians Joining al-Sadr's Army in Iraq - Matthew Gutman (Jerusalem Post)
    Palestinian fedayeen fighters have joined the ranks of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's rebel Mahdi Army militia in recent days, militia leaders said Wednesday.
    Some 25 Palestinian fighters volunteered as suicide bombers against American troops, Sa'id Amr al-Husseini, one of Sadr's leading lieutenants, said.
    Sunni leaders are increasingly willing to share in the "glory of jihad with the Shi'ites," said Abd Satar Jabani, imam of Baghdad's largest Wahhabi mosque, on Tuesday.


Palestinians Support Attacks on Coalition Forces in Iraq - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Hundreds of Palestinians marched in the streets of Ramallah and in Gaza on Wednesday to condemn the U.S. and express their support for the attacks against coalition forces in Iraq.
    The protesters noted that the Iraqis and the Palestinians were fighting the same war against the powers of evil.
    Representatives of Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad all participated in the anti-American demonstrations.
    See also Palestinians Demonstrate Against U.S. (AFP)


Islamic Militants Threaten Belgian Diamond Traders (Reuters)
    Belgium's diamond industry, which involves a large number of Jewish businessmen, asked for extra security on Wednesday after a leader of the Arab European League (AEL) said it could be attacked by Islamic militants.
    "The AEL calls upon the Antwerp Jewish community to cancel its support for Jewish policy as fast as possible and distance itself from the State of Israel. If not, attacks in Antwerp are nearly unavoidable," Ahmed Azzuz, one of the group's leaders, told the Belgian weekly Knack.


The War on Terror Money - David R. Francis (Christian Science Monitor)
    Nations, police detectives, bankers, and accountants are striving to expose and trim back the shadowy networks that fund militant groups around the world.
    The international coalition built to attack the sources of terrorist financing has frozen and seized approximately $200 million in terror-related funds, says Juan Zarate, head of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the Treasury Department.
    "Over 170 jurisdictions have issued blocking orders, and we have built a tighter international financial net through which suspect funds may be captured," he told Congress last month.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Confronts Spreading Shiite Uprising
    U.S. forces are confronting a broad-based Shiite uprising that goes well beyond supporters of one militant Islamic cleric who has been the focus of American counterinsurgency efforts, U.S. intelligence officials said Wednesday. Intelligence officials now say a much larger number of Shiites have turned against the American-led occupation of Iraq, even if they are not all actively aiding the uprising. U.S. intelligence also says that the Sunni rebellion goes far beyond former Baathist government members. (New York Times)
        See also Iran, Hizballah Support al-Sadr
    Military sources said Sheik al-Sadr is being aided directly by Iran's Revolutionary Guard and by Hizballah, an Iranian-created terrorist group based in Lebanon. The two organizations are supplying money, spiritual support, and possibly weapons. "Iran does not want a success in Iraq," said a military source. "A democratic Iraq is a death knell to the mullahs." The U.S. military is trying new tactics to try to quell insurgents in Fallujah, favoring targeted raids based on hard intelligence rather than house-to-house sweeps. (Washington Times)
  • U.S.-Syria Clashes Reported on Iraq Border
    U.S. forces in Iraq and Syrian troops engaged in several border skirmishes last month in which one Marine and one Syrian soldier were wounded, reports said. Beirut's daily As-Safir quoted U.S. political and military sources in Washington as saying Tuesday that Syrian troops fired at a U.S. helicopter in one of the border incidents, causing the casualties. The State Department summoned the Syrian ambassador in Washington, Imad Mustafa, to complain about the incidents. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • Syria-EU Trade Deal Stalls Over Chemical Weapons
    Syrian efforts to cut a trade deal with Europe before the possible imposition of U.S. sanctions have stalled over attempts to pressure Syria to renounce its chemical weapons programs. John R. Bolton, the undersecretary of state for arms control, has accused Syria of pursuing "what is now one of the most advanced Arab chemical weapons capabilities." (Washington Post)
        See also Q&A: U.S.-Syrian Relations (Council on Foreign Relations)
  • Syria Arrests Dozens of Kurds
    Syria has arrested dozens of Kurds in raids of homes in the country's northeast, Kurdish officials said Wednesday, following clashes last month between Syrian security forces and Kurdish rioters that killed 25 and wounded more than 100. The arrests included four Kurdish schoolchildren, aged 12 and 13, taken from their school in Qamishli and sent to a prison in Hasakah, 50 miles away. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S. Mulls Extra Aid to Israel in Return for Disengagement - Yoav Yitzhak
    The U.S. administration has promised to give favorable consideration to extra economic aid to Israel if the Israeli government approves the plan for disengagement from the Palestinians. The aid requests reportedly include grants for development of the Negev, and financial aid in combating terror. (Globes)
  • Blair Backs Sharon's Disengagement Plan - Herb Keinon
    British Prime Minister Tony Blair phoned Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Wednesday to say he supports Sharon's disengagement plan and intends to work to gain international support for it - according to a statement issued by Sharon's office. A British diplomatic official said Britain welcomes disengagement "as long as it is consistent with the road map, and contributes to a lasting two-state solution." (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Thwarting Terror Attacks - Amos Harel
    Brigadier General Eli Yaffe, outgoing head of the General Staff's Operations Branch, attributes the IDF's improved ability to thwart terror attacks over the past two years to a combination of IDF freedom to detain suspects in West Bank cities, the blow delivered to the terror infrastructure in the West Bank, and the fence that closes off the Gaza Strip and the other one being built on the West Bank. "The interrogations and arrest operations on the West Bank provide the intelligence that enables us to thwart terror attacks. Each week, between 100 and 150 terror suspects are arrested on the West Bank. At the same time, the...moment we receive information about a suicide bomber, our ability to identify his likely movements, and to isolate him, is much greater today than in the past."
        "The organizations' infrastructures cannot today operate freely - the militants today operate under the threat of being pursued and caught." In recent months, 10 would-be terror attacks have been thwarted for every one or two which succeeded. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Are There Any Iraqis in Iraq? - Thomas L. Friedman
    The Iraqi "insurgents" opposing the U.S. today cannot plausibly claim to be the authentic expressions of Iraqi nationalism - as the Viet Cong claimed to be in the Vietnam War. The forces killing Americans and Iraqi police are primarily Sunni Muslims who want to restore the rule and privileges of their minority community and Baath Party, or foreign and local Islamists who are trying to undermine any prospect of modernism, pluralism, and secularism in Iraq. Virtually every poll taken since the fall of Saddam indicates that neither of these groups represents the vast majority of Iraqis, who want to elect their own government, free of intimidation. We cannot want a decent Iraq more than the Iraqi silent majority. (New York Times)
  • So We Don't Give Up Jerusalem - Nadav Shragai
    When the Yemenites arrived in Jerusalem 122 years ago and sought to settle inside its walls, the veteran residents doubted they were really Jews. So they settled in caves on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, near Silwan. In 1885, the first three houses were dedicated. Six years later there were 65 houses. Over the years, more land was bought and the neighborhood grew. Simha Hazi, 75, whose parents were born in the Yemenite Village in Silwan, remembers the neighborhood and its alleyways, and the house built by her grandfather.
        Over the years, relations and bonds have formed between Jew and Arab in Silwan and in the nearby Muslim Quarter. Not much is heard about it, mostly because too detailed a public report of it could harm the Arab side. The fact that the new Jewish settlement areas were bought at full price, and not expropriated (as the government does) also contributed to the calm. Only the terror gang from Tunis and the delusional supporters of Oslo have tried undermining that reality. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Saudi Fifth Column On Our Nation's Campuses - Lee Kaplan
    From Riyadh to Ramallah to the Ivy League, the Saudi Wahhabi lobby and money machine is funding the goals of radical Islam and undermining America's efforts to prosecute the War on Terror. The Saudis have steadily infiltrated American educational institutions, using vast infusions of money to turn the American educational system against U.S. support for Israel and in favor of the Saudi vision of a global Muslim state in which not only Jews, but Christians and all infidels, will have subordinate status to the followers of the "true faith."
        The Senate Judiciary Committee recently heard testimony that Saudis control most of the Muslim organizations in the U.S., and that 80% of the mortgages on mosques in the U.S. are paid for by the Wahhabist Saudis. King Fahd donated $20 million to set up a Middle East Studies Center at the University of Arkansas; $5 million was donated to UC Berkeley's Center for Middle East Studies from two Saudi sheiks linked to funding al-Qaeda; $2.5 million to Harvard; $8.1 million to Georgetown; $11 million to Cornell; $1.5 million to Texas A&M; $5 million to MIT; $1 million to Princeton; Rutgers received $5 million to endow a chair as did Columbia. (FrontPageMagazine.com)
  • Observations:

    Like It or Not, Israel's War With Hamas Is America's, Too - Jonathan Rauch (National Journal/Atlantic)

    • America's terror war and Israel's are not separable, however much we might wish they were. Last week, while Israeli Prime Minister Sharon was being fricasseed for hitting Yassin, the September 11 commission was grilling Clinton's former secretaries of State and Defense for missing bin Laden. Whatever the tactical differences between the two cases, morally they are indistinguishable.
    • Like al-Qaeda, Hamas is a radical Islamist organization that swears it will not rest until it has brought Muslim territory under Islamic rule. For al-Qaeda, the territory at issue is the whole of the Arab world, plus the Spanish peninsula and other parts of Europe, plus ideally North America; for Hamas, the relevant territory is all of Palestine, meaning all of today's Israel plus the territories. The theaters are different, but the battles - America's against al-Qaeda, Israel's against Hamas - are of a piece.
    • What America is doing against al-Qaeda and what Israel is doing against Hamas are the same kind of thing, and that thing is not "extrajudicial killing" or "terrorism," but war. Wars are won by many means (many of them nonmilitary), but killing the other guy before he kills you is one of them. Is killing a Yassin or a bin Laden "extrajudicial"? Yes, but so is the war against militant Islamism. And our side didn't start it.
    • Hamas and al-Qaeda are organizationally distinct but ideologically joined at the hip. Both are anti-Semitic, anti-Western, and dedicated to extinguishing secular politics in what they regard as Islamic lands. Although Hamas has concentrated on Israeli interests while al-Qaeda concentrated on American ones, even that gap is narrowing.


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