Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 5, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

CIA Fears Syria Could Go Nuclear - Sarah Baxter (London Times)
    Investigators tracking the spread of nuclear technology through the clandestine sales network of the Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan believe that Syria might have acquired centrifuges that can purify uranium for use in nuclear bombs.
    Danielle Pletka, an expert on Middle Eastern nuclear proliferation at the American Enterprise Institute, said: "There's very wide suspicion that Syria was part of the A.Q. Khan network."
    Khan visited Syria in the late 1990s and is thought to have met Syrian officials secretly in Iran.
    Recent intelligence intercepts suggest that Syria not only might have acquired centrifuges, but might be operating them.

Qaeda Group Targets Europe for Attacks - Ghaida Ghantous (Reuters)
    The Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which claimed responsibility for the March 11 train bombings in Spain, has vowed to renew attacks on Europe and has urged Muslims to flee once bin Laden's three-month truce ends on July 15, the London-based newspapers Asharq al-Awsat and al-Hayat reported on Friday.
    Bin Laden, in an audiotape on April 15, declared a three-month truce on Europeans if they withdrew troops from Muslim nations.
    The latest statement said attacks would continue until the U.S. freed Muslim prisoners, ended its war on Islam, and until "all Muslim land, including Jerusalem and Kashmir, is cleansed of the stain of Jews, Americans, and Hindus."

Israel Denies Agents Operating in Iraq - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    Prime Minister Sharon's Bureau has denied accusations made by U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, formerly in charge of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, that Israelis were involved in interrogating Iraqi detainees.

U.S. Released Saudi Terror Suspects in Deal - Don Van Natta Jr. and Tim Golden (New York Times)
    American officials agreed to return five terrorism suspects to Saudi Arabia from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, last year as part of a secret deal.
    Under the arrangement, Saudi officials later released five Britons and two others who had been convicted of terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia.
    British diplomats said they believed that the men had been tortured by Saudi security police officers into confessing falsely.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • New Iraq Government Accuses Iran and Syria of Backing Insurgents
    The new Iraqi government will publish damning evidence this week linking foreign powers, including Iran and Syria, to the Muslim extremists and loyalists of the former regime who launched a bloody rebellion after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Senior Iraqi officials indicated that Iran and Syria were the worst offenders. Baghdad believes that up to 10,000 foreign spies and undercover agents have infiltrated the country since last year's war. Powerful elements within Iran have been backing radical Shias in Iraq, including supporters of the militant cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Adnan al-Assadi, the deputy interior minister, said that hundreds of former Ba'athist officials who had fled to Syria were supplying funds and volunteers to the resistance. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also U.S.: Hussein Kin Aid Insurgency
    A network of Saddam Hussein's cousins, operating in part from Syria and Jordan, is actively involved in the smuggling of guns, people, and money into Iraq to support the anti-American insurgency, say American government officials and a prominent Iraqi. The operations involve at least three cousins from the Majid family who now live in Syria and in Europe. A leading figure among them is Fatiq Suleiman al-Majid, a cousin of Hussein's and a former officer in Iraq's Special Security Organization, who is described as "a main money man" and has been living in Syria with the knowledge of the Syrian authorities. (New York Times)
  • Iraqi Prime Minister: Saddam Connected to al-Qaeda - Tom Brokaw
    The new Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said in an interview last week: "Saddam was a potential friend and partner and natural ally of terrorism....I believe very strongly that Saddam had relations with al-Qaeda. And these relations started in Sudan. We know Saddam had relationships with a lot of terrorists and international terrorism." (NBC News)
  • U.S. Military Aid to Egypt Under Fire
    Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, plans to introduce legislation to convert Egypt's annual $1.3 billion in military aid into economic assistance, claiming that country is stockpiling weaponry amid diminished threats. Egypt has created 11 battle units for the navy, Lantos said, and has procured the Harpoon-2 and fast-attack craft. "Egyptian military exercises are ominously geared toward an Israeli enemy that doesn't obviously exist," Lantos said. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • Sharon: France Giving Arafat "Political Oxygen"
    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon hit out at the French government's "unfriendly behavior" toward Israel following talks last week between French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier and Arafat. According to a senior official, Sharon told a group of French diplomats and politicians in Jerusalem that he "was very disappointed by Barnier's visit to Yasser Arafat....More and more governments in the world, notably Arab governments, are refusing to meet with Arafat. This meeting gives him political oxygen, when it's necessary for him to be totally isolated to allow the emergence of new Palestinian leaders." (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Al-Qaeda Support Foils Saudi Security Pledges
    Saudi Arabia's intelligence services are so infiltrated by al-Qaeda sympathizers that the kingdom's counter-terrorist campaign is failing and militant operations are spreading into neighboring states, according to senior Arab and Western officials. The main Saudi intelligence organization responsible for combating al-Qaeda at the Ministry of Interior "is 80% sympathetic to al-Qaeda," said one senior Arab source. "All Saudi intelligence agencies are compromised."
        The Jordanians have intercepted several al-Qaeda teams who have infiltrated from Saudi Arabia, intending to whip up opposition to the country's leadership among the southern clans, who have tribal links across the border. Two Saudi nationals and a Yemeni were reportedly intercepted after entering southern Jordan with arms to attack a camp where Iraq's police forces are being trained by Jordanian and British instructors. (London Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Murder Israeli Motorist in West Bank - Nadav Shragai
    Victor Kreiderman, 49, of Mevo Dotan, was murdered Sunday in a gunfire attack on his car near the village of Yabad. His wife sustained light injuries. Armed Palestinians approached the couple's vehicle, confirmed that Jewish Israelis were inside, and fired shots into its rear window. The Jenin branch of Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, took responsibility for the attack. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Still Firing Kassam Rockets - Arieh O'Sullivan
    Palestinians launched three more Kassam rockets toward Israel Sunday despite the army's "security zone" in northern Gaza to prevent such attacks. There were no injuries. Military sources said the rockets were fired from the Jabalya refugee camp and a small valley just south of Beit Hanun where the army is not deployed. The IDF deployment around Beit Hanun has pushed the Kassam rocket crews beyond the range of the Israeli town of Sderot. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Sharon: We Will Retaliate If Kassams Continue - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the cabinet Sunday, "We will not accept a situation where we will be shelled, and...not respond with a similar action." He said this position also needs to be made clear to the U.S. and the EU. At the meeting, Shin Bet head Avi Dichter was asked how the disengagement will impact upon Israel's ability to enter Gaza and assert a presence in areas from which rockets are fired. "Just as we have to enter Gaza today after Kassam firings, we will have to do the same thing after disengagement," he said.
        Sharon also discussed the High Court of Justice's ruling on the security fence, saying he was "satisfied" that the court ruled the fence is indeed a security fence that grew out of genuine security needs, and not in order to annex Palestinian territory. He also said the court made it clear that the fence need not adhere strictly to the "green line." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Dichter: East Jerusalem a Terror Reservoir - Herb Keinon
    East Jerusalem Arabs are a major reservoir for recruiting terrorists, Shin Bet head Avi Dichter told the cabinet Sunday. East Jerusalem Arabs share the same ideology as West Bank Palestinians and are being recruited because of the mobility they enjoy by virtue of their Israeli ID cards and license plates. Since the outbreak of the violence in 2000, some 100 east Jerusalem Arabs have been directly involved either in carrying out attacks or in transporting terrorists who carried out attacks, Dichter said. Many more have been involved in gathering intelligence for attacks. As it becomes more difficult for Palestinians to penetrate into Israel because of the security fence, the value of east Jerusalem Arabs to the terrorist organizations will only increase. Dichter said that the terror is not an endless pit, but rather a "barrel that has a bottom." Palestinian terror, he said, "is not an ocean that it is impossible to empty." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Fighting Despite Their Losses - Ze'ev Schiff
    The Palestinians maintain a strong motivation to keep fighting despite their serious losses. In June, 23 suicide bombing attempts were intercepted. While 83 suicide attacks have been prevented since the start of the year, this also shows that the Palestinians continue to be highly motivated. This is a long-term war of attrition, where one side must prevent the other from making major gains and force it to conclude that it is worthwhile to reach a compromise because of the heavy price that must be paid. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Tunnels Could Influence the Effectiveness of the Security Fence - Uri Dan
    We must assume that the success of the smuggling tunnels in Rafah and the explosion under the IDF's Orchan outpost in Gaza last week could become a model to be copied all along the security fence being built by Israel to separate from the Palestinians. The Palestinians could surprise us with tunnels under the fence/wall and carry out acts of terror in towns in the heart of Israel and in Jerusalem, that will have fallen under the illusion that the fence and its electronic sensors can provide sufficient defense. (Maariv International)
  • Observations:

    Israel's Day of Light - Richard Cohen (Washington Post)

    • The Israeli Supreme Court has ordered the army to alter a section of the security fence that separates Jewish and Palestinian areas of the West Bank to make it less oppressive to the Palestinians.
    • As a statement of principle, it is head and shoulders above anything any other Middle East government would permit - never mind implement.
    • The Israeli Supreme Court agreed that the security fence is necessary. It did not find it to be a mere land grab, as some critics of the fence have charged. It found the fence a practical way of dealing with the reality of Palestinian terrorism.
    • Bear this decision in mind, please, when next someone refers to the Israelis as "Nazis" or otherwise talks about the nation as if it were a thuggish dictatorship. The court said that the "rule of law and individual liberties" required that the fence be moved - and the Israeli government will comply.
    • The early Zionists wanted Israel to be a light unto other nations. The other day, it was.

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