Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

August 11, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Bin Laden Hints Major Assassination - Bill Gertz (Washington Times)
    U.S. intelligence officials say a high-profile political assassination, triggered by the public release of a new message from Osama bin Laden, will lead off the next major al-Qaeda terrorist attack.
    The killing could be carried out against a U.S. or foreign leader either in the U.S. or abroad.
    Saudi Arabia and Yemen, two nations that are working with the U.S. in the battle against al-Qaeda, are likely locales for the opening assassination.
    The attacks to follow involve "multiple targets in multiple venues" across the U.S., one official said.
    U.S. intelligence officials said they think that several al-Qaeda terrorists already in the U.S. are part of the plot, although their identities and locations are not known.
    Officials said the terrorist group has begun using female members for pre-attack surveillance and possibly as suicide bombers, thinking that women will have an easier time getting past security checkpoints.
    Officials said there are intelligence reports that a new tape from the al-Qaeda leader will surface soon.
    "The message likely will be the signal for the attack to be launched," one official said.


More Families Join Lawsuit Against Arab Bank (AP/Newsday)
    Five families of U.S. citizens killed in terrorist attacks in Israel added their names to an $875 million lawsuit filed last month against Arab Bank, accusing it of channeling money to Palestinian terrorist groups.
    The new plaintiffs include a Westchester, NY, family, a Florida family, and three families living in Israel, bringing the list of families represented to 10.
    We "intend to prove that the Arab Bank is used to help finance terrorist groups and that its New York branch is helping to launder the money," said Mark Werbner, counsel for the families.


Uranium Found in Iran Came from Pakistani Equipment (Jane's Defense Weekly)
    Inspectors from the IAEA believe that particles of enriched uranium found in Iran came from equipment provided by the nuclear smuggling network headed by Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Diplomacy Sidelined as U.S. Targets Iran
    The U.S. will ask a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency on September 13 to declare Iran in breach of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, a prelude to seeking punitive UN sanctions. John Bolton, the U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control, says there is no doubt what Tehran is up to. "The U.S. and its allies must be willing to deploy more robust techniques" to halt nuclear proliferation, including "the disruption of procurement networks, sanctions, and other means," he said last year. Last month Bolton accused Iran of collaborating with North Korea on ballistic missiles. (Guardian-UK)
        See also below Observations: The Stealth Nuclear Threat - Fareed Zakaria (Newsweek)
  • Hand Over Nuclear Weapons and Know-How, Iran Tells Britain
    Iran has issued an extraordinary list of demands to Britain and other European countries, telling them to provide advanced nuclear technology, conventional weapons, and a security guarantee against nuclear attack by Israel. Teheran's request, said by British officials to have "gone down very badly," sharply raises the stakes in the crisis over Iran's nuclear program. Iran's move came during crisis talks in Paris this month with senior diplomats from Britain, France, and Germany who were trying to convince Iranian officials to honor an earlier deal to suspend its uranium enrichment program. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Powell: U.S. Awaits New Palestinian Leadership
    Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday: "We talked to Chairman Arafat for...close to a year and a half of the Administration, trying to find a way forward....But we finally came to the conclusion that we needed new leadership on the Palestinian side....We do not think he [Arafat] has been an effective interlocutor toward peace, and therefore we thought the world would be better served, the region would be better served, the Palestinians would be better served if we can empower a prime minister who was operating with authority."
        "It is difficult...to have dialogue or conversations with those organizations that continue to espouse terror as a political tool that can be used to achieve their purposes." (State Department)
  • Senators Ask State Department to Add Saudi Arabia to U.S. List of Religiously Intolerant Nations
    U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Susan Collins Monday urged the State Department to add Saudi Arabia to the U.S. list of religiously intolerant nations, a classification that could bring economic sanctions. The State Department's 2003 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom said that freedom of religion "does not exist" in Saudi Arabia. Schumer said, "We know that Saudi-funded madrassas promote religious intolerance and violence in schools. We know that Saudi Arabia brutally prohibits the public expression of religion that is not the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. And we know that Saudi efforts to export militant ideology inflame anti-Western sentiments throughout the world."
        The Schumer-Collins resolution calls on Saudi Arabia to cease its support of religious ideologies that promote hatred, intolerance, violence, and other abuses of internationally recognized human rights, and urges the U.S. to promote religious freedom in Saudi Arabia. (Magic City Morning Star-Maine)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S. Commends Israel for Removal of IDF Roadblocks - Aluf Benn
    The U.S. has recently commended Israel for removing roadblocks in the territories to ease the Palestinians' freedom of movement. The IDF has removed about 100 roadblocks in the last month, and Palestinian officials told the Americans conducting a field investigation that they feel the improvement. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Kassam Rocket Lands Near Israeli Kindergarten - Amos Harel
    Palestinians fired a Kassam rocket Wednesday that landed near a kindergarten in the western Negev, but caused no injuries or damage.
        There apparently were agreements reached between Israel and the PA, though not publicly or formally, which enabled IDF forces to quit the built-up parts of Beit Hanun, which it held for more than a month as part of an operation meant to halt Kassam rocket fire. In return, PA security officers were to prevent Kassam rocket fire into the Negev. The terror groups are aware of the opposition among the civilian population to the rocket launches from Beit Hanun, because of the damage done to the town by the IDF incursion, which was meant to pressure the population into pressuring the Kassam cells into ceasing their activity. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Saudis' Covert PR Campaign - Daniel Pipes
    A leading Washington public relations firm contacted a professor at a major research institution and offered Saudi-funded speakers for an upcoming lecture program. When the professor inquired about funding these speakers, he was assured that the university need not pay any of their honoraria or expenses, and that the Saudis would handle these matters. Editors, journalists, radio and television producers, think tank directors, and speaker-series hosts need to ascertain that whoever deals with Saudi issues is not on that country's dole. A simple question, "Are you receiving funds from Saudi Arabia," should do the trick. (New York Sun)
  • Saudis Have One Eye Open - Editorial
    Since last year, when suicide car bombers attacked three housing complexes in Riyadh, killing more than 30 people, Saudi officials have welcomed U.S. intelligence analysts. Intelligence cooperation, however, may only delay the collapse of autocratic royal rule in Saudi Arabia. The gap between rich and poor has widened, democratic reforms are still brushed aside, and Saudi princes willfully ignore the anger that is hidden by suppression. On Monday, the government began the trial of three men who brought their advocacy of democratic reform to the public, still an illegal act in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia's leaders have not fully made the connection between democratic reform and counter-terrorism. The princes running the realm could start by listening, rather than jailing those who speak. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Misplaced Mercy - Ralph Peters
    Intervening at the Iraqi government's request, the Marines fighting Muqtada al-Sadr's terrorist militia have been doing a superb job, killing at least 360 members of the renegade "Mahdi Army" and capturing hundreds more. We should never send our military on any mission we only intend to prosecute half-heartedly. We have to deal with the world in which we live, not the one we wish we inhabited. Our tradition of passivity fostered the rise of a class of terrorists and thugs who would be delighted to slaughter every man, woman, and child in America. We need to kill them first. (New York Post)
  • Arab Foreign Policy: Why Is It So Hard for Arabs to Act Together?
    The Arab response to the Darfur crisis has been fork-tongued. Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt have dispatched planeloads of aid to the stricken region, but also lobbied to ensure that the UN Security Council refrained from threatening sanctions against the Sudanese regime, which is largely responsible for creating the mess.
        Sudan's Arab neighbors do have an interest in supporting the government in Khartoum. They do not want Iraq-style chaos next door that could ensue if it falls. But they are also exposed to public pressure to prevent another Western intrusion into Arab land. The West, insists Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, is exaggerating the humanitarian crisis to find a pretext for invasion. (Economist-UK)
  • Observations:

    The Stealth Nuclear Threat - Fareed Zakaria (Newsweek)

    • Iran is the problem of the future. Over the last two years, thanks to tips from Iranian opposition groups and investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has become clear that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
    • If Iran were to go nuclear, it would place nuclear materials in the hands of a radical regime that has ties to unsavory groups.
    • It would signal to other countries that it's possible to break the nuclear taboo.
    • Saudi Arabia and Egypt would feel threatened by Iran's bomb and would start their own search for nuclear technology.
    • Saudi Arabia probably could not make a bomb but it could certainly buy necessary technology from a country like Pakistan. It's quite possible Saudi Arabia already has a few elements of such a program.
    • In the face of these stark dangers, Europe seems remarkably passive.


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