Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 31, 2004

To contact the Presidents Conference:

In-Depth Issues:

Is Iran Planning an Attack on America? - Steven Stalinsky (Jerusalem Post)
    On May 28, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that an Iranian intelligence unit had established "The Brigades of the Shahids of the Global Islamic Awakening."
    In a speech by Hassan Abbassi, a Revolutionary Guards intelligence theoretician who teaches at Al-Hussein University, he spoke of Teheran's secret plans, which include "a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization."
    "There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites, and we know how we are going to attack them," Abbassi explained.
    Over the past few months, Iranian leader Ali Khamenei has been vocal about the impending "destruction of the U.S." In May he told the Iranian paper Jomhouri-Ye Eslami that "the world will witness the annihilation of this arrogant regime."
    Speaking on Iranian TV channel Jaam-E-Jam 2 on July 27, Iranian MP Hamid-Reza Katoziyan warned: "The whole group of people belonging to the Arab community and Muslims living in the U.S. are currently, in my opinion, in a special situation."
    "Perhaps they do not walk the streets with weapons in their hands or attach bombs to themselves in order to carry out a suicide operation, but the thought is there."

Report: Al-Qaeda Behind Nov. 13, 2001, New York Air Crash - Stewart Bell (National Post-Canada)
    A captured al-Qaeda operative has told Canadian intelligence investigators that Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen also known as Farouk the Tunisian - who trained in Afghanistan alongside the 9/11 hijackers - was responsible for the crash of American Airlines flight 587 in New York on Nov. 12, 2001.
    The source claimed Jdey had "conducted a suicide mission" with a small bomb similar to the one used by convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid, a "Top Secret" Canadian government report says.
    The report also notes that Abu Abdelrahman, a Saudi al-Qaeda member who was working for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, said that the Nov. 12 plane crash in Queens, New York, was not an accident as reported in the press, but was actually an al-Qaeda operation.

U.S. Diplomatic Car Comes Under Fire in Saudi Arabia (AFP/Yahoo)
    A car belonging to the U.S. consulate in the Saudi city of Jeddah came under fire Monday but no one was injured, a U.S. embassy spokesman in Riyadh said.


Key Links

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • "Spy" Case Focusing on Lesser Charge - Eli Lake
    Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin was under investigation for slipping a draft Iran policy paper, known as a National Security Policy Directive, to members of AIPAC. A former American official familiar with the document said it was classified "secret" and did not contain either intelligence sources or the methods of gathering intelligence. A senior law enforcement official and administration sources said the Franklin investigation stems from a two-year FBI probe into who leaked top secret war plans for Iraq published by the New York Times on July 5, 2002.
        A scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a friend of Franklin, Michael Ledeen, said, "Larry Franklin is a little person, he is not a political player. Think before you destroy a little person. When the FBI has a case against someone, they go to a grand jury, they indict him and arrest and put him away, they don't go to Leslie Stahl [of CBS]." (New York Sun, 30 Aug 04)
  • Pressed by Syria, Lebanese Cabinet Agrees to Extend Leader's Term
    Damascus appears on the brink of forcing through a constitutional amendment in Lebanon - widely opposed both locally and abroad - that will keep its handpicked president in office past the end of his designated term. The Lebanese cabinet met under Syrian pressure on Saturday to approve allowing President Emile Lahoud, a favorite of the Syrian government, to stand for re-election to a three-year term, a move forbidden by Lebanon's Constitution, which mandates just a single six-year term for any president. The move is sharply opposed by the U.S. (New York Times)
        See also Lebanese Autonomy May Become UN Issue
    The U.S. and France are discussing whether to seek a UN Security Council resolution insisting that Lebanon be allowed to decide its own future without Syrian interference, a State Department official said Monday. (AP/Washington Post)
  • EU Insists on WMD Clause in Syria Accord
    The EU wants to sign a trade and aid pact with Syria, but only if it agrees to renounce weapons of mass destruction, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said Saturday in Damascus. Diplomats say Syria is keen to finalize the pact to offset U.S. sanctions imposed over its support for anti-Israeli groups, accusations it is doing too little to secure its border with Iraq, and alleged pursuit of unconventional arms. The Europeans contend that engaging Syria would do more to promote economic, political, and human rights reforms. (Reuters)
  • Refugee Who Became Dutch MP Defies Islam with Film about Koran
    Mrs. Hirsi Ali, who has risen from Somali asylum seeker to Dutch MP in 12 years, produced a film broadcast on Dutch television Sunday that highlights the continued oppression of Muslim women in Europe. Ali, 34, denounced the country's 30-year experiment with multiculturalism - including 700 Islamic clubs funded by the taxpayer - as a disastrous error born of "misplaced guilt."
        Ali has become immensely popular among the ordinary Dutch, who have been shocked by the sudden emergence of large Muslim enclaves in their cities - often with ties to militant anti-Western groups. A parliamentary report this year found that more than 70% of Dutch-born Muslims were bringing in spouses from their home countries, perpetuating a separatist subculture. (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Foils Suicide Bomber at Gaza-Israel Border Crossing - Amos Harel
    IDF soldiers foiled a suicide attack Tuesday when they prevented a Palestinian from passing through the Erez Crossing from Gaza into Israel. His explosives belt "was sewn to resemble a pair of underpants," said an IDF spokeswoman. (Ha'aretz)
  • PA Suspects Hamas in Shooting of Security Official - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The PA believes Hamas was behind last week's assassination attempt against the acting commander of the PA General Intelligence, Tarek Abu Rajab, in the Gaza Strip. At least six men took part in the attack, killing two of Abu Rajab's bodyguards and wounding him seriously. PA General Intelligence officers have determined the identity of four of the assassins, Hamas members from Jabalya. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Is There a Jewish Conspiracy at the Pentagon? - David Frum
    Somebody sold CBS News, NBC, and the Washington Post a grand conspiracy theory of sinister Zionist influence in the Pentagon based on what really? The theory alleges that a) Two years ago, some Pentagon planners wrote a draft memo suggesting that the U.S. adopt a tougher policy toward Iran; b) One of those planners then supposedly informed a friend at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee about the memo - who in turn informed the Israeli embassy. The memo in question - a draft of a proposed presidential policy directive for Iran - was essentially rejected. The Bush administration has opted since 2001 for a policy of engagement and attempted compromise with Iran. For all practical purposes, the memo was an expression of something close to a purely personal opinion.
        Discussing policy options with knowledgeable people - and even with allied governments - is not "espionage." Which is why, after 18 months of investigation, the investigators were about to drop the matter. It looks as if whoever leaked the story leaked it precisely because he or she was annoyed that the investigators were concluding that the whole thing was much ado about nothing. (National Review)
        See also The Israeli-Mole Story Doesn't Add Up - Michael Ledeen (National Review)
  • An Israeli Spy? - Editorial
    The draft "national security presidential directive" that Larry Franklin is accused of having given to AIPAC has been described as little more than a wordier version of a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece. If it was secret, it was because of American political sensitivity, not any genuine security concerns. The document may not have been labeled classified at all until some time after it was written. The existence of the draft directive was, in any case, no secret. A June 15, 2003, Washington Post dispatch by Michael Dobbs reported that "the national security presidential directive on Iran has gone through several competing drafts and has yet to be approved by Bush's senior advisers, according to well-placed sources." If some of Dobbs's well-placed sources were in the State Department and arguing for a softer line against Iran, we'd like to see them subjected to the same FBI scrutiny as Franklin. (New York Sun, 30 Aug 04)
  • Allegations of Israeli Spying Usually Disappear - Eventually - Alex Safian
    Reports that the FBI suspects a mid-level Pentagon employee specializing in Iranian affairs of conveying classified documents to the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC have led to a predictable storm of press coverage, much of it overheated. CBS led its Nightly News on Friday with its "scoop," and ABC's "Nightline" replaced its scheduled program with coverage of the story. For some unexplained reason, the "Nightline" program included a segment on the USS Liberty incident and an interview with discredited Israel-basher and conspiracy theorist James Bamford. (CAMERA)
        See also Did CBS Smear Israel and AIPAC? - Richard Baehr and Ed Lasky (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Observations:

    France Not Immune to Radical Islam Threats - Elaine Ganley
    (AP/Washington Post)

    • A new hostage crisis has made clear that the nation with Western Europe's largest Muslim population is not immune to threats from radical Islam.
    • Two French journalists are being held hostage in Iraq, as their captors demand that France scrap a law banning Muslim head scarves in public schools - passed to push back the rising tide of Muslim fundamentalism taking root in French classrooms.
    • While France led the opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq last year, any perception that France's anti-war stance might spare it front-line status as a potential target has now vanished.

          See also French Captives Urge Repeal of Head Scarf Ban on Arab TV (Reuters/Washington Post)

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