Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference: click here
U.S. Military Planners Focus on Syria - William M. Arkin (Washington Post)
U.S. and Iraqi Forces Target Flow of Insurgents from Syria - John Ward Anderson (Washington Post)
British MI5 Probes Suicide Attack Plots on Washington - David Leppard (Sunday Times-UK)
Canadian Terror Cell Busted -
Al-Qaeda Bomb Expert Among Four Algerians in Toronto - Stewart Bell (National Post-Canada)
Australia Foils "Catastrophic" Terror Attack (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
While the violence in France has not taken on religious overtones, most of the young people involved are nominally Muslim, raising fears that Islamist groups could capitalize on the unrest to recruit new members. Internet postings from one such movement encouraged young Muslims elsewhere in Europe to riot in the name of Islam.
"Oh, you Muslim people in Europe, walk with and like your brothers in Paris and learn that these people are dogs," read a message posted on Monday on the popular Web site of a dissident based in London. "Teach them that we are a single nation and if a single member is touched, then all the others will erupt like a burning volcano." The Web site, the same one that has posted claims of responsibility for terrorist attacks including the July 7 bombings in London, showed images of vehicles in flames and a photo image of a smiling French Interior Minister Sarkozy, dressed as a gangster in a black suit and alligator coat and carrying a machine gun in each hand. (New York Times)
See also Riots Spark Fear Among French Jews - Shirli Sitbon
French Jewish community security services say the number of anti-Semitic attacks is so far unchanged. Arsonists threw at least two Molotov cocktails at synagogues in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine and Garges. Rioters confronted police forces near the synagogue of Stains. "It's business as usual," said Samy Ghozlan, head of the anti-Semitism vigilance bureau. "These communities are used to these daily assaults." (European Jewish Press-Belgium)
A disagreement over the role of EU security monitors kept Israel's cabinet on Sunday from approving a border crossing for Palestinians between Gaza and Egypt, political sources said. Israel had accepted an Egyptian proposal to let Palestinians travel freely via the Rafah terminal, but with foreign oversight - a role to be filled by EU monitors. "Israel wants the EU to have powers of arrest should its inspectors encounter a terrorist at the crossing. The EU wants to limit its role to oversight and reporting only," an Israeli political source said.
The EU's Middle East envoy, Marc Otte, said the EU was ready to play a "third party" role at the crossing and monitor both Israeli and Palestinian operations there. "Obviously what we will not be doing is taking the place of the Palestinian customs and security officials. In the end the Palestinian Authority will be in charge of its borders," he added. (Reuters)
A failed assassination attack on the prime minister of Somalia and an attempt to hijack a luxury American cruise ship off the coast has reinforced fears that the country is spiraling out of control as a center of al-Qaeda terrorism. The unsuccessful attack by pirates at the weekend was the first on a luxury cruise liner in the area. Political collapse in this failed state has created a power vacuum that is posing a danger to Somalis and the outside world. Since 2003, Somalia has witnessed the rise of a new, ruthless, independent jihadi network with links to al-Qaeda.
During the 1990s, extremism in Somalia was centered on the al-Ittihaad al-Islaami, a band of Wahhabi militants bent on establishing an Islamic emirate. Al-Qaeda also became established and attacked U.S. and UN peacekeepers, using the country as a transit zone for terrorism in neighboring Kenya. Leading members of al-Qaeda's East African network still hide in Somalia, according to the International Crisis Group. (Independent-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Abu Assad, one of the few remaining senior Islamic Jihad leaders in Tulkarm, vowed that his Iranian-backed group would continue to dispatch suicide bombers to Israel until "all of Palestine" is liberated. Five years ago, notes Abu Assad, the Tulkarm refugee camp was home to some 40 wanted men from Islamic Jihad. Only three are alive today. The rest died attacking Israel, were killed in IDF raids, or were arrested. The IDF estimates there are between 100 and 300 active Islamic Jihad fighters in the West Bank. (Jerusalem Post)
According to the Peace Index survey for October 2005, conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Studies at Tel Aviv University, 74% of the Jewish public believes that even if Israel evacuates all the territories beyond the "green line," Palestinian violence will not stop and may even intensify. Only 19% of Jews think leaving the territories will bring an end to the violence. 70% believe Sharon is justified in refusing to meet with Abbas, despite the perception that Abbas wants to prevent terror attacks but is unable to. 60% also say that even if Hamas becomes part of the government after the PA elections, it will not moderate its positions toward Israel nor its involvement in terror attacks. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Islamic organizations like the Tabligh, which advocates strict adherence to Islam as well as disengagement from society, stand to benefit from the riots. These organizations are positioning themselves as mediators who can bring back the order the government has been unable to restore. These groups don't preach violence, but they do advocate that Muslims should identify themselves with their religion rather than as citizens. Effectively, they are promoting a separate society within a society, and that brand of Islamist philosophy is seeping into many parts of Western Europe.
The violence in France is a stark reminder that reaching an accommodation with Islam is one of the Continent's most pressing problems. Low birth rates and Europe's geographic position just north of the Muslim world means that increasing numbers of its citizens will be Muslim in the future. Muslims account for an estimated 5% or more of the populations of France, The Netherlands, and the UK, and are heavily concentrated in and around big cities. (Wall Street Journal)
In the three months since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office, he has done seven things which have rightly alarmed the rest of the world. He restarted the processing of uranium. He delivered a provocative defense of Iran's right to develop nuclear power at the UN. He replaced Iran's nuclear negotiating team. He called for Israel to be wiped off the map. He axed half of Iran's ambassadors, many known to be moderates or reformers. He appointed Sadeq Mahsouli as Oil Minister, despite his lack of oil experience. Last week Iran announced it would send a second batch of uranium ore to Isfahan for processing. Ahmadinejad clearly wants the world to know he doesn't care what it thinks. (Times-UK)
The upsurge in Palestinian terror after the disengagement has led to talk about a "third intifada," but this assumption is not supported by the evidence - history has moved on. Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat's uncharismatic successor, lacks the power to unite a divided and disheartened Palestinian population in order to start another confrontation with Israel. In addition, the broad international support that the Palestinians enjoyed has been seriously eroded. The romanticism and wall-to-wall enthusiasm for Palestinian victimization adopted by many journalists has also weakened. Palestinian terror attacks are no longer granted the international acceptance they once had.
Finally, the Palestinians now know that Israel was able to defeat Arafat's war. Following the Park Hotel mass bombing on Passover 2002, the IDF mobilized for Operation Defensive Shield, and the Palestinian defeat began. (Jerusalem Post)
The Wolfensohn Mission - David Brodet (bitterlemons.org)
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