Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 23, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Hizballah Resupply Route Ran Through Turkey - Eli Lake (New York Sun)
    In the days prior to the August 14 cease-fire, a shipment of spare parts and components for mobile missile launchers was sent by truck from Iran through Turkey to Syria and then into northern Lebanon before being funneled down to front-line Hizballah terrorists in southern Lebanon.
    The information that Turkey, a NATO ally and a candidate for EU membership, allowed the transshipment of Iranian arms to Hizballah caused so much concern in Washington that a formal representation to the Turkish government was made to express America's displeasure.
    However, the Bush administration is now satisfied that the Turks will monitor their border with Iran more aggressively.

Eleven Israeli Tourists Killed as Bus Overturns in Egyptian Sinai - Revital Levi-Stein and Mijal Grinberg (Ha'aretz)
    A bus overturned near the Sinai peninsula town of Nuweiba on Tuesday, killing at least 11 Israeli Arab tourists.
    Yehuda Shushan, director of the Magen David Adom ambulance service's southern district, said efforts were made by the IDF, border officials, and the Foreign Ministry to allow the entry of Israeli rescue forces into Sinai to care for the injured and evacuate them to Israel.
    Egyptian authorities, however, informed Israel that they do not need help to rescue those injured in the accident.

In Bashar Assad's Syria, a Growing Passion for War - Ammar Abdulhamid (Daily Star-Lebanon)
    The Assads in Syria have already called up large reserve cohorts that are busy digging trenches all around the country.
    Calls to reopen the Golan front are routinely reiterated during the Friday sermons, and communist and nationalist groups have recently joined the chorus.
    The minority character of the Syrian regime and its consolidation around the private interests of two particular families, the Assad-Makhlouf clan, have served from the very beginning to undercut the potential for serious reform in the country. The author is a Syrian dissident.

Germany Train Bomb Suspect Held (AP/CNN)
    Youssef Mohamad E.H., 21, a Lebanese student suspected of helping plant two bombs that failed to explode on German trains, was detained Saturday in Kiel pending possible terrorism charges, federal prosecutors said.
    He is being held on suspicion of membership in a German-based terrorist organization, attempted murder, and attempting to cause an explosion.
    Prosecutors say they suspect the arrested man was part of a larger group.

Israel Buys Two Submarines from Germany - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel signed a contract with Germany last month to buy two Dolphin-class submarines for $1.27 billion, a third of which will be financed by the German government.
    According to foreign reports, the submarines will provide superior second-strike nuclear capabilities.
    The Israeli Navy already has three Dolphin-class submarines.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Assad: No UN Troops on Lebanon-Syria Border
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday rejected Israeli demands for the deployment of international troops on the Lebanese-Syrian border to stop the smuggling of arms to Hizballah. Israel wants UN troops to police border crossings between Lebanon and Syria to prevent weapons smuggling. (Reuters)
        See also UN Envoy Warns of "Security Vacuum for the Next 2 to 3 Months"
    UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said on Tuesday it could take the Lebanese Army and international troops two to three months to fill a "security vacuum" in southern Lebanon. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
        See also Proposed Rules of Engagement for UN Force in Lebanon
    Proposed rules of engagement for an expanded UN force in southern Lebanon would allow troops to open fire in self-defense, protect civilians, and back up the Lebanese army in preventing foreign forces or arms from crossing the border, according to a UN document obtained Tuesday. Defining the force as "predominantly defensive in nature," the draft rules allow for the use of "deadly force" and offensive action, if necessary, to ensure implementation of the Aug. 11 UN resolution that led to the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizballah. The draft rules of engagement would allow "use of force, up to and including deadly force, while assisting the government of Lebanon, at its request to secure its borders and other points of entry to prevent the entry into Lebanon, without its consent, of foreign forces, arms or related material."  (AP/USA Today)
  • Peacekeeping Force Won't Disarm Hizballah - Patrick Bishop
    The proposed UN force in southern Lebanon will make little difference to Hizballah's operational ability, UN officials admitted Monday. There is no likelihood that the international force will take on the task of disarming the militia. Most potential donors want to restrict their role to supporting the Lebanese and are wary of a mandate that authorizes force. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Iran Won't Give Promise to End Uranium Enrichment - Michael Slackman
    Iran responded Tuesday to a set of incentives from Europe and the U.S. aimed at ending its nuclear program, but did not agree to suspend the enrichment of uranium by the end of the month, the West's primary demand. The U.S., Britain, France, and Germany plan to meet Wednesday in New York to discuss the proposal and their response. But the meeting will not include Russia and China, which have been reluctant to punish Tehran harshly. John Bolton, the U.S. representative to the UN, said Tuesday that Washington was prepared to move rapidly on a new security council resolution calling for economic sanctions. (New York Times)
  • Israel Shelves Plan to Pull Out of West Bank Settlements - Doug Struck
    The Israeli government's plan to dismantle some Jewish settlements in the West Bank and redraw the country's borders is being shelved at least temporarily, a casualty of the war in Lebanon, Prime Minister Olmert told his ministers last weekend, according to one of his advisers. Instead, the government must spend its money and efforts in northern Israel to repair the damage from the war and strengthen the area in case fighting breaks out again, Olmert said.
        Even without the financial considerations, the plan for unilateral withdrawal from some settlements is dead, other political figures and analysts said. The seizure of Israeli soldiers and the renewed fighting in Gaza - from which Israel withdrew last year - and in southern Lebanon - from which Israel withdrew in 2000 - have left the Israeli public with little appetite for additional pullouts. (Washington Post)
  • Leak Investigation Ordered in AIPAC Case - Jerry Markon
    A federal judge has ordered an investigation into how reporters learned that two AIPAC lobbyists were under federal investigation before they were formally charged. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis ordered the Justice Department to conduct a leak investigation into whether government employees disclosed details of the investigation to CBS News in 2004. Sources familiar with the case said the lobbyists' lawyers have been arguing in numerous sealed motions that the leaks violated their clients' rights and could prejudice potential jurors against them. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Soldier Killed by Mine in South Lebanon - Nir Hasson,
    An Israel Defense Forces soldier was killed and two officers were wounded Wednesday when a mine exploded in southern Lebanon, close to the border with Israel. (Ha'aretz )
  • Israel to End Lebanon Blockade When UN Force Deploys at Borders - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told visiting UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen on Tuesday that Israel would end its air and sea blockade of Lebanon once an enhanced UNIFIL force deploys at the Lebanese-Syrian border crossings and at the Beirut airport. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abbas Pays Salaries of Hamas Militia - Avi Issacharoff
    PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gave 5,000 members of Hamas' special "operational force" salaries this week with money sent from the Arab League, Palestinian sources say. Most belong to Hamas' military wing, Iz al-Din al-Qassam, led by Yussef al-Zahar, the Palestinian foreign minister's brother. The force joined the Palestinian police force six weeks ago. Members of the force have led some of the clashes with the PA's preventive security forces in Gaza.
        So far, Abbas' office has paid NIS 1,500 to all officials for the months of March, April, and May, but salaries for June and July have not been paid. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran Watching UN's Seriousness on Lebanon - Zvi Bar'el
    A substantive international deployment of 15,000 soldiers in Lebanon is still only on paper. France is offering 200 soldiers, Finland or Denmark will also send several hundred, and perhaps Turkey will manage to overcome domestic opposition and dispatch a large force. The deployment of the force reflects the determination of the international community to implement UN Resolution 1701, and it would also be a deterrent against Syrian and Iranian involvement in Lebanon. However, when countries that initiated Resolution 1701 are beginning to distance themselves from it, it is doubtful whether anyone in Tehran attributes great importance to the Security Council. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hizballah Leaders Are War Criminals - Fred Gedrich and Paul E. Vallely
    The UN Security Council recently voted unanimously for another cease-fire resolution intended to end the fighting between Israel's defense forces and Hizballah's outlaw militia. Like previous diplomatically arranged UN peace-deals, this one is also doomed to fail because it doesn't authorize international peacemakers to do what the Lebanese military is unable or unwilling to do, forcibly defang the terror group. A sustainable peace can only emerge after the civilized world collectively accepts and acts on the fact that Hizballah leaders and militia, and others like them, are not "freedom fighters" and morally equivalent to free-state leaders and armies, but despicable "war criminals" seeking to destroy the civilized way of life. (Washington Times)
  • Preliminary Lessons of the Israeli-Hizballah War - Anthony H. Cordesman
    Israel retains its conventional superiority or edge against the regular military forces of its Arab neighbors and particularly against the only meaningful threat on its borders: Syria. It has made massive improvements in its forces since 1982, adapting the most modern technology and tactics available to the U.S. to its own technology and tactics, and retaining a nuclear monopoly. In the Israeli-Hizballah War, its casualties were probably 1/8th those of Hizballah. (Center for Strategic and International Studies)
  • Saddam's WMD - Editorial
    Saddam Hussein's second trial is up and running before an Iraqi judge in Baghdad. The proceedings are instructive, not least for showing once again that the dictator used chemical weapons even if U.S. forces never found "stockpiles" of WMD after his ouster in 2003. The current case concerns his Anfal ("spoils of war") military campaign of 1987-1988 against the Kurds, in which tens of thousands are alleged to have been killed and some 2,000 villages razed. "There was a smell of rotten apple or garlic," said Ali Mustafa Hama, about an April 16, 1987, attack on the Kurdish villages of Basilan and Sheik Wasan. "We were blinded. We were screaming. There was no one to save us, only God."
        The horrifying testimony is a reminder that, despite the current problems in Iraq, the U.S. decision to topple Saddam was an act of pre-emptive global hygiene. Saddam was convicted in his first trial for the massacre of 148 Shiites in the town of Dujail in the 1980s. Sentencing in that case is set for October 16, with the death penalty possible, Inshallah. (Wall Street Journal, 23Aug06)
        See also Kurds Tell of Gas Attack that Began Saddam "Genocide" - Ned Parker (Times-UK)
  • Observations:

    The Critical Importance of Israeli Public Diplomacy in the War Against the Iran-Hizballah Axis of Terror - Dr. Raanan Gissin (Institute for Contemporary Affairs - Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Instead of the war being about Israel's right of self-defense, Hizballah was able to turn it around so that the issue on the international agenda became Israel's destruction of Lebanon. Israel should have been seen as the victim. We were being attacked. We were the ones who fulfilled all of the requirements of the game. We were true to the international border, we restrained ourselves, we held back. Why should it be that once we start attacking, we immediately start to lose in the diplomatic arena? Because Nasrallah and his patrons in Iran successfully integrated the "ABCs" of public diplomacy into their long-term strategic war doctrine.
    • Nasrallah ordered his men to remove their uniforms and blend in with the population and continue to fight. In this way, when Israel attacks Hizballah, the scene is one of Israel moving against what appears to be a civilian population, even though rockets fired from these villages are striking Israel. Attacks on what looks like civilian targets can then be called "crimes against humanity" and "war crimes."
    • Israel now faces the "special forces" of the Iranian military, the best guerilla warfare units, in front-line positions. Over the last twenty-five years Iran has gradually created a global network, first forming an axis with Syria and then building up Hizballah, with Lebanon serving as a regional theater, part of Iran's global design in its confrontation with the West. The conflict with Hizballah in Lebanon is a testing ground - like Spain in 1936 - for weapons, tactics, and doctrine of how Iran is going to fight the war against the West.
    • Israel had been operating on the assumption that Hizballah was a terrorist organization like Hamas or the PLO that had to be neutralized in order to bring about stability. But these are not merely terrorist gangs. This is an army - a well-trained, well-organized, and ideologically indoctrinated guerilla army - and Israel did not make that point strongly enough at the beginning of the war, neither to the world, nor to itself.
    • From the minute Israel left Lebanon in May 2000, Iran began to implement a takeover of Lebanon by Hizballah. Israel struck over two thousand Hizballah targets, and not only in south Lebanon. Hizballah is fully deployed in south Lebanon, Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and on the border with Syria. By looking at the targets Israel struck, one can see the extent of the Hizballah takeover.

      The writer, a former senior advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is one of Israel's leading spokesmen to the foreign press and the international community on security and strategic issues.

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