Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Al-Qaeda's American-Born Propaganda Chief May Have Died in Predator Attack - Nick Meo
Israel's New UN Ambassador Submits Credentials - Shlomo Shamir (Ha'aretz)
Terror from the German Heartland - Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark
Watching "Friends" in Gaza: A Culture Clash - Michael Kimmelman (New York Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Seven years later, it remains conventional wisdom in Cairo that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda could not have been solely responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and that the U.S. and Israel had to have been involved in their planning, if not their execution. This is what routinely comes up in conversations around the region - in a shopping mall in Dubai, in a park in Algiers, in a cafe in Riyadh, and all over Cairo.
It is easy for Americans to dismiss such thinking as bizarre, but such ideas represent the inability of the U.S. to convince people in the region that it is, indeed, waging a campaign against terrorism and not a crusade against Muslims. Again and again, people said they simply did not believe that a group of Arabs - like themselves - could possibly have waged such a successful operation against a superpower like the U.S. "Maybe people who executed the operation were Arabs, but the brains? No way," said Mohammed Ibrahim, 36, of Cairo.
There is a reason so many people talk about the U.S. attacking itself to have a reason to go after Arabs. It is a reflection of how they view government leaders throughout the Middle East. They do not believe them. They think that if the government is insisting that bin Laden was behind it, he must not have been. (New York Times)
A British jury returned guilty verdicts Monday against Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, Assad Sarwar, 28, and Tanvir Hussain, 27, who were among eight British Muslims charged with plotting to bomb at least seven planes flying to the U.S. However, the jury declined to convict any of the eight of plotting to bomb airliners. The three were convicted only of "conspiracy to murder persons unknown" and face the potential of life in prison. In July, the three men pleaded guilty to conspiring to set off bombs, but they continued to deny targeting airplanes. Ali and Sarwar testified that they intended to detonate bombs at Parliament or other high-profile sites. (Washington Post)
See also Five Potential UK Suicide Bombers "Still at Large" - Duncan Gardham and Gordon Rayner
On Monday, British police admitted that up to five would-be bombers may still be on the loose, as a bugged conversation between the plotters in their east London bomb factory revealed they had recruited up to 18 people. To date, only 13 people have been arrested in connection with the plot.
Police were forced to move in early to arrest the gang after a jittery President Bush put pressure on the Pakistani authorities to arrest Rashid Rauf, their al-Qaeda contact in Pakistan. MI5 had hoped to continue gathering intelligence on the remaining members of the cell. Ironically, Rauf escaped from Pakistani custody 16 months after he was detained and remains on the run. Intelligence services believe Abdul Hadi al-Iraq, said to be al-Qaeda's number three, was behind the July 7, July 21 and liquid bomb plots and that members of all three plots may have met each other in Pakistan. (Telegraph-UK)
In a video message Monday, al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahri said Tehran was "cooperating with the Americans in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan" and slammed Iran for recognizing the two governments. Zawahri has been increasingly singling out Iran and Shiites in his messages, describing the "Persians" as the enemy of Arabs. (AP)
See also New Zawahri Tape Blasts Hizbullah and Lebanon's Sunnis
Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahri slammed Hizbullah and took a swipe at Lebanon's Sunni leaders in a video message broadcast by Al-Jazeera on Monday. "What victory is Hizbullah talking about?" he asked of the 2006 summer war with Israel, saying that the Shiite group had lost control of south Lebanon and allowed "thousands of crusaders" - a reference to UN peacekeepers - in there instead. He dismissed the country's Sunni leaders in Beirut as "agents" of the U.S. (Naharnet-Lebanon)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Gen. James Jones, Washington's security coordinator for Israeli-Palestinian talks, who will arrive in Israel on Tuesday, has been tasked with trying to define the vital security interests that Israel would need to address in any final-status agreement. However, Israeli security sources told Ha'aretz that the chances of reaching a breakthrough on this issue before President Bush ends his tenure seem slim. The Americans hope to finalize a security document even if no corresponding Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic agreement is reached. But Israel believes it would be a mistake to make security concessions without a quid pro quo in the form of progress in the diplomatic negotiations. (Ha'aretz)
A series of Israeli goodwill gestures to the Palestinians in the West Bank has helped strengthen the Palestinian economy, the Civil Administration said Monday. In the last few months, the IDF has removed over 100 roadblocks throughout the West Bank. There has been a sharp increase in the passage of commercial goods as a direct result of an increase in employment licenses and trade permits issued to Palestinian merchants and business owners. A large expansion of the tourism industries in Bethlehem and Jericho has also occurred. Fresh agricultural produce exported to Israel has grown by 25 percent. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
"The London Bombers" is one of the most thoroughly researched and politically important drama-documentaries commissioned by British television. A team of journalists reported to Terry Cafolla, a writer who won many awards for his dramatization of religious hatred in Belfast. The reporters spent months in Beeston, the Leeds slum where three of the four 7/7 bombers grew up, and convinced the families of three of the bombers to cooperate. Cafolla submitted five versions of the script. He was working up to a final draft when the BBC abandoned the project. BBC managers said they were stopping production because the work was "Islamophobic," arguing that a dramatic examination of terrorism would be offensive to all Muslims. (Jerusalem Post)
Shai Haim is one of the 43 handicapped Israeli athletes who left this week for Beijing to participate in the Paralympic Games. Among the sports in which they will compete are tennis, swimming, kayaking, sailing, horseback riding, table tennis, archery, air rifle, and basketball. Shai is one of the 12 players on Israel's wheelchair-basketball delegation, selected from among the more than 200 players who compete at several disabled veterans' facilities around the country.
On September 30, 2002, Shai's unit was part of a raid on Hamas headquarters in Nablus' infamous casbah. In the midst of their mission, the unit came under fire from snipers in a nearby building. Shai was hit and his best friend in the unit, our son St.-Sgt. Ari Weiss, rushed to his side to help him and was shot and killed in the process. A year after the shooting, he married his girlfriend Tamar, who had helped nurse him back to health, and I had the great merit to officiate at his wedding. Says a smiling Shai, "My motto in life - no complaints, no whining - just get back in the game." (Jerusalem Post)
See also Israeli Swimmer Wins Silver Medal at Beijing Paralympics - Rami Hipsh
Israel's Inbal Pezaro on Sunday earned a silver medal in the women's 100-meter freestyle on the opening day of the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, setting an Israeli national record as well. (Ha'aretz)
Misperceptions about Islam - Bernard Lewis (Foreign Policy)
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