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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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August 30, 2011

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Special Message from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (Conference of Presidents)
  Hundreds of rockets, missiles, roadside bombs, and terror attacks have taken many lives, injured even more, terrorized hundreds of thousands, and destroyed property.
  Now is the time to show your love and concern for the people of Israel by signing on to a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres and the mayors of the Israeli cities under fire.
  Please click the headline above to sign on and forward to your own networks.


How NATO Special Forces Helped Bring Gaddafi to His Knees - Sean Rayment (Telegraph -- UK)
  British special forces played a pivotal role in helping the Libyan rebel army take control of Tripoli after several days of intense fighting. The battle for Tripoli, codenamed Operation Mermaid Dawn, began with a pre-arranged message from the headquarters of the rebel army. Hundreds of heavily armed anti-Gaddafi fighters, who had patiently waited for the appointed time, took to the streets.
  Planning for Mermaid Dawn began three months earlier when groups of young male volunteers left their homes in Tripoli and traveled to Benghazi to learn the art of insurgent warfare from an international force of covert units composed of the British SAS and MI6 agents and troops from the French, Qatar and United Arab Emirates special forces.
  As well as training the rebels, the British government also covertly supplied 1,000 sets of body armor, advanced telecommunications equipment and night vision goggles.
  For weeks on end the Libyan volunteers were taught weapon training, street fighting and sabotage in a series of disused compounds across the city. While the rebels trained, hundreds of weapons, tons of ammunition and communications equipment were smuggled into Tripoli and hidden in secret arms dumps.
  Last Saturday morning NATO war planes began a series of highly coordinated attacks against command and control bunkers, which left the Libyan dictator unable to respond effectively to the insurrection.
  Members of the SAS and other foreign specialist troops were able to supply the rebels with real time intelligence from surveillance aircraft.
    See also Foreign Firms Aided Libya to Spy on Citizens - Paul Sonne and Margaret Coker (Wall Street Journal)


Iran "Discreetly Aided Libyan Rebels" (AFP)
  Iran "discreetly" provided humanitarian aid to Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli, Jam-e-Jam newspaper quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday as saying.
  "We were in touch with many of the rebel groups in Libya before the fall of Gaddafi, and discreetly dispatched three or four food and medical consignments to Benghazi," Salehi said.
  "The head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, sent a letter of thanks to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having been on their side and helping," he added.
  On Tuesday, Iran "congratulated the Muslim people of Libya" after rebels overran the capital Tripoli, but it has so far distanced itself from officially recognizing the NTC.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Israeli Officials: Palestinians in Gaza Got Anti-Aircraft Missiles from Libya
    Palestinians in Gaza have acquired anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets from Libya during its six-month civil war, enlarging but not significantly improving their arsenal, Israeli officials said on Monday. Israeli officials have detected an inflow of SA-7 anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), said one official. (Reuters)
        See also Egypt Seizes Arms on Libyan Border
    Egyptian border guards have seized a "large quantity" of weapons at the border with Libya, state television reported on Monday. (Reuters)
  • Amid Syrian Raids, Reports of Desertions - Nada Bakri
    Syrian security forces raided several towns and cities across Syria on Monday and killed at least six people and wounded dozens. At the same time, there were reports that dozens of soldiers, possibly encouraged by the rout in Libya of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, had deserted their positions in a village near Homs, the country’s third-largest city, and on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, to join the five-month-old popular uprising against Mr. Assad and his Baath Party. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Ambassador to Syria Attacked - Josh Rogin
    A video has emerged of U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford being assaulted by a pro-regime demonstrator on the streets of Damascus last week. Ford was present at a gathering of demonstrators who support the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad outside the Cham Palace Hotel in Damascus when one demonstrator ran up to Ford and tried to wrap him in a poster that featured Assad's face.
      Ford's security intervened quickly and rushed Ford to his car. The incident was then replayed in a highly produced segment on a Syrian television station. (The Cable, Foreign Policy)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Vilnai: Defense Establishment Acting to Thwart Terror Attack
    Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai warned that terrorists might take the opportunity of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, to carry out attacks on Israel. "The Defense establishment has received a warning that a terror cell in Sinai, comprised of more than 10 terrorists, is to attempt to carry out an attack," he said. "The Defense establishment is taking action to thwart this attempt." (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Authority Condemns Tel Aviv Terrorist Attack - Yaakov Lappin
    The Palestinian Authority condemned on Monday the terrorist attack that occurred near nightclub Haoman 17 in Tel Aviv early Monday morning. An official statement issued by the PA President's Office in Ramallah said, "The president condemns the attacking of civilians, including the event that took place in Tel Aviv this morning."
      In the same statement the PA President's Office condemned Israel's attacks on Gaza as well as Israel security operations and arrests made in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Flag Flying over Egypt Embassy Again - Roee Nahmias
    More than a week after it was taken down during a demonstration over the deaths of the Egyptian soldiers at the Israel-Egypt border, the Israeli embassy in Cairo is once again flying the Israeli flag. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • How Iran Keeps Assad in Power in Syria - Geneive Abdo
    The Iranian regime is one of the few remaining allies of the embattled Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad.
      For Iran, Assad's Syria is the front line of defense against the United States and Israel. Without his guaranteed loyalty, the second line of defense -- Hizbullah and Hamas -- would crumble. According to U.S. estimates, Hizbullah receives $100 million in supplies and weaponry per year from Tehran, which is transported through Syria.
      Iran has taken significant measures to keep Assad in power. According to U.S. officials, as of April Iran was providing the Syrian security services with weapons, surveillance equipment, and training. The Iranian regime has also provided Assad with technology to monitor e-mail, cell phones, and social media. Iran's monitoring technology is believed to be among the most sophisticated in the world -- second, perhaps, only to China. Iran shared its know-how with Syria this summer.
      Credible reports from Syrian refugees indicate that Tehran sent its own forces to Syria to quash the protests. (Foreign Affairs)
  • How Will Assad Fall? - Elliott Abrams
    How will Assad fall? There are two possibilities that head the list. One possibility is that the army will split, largely on sectarian lines. There have been numerous other reports about defections in the army but it is difficult to assess whether they have yet reached a significant size. If the demonstrations grow, I assume the numbers of defectors will grow as Sunni troops refuse to shoot peaceful and unarmed Sunni demonstrators.
      But there is another possibility, that the Alawite “Establishment,” civilian and military, will remove Bashar from power in a kind of “palace coup.” This would only happen, I believe, if the economic and financial sanctions grow stronger and stronger and demonstrations continue.
      There are other possibilities: perhaps the Sunni and Christian business community will turn against Assad if sanctions are tough enough, and will help bring him down. Perhaps over time hundreds of thousands will flee to Turkey, giving the Turks the incentive they need to bring Bashar down. (Council on Foreign Relations)
  • Brezhnev in the Hejaz - Bruce Riedel
    The Saudi royal family is afraid. Very, very afraid. A crisis of leadership is brewing. The king is ailing and his successor, Crown Prince Sultan, is in even worse health. Their hard-line brother, Prince Nayef bin Abdel Aziz, is set to take the throne.
      Saudi Arabia has proclaimed a twenty-first-century equivalent of the old Soviet Brezhnev Doctrine for its own backyard. No uprising will be tolerated in a neighboring kingdom. (National Interest)
        See also The Kingdom of Magical Thinking - Robin M. Mills
    Widely assumed to be a fabulously wealthy welfare state, Saudi Arabia is in fact an economic basket case waiting to happen. Growing efficiency, demographics, and alternatives mean that OECD oil demand is probably in a slow, long-term decline, while non-OPEC supply is proving more robust than expected. (Foreign Policy)
  • Observations:

    The Islamist Factor in Post-Gaddafi Libya: Will Libya Become "Libyastan?" - Jacques Neria (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • The U.S. and the West's military intervention in Libya finally succeeded in toppling Gaddafi's 42-year reign in Libya and brought to power an amorphous body called the National Transitional Council (NTC).
  • There are plenty of reasons to fear that the military action undertaken by the West might be playing into the hands of its worst foes and ideological enemies.
  • A statement released on February 24 on the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Fajr media website quoted the group known as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM): "We declare our support for the legitimate demands of the Libyan revolution."
  • Abdelhakim Belhadj, today the commander of the Libyan rebel Tripoli Military Council, emerged as a leader during the Libyan rebel operation to liberate the Libyan capital from Gaddafi's control.
  • Belhadj, is also a former Emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). In 1988, he joined the Afghan jihad against the Soviet occupation forces along with other Arab volunteers, many of whom would form the core of al-Qaeda.
  • Abdel Hakim Al-Hasidi declared that his jihadists had fought the American coalition in Iraq and "now they are fighting Gaddafi." Al-Hasidi is a current member of the NTC.
  • See also Ex-Jihadists in the New Libya - Omar Ashour (Foreign Policy)

  • Abdalhakim Belhadj, the commander of Tripoli's Military Council is the former commander of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a jihad organization with historical links to al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Egyptian al-Jihad organization.
  • By 1998, the LIFG was crushed in Libya. Most of its leaders and members fled and joined forces with the Taliban in Afghanistan. They even gave a religious oath of loyalty (bay'a) to Mullah Omar. After 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan, Belhadj and most of the LIFG leaders fled that country as well, only to be arrested in 2004 by the CIA and then handed over to Qaddafi's regime, following interrogations in Thailand and Hong Kong.
  • See also What about the Jihadists in Libya? - Mshari al-Zaydi (Asharq al-Awsat)

  • In my estimation, there is a dangerous fundamentalist presence in the depths of the Libyan revolution, and this is something we should take heed of now. This presence could turn into a source of danger for Libya's future, in the days to come. These radicals could easily turn their guns from the Bab al-Aziziya compound towards the Libyan National Transitional Council, targeting it for being "secular" and an ally of the "Crusaders" (NATO). These radicals may seek to establish a Shariaa law state in Libya, and unleash their Jihad across North Africa. I do not believe I am exaggerating here.

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