Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with the Fairness Project
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 27, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Saddam To Be Target of Britain's 'E-bomb'

The Pentagon is planning to use a British weapon that can disable electronic and electrical systems without killing anyone to attack Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological weapons sites. The E-Bomb sends out a high-intensity radio wave with similar effects to the electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear blast. It is also able to penetrate the underground bunkers where Saddam's chemical and biological weapons are stored.
    Although the weapon is still in the final stages of development, American defence sources said they were interested in acquiring it for immediate deployment in any attack on Iraqi chemical and biological weapons sites. The weapon can also bring civil infrastructure to a standstill, closing national electricity grids, stopping telephone, radio and television systems.
   MI6 has told ministers that Iraq may still possess tons of chemical warfare agents, the necessary materials to produce thousands of litres of biological agents and as many as 10 Scud missiles with which to deliver them. Iraq has admitted that before the Gulf war it manufactured 100 botulinum bombs, 50 anthrax bombs, and seven aflatoxin bombs. Five missile warheads were filled with anthrax, 16 with botulinum, and four with aflatoxin.
    The Iraqi chemical warfare arsenal is known to include:
- The nerve agents Sarin and VX. Colourless and tasteless, they cause death by respiratory arrest in one to 15 minutes.
- Blister agents such as mustard gas. Severely incapacitating, they damage tissue, causing extensive large blisters.
- Psychoactive agents such as Agent 15. Symptoms include dizziness, vomiting and hallucinations lasting for days. Biological warfare agents produced by Iraq include:
- Anthrax. Symptoms initially resemble that of a common cold and are only identifiable in the fatal phase. Once this begins, vomiting, severe head and joint pain, and respiratory distress will lead to death in one to three days.
- Botulinum. Causes botulism. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhoea, paralysis of the throat and convulsions, followed by death due to respiratory arrest.
- Aflotoxins. Poisons produced by fungi and mould, they have the capacity to cause liver cancer.
- Ricin. Inhalation leads to weakness, fever and pulmonary oedema within 24 hours followed by death.
- Clostridium perfringens. A bacterium which causes gangrene.
(Telegraph - UK)

Pentagon Brief Details Iraq's Arms Capability

The Pentagon is circulating a detailed assessment of Baghdad´s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs. The military also is working on a document that purportedly will show links among the al Qaeda terrorist organization and Iraq. The Pentagon briefing makes it clear that Iraq has the ability to use chemical weapons in battle.
    Sources declined to disclose the latest intelligence estimate on how close Saddam is to owning nuclear weapons. Outside analysts have said Saddam may be two years away. Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi Republican, attended the Pentagon briefing; he said he was not convinced that Iraq´s weapons programs justify a U.S. invasion.
   Washington-based Iraq Watch, a private research group, estimates that Iraq has scores of aerial bombs, munitions and missile warheads capable of delivering chemical weapons. Evidence suggests the country has 157 bombs and 25 missile warheads suitable for germ agents anthrax, aflatoxin and botulinum.
(Washington Times)    

Useful Reference:

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on Palestinian Violence and Terrorism
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Key Links

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Back Issues

News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Cheney Says Iraqi Strike Is Justified; Hussein Poses Threat
    Vice President Cheney argued yesterday for a preemptive attack on Saddam Hussein, declaring there is "no doubt" the dictator has weapons of mass destruction and is preparing to use them against the U.S. and its allies. Cheney's remarks provided the most detailed and passionate case the administration has made for action against Iraq, and it gave the issue new urgency by implying that hostilities could not wait long. "Deliverable weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terror network or a murderous dictator, or the two working together, constitutes as grave a threat as can be imagined. Time is not on our side. The risks of inaction are far greater than the risk of action." (Washington Post)
       See also White House transcript.
  • State Department to Train 17 Iraqi Exiles in PR
    To build support in the Arab world for regime change, the State Department is encouraging Iraqi exiles to speak out about the "brutality" of Saddam Hussein, a State Department spokesman said. 17 Iraqi exiles plan to visit the State Department this week for four days of media training on writing opinion pieces, giving speeches and doing television and radio interviews. (CNN)
  • U.S. Deportation Raises Lebanon Fears
    Lebanese political circles were in an uproar Monday over the arrival of Ramzi al-Najjar, a Palestinian engineering instructor, deported from the United States. The speaker of the Lebanese parliament criticized Lebanese authorities for allowing the plane to land. He suggested the incident was a rehearsal to encourage Israel to deport Yasser Arafat to Lebanon. A corporate jet hired by the U.S. Immigration Service landed at Beirut Airport with al-Najjar aboard after he was first refused entry by Italy, then by Bahrain. (UPI)
  • Saudi Official Claims Saudis Captured in Afghanistan Were Duped
    Many of the 125 Saudis held at Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba on suspicion of links to "terrorism" are youngsters who were duped into joining fighters in Afghanistan, Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmad bin Abdul-Aziz told the Arabic-language Okaz newspaper yesterday. He said no charges had yet been filed against any Saudis. "Many among the Saudi detainees are young and had been fooled or were inflamed by media reports about the situation in Afghanistan and the jihad so they went there without consulting (Muslim) scholars or their parents," the prince said. "There are also some detainees who were working with charity and humanitarian organizations, but they are few." (Reuters)
  • U.S. Marines Preview Baghdad Bloodbath; Simulated Assault on City Shows Heavy Losses Likely
    Saddam Hussein recently moved batteries of surface-to-air missiles from the desert into Baghdad, a signal that if attacked he plans to fight U.S. troops in the city instead of the open desert. 980 U.S. Marines went through an experimental 5-week training regimen in urban warfare in June, designed to lower the terrible casualty rates common in block-to-block fighting. This month, those same Marines were put to the test in a grueling four days of simulated urban combat at a Canadian base, up against foes who had been coached in the hit-and-run tactics of guerrilla fighters. Military radios, designed for fighting in open terrain, don't work nearly as well in cities full of obstructions. Nor were the Marines' anti-tank weapons suitable for urban warfare. The experiment showed that even the ablest Marines can get bogged down if they face a dug-in and determined enemy. (Ottawa Citizen)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Further Restrictions to Be Lifted in Gaza, Bethlehem
    Israel will lift restrictions on the Palestinians in Gaza and the Bethlehem region starting Wednesday. According to IDF evaluations, violence in the areas has been reduced, and a series of bans are to be lifted in the West Bank city: the IDF will allow laborers to enter Israel, teachers to travel to schools, clergymen to travel between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and merchandise to leave Bethlehem. (Ha'aretz)
  • Seven Israeli Arabs Held for Aiding Suicide Bomber
    Israeli police arrested seven Israeli Arabs from the Galilee for allegedly aiding the suicide bomber who attacked an Egged Bus August 4, killing 9 people and wounding 48. Ibrahim and Yassin Bakri and other family members reportedly helped the bomber by picking him up in Acre, purchasing batteries to power the explosive he carried, and sheltering him in the village. They hid his bomb in a nursery school and helped him choose his target. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Press Group Bans Journalists from Taking Pictures of Armed Kids The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate yesterday banned journalists from photographing Palestinian children carrying weapons or taking part in activities by militant groups, saying that the pictures harm the Palestinian cause. The group also called on Palestinian military groups to stop using children in their activities. "We have decided to forbid taking any footage of armed children, because we consider that as a clear violation of the rights of children and for negative effects these pictures have on the Palestinian people," the group said. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Bonds Soar in Sputtering U.S. Economy
    Since February, Israel Bonds has recorded record-breaking sales, raising close to $861 million by the end of July, 32 percent more than the previous year. The treasury has asked Israel Bonds to raise $1.25 billion by the end of the year, and if current sales figures hold, they will probably surpass that goal. Two reasons for the recent success are the wave of sympathy for Israel, particularly after suicide bombings outraged the world, and the attractive interest rates on bonds at a time when U.S. interest rates are the lowest in decades. (Ha'aretz)
  • Poll: Support for Arafat Hits Record Low
    Palestinians' support for PA Chairman Yasser Arafat has slumped to an all-time low, according to a survey published Monday by a respected pollster in Ramallah. Arafat's popularity rating has fallen to just 34%, compared to 46% two years ago. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Antiquities Authority: Temple Mount Wall in Danger
    The southern wall of Jerusalem's Temple Mount is in unequivocal danger of collapse, the head of the Israel Antiquities Authority confirmed Monday. "I cannot tell you when it will happen, and I do not know what section will fall, but I can tell you that the southern wall is indeed in danger of collapse," he warned. Archeologists and engineers are prevented by Wakf officials from carrying out needed tests on the Temple Mount to survey the damage and enable repairs. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Bin Laden Is Still Popular in the Arab World. Why? - Bernard Lewis
    Bin Laden remains an enormously popular figure not only with the extremists and radicals who form his main support group, but in much wider circles in the Muslim and more particularly in the Arab world. He responds, with words and with actions, to the seething resentment that has been growing for many years in the Muslim world, and offers some hope of vengeance and even of ultimate triumph. But something else is involved, which marks him off from earlier exponents of pan-Arab, pan-Islamic, and other revolutionary movements against Western domination. His eloquence is a skill much admired and appreciated in the Arab world. He is not a ruler, and therefore not tainted with tyranny and corruption. Bin Laden presents the inspiring spectacle of one who, by his own free choice, has forsaken a life of riches and comfort for one of hardship and danger. Arab governments confront a situation in which they have to choose between offending bin Laden and offending the U.S. In such a dilemma, the choice is not difficult. If they offend Osama, the consequences can be very dire indeed. If they offend the U.S., they will suffer no penalties and may even - if the right people in Washington have their way - receive some reward. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Mr. Cheney on Iraq - Editorial
    The administration still has much to do if it is to lay an adequate legal, political and diplomatic foundation for the ambitious enterprise it has in mind. The evidence of Saddam's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ambitions for using them must be more fully and convincingly detailed; so must the administration's calculation of the likely costs, in lives and resources, of destroying his regime. (Washington Post
  • Another Local Legend - Ehud Ya'ari
    A few hours after the killing of Salah Shehadeh, the commander of the military wing of Hamas, in Gaza on July 23, the claims started: Hamas, the argument went, had been on the verge of joining Fatah in a unilateral, unconditional cease-fire declaration, and only Israel, in its folly, and Sharon, in his profound nefariousness, prevented this miracle from happening. It should be clear now even to those who so eagerly bought into the "cease-fire that was missed" story - it never had a chance. Hamas was not about to accept, before Shehadeh's elimination, a formula that was several times more far-reaching than that which it rejected afterward. (Jerusalem Report)
  • Wimps on Iraq - Nicholas D. Kristof
    President Bush has convinced me that there is no philosophical reason we should not overthrow the Iraqi government. But Mr. Bush has not overcome some practical concerns about an invasion: Can we overthrow Saddam swiftly and at a reasonable cost in lives? Will an invasion trigger chemical attacks instead of preventing them? Do we have a plan for a post-Saddam Iraq? Is the Iraqi desert the best place to spend $55 billion? Will a war on Iraq set back the war on terror? What if we won in Iraq but lost in Saudi Arabia? (New York Times)
  • A Wake-up Call for All Arab-Americans - James Zogby
    Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's loss and that of Congressman Earl Hilliard earlier this summer provide a great deal for Arab Americans to think about. Most importantly, Arab Americans should not feel ashamed of their efforts in these two elections. The community did what they had to do - they performed well. Despite the fact that very few Arab Americans live in either congressional district, hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised and volunteers worked hard and gained rich political experience in both efforts. What Arab Americans could not do was overcome the real objective disadvantages faced by both candidates. Just as politicians must be careful and responsible, community leaders must be as well. The Muslim American leader who stood in front of the White House and said, on national television, "We are all Hamas, all Hizbullah and all Jihad" should have known that he put at risk himself, his community and all those elected officials to whom he sent campaign contributions. (Gulf News)
  • Talking Points:

    Deconstructing Baker - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)

    James A. Baker III provided his recommendations on how to confont Iraq in an August 25 New York Times column, The Right Way to Change a Regime

    • Baker argued: "We should frankly recognize that our problem in accomplishing regime change in Iraq is made more difficult by the way our policy on the Arab-Israeli dispute is perceived around the world....We cannot allow our policy toward Iraq to be linked to the Arab-Israeli dispute, as Saddam Hussein will cynically demand, just as he did in 1990 and 1991. But to avoid that, we need to move affirmatively, aggressively, and in a fair and balanced way to implement the president's vision for a settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute, as laid out in his June speech. That means, of course, reform by Palestinians and an end to terror tactics. But it also means withdrawal by Israeli forces to positions occupied before September 2000 and an immediate end to settlement activity."
    • Let's see if we've got this straight. In order to avoid any effort at "linkage," there must be linkage. So as not to fall into Saddam Hussein's trap, the U.S. must fall into the trap.
    • Tying a prospective war against Iraq with a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the U.S. would only encourage Palestinian terrorism, since the continuance of the crisis would mean delaying a U.S.attack.
    • Arab radicalism, not Israeli actions, is the source of aggression and instability in the Middle East.

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