Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with the Fairness Project
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see web version:


September 18, 2002

To contact the Presidents Conference:
[email protected]

In-Depth Issue:

U.S. War Planning Marches on Despite Iraq Offer - Charles Aldinger (Reuters)

    The Pentagon is moving ahead with contingency planning for possible war with Iraq, despite Baghdad's unconditional offer for the return of U.N. weapons inspectors, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.
    The officials said the United States was discussing with Britain the basing of up to six radar-avoiding B-2 "stealth" bombers on the British Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, and the military was proceeding with plans to send much of its key Central Command staff to Qatar for an exercise in November.
    Shipping sources said the U.S. Navy was seeking to ship more than 3,000 tons of military vehicles and ammunition from Europe to the Gulf, the fourth major U.S. arms delivery to the region since early August.

Quietly, Jordan Builds Case Against Iraq (Middle East Newsline)

    Jordan is quietly but steadily building a case for the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Jordan's state-controlled media have begun publishing stories of Jordanians abused and cheated in Baghdad. The stories tell of Jordanians coming to the Iraqi capital to get rich and ending up bleeding in the streets.
    Western diplomatic sources said the stories appear to be part of an effort to reduce support within the kingdom for the Saddam regime. Baghdad is regarded as a key financier of much of Jordan's opposition movement, particularly the powerful unions.

U.S. Special Operations Command's Role to Grow (Washington Post)

    The Pentagon is preparing to consolidate control of most of the global war on terrorism under the U.S. Special Operations Command, according to government sources.
    Special Operations units have been active in Pakistan for months and are training military forces in Yemen and Georgia.
    The U.S. also has more than 500 Special Operations troops in the African nation of Djibouti, near potential hot spots such as Yemen and Somalia.

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • West on Brink of Iraq War
    Saddam Hussein's dramatic promise to allow unfettered weapons inspections turned out to have strings attached. The Iraqi offer only applied to military bases - which could let Saddam hide chemical and biological arms stockpiles elsewhere. Hospitals are among key sites for inspections because of evidence that Saddam uses health laboratories to manufacture viruses for biological weapons. (Evening Standard - UK)
  • Inspections in Iraq Would Take Months
    Under existing UN Security Council resolutions, returning weapons inspectors would take at least five months to fully commence operations in Iraq and report on Baghdad's initial cooperation, and up to a year to preliminarily assess whether Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction or the capability to produce them. That could lead to both Iraqi deception and a loss of international and congressional momentum for stepped-up pressure against Baghdad. In continuing to press for a new UN inspections resolution, the Bush administration wants an accelerated timetable and much tougher and more definitive standards for judging Iraqi cooperation, in addition to UN-authorized consequences for noncompliance. (Washington Post)
  • Israel Prepares for Iraqi Attack
    "We are well prepared both in terms of defense and also in terms of an offensive response if there will be a need," the army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, said on Sunday. Gas mask kits are being distributed nationwide, and several Arrow antimissile batteries have been moved into place. (New York Times)
  • Terror Changes Israeli's Outlook - Margaret Coker
    Yitzhak Carlebach remembers the day in 1994 when his wife Tamar, 24, was killed in a suicide attack. "Tamar and I weren't really political...we both believed that Israel should make peace,'' he said. "I can't pinpoint an exact time, but [the suicide attacks] have changed my feelings. I see a hatred there [among Palestinians] that I never saw before. The political situation has changed since the early 1990s...[and] I feel more strongly now, as a Jew, that we have lost [the idea of political] compromise as an option.'' (Miami Herald)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Israeli Murdered Near Jerusalem
    David Buchbut, 67, from Maale Adumim, was murdered yesterday after entering the neighboring Arab town of Azariya, just east of Jerusalem, apparently to purchase supplies. (Maariv)
  • Israeli Arab Leaders Denounce U.S. Policy on Iraq
    Israeli Arab leaders Tuesday denounced what they called aggressive U.S. policies towards Iraq, at a meeting of the monitoring committee of the Israeli Arab leadership, composed of Arab MKs, council heads, and prominent public figures. Committee spokesman Abed Inbitawi said the policies of the administration of U.S. President Bush "posed a danger to the future of the human race." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Why Iraq Will Defeat Arms Inspectors - Gary Milhollin and Kelly Motz
    United Nations inspections, as they are currently constituted, will never work. In the past it was a rare inspection when the Iraqis did not know what the inspectors were looking for before they arrived. Iraq has now taken considerable pains to make its weapons programs mobile. (New York Times)
  • A War We Can Afford - Robert J. Samuelson
    The United States has become so wealthy it can wage war almost with pocket change. A war with Iraq would probably cost less than 1 percent of national income (gross domestic product). If this war is necessary, we can afford it. (Newsweek)
  • The Rumors about Palestinian Democracy Were Premature - Danny Rubinstein
    The caricaturist at Al-Hayat al-Jedida, the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority, drew Arafat's government as the Twin Towers in New York and the Palestinian parliament as a large commercial airliner crashing into the towers. Yet no one really doubts that Arafat will succeed in persuading, tempting, and buying off political hacks and activists to approve a new Palestinian cabinet in two weeks. As much as there is anger among the leadership over his method of ruling, there is no one in the leading Palestinian echelons who is seeking to replace Arafat. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arafat's Rats are Deserting a Sinking Ship - Dmitry Litvinovich
    Imagine for a minute that Palestine is a large ship traveling on a stormy sea. The sailors (deputies of the Palestinian Parliament) accused senior officers of the ship (the ministers in Arafat's government) of plundering the supplies (embezzlement). The captain (Yasser Arafat) ordered barrels of wine be rolled on deck in order to appease the sailors (he decreed the presidential and parliamentary elections). All officers have left the ship, including Arafat's top aide Saeb Erekat. No one knows what Captain Arafat is going to do now or where his Palestinian ship is going to sail. (Pravda - Russia)
  • Iraq, Upside Down - Thomas L. Friedman
    I think the chances of Saddam being willing, or able, to use a weapon of mass destruction against us are being exaggerated. What terrifies me is the prospect of another 9/11 - in my mall, in my airport, or in my downtown - triggered by angry young Muslims, motivated by some pseudo-religious radicalism cooked up in a mosque in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or Pakistan. I am for invading Iraq only if we think that doing so can bring about regime change and democratization. Because what the Arab world desperately needs is a model that works - a progressive Arab regime that by its sheer existence would create pressure and inspiration for gradual democratization and modernization around the region. (New York Times)
  • Talking Points:

    U.S. Reluctant to Take a Hard Line with Damascus - Nathan Guttman (Ha'aretz)

    • Discussions on the Syrian Accountability Act by the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee have been postponed by a week at the request of the Bush administration. The proposed law will necessitate sanctions on Syria if it continues to support terror organizations, specifically Hizballah, just when the U.S. is focusing its efforts on an assault on Iraq.
    • In June, Syria gave the U.S. information gathered from a senior al Qaeda member who had been extradited by Morocco to Syria. According to U.S. reports, the information pertained to al Qaeda plans to carry out terror attacks against American soldiers in the Gulf. However, intelligence sources say the stream of information from Damascus to Washington has dried up of late, and the level of cooperation with Syria on al Qaeda is no longer significant.
    • Sources in Washington also note Damascus' refusal to respond favorably to U.S. requests to restrain Hizballah (Vice President Richard Cheney's personal request to Assad was ignored), information about al Qaeda members taking refuge in Lebanon's refugee camps, and Syrian cooperation with Iraq.
    • According to several reports, Syria's Latakia port became a central route for transferring weapons and equipment from eastern Europe to Iraq, in violation of UN sanctions. Syria is also purchasing oil from Iraq in violation of the terms set by the UN for the "Oil for Food" program.
    • America is concerned about a flare-up on Israel's northern border that would endanger stability in the region on the eve of a U.S.-led attack on Iraq, but has also not forogotten that Hizballah was responsible for attacks against U.S. soldiers and civilians in Lebanon. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield has asked European leaders to add Hizballah to the EU list of terror organizations.
    • Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing down terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations, President Bush said in his Mideast speech on June 24, a speech that was condemned by Damascus.

    To subscribe to the Daily Alert, please send a blank email message to:
        [email protected]
    To unsubscribe to the Daily Alert, please send a blank email message to:
        [email protected]