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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October 3, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Syria Discusses New Missile Sale with Russia (Middle East Newsline)

    Syria is said to have launched negotiations for the sale of anti-aircraft missiles from Russia. Western diplomatic sources said Syria is progressing in its drive to obtain the SA-18 surface-to-air missile from Moscow, a deal that could vastly improve the air defense component of Syria's forces.
    A diplomatic source familiar with the talks said, "This is meant to significantly bolster Syria's air defense and ground capabilities and the talks are seen as being in the advanced stage."
    Israel has asked the U.S. to pressure Russia to block the missile deal.

Iraq's Forgotten Majority - Frank Smyth (New York Times)

    Sunni Arabs, including Saddam Hussein and most Iraqis in the American-backed opposition, account for no more than 16 percent of the Iraqi population; they dominate central Iraq as far south as Baghdad.
    Ethnic Kurds, who are also Sunni Muslims, make up about 20 percent of Iraq's population and are concentrated in the mountainous north.
    But nearly two-thirds of Iraqis are Shiite Muslims, and they populate the slums of Baghdad as well as the south of Iraq.
    Shiite Muslims would be the largest voting bloc in any democratic Iraq. This is why the Bush administration must find a way to integrate them into its Iraq planning, something it has so far failed to do.
    American officials have long been reluctant to work with Iraqi Shiites out of fear that they might be too close to Iran, where the Shiite faith predominates. But Iraqi and Iranian Shiites are not as close as it might seem. The Iraqis are Arabs and the Iranians are Persian.

Iraq's Bioweapons Program Started with Germs Supplied by U.S. (ABC News/AP)

    In the 1980s, when the United States supported Iraq in its war against Iran, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and a biological sample company sent Iraq strains of all the germs it used to make weapons, including anthrax, the bacteria that make botulinum toxin, and the germs that cause gas gangrene.

Key Links

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • New Law Won't Alter U.S. Stand on Jerusalem, Bush Aides Say
    The Bush administration said today that it would ignore as unconstitutional new congressional dictates that would require the United States to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That put the administration in the unusual position of disregarding part of a law that Mr. Bush signed on Monday. Congressional aides predicted that the issue was likely to be fought out in court. (New York Times)
        See also Talking Points: The Battle of Jerusalem
  • Iraq Concealing Evidence of Deadly Weapons, Says U.S. Intelligence
    U.S. intelligence officials say Iraq has begun a new effort to conceal evidence of its weapons of mass destruction program. The activity is being linked to the possible return of UN weapons inspectors. Intelligence sources say they have detected fresh activity around suspected Iraqi weapons sites, including the removal of items believed linked to Baghdad's chemical and biological weapons programs. (VOA)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Blair's Remarks Comparing UN Resolutions on Iraq and Israel Coordinated with U.S. - Aluf Benn
    A report reaching Jerusalem indicates that British Prime Minister Tony Blair coordinated his remarks Tuesday on Iraqi and Israeli compliance with UN resolutions with the U.S. government "right up to the last comma." Blair also called for renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations for a final status accord by year's end and referred to an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders.
        Israeli officials insisted that no comparison should be drawn between UN resolutions which pertain to Israel and those which apply to Iraq. Security Council resolutions on the Israeli-Arab dispute are based on section 6 of the UN charter, and are not binding. In contrast, resolutions on Iraq derive from section 7, and are compulsory and binding. (Ha'aretz)
  • Family Turns In Potential Homicide Bomber
    On Tuesday evening, a wanted Palestinian on the verge of carrying out a suicide attack presented himself to an Israeli unit operating in Nablus, accompanied by his mother. It appears that his family's fear of the measures Israel might take against them in response to the young man's actions caused them to decide to turn him in. (IDF)
  • IDF Arrests Pro-Iraqi Faction Head in Ramallah
    Rakad Salem, head of the pro-Iraqi Arab Liberation Front, was arrested by an IDF undercover unit in Ramallah. Iraq has used the group to funnel millions of dollars to relatives of Palestinian terrorists in hopes of encouraging Palestinians to continue fighting against Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • World Islamic Body Warns of Muslim Backlash Over Jerusalem
    The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, warned Tuesday that a U.S. law demanding the American Embassy in Israel be moved from Tel Aviv to Bait-ul-Moqaddas [Jerusalem] will only heighten Muslim resentment. [Note: The reference to Jerusalem as "Bait-ul-Moqaddas" is strikingly similar to the Hebrew "Beit HaMikdash," referring to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.] (Tehran Times)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Shameful Contagion - Mortimer B. Zuckerman
    Europe is sick again. The memory of 6 million murdered Jews, it seems, is no longer inoculation against the virus of antisemitism. The historic antisemitism denying individual Jews the right to live as equal members of society has horribly coalesced with a new version of antisemitism that denies the collective expression of the Jewish people, namely Israel, to live as an equal member of the family of nations. Many Europeans are shocked by the re-emergence of hatred of Jews, but the most common reaction has been complacency. (U.S. News)
  • Payback Time as Saddam's "Friends" Desert Him - Paul McGeough
    Even as the Arab League's Amr Moussa warned that a U.S. strike on Iraq would "open the gates of hell," Arab leaders have said nothing about a very obvious U.S. military build-up in the region - not even the suggestion that an ambassador might be recalled; not even a hint that they might resort to use of the oil weapon. "There will be demonstrations and the U.S. flag will be burnt. There will be fatwahs, and people will donate blood for the Iraqis that will never get to them. But major demonstrations will not be allowed," said Jamal Kashoggi, a Jeddah-based commentator. (Sydney Morning Herald]
  • Arab Attitudes on Mideast Change - Hamza Hendawi
    For most Arabs, the suicide bomber has replaced the stone-throwing youngster as the defining symbol of Palestinian resistance. Suicide bombers are being portrayed as the ultimate Palestinian heroes. Their attacks have even prompted celebrations in some Arab countries. Arab leaders, including those of close U.S. allies like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, have hardened their own rhetoric against Israel and Washington, hoping to ride the wave of popular anger which has distracted from troubles at home. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Crude - Peter Beinart
    The "this war is really about oil" thesis may be marginal in Washington, but it's pervasive beyond America's shores. According to the thesis, the United States could force a pliant post-Saddam Hussein regime to spurn OPEC's production quotas and flood the market with cheap crude, boosting the U.S. economy, potentially wrecking the international cartel that keeps oil relatively expensive, and reducing U.S. dependence on a Saudi Arabian monarchy the American right no longer trusts. It's a seductive thesis, but why not simply lift sanctions? Attacking Saddam, after all, entails huge financial costs, risks American lives, and could prompt civil war in precisely those parts of Iraq where oil companies want to drill. (New Republic)
  • Tense Times Between Washington and Cairo - Jane Perlez
    These are tense times between Washington and Egypt, the largest Arab country and an important strategic ally. The Bush administration regards President Hosni Mubarak as an ungrateful recipient of nearly $2 billion in annual assistance. Moreover, it views Egypt as a recalcitrant student of political and economic reform. (New York Times)
  • Talking Points:

    The Battle of Jerusalem - Editorial (New York Sun)

    • Blair's speech calling for Israel to return to the 1967 boundaries is all the more ironic in light of the fact that it was Lord Caradon, envoy of Mr. Blair's own Labor Party, who drafted Security Council Resolution 242 which specifically did not require such a move. Caradon explained later, "It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial."
    • The Jewish connection to Jerusalem goes back 3,000 years. Israel has administered the city since 1967 in a way that has allowed free access to holy sites to people of all faiths. This stands in marked contrast to the last time the Arabs held the city, from 1948 to 1967, during which time synagogues were leveled and Jewish tombstones were used for Jordanian army latrines.
    • The American Congress has overwhelmingly and repeatedly recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and recognized the need to maintain it as an undivided city. This is enshrined in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.
    • While a presidential waiver applies to the financial penalties for not moving the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, the requirement to move the embassy and the policy on Jerusalem as Israel's capital are not subject to waiver.
    • Dividing a free and democratic country's capital and handing half of it to the terrorists is no way for a great nation like America to treat its friends or to do anything other than whet the appetite of the terrorists whose defeat we seek.

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