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 9, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Attack May Spark Coup In Iraq, Say U.S. Analysts - Walter Pincus (Washington Post)

    Senior intelligence experts have reached a consensus that Saddam Hussein would likely be ousted in a coup led by members of his inner circle in the final days or hours before U.S. forces launch a major ground attack.
    Faced with an imminent, overwhelming U.S. assault and the choice of either being Hussein's successors or being imprisoned or killed in the fighting, top-ranking officers and senior officials would take the chance to eliminate the Iraqi leader.
    Earlier this year, President Bush directed the CIA to undertake a comprehensive covert program to topple the Iraqi leader. In June, CIA Director George Tenet briefed Bush and senior cabinet members that the newly authorized covert plan had only a small chance of working unless it was accompanied by outside military action, or at least by convincing the Iraqis that overwhelming military action was imminent.
    Iraqi officers "will have to be certain the Americans are coming with overwhelming force before they move," said one top government analyst. Said a former senior Clinton administration official, citing a failed CIA attempt employing Iraqi senior officers to eliminate Hussein in 1996: "It always has been the view of [the] intelligence community that there was a low chance of success in the absence of the sound of [military] footsteps in Baghdad."
    The assessment that a coup in Baghdad would be possible, if not probable, may have helped shape some of the administration's thinking about a post-Hussein Iraq, leading many CIA and State Department officials, for example, to oppose recognition of the leaders of prominent Iraqi exile groups.
    A military-led coup could help keep Iraq together and avoid moves toward separation by its three major ethnic groups: the Shiite majority, Kurdish groups in the north, and the Sunni minority that has dominated the country in recent times. A coup also would leave many of Iraq's upper- and middle-level bureaucrats in place, limiting the need for major rebuilding of the government.

    For a critique of the internal coup strategy, see How to Liberate Iraq (Wall Street Journal)
    The danger with a coup is that some new Baathist thug would simply take his place. In the long run it could delay the emergence of a more pluralistic, Western-oriented Iraq and all that means for reshaping the Mideast into a more stable, modernizing region. Saddam-lite is not the answer to Iraq's problems - or to those of the Arab world.

U.S. Christians to Rally for Israel in Washington

    Thousands of U.S. Christians are expected to arrive in Washington for a mass pro-Israel rally being convened by the Christian Coalition on Friday. Other prominent pro-Israel Christian groups, such as the National Unity Coalition for Israel and Bridges for Peace, are mobilizing their membership to attend the rally as well. (Jerusalem Post)

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Hamas Challenges PA Police
    Gunmen from the militant group Hamas are challenging the Palestinian police in a blood feud that has claimed five lives in two days. (Austin American-Statesman/AP)
        See also PA Security Officials Hiding from Hamas
    Many senior Palestinian Authority security officials in the Gaza Strip have gone underground, fearing retaliatory attacks from Hamas activists. "Commanders of PA security forces are afraid to sleep in their homes," sources in the Gaza Strip said. "Many of them have stopped showing up at work." The killing of Col. Rajeh Abu Lihyeh, head of the PA's anti-riot police force, on Monday in broad daylight, is seen as a severe blow to the PA's prestige. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iraq War Crimes Dossiers in Works
    The Bush administration is laying the groundwork for prosecuting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and a "dirty dozen" other officials for genocide, "ethnic cleansing," mass executions, and other crimes against humanity. The push to prepare dossiers for war crimes prosecutions involves the State Department, the Pentagon, and the intelligence community. One name on the list is Ali Hassan Majid, nicknamed "Chemical Ali" for his role in a 1988 operation that used chemical weapons to kill tens of thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Nablus Under Curfew - Chris McGreal
    Colonel Noam Tibon, a 40-year-old, Harvard-educated, IDF career officer, is specific about why he has subjected Nablus to a longer and tighter curfew than anywhere else. "The people in Nablus are responsible for more than 80% of all the suicide bombs in Israel," he said. "The biggest laboratories for making bombs are here, and many people who volunteer for suicide squads." As a result of the curfew, no homicide bombings have been successfully launched from Nablus in the past 100 days and 15 potential bombers have been captured. (Guardian - UK)
  • Inside the "Garden of Evil" - Paul McGeough
    In the year since three-quarters of the September 11 hijackers were revealed to have come from Saudi Arabia, resentment has become the dominant emotion in the kingdom. Even when they express horror, many Saudis quickly segue to a variation of: "Well, the Americans deserved it, didn't they?" Saudis seek refuge in a parallel universe, a place where answers to questions about what is rotten in Saudi Arabia dwell on the faults of the U.S. and Israel. (Sydney Morning Herald)
  • U.S. Jewish Population Shrinking, Aging
    The number of U.S. Jews now stands at 5.2 million, down from 5.5 million in 1990, even as the total U.S. population is growing, according to the National Jewish Population Survey 2000-2001. Jews represent 2 percent of the American population. (JTA)
        See also Summary of the Survey (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Foreign Minister Visits Arab Mauritania
    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres arrived on Tuesday in Mauritania, a rare ally of Israel among Arab countries. Mauritania became the third Arab League country after Egypt and Jordan to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1999. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • New Revelations of Arafat's Links to Saddam - Felix Frisch
    Rakad Salem, head of the pro-Iraqi Arab Liberation Front and a political adviser to Arafat, has told Shin Bet investigators that Saddam Hussein transferred $15 million to the families of "martyrs" - including Palestinian homicide bombers and Israeli Arabs - over the past two years. Salem worked closely with the "Palestine" office of the pan-Arab division of the Iraqi Baath party and had met with Saddam Hussein in 2000 during a visit to Iraq.
        According to captured documents, $10,000 in cash was given to each of the families of 12 Israeli Arabs killed in the October 2000 riots, two months after the events. Saddam himself set the rate of compensation at $10,000 for a martyr, $1,000 for a serious wound, and $500 for a light wound. (Yediot Ahronot)
        PA officials have been at ceremonies to mark the disbursement of money from Iraq to families of those killed or injured in the intifada. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Ambush Israeli Car, Wound Four
    Four Israelis were wounded Tuesday, one critically, when their car was fired on south of Hebron. The gunmen stood on both sides of the road and opened fire as the vehicle passed. Cartridges from three weapons were found at the scene. IDF soldier Eliezer Leibovitz and three members of the Dikstein family were murdered in the same location two months ago. (Ha'aretz)
  • Qaddumi : PLO No Longer Recognizes Israel
    Palestinian Foreign Minister Faruq Qaddumi has stated that the PLO no longer recognizes Israel and adheres to its national charter, which includes clauses that call for Israel's destruction. He praised all types of military operations carried out by the Palestinian resistance fighters against Israelis. (IMRA/Al-Bayan - Dubai)
  • Mediterranean Trade Group Rejects Palestinian Bid to Oust Israel
    The Union of Mediterranean Confederations of Enterprises (UMCE), founded as part of the Barcelona process to establish a Mediterranean free-trade zone, rejected a motion by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to oust Israel from the organization, stating that the motion was political, while the UMCE is not a political organization. Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, Malta, and Turkey are also UMCE members. (Globes)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Divestment Not Appropriate Goal - Brooke Neuman
    Divestment from Israel is wrong - both from a logical and political perspective - and needs to be recognized as such. Divestment is about hurting Israel, not about creating an environment for peace. (Johns Hopkins University)
  • The Truth About the Mideast - David G. Littman
    Fourteen fundamental facts about Israel and Palestine. (National Review)
  • Talking Points:

    Beirut to Begin Pumping, Israel Won't React For Now (Ha'aretz)

    • Beirut plans to begin pumping water from the new Wazzani pumping station in advance of a mid-October dedication ceremony, Lebanese news reports said.
    • Prime Minister Sharon told the Israeli cabinet he had "made it clear" to the American government that Israel will not put up with any pumping of water from the Wazzani. Yet due to the "current sensitive circumstances" in the Middle East, Israel is not yet reacting to the developments on the Lebanese side of the border.
    • Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon said the pumping is part of "a power struggle between Amal and the Hizballah, which is trying to create a new source of friction with Israel." According to Lebanese press reports, Amal leader Nabih Beri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament, decided on the Wazzani pumping.
    • The U.S. has proposed that the Lebanese pump only enough from the river to provide drinking water for the local villages and that water would not be diverted for crop irrigation - an amount that would not alter the general balance of the Jordan River basin. Water experts in Israel are reviewing the U.S. proposal before the government makes a formal response.

    A Lebanese Fig Leaf - Mordechai Keidar (Ha'aretz)

    • The work the Lebanese government is doing to prevent the waters of the Wazzani spring from reaching Israel is undoubtedly proceeding with prior approval from Syria. Damascus assured Lebanon in advance that it would provide political and military cover for a project that affects one of the most sensitive issues for Israel - water.
    • The Wazzani episode has a direct impact on the future of the Golan Heights. Because of Syria and Lebanon's handling of this important water source, no sane Israeli, not even a diehard peace advocate, will agree to withdraw from the Golan Heights, and thereby provide Syria with the option of diverting, yet again, the waters of the Banias River, controlling the Yarmuk River descent or even overlooking Lake Kinneret.

    "Buy Israel" Campaign

    The Conference of Presidents has partnered with the Israel Economic Mission in North America, the Israel Export Institute and others to launch a major promotion of Israeli goods, beginning with Fine Foods from Israel. The "Buy Israel" campaign is intended help identify products exported by Israel, increase their availability and accessibility in the American market, improve their image, and help them be more competitive.

    The immediate goal is to create a nationwide web-based consumer guide for the retail consumer. The web site will help American shoppers identify local supermarkets and grocery stores that sell Israeli foods. Tell us of stores in your area that sell Israeli foods. E-mail the name and full address of each store to Lily Zagorsky at the Israel Economic Mission, [email protected]. �

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