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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November 25, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

December 8 is Saddam's Moment of Truth - Tony Karon (Time)

    In meetings with top Iraqi officials in Baghdad, Swedish diplomat Hans Blix, head of the UN inspection team, stressed the importance of a full and accurate accounting by the December 8 deadline of all Iraqi facilities potentially involved in the production of weapons of mass destruction. Iraq, in its letter accepting Resolution 1441, restated its claim that it has no such weapons programs.
    Blix pointedly urged them to reexamine their inventories to make sure that any offending items were declared, because any undeclared programs or stocks revealed in the course of subsequent inspections would put Iraq squarely in breach of 1441 - and almost certainly trigger a military response.
    The U.S. and Britain believe they have evidence of active Iraqi nuclear, chemical, and biological programs. If these are not declared by Baghdad on Dec. 8, the next step by Washington and London will likely be to provide Blix's team with their hottest intelligence to point them to the locations where they'll catch Iraq red-handed. If that happens, an invasion will likely be inevitable.

Saddam's Son Ran Torture Cell - Jon Swain (London Times)

    The London-based human rights group Indict, headed by Labour MP Ann Clwyd, will ask the International Olympic Committee to suspend Iraq due to Saddam Hussein's son Uday's "extreme and outrageous" violations of the Olympic charter, including violations of human rights.
    The organization was set up in 1997 with the aim of bringing Saddam and other Iraqi leaders before an international court on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
    Uday allegedly ran a 30-cell prison for sportsmen and others who had offended him in the basement of Iraq's lavish Olympic committee headquarters in Baghdad.
    A Kurdish athlete and former prisoner described other prisoners he met including a bodyguard who saved Uday's life when he was shot in 1996, a newspaper editor who had failed to attend an Olympic committee meeting, a zookeeper accused of letting two lion cubs die, and an executive from Uday's television station who had allowed a 20-second gap after a broadcast of slogans before Saddam's photograph appeared on screen.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Saudis Say Cash to Friend of Hijackers was Charity - Philip Shenon
    The wife of the Saudi ambassador to Washington provided tens of thousands of dollars in what she believed were charitable gifts to the family of a Saudi man in San Diego who befriended and assisted two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, the Saudi government said Saturday. The payments from Princess Haifa al-Faisal, the wife of Ambassador Bandar bin Sultan, began more than four years ago. (New York Times)
        See also The Saudi Money Trail (Newsweek)
  • Inside the Secret Campaign to Topple Saddam
    In small ways and big ones, the U.S. and its allies are working like termites to undermine the rickety foundations of Saddam's rule. People in the know are behaving as if a war to unseat the regime in Baghdad has already begun. The U.S. has contacted groups that may be capable of sabotage before full-scale hostilities start, according to a senior intelligence official.
        According to U.S. and Israeli officials, Israeli special forces have been operating inside Iraq's western desert on reconnaissance and training missions, surveying 30,000 sq. mi. for places where Iraq might have hidden the missiles and launchers it kept after the Gulf War. Sources say that should a war start, Israel will ask the U.S. to allow it to contribute a few three-man teams to the search for missiles. The bulk of the searches, the Israelis assume, will be carried out by British and American special forces. (Time)
  • Islamists Escalate Fight in Northern Iraq - Scott Peterson
    Some 650 al Qaeda-backed Islamic militants, the Ansar al-Islam ("Soldiers of God"), are based in northern Iraq. Analysts say that Ansar numbers have grown in recent months and include 80 or so Arabs and others trained by al Qaeda in Afghanistan. In October 2001, 42 Kurdish fighters were ambushed by Ansar, and then butchered. Ansar has dug into the mountains and controls 18 villages, local commanders say. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Killing Underscores Evangelist-Muslim Enmity - Neil MacFarquhar
    With hymns and prayers, fellow missionaries eulogized Bonnie Penner Witherall, grieving for the 31-year-old American who was killed by a gunman last week at the prenatal clinic of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Sidon, Lebanon, where she worked. Last spring a small but influential Muslim monthly denounced the group as a Zionist organization: "They destroy the fighting spirit of the children, especially of the Palestinian youth, by teaching them not to fight the Jews, for the Palestinians to forgive the Jews and leave them Jerusalem." (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Boat Bomb Attack Injures Four Sailors
    Four Israel Navy seamen were injured late Friday when a fishing boat laden with explosives blew up close to a naval gunship off the northern coast of the Gaza Strip. Two Palestinians on board the fishing boat were killed. In response, the IDF imposed a total naval closure on the Gaza Strip coastline. (Ha'aretz)
  • Investigation of Death of UN Official in Jenin
    A UN official was killed on Friday during a gun battle in the Jenin refugee camp. The initial investigation of the events shows that UNWRA headquarters in the camp was being used by the terrorists as cover from which to shoot at IDF soldiers. In addition, there were at least seven cases in which direct fire was aimed towards IDF forces from an alley near UNWRA headquarters. In two cases terrorists opened fired while using civilians as human shields. In one of the cases, a terrorist opened fire while taking cover behind a woman holding an UNWRA flag. While shots were being fired toward IDF forces from UNWRA headquarters, two IDF soldiers identified a man holding an object resembling a pistol (which later proved to be a cellphone) and opened fire toward him. (IDF)
  • U.S. Backtracks on Peres-Powell Deal over Settlements - Aluf Benn
    The U.S. administration does not recognize the understandings relating to "natural growth" in the settlements that were worked out between former Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in June 2001. In a message conveyed to Jerusalem at the weekend, a senior Bush administration official said that the understandings were "invalid." According to the understandings, no new settlements would be established and no more land would be appropriated for building purposes. Construction would be frozen beyond the built-up areas of the settlements, but the freeze is contingent on Palestinian implementation of the remaining clauses in the Mitchell Report.
        Israel has made clear to the United States that construction will continue in the existing areas of the settlements to meet "the ongoing needs" of the communities. A statement from the Prime Minister's Bureau said Israel was adamant about upholding the Peres-Powell understandings: "To the best of our knowledge, this is also the position of the White House."
        The director of the Prime Minister's Bureau, Dov Weisglass, will meet Monday with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and will raise Israel's request for $4 billion in military aid, plus U.S. loan guarantees for $10 billion. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • If Europe Had Stopped Hitler in 1936 - Parallels with Iraq - Shlomo Avineri
    Wouldn't the world be a better place today if the international community in 1936 had possessed the will to stop Hitler? In a way, Hussein's record today is worse than Hitler's was in 1936. Hussein has already invaded two of his neighbors (Iran and Kuwait), attacked Israel with missiles, and used poison gas against his own population. His treatment of the Iraqi Kurds is much worse than Hitler's treatment of the Jews was by 1936. And Hussein may possess weapons of mass destruction Hitler hadn't dreamed of. Shouldn't Europe - and the rest of the world - be considering these parallels? (Los Angeles Times)
  • Slaughter of Innocents - Editorial
    The latest Palestinian suicide bombing is an act of execrable cruelty matched only by its unutterable stupidity. This was not an attack on a military target. Its victims were not "oppressors"; they were ordinary people on their way to work, children going to school. (Guardian - UK)
  • Statesmanship, Saudi Style - Colbert I. King
    When it comes to Saudis, religion is a one-way street. Saudis expect to practice and proselytize their faith across the U.S. without hindrance, but reciprocation is out of the question. Saudi Arabia prohibits public display of the Holy Bible, crosses, the Star of David and the Torah, religious songbooks, and Christian CDs. The mutawa, the Saudi religious police, launch search-and-destroy missions in the kingdom against practicing Christians and other non-Muslim religious observers. (Washington Post)
  • Talking Points:

    Captured Document Reveals PA Plans for Explosives Factory - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)

    • The PA's Preventive Security Organization in the Gaza Strip is attempting to establish a factory for producing large quantities of nitric acid, the most important chemical in making explosives, according to a secret document seized in an IDF raid on the group's headquarters last week.
    • The document describes the setting up of the factory as a "strategic project." The plant's annual production capacity of nitric acid was to have reached 15 tons, which could lead to the production of military grade explosives, such as TNT or RDX.
    • The Preventive Security Organization intended to provide all the Palestinian militant organizations with explosives, including those opposed to Arafat.
    • According to the Oslo Accords, acquiring or producing such explosives is strictly forbidden.

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