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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December 12, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Saddam and Al Qaeda - David Rose (London Evening Standard)

    According to the conventional wisdom, Saddam is a "secular" dictator, whose loathing for Islamic fundamentalism is intense.
    Yet Hamas, the fundamentalist Palestinian group, whose gift to the world is the suicide bomb, has maintained a Baghdad office - funded by Saddam - for many years. His intelligence service, the Mukhabarat, has a special department whose sole function is liaison with Hamas.
    In 1993, Abdul Rahman Yasin made the truck bomb which wrought destruction and killed six in the first New York World Trade Center attack - then coolly boarded a plane for Baghdad, where he still resides.
    A very senior CIA man told me that two of the 9/11 hijackers, Marwan Al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah, had met Mukhabarat officers in the months before the attack in the United Arab Emirates.
    CIA reports contain almost 100 separate examples of Iraq-al Qaeda co-operation going back to 1992.

Palestinians File Bogus Claims to Get Israeli Compensation (Israel Defense Forces)

    Several Palestinian suspects testified to filing fake claims against the IDF for injuries that they profess to have received at the hands of IDF soldiers, in order to receive compensation from Israel.
    One Palestinian suspect testified that he was wounded by stones thrown at IDF forces by Palestinian children. In the hospital, a doctor gave him a complaint form blaming the IDF, which enabled him to claim compensation from Israel. "I gave this form to a foundation called the 'Foundation for the Wounded'. They told me to say that I had been injured by gunshots, so I went back to the doctor who offered to change the complaint form."
    Another Palestinian suspect fell down the stairs at his home on Oct. 26, 2002, and broke his leg. According to his testimony, his neighbor told him, "Tell them that Israeli soldiers beat you. You'll be able to receive a lot of money in compensation for the broken leg" - and the man received $200.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Suspects Al Qaeda Got Nerve Agent from Iraqis
    Islamic extremists affiliated with al Qaeda took possession of a chemical weapon in Iraq in November or late in October, according to two officials with firsthand knowledge of the report and its source. They said government analysts suspect that the transaction involved the nerve agent VX and that a courier managed to smuggle it overland through Turkey. (Washington Post)
        See also Iraq Imports Nerve Agent Antidote with U.S. Approval
    With U.S. approval, Iraq imported more than 2 million vials of the drug atropine over the past five years, despite concerns that it could be used to inoculate Iraqi soldiers participating in chemical warfare, according to UN sources. (Washington Post)
  • Countdown to War - Stephen F. Hayes
    Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was in Ankara to reconfirm with the newly elected government a deal he negotiated with its predecessor back in July giving the United States use of Turkish air bases for military intervention in Iraq. At NATO, nine of the nineteen member countries indicated that they were likely to support the U.S. no matter what. Among them: Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. But even as diplomacy continues, says a senior Pentagon official, "we're developing military plans that have a certain momentum of their own." (Weekly Standard)
  • Canada Bans Hizballah
    Canada slapped a total ban on Hizballah Wednesday after the Lebanese guerrilla group urged Palestinians to carry out more suicide attacks in Israel. Hizballah's military wing was banned in late 2001 but Ottawa had resisted pressure to outlaw the political wing. Solicitor-General Wayne Easter said, "The purpose of this action is to ensure that no more money is raised in Canada for the purposes of advocating terrorism." Britain still recognizes the movement's political wing. (Reuters)
  • Iraqi Village Still Suffering From '88 Gas Attack - C. J. Chivers
    On March 16, 1988, waves of Iraqi warplanes dropped gas canisters on Halabja, a Kurdish village of roughly 50,000 people, bathing neighborhoods in what is believed to have been a misty cocktail of nerve and blister agents - sarin, tabun, mustard, VX - and perhaps the biological agent aflatoxin as well. Before nightfall the dead littered basements and the streets. Estimates of the dead range from 3,200 to 7,000. An additional 15,000 to 20,000 people were injured, Kurdish doctors say. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Israel Receives Two U.S. Patriot Batteries - Amos Harel
    Two Patriot missile batteries arrived at the Ashdod port this week in advance of a large-scale military exercise by American and Israeli soldiers. The Patriots will remain in Israel to bolster the country's defenses in the event of an attack by Iraq during the anticipated American operation against Saddam Hussein. Germany recently announced that it will also supply two Patriot batteries to Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Turkey Moves Troops to Iraqi Border
    Turkish sources said thousands of military and paramilitary forces were deployed around the Iraqi border over the weekend. Turkey was already said to have more than 10,000 troops along the Iraqi border. Many of the troops were deployed in northern Iraq and operate in coordination with the U.S. (Middle East Newsline)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Pull Scientists Out of Iraq - James Woolsey
    This is all a charade. Everybody knows that Saddam has chemical and bacteriological weapons. The only prayer of inspectors finding anything is to bring out the scientists. Probably 90 percent of what we learned in the 1990s about Saddam's weapons we learned from defecting scientists. There is no way to talk honestly with those who have been recently hiding weapons without getting them and their families out of the country beyond the reach of Saddam's torture machine. (International Herald Tribune)
        See also Iraqi Regime Hiding Scientists - David Wastell
    Many of the Iraqi scientists UN arms inspectors want to interview have been spirited abroad or switched to innocuous posts and their places taken by unknown technicians, according to Iraqi exiles and Western officials. (London Daily Telegraph/Washington Times)
  • Iran: The Real War - Michael Ledeen
    The past weekend's monster demonstrations all over the country suggest that the Iranians have turned an historic corner. I have reports of large-scale fighting between demonstrators and security forces in several major cities, from Isfahan and Tabriz to Qom, Mashad and Shiraz, all over the country. Regular police did not participate in the repression, and were rewarded by calls of "Thank you, police!" from the demonstrators. The bulk of the dirty work seems to have been done by the so-called "Afghan Arabs," brought in from Afghanistan and Iraq. (National Review)
        See also Iran's Youth Reveal Anger and Sadness - Sue Lloyd-Roberts
    Fatima stopped to talk to me as I walked past the "Death to Israel" rally in Tehran, an annual ritual where hundreds of people are bussed into the city to shout obscenities against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and U.S. President George Bush. She was embarrassed. "Most of us don't think like that, at least the educated ones who have read about how Iran was before the revolution," the pretty 23-year-old says later, surrounded by screaming women draped in shroud-like black chadors. (BBC)
  • Saudi Arabia: No Friend of Ours - Ken Adelman
    Saudi Ambassador Bandar oils his way across Washington with oil dollars to lobbyists and PR flacks. He treats our capital something like Jakarta or Kiev, where government officials can be bought outright. Saudi Arabia is no "great friend" to our values. Saudi Arabia ranks rock bottom on granting civil or political freedom. It stands among the most repressive regimes on Earth and without doubt is one of the most corrupt regimes in the world. (FOX News)
        See also How the Saudis Buy Friends - Daniel Pipes
    Many ex-U.S. ambassadors to Riyadh have received substantial sums of money from the Saudis. Hume Horan, himself a former U.S. ambassador to the kingdom and the great and noble exception to this pattern, explains: "Money works wonders, and if you've got an awful lot of it, and a royal title - well, it's amusing to see how some Americans liquefy in front of a foreign potentate, just because he's called a prince." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Talking Points:

    Withdrawal Will Increase Terror - Ari Shavit (Ha'aretz)

    • Between 1986 and 1991, when the peace process was in a state of utter stagnation, an average of about 29 Israelis were killed each year in hostile actions.
    • From 1992 to 1996, the years of the Oslo paradigm, about 86 Israelis were killed each year.
    • From 1997 to the middle of 2000, during which former prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak tried to carry out various revisions in the Oslo process, about 40 Israelis were killed each year.
    • Since the withdrawal from Lebanon and since the Camp David and Taba concessions were offered to the Palestinians, nearly 300 people a year have been killed in hostile actions.
    • The significance of these figures is clear: an Israeli withdrawal or a promise of a withdrawal does not lead to an end of the bloodshed. On the contrary, every time Israel withdraws, the hostilities increase. Thus, in the given Middle Eastern reality, handing over territory costs human lives.
    • A withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza will not decrease the terror, but will increase it; the withdrawal will not decrease the national expenditure on security, but will increase it; the withdrawal will not bring quiet to our cities, but rather an outbreak of violence and the danger of war.

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