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 19, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Iraq Has More Advanced Biological Weapons Than in 1991 (Middle East Newsline)

    The U.S. has determined that Iraq's biological weapons arsenal is larger and more advanced than during the 1991 Gulf war.
    Officials said the U.S. intelligence community believes Iraq has improved the lethality of its BW arsenal, developing more advanced strains of lethal germs that can be weaponized in missile warheads, civilian aircraft, and artillery shells.
    Iraq is also deemed capable of producing dry toxins in a powder that easily floats in the air and can cover a wide area, spreading disease.
    The officials said they did not expect the UN to discover Iraq's BW laboratories or production centers since most, if not all, of the centers are mobile and concealed in civilian vans.

U.S. Navy: Dubai Firm Smuggles Chemicals to Iraq - Stefano Ambrogi (Reuters)

    The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet on Tuesday accused Naif Marine Services, a Dubai-based ferry operator, of breaking UN sanctions by smuggling banned chemicals into Iraq that could be used to make high-grade explosives.
    Fifth Fleet public affairs officer Lt. Garret Kaspar said in Bahrain that the company was on an "unofficial list" of some 10 firms that had violated UN sanctions and were being watched closely.
    The ferries, which operate a regular service between Dubai and Iraq, had been routinely found to be carrying banned chemicals in 50-gallon drums, without official UN documentation.

Iraq Lays Barriers to a U.S. Invasion - John Diamond (USA Today)

    U.S. spy satellites have recently detected Iraqi military forces placing obstacles on the runways of their key air bases in order to block fixed-wing aircraft from landing with ground troops to seize the bases for U.S. invasion forces.
    The Iraqis are parking trucks in landing areas and dragging concrete highway barriers across airstrips, which could be quickly removed to allow their own forces to use the airfields.
    Spy satellites have also detected the installation of additional gun emplacements around key points in Baghdad, particularly around Saddam Hussein's main palace on the Tigris River.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Al Qaeda is Reviving, UN Report Says
    Al Qaeda continues to command an extensive network of well-financed terrorist operatives in 40 countries and has reopened new training camps in remote eastern Afghanistan to prepare a new generation of Islamic extremists for attacks against the West, according to a 40-page UN report surveying the international war on terrorism. "The sympathy for this organization is actually quite widespread in many countries," said Michael Chandler, the chief author of the report. "New volunteers are making their way to these camps, swelling the numbers of would be al Qaeda activists and the longer term capabilities of the network," said the report. (Washington Post)
  • Iraq Told to Turn Over Weapons Experts
    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put Baghdad on notice Tuesday that refusal to turn over weapons scientists for questioning would constitute a violation of the new UN arms resolution. "If they refuse to allow people to get out with their families, they will have violated that resolution," Rumsfeld said. (Washington Times)
  • U.S. Working to Convince World Iraq is Out of Line
    The Bush administration's three-pronged strategy will be to convince the U.S. public and the world that Iraq has not yet come clean on having a deadly arsenal, quiet diplomacy to build unity on action at the UN Security Council, and behind-the-scenes planning for a toughened round of inspections to prove the U.S. argument. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Arab Catholic Clergyman Calls for Arafat to Step Down
    The highest-ranking Roman Catholic clergyman in the Holy Land said Wednesday that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat should step down if he is unable to make peace with Israel. Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah said, "If the present leaders do not succeed in making peace, there is only one solution: open the way to other leaders....If Arafat is unable to make peace, of course, let him also give a place to another." (Washington Post/AP)
  • Jordanian "Human Shields" to Protect Iraq
    Jordanian Islamist and nationalist leaders are planning to transport thousands of Jordanian civilians to Iraq next month to form human shields around key installations to block a U.S. attack. "We cannot prevent people from choosing to commit suicide," said Jordanian Information Minister Mohammed Adwan. (Financial Times-UK/New York Times)
  • Poll: Palestinians Support Continued Suicide Bombings, Violence Against Israel
    According to a poll released Wednesday, 63% of Palestinians said suicide bombings should continue; 80% said the intifada should continue. The survey of 1,200 Palestinians by the JMCC also found that 83% believe there is corruption in the Palestinian Authority, and 30% said they do not trust any of their leaders. Arafat was chosen by 25% as the "most trusted Palestinian figure," down from 28% in September. Second was Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin with 12%, while jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti had 5%. (AP)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Survey: "Palestinization" of Israeli Arabs Halted - Eli Waked
    A Haifa University poll conducted by Prof. Sammy Smooha and Dr. Assad Ghanem reveals that the "Palestinization" of Israeli Arabs has been halted, apparently as a result of disappointment with the course of the latest Arab intifada. While 34% of respondents defined themselves as Israeli Arabs and not Palestinians in 2001, today this figure has jumped to 45%. In 1995, some 54% had defined themselves as Israeli Arabs. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • IDF Launches New Missile-Detection System - Amnon Barzliai
    The IDF's Home Front Command has begun operating a new observation system capable of locating the exact location of a ballistic missile within seconds of it landing. The system operates several stations, with cameras installed at high altitudes. The advantage of the new system is that it allows officials to lower the alert in all non-affected areas within a matter of minutes. In the event that officials suspect that non-conventional weapons have been used, emergency services can be sent to the exact fall site within a short space of time. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Get More Than Fair Share of UN Aid
    On Monday, the UN's World Food Program launched its "Africa Hunger Alert" campaign to draw attention to and raise funds for 38 million people facing starvation in Africa. Are the Africans getting a fair share of aid funds? The UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Humanitarian Assistance, known as "CAP," in 2003 asks for nearly nine times as much aid per Palestinian as for each Ethiopian threatened by famine. Furthermore, the UN provides over 12 times more in subsidies to the Palestinian economy than to the combined economies of the six southern African countries. Africans and Palestinians both require substantial humanitarian assistance, but humanitarian principles also require equity, objectivity, and the absence of political considerations. (UN Watch/IMRA)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Sunni and Shiite Terrorist Networks: Competition or Collusion? - Lenny Ben-David
    The Palestinian assertion that Sunni and Shiite terrorist groups do not cooperate is baseless and historically wrong. Recent history has demonstrated that there are few religious-ideological barriers in the world of international terrorism. The secular Ba'athist regime in Syria works closely with Hizballah, as a secular Ba'athist regime in Iraq has developed ties to al Qaeda. Radical Sunni and Shiite Islamic groups have their own geopolitical interests in bridging the great Islamic divide - particularly their antipathy for the U.S. and its allies. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Prince Nayef: The Most Powerful Man in Saudi Arabia - Bill Tierney
    The man in charge of the Saudi Ministry of Interior for the last 27 years is Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz. Active and alert at 69 - unlike the two leading members of the "Sudeiri Seven," King Fahd and Prince Sultan, both of whom are elderly and ailing - Nayef has far more sway than the Western press has generally recognized. It is he who maintains the stability of the kingdom and, day by day, keeps the royal family in power. The keys are in his hands, and there is no one who can hold him to account. (Weekly Standard)
  • Talking Points:

    Palestinian Authority Links to Terrorism - IDF Spokesperson

    • The IDF has arrested the head of the Palestinian Authority special forces in Bethlehem, Rafat Gaobara, 29, who was also one of the commanders of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military wing of Fatah. Since the beginning of the conflict, Gaobara has been involved in the organization of terrorist cells to carry out numerous shooting attacks from Bethlehem toward the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. In addition, he dispatched suicide bomber who attacked a supermarket in Efrat on Feb. 22, 2002, and planned to carry out additional terrorist attacks in the near future.
    • These and other operations underline the importance of IDF activities within the Palestinian territories. The IDF is forced to operate in these locations since the Palestinian Authority is not acting to prevent terrorist attacks from these areas. These arrests prevent terrorist attacks and loss of life inside Israel every day.
    • In an additional example of the importance of IDF operations, this week IDF forces arrested two Tanzim operatives and a Popular Front operative in Nablus with a vehicle that contained a mobile bomb laboratory.
    • The arrest of Gaobara, the head of a PA security force who also served in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, is further proof of the connection between the Palestinian security organizations and terrorism.

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