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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January 13, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Pushing Off D-Day with Iraq: Key Dates to Remember:
    January 27 - Hans Blix reports to the Security Council. British seek a delay on U.S. military action. See Allies Slow U.S. War Plans (Washington Post)
    January 28 - Turkey only begins to consider deployment of up to 80,000 U.S./British troops for northern front against Iraq. See Ankara Delays Approving U.S. Deployment (Washington Times)
    February 11-16 - Height of the Hajj: The pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Operations out of Saudi territory difficult. See U.S. Forces Rise to 150,000 Troops (New York Times)
    Month of February - French effort to negotiate new UN Security Council resolution declaring Iraq in material breach and authorizing use of force. If there is a French deployment it only begins after the resolution is adopted. See Two-Thirds of French Oppose Iraq War (Reuters)

Israeli Military Intelligence: Syria Developing Ricin-Based Biological Weapons - Itamar Eichner (Yediot Ahronot)
    According to a report of the IDF Intelligence Branch, over the past two years Syria has been developing a ricin-based biological weapon, against which medical countermeasures are difficult. (See Ricin Discovered with Islamic Militants in London.)
    The report states: "In practice the Syrian regime has been forced to take steps against al Qaeda activists, in order to earn points with the U.S. The Syrians believe that this limited assistance grants them an insurance policy against American pressures in more vital fields like Syrian relations with Hizballah."
    Radical Islamic elements, close to bin Laden, still operate in Syria and in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon that are under Syrian control.

U.S. Official: Iraq Can Jam American "Smart" Weapons - Knut Royce and Earl Lane (Newsday)
    Iraq has jamming equipment potentially capable of knocking some of America's "smart� weapons off course, according to a U.S. government official with access to intelligence reports.
    The Iraqis have obtained at least a limited number of transmitters that can jam signals from the satellite-based global positioning system or GPS that are used to guide bombs called JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) to their intended targets with precision.
    A Russian designer unveiled a small, 4-watt jammer at the 1997 Moscow Air Show that is said to be capable of disrupting GPS signals for more than 100 miles in any direction.

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Has Thwarted More than 100 Terror Attacks
    Federal authorities said Friday that more than 100 terrorist attacks planned against the United States and its allies have been thwarted since Sept. 11, 2001, due in large part to the continuing interrogation of enemy combatants and other captives ensnared in the war on terror. The planned attacks included threats against U.S. embassies on three continents, a U.S. military base in Europe, and U.S. cargo ships passing through the Strait of Gibraltar. The disclosure came in a nine-page affidavit filed by Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and used by government prosecutors to detail how important the interrogations have become. (Los Angeles Times)
  • U.S. Ships in Eastern Mediterranean Eye War Role
    None of the six aircraft carriers that fought in the 1991 Persian Gulf War operated in the Mediterranean, but that is likely to be different if another war occurs. Flying over Israel and Jordan would open a corridor for carrier-based warplanes to speed from the Mediterranean into the western Iraqi desert to shut down the ability of the Iraqi military to launch missiles or drone aircraft at Israel. (Washington Post)
  • Iraq Inspections "Could Take Year" to Complete - IAEA
    International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said Monday that chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix and IAEA head Mohamed ElBaredei had made it clear as late as last spring that the inspections could take "in the vicinity of a year" because Iraq was "a big country." (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • The Saudis' Secret Ads
    When radio ads critical of Israel ran in 15 U.S. cities last spring, they identified the Alliance for Peace and Justice as sponsor - described by its Washington p.r. firm, Qorvis Communications, as a consortium of Middle East policy groups based in the U.S. But when Qorvis reported its ad work to the Justice Department last month, it revealed that funding for the $679,000 media buy actually came from the Saudi government. (Time)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Soldier Slain on Egyptian Border - Margot Dudkevitch
    Reserve Corporal Michael Kazakov, 34, from Jerusalem, was killed and another soldier lightly wounded when three terrorists who crossed into Israel from Egypt opened fire at a patrol 15 kilometers north of Nitzana on Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Terrorists Infiltrate Israeli Village, Murder Resident - David Rudge
    Eli Biton, 48, of Moshav Gadish was killed and five members of the security forces were wounded when Palestinian gunmen infiltrated the moshav, in the Tanahim region south of Afula, on Sunday. The terrorists, who came from the nearby Jenin area, crossed the unfenced Green Line and penetrated the moshav with ease, opening fire at vehicles on one of the main streets, killing Biton. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Gaza Rockets Hit Israeli Town - Tsahar Rotem
    Three Qassam rockets fired Sunday from the Gaza Strip landed in the Negev town of Sderot - one on a fence surrounding a school. A child was lightly hurt from shrapnel, and a municipal gardener was treated for shock. The rocket attack was the seventh in Sderot in the last 18 months. Iz a Din al-Kassam, the military wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it had fired five Qassam 2 rockets at Sderot. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Youths Captured in Attack on Netzarim - Margot Dudkevitch
    Two Palestinian brothers who infiltrated into Netzarim in the Gaza District Saturday night, armed with knives, were not aged eight and 13, as initially claimed, but aged 14 and 17. According to Dr. Shafik Masalha, a clinical psychologist and lecturer at Tel Aviv University who completed a study on the effects of the current violence on the dreams of Palestinian youths, the parents and leaders are to blame for not making it clear to children that they are not a part of the violence and were not born into the world for the purpose of dying. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Gaza Hamas Leader Calls for Suicide Attacks Against U.S. - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Shouting "Death to America" and "Victory from Jerusalem to Baghdad," tens of thousands of Hamas supporters marched in the streets of Gaza City Friday to protest against U.S. threats to launch a war against Iraq. The demonstrators burned U.S., Israeli, and British flags. "I call on Iraq to prepare an army of would-be martyrs and prepare tens of thousands of explosive belts," Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi declared. "Blow yourselves up against the American army. Bomb them in Baghdad," Rantisi added. "I call on all Arab nations to burn the ground underneath the feet of the Americans in all capitals." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Saudi Charities Barred from NGO Conference in Paris
    The French Embassy in Riyadh has refused to issue visas for 13 Islamic charity officials who were planning to attend an international conference for humanitarian organizations, one of the officials said Saturday. The officials, representing leading Saudi Islamic charities, were consequently unable to attend the Paris Conference for Humanitarian NGOs held Jan. 9-10, said Saleh Al-Wohaibi, head of the World Assembly for Muslim Youth (WAMY). (AFP/ArabNews-Saudi Arabia)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • LA Times Ignores Israeli Victims - Jonathan Medved
    Staff Sgt. Noam Apter, 23, died Friday night Dec. 27 as a hero in an attack on the Jewish settlement of Otniel. His picture was on the front page of every Israeli daily newspaper, yet his story did not appear in the Los Angeles Times. In the four days after Noam�s death, the Los Angeles Times published seven major articles totaling more than 7,000 words on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, all filled with Palestinian stories, names, and ages. 17 Palestinian "victims" (some of whom were terrorists killed in gun battles with Israeli troops) were listed by name, while not a single name or age of an Israeli victim was listed. Each Palestinian "victim" has a story - heart-rending, full of context, detail, local color, and moving quotes. The Israeli victims are just statistics, essentially without a story.
        Noam Apter, mortally wounded by terrorist gunfire, used his last strength to lock the door that blocked the terrorist from entering the crowded dining room. The many heroes of the current war Israel is waging against terror all have names, ages, and stories. It�s about time they were told. (Jewish Journal of Los Angeles)
  • The Immaturity of Palestine - Martin Peretz
    Many peoples have pursued statehood in modern history, and only the Palestinians have pursued it so barbarically. Terrorism is about the sum total of what the Palestinians have bestowed on our civilization during the last five decades.
        The intifada has not only brought current agony to nascent Palestine; it has guaranteed that economic misery will continue far into the future. In the coming months, a wall, urged upon Israel by many of its foolish doves and many of its foolish hawks, separating much of the disputed territories from the Israel-to-be, will be an established fact. When (and if) there is a peace agreement, the borders will not again be open for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian workers to share in the prosperity that will surely return to Israel. (New Republic)
  • Iraq Now - Ehud Ya'ari
    Israel is waiting - more in hope than in fear - for the American offensive against Iraq. The military preparations meant to protect Israel from a salvo of missiles are almost complete. Current wisdom has it that the routing of Saddam Hussein will set off a positive chain reaction from Damascus to Ramallah. Saddam will go, and Arafat will pay the price. In any case that's what most Israelis believe, and therefore they are prepared to take the risks that go along with any war. (Jerusalem Report)
  • Reform Slowly Stirring in Saudi Arabia
    The reforms so far are patchy and halting. Government jitters over the looming war on Iraq, the apparent hostility of their long-time American ally, and the reactionary surge in xenophobia have stalled more overt efforts. Saudi Arabia is facing a barrage of problems, unprecedented in its history. While its population has doubled in 20 years to 23m, income from oil has remained flat, with no prospects for sustained growth. Unemployment among the young has mounted inexorably, even as the doctrinaire and heavily religious education system continues to leave graduates unprepared for the job market. (Economist)
  • Talking Points:

    The Scandal of U.S.-Saudi Relations - Daniel Pipes (National Interest)

    • What lies behind this pattern of obsequiousness? Where is the normally robust pursuit of U.S. interests? It is one thing when private companies bend over backwards to please the Saudis (Starbucks in Saudi Arabia does not show the female figure that normally graces its logo), but why does the U.S. government defer to the Kingdom in so many and unique ways?
    • The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, helpfully hinted at how he cultivates powerful Americans: "If the reputation then builds that the Saudis take care of friends when they leave office," Bandar once observed, "you'd be surprised how much better friends you have who are just coming into office."
    • Hume Horan, himself a former U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom, is the great and noble exception to this pattern: "There have been some people who really do go on the Saudi payroll, and they work as advisers and consultants. Prince Bandar is very good about massaging and promoting relationships like that. 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."
    • Over-the-top support of Saudi interests by former ambassador James E. Akins (who has criticized Arab governments for not being tougher with Washington and despaired that Arabs did not withdraw their money from U.S. banks) has caused him to be described as occasionally appearing "more pro-Arab than the Arab officials."
    • According to the Washington Post, Walter Cutler, who served two tours as the U.S. ambassador in Saudi Arabia, now runs Meridian International Center in Washington, an organization that promotes international understanding through education and exchanges. Saudi donors have been "very supportive" of the center, Cutler said.
    • This culture of corruption in the Executive Branch renders it quite incapable of dealing with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the farsighted and disinterested manner that U.S. foreign policy requires. That leaves Congress with the responsibility to fix things. The massive pre-emptive bribing of American officials requires urgent attention. Steps need to be taken to ensure that the Saudi revolving-door syndrome documented here be made illegal.

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