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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February 5, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Jordanians Bring into Focus the al Qaeda-Iraq Link (AFP/Washington Times)
    Jordanian officials have stated that al Qaeda leader Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi ordered the slaying of Laurence Foley, a U.S. diplomat stationed in Amman. They also disclosed that al-Zarqawi's deputy, Ahmad Yussef, is presently in Syria.
    Last December, Jordan's Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb stated that al-Zarqawi was hiding in northern Iraq. After being hospitalized in Baghdad, he is believed to have sought refuge in a mountainous area along the Kurdish-Iranian border controlled by Ansar al-Islam, the al Qaeda offshoot that has fought against Jalal Talabani's anti-Saddam PUK forces.
    Saddam Hussein has reportedly backed Ansar al-Islam with arms and funding to fight the Kurdish militias. Iraq may have transferred chemical materials to Ansar al-Islam, including v-x nerve agent.

    See also Blair: We Know of Links between Al Qaeda and Iraq (Fox News)
    Speaking in the House of Commons last week, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "We do know of links between al Qaeda and Iraq. We cannot be sure of the exact extent of those links."

    See also Guardian Correspondent Under Fire from Islamist Forces (Guardian-UK)

Israeli, U.S. Troops Finish Air Defense Exercises - Steve Weizman (AP/Newsday)
    Israeli and American forces fired a salvo of Patriot missiles Tuesday as part of a joint exercise to test air defenses.
    A witness saw six missiles fired from a battery deep in southern Israel's Negev Desert, and the Israeli military said more missiles could be fired in the next few days.
    The U.S.-Israel maneuvers were assisted by a U.S. radar ship deployed in the eastern Mediterranean.

Useful Reference:

The West, Christians, and Jews in Saudi Arabian Schoolbooks (Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace/American Jewish Committee)
    A comprehensive survey of official Saudi textbooks shows how they indoctrinate children in hatred of the West, Christians, and Jews.

Palestinian Terrorism Videos
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Pentagon Adviser: France "No Longer an Ally"
    Richard Perle, a former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and now chairman of the Pentagon's Policy Advisory Board, on Tuesday dismissed Germany's refusal to support military action against Iraq as an aberration by "a discredited chancellor." Perle also said "France is no longer the ally it once was," and he went on to accuse French President Chirac of believing "deep in his soul that Saddam Hussein is preferable to any likely successor." "Very considerable damage has already been done to the Atlantic community, including NATO, by Germany and France," Perle said. (UPI)
        See also France Talks Peace But Sends Warships East
    Unlike Chancellor Schroder, Chirac has been careful not to "exclude" the option of war, if all else fails. He may copy President Mitterrand's tactics in the first Gulf War, which was to join the U.S.-led coalition at the last moment after extracting every ounce of possible advantage. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Russia Would Not Block War on Iraq, U.S. Believes
    Bush administration officials believe that if the U.S. concludes Hussein must go, Russian President Putin is not expected to protest or use Russia's veto in the UN Security Council, although Russia has significant business dealings with Hussein's government, particularly in the oil industry, that would be imperiled by a change of government in Baghdad. (Washington Post)
  • Turkey May Join U.S. Effort Against Iraq
    Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the governing Justice and Development Party, suggested Tuesday that Turkey could forfeit influence over events in Iraq if it stayed out of an American-led war. The Turkish Parliament will meet Thursday on the American request to use Turkish military bases for a possible invasion of northern Iraq. American ambassador Robert Pearson met Tuesday with Ugur Ziyal, Turkey's under secretary in the foreign ministry, to press for a decision this week on the use of Turkish bases for an attack. (New York Times)
  • Saudi Embassy Aided Terror Suspect's Wife to Leave U.S.
    The Saudi Embassy quietly provided the wife of a terror suspect a passport and transit out of the U.S. in November, after she was subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in New York investigating her husband's possible links to the al Qaeda terrorist network. Federal law enforcement officials were outraged by the Saudi action, saying the move impeded their investigation. (Washington Post)
  • Pressure Builds Under Jordan's King
    Four years after the death of his father, King Abdullah faces mounting pressure from powerful tribal leaders who are skeptical of a style they see as aloof and a perspective they believe is grounded in Abdullah's British and American education. Moderate Islamic leaders, once allies of the government, are incensed at being shut out of power. Even liberal, secular forces that might embrace the king's Western orientation and ambitious economic reforms are frustrated. Abdullah has eschewed Hussein's fondness for dressing in Bedouin garb and sitting with tribal sheiks. He speaks far less about the venerated position of his family, the Hashemites, who descend from the prophet Muhammad. Rather, Abdullah stresses a Jordanian nationalism defined by the slogan, "Jordan First." (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Remains of Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon Identified - Nathan Guttman
    NASA informed Israeli authorities Wednesday that remains of Colonel Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut, have been positively identified. "NASA officially announced that Ilan Ramon, of blessed memory, had been identified, and we can bring him for burial in Israel within a few days," said Air Force Brigadier-General Ronnie Falk, IAF attache in the U.S. "The identification is certain, and was carried out by NASA experts, with the participation of a member of the IDF rabbinate." A funeral service will be held for Ramon in Houston, after which the remains will be flown to Israel for a military burial next week. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Transfers $60 Million to PA - Herb Keinon
    Israel earlier this week transferred almost $60 million in taxes to the Palestinian Authority, the third payment in as many months. A senior diplomatic official said Israel is satisfied that with a new U.S.-backed supervisory mechanism in place, the money is not being funneled to fund or support terrorism. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Lebanese Army Shoots at Israeli Planes - Amos Harel and Daniel Sobelman
    The Lebanese Army fired anti-aircraft guns at Israel Air Force jets on Sunday, the first time the Lebanese military has joined in the fire routinely directed at Israeli planes by Hizballah. Hizballah fires at Israeli planes frequently, often several times a week. While the Shi'ite militia's outdated anti-aircraft shells posed no threat to Israel's jets, the shell fragments sometimes fall on Israel's northern towns. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Failed Palestinian Cease-Fire Talks in Cairo - Amira Howeidy
    The meeting of Palestinian factions in Cairo reportedly discussed three forms of cease-fire: stopping operations inside the 1948 borders of Israel known as the Green Line; not targeting civilians; and calling a unilateral truce lasting between three months and a year. According to Islamic Jihad delegation head Ziyad El-Nakhala, however, "whatever is being said about truces can only be attributed to parties that have no influence on the ground. The truth of the matter is that the more effective factions stated their position, which was a continuation of the resistance." (Al-Ahram - Egypt)
  • Syrian Occupation Suffocates Lebanon, and the World Shrugs - Claudia Rosett
    From the Arab world, so full of dictators professing deep concern over democratic Israel's dealings with the Palestinians, there comes not a croak of indignation that despotic Syria continues to occupy Lebanon. There has been no serious effort to lever Syria out of Lebanon, or to end Syria's support for Hizballah - whose terrorists bombed the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut in the 1980s, and today carry out assaults on Israel and threaten the U.S. itself. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Talking Points:

    The Case for U.S. Action in Iraq - Editorial (Washington Post)

    • It is clear that Iraq has not complied with Resolution 1441, which offered it a "final opportunity" to voluntarily disarm. Neither the UN weapons inspectors nor any permanent member of the council contends that Iraq has "fully" cooperated, as the resolution requires.
    • It would be a mistake for the United States and its allies, confronted with continued intransigence, to shrink again from decisive action in Iraq. The U.S. should lead a force to remove Saddam Hussein's dictatorship and locate and destroy its chemical and biological weapons and its nuclear program.
    • The Iraqi regime poses a threat not just to the U.S. but to global order. The removal of Saddam Hussein would advance the task of containing the spread of weapons of mass destruction to rogue states. A continued failure to act would send dictators and terrorists a devastating message about the impotence of the U.S. and the UN, and would encourage extremists in their rush for nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
    • Those who advocate containment through inspections ignore that strategy's costly failure during the 1990s. Inspectors traipsed through Iraq for seven years as Baghdad defied or ignored one Security Council resolution after the next. The most dangerous chemical and biological weapons were not discovered for four years, and then only with the help of a defector.
    • The people of Iraq and its region would benefit from an end to the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, who is guilty of some of the most terrible war crimes and human rights violations of the past 50 years. He has tortured, gassed, and slaughtered his people and has invaded two neighboring nations. His removal would free millions of Iraqis from deprivation and oppression and make possible a broader movement to reshape the Arab Middle East.

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