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 12, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

The Other Front: American Troops are Still at War in Afghanistan - Ahmed Rashid (Wall Street Journal)
    Western diplomats in Islamabad and Kabul, Afghan officials, and U.S. army officers at Bagram now strongly believe that elements of Pakistan's intelligence services and its religious parties are allowing the Taliban to regroup on the Pakistani side of the border.
    U.S. officers at Bagram say 90% of attacks they face are coming from groups based in Pakistan.
    Pakistan's strategy appears to be to continue hunting down non-Afghan members of al Qaeda hiding in Pakistan, so a level of cooperation with the U.S. continues, while at the same time allowing the Pashtun Taliban and others to maintain their presence in Pakistan.
    See also U.S. Official: Pakistani Sanctuary for Al Qaeda Unacceptable - Carlotta Gall (New York Times)
    American special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said Monday that it was unacceptable that members of al Qaeda and the Taliban were chased out of Afghanistan only to be given sanctuary in Pakistan's tribal areas, where Qaeda members are present.

Evidence Implicates Iraq in U.S. Anthrax Attacks - David Rudge (Jerusalem Post)
    Accumulated evidence, albeit mostly circumstantial, is nonetheless sufficient to implicate Iraq in the wave of Anthrax incidents in America in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks, according to former IDF intelligence officer Dr. Danny Shoham, writing in the latest edition of the International Journal of Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence.
    Shoham believes that the proximity of the two events is no coincidence and that both were perpetrated by al Qaeda and sponsored by Iraq.
    Osama bin Laden was reported to have found a temporary safe haven in Sudan at a time that coincided with reports that significant portions of Iraq's non-conventional weapons assets had also been moved there for "safe-keeping."
    "They (bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence) found several common denominators, including inflicting damage and harm on the U.S. and Israel through a variety of means of terror," said Shoham.
    "The preparations for both these acts of sabotage were far too meticulous and required such a great deal of complex planning and real-time intelligence that they could not have been conducted by a terrorist organization....The resources needed for such operations, including installations for manufacturing Anthrax powder, point to the involvement of a state that sponsors terrorism," he said.
    "In the extremely diversified range of biological warfare agents developed by the Iraqis since the 1980s, Anthrax was considered in their conception to be the most important for military and sabotage operations," Shoham said.
    The fact that Iraq has stockpiled Anthrax, has not hesitated to use non-conventional weapons in the past, and has established a network for perpetrating bio-chemical terrorism, coupled with its reputed links to al Qaeda, leads to the conclusion it was involved in the Anthrax letters affair.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Alleged Bin Laden Tape a Call to Arms
    A voice purported to be that of Osama bin Laden issued a call to arms Tuesday for Muslims to fight against any U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and offered battle strategies aimed at causing the highest number of American casualties. The 16-minute message was broadcast on the Qatar-based, Arabic-language Al-Jazeera network. (CNN)
        The tape was viewed with alarm by U.S. intelligence officials, who believe it is authentic. The tape includes an account of the weeks that bin Laden said he and his followers were under siege by U.S. forces in the Tora Bora region of eastern Afghanistan. Secretary of State Powell told the Senate Budget Committee that the audiotape shows bin Laden "is in partnership with Iraq."
        CIA Director George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday that authorities have information about plots in the U.S. and on the Arabian peninsula timed to occur as early as the end of the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, which ends Thursday. (Washington Post) In addition, Tenet said, "We see disturbing signs that al Qaeda has established a presence in both Iran and Iraq. We are also concerned that al Qaeda continues to find refuge in the hinterlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan." (CIA)
        Text of the Tape (Washington Post)
  • Harsh Iraqi Reaction Expected
    Faced with a U.S. invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein would likely launch missile and terrorist attacks against Israel and U.S. facilities abroad, preemptive strikes against the Kurds in the north, and a "scorched-earth strategy" in Iraq "significant enough to stop a military advance," Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday. (Washington Post)
  • 14 Trampled to Death at Hajj
    14 Muslim pilgrims were trampled to death Tuesday in Saudi Arabia while performing a stone-throwing ritual during the Hajj. The site in Mina has been the source of dangerous bottlenecks in the past. In 2001, 35 people died in a stampede during the stoning ritual. In 1998, 180 died performing the same ritual. (Guardian-UK)
        See also Hajj: Timeline of Tragedy (CNN)
  • Israel to Host International Match for First Time in Over a Year
    Israel's national soccer team is scheduled to host a 2004 European Championship warmup Wednesday against Armenia, the first such international match in 16 months, because of a drought imposed by UEFA due to security concerns. Armenia coach Andranik Adamyan said he didn't understand why other teams refuse to travel to Israel. "Of course we are not afraid, otherwise we wouldn't be coming here," he said. Despite the UEFA ban, European basketball teams have been going to Israel throughout the tense period, leading one Israeli comedian to observe, "Apparently soccer is more dangerous than basketball." (AP/FOX Sports)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF Captain Killed in Bethlehem - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    An IDF officer was killed Tuesday by a Palestinian gunman near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Captain Shahar Shmul, 24, a company commander in the armored corps, was checking a suspicious vehicle when the Palestinian opened fire from a nearby alley. Hours later, IDF tanks rumbled into the West Bank town for the first time in over six months. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Clerics Issue Fatwa against Arab Leaders Aiding U.S. - Arnon Regular
    Any Arab ruler who assists an American assault on Iraq in any way "betrays God and His prophet, violates Muslim law, and will pay a heavy price," according to a recent religious ruling issued Monday by the Association of Wise Men of Palestine, a group of Muslim clerics affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The fatwa also urges Arab businesses to cut all ties with such countries and to "boycott American products and withdraw their money from American banks." "Muslims must prepare for a jihad [holy war] against the American, Zionist, and British aggression toward Iraq," the fatwa concluded. Ironically, most of the Arab assistance to the American war effort is coming from Qatar and Kuwait, which are two of Hamas's principal financial backers.
        Hamas's Gaza branch has been holding anti-war marches every Friday that draw thousands of people. At some of these rallies, Hamas spokesman Abdel Aziz Rantisi has called for volunteers to go to Iraq and carry out suicide bombings against the American forces if and when they invade. In the West Bank, anti-war demonstrations take place almost daily at most of the universities, including burning Israeli and American flags. Demonstrations are also held almost daily in many rural areas of the West Bank, often organized by local activists from Arafat's Fatah faction. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Inspections Are a Total Waste of Time - Khidhir Hamza, former director of Iraq's nuclear-weapons program
    In the two decades before the Gulf War, I played a role in Iraq's efforts to acquire major technologies from friendly states. In 1974, I headed an Iraqi delegation to France to purchase a nuclear reactor. It was a 40-megawatt research reactor that our sources in the IAEA told us should cost no more than $50 million. But the French deal ended up costing Baghdad more than $200 million.
        Germany was the hub of Iraq's military purchases in the 1980s. Our commercial attache, Ali Abdul Mutalib, was allocated billions of dollars to spend each year on German military industry imports. German firms have provided Iraq with the technology it needs to make missile parts. Mr. Blix's recent finding that Iraq is trying to enlarge the diameter of its missiles to a size capable of delivering nuclear weapons would not be feasible without this technology transfer. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Surprising Germany - William Safire
    Germany's new opposition leader, the Thatcheresque Angela Merkel, said of the anti-Saddam op-ed statement signed by leaders of 8 European nations: "if we had been in government, Germany would have signed that letter." The German government is due for yet another surprise: the new NATO supreme commander, U.S. Marine Gen. James Jones, revealed at a briefing in Brussels Friday a developing U.S. strategy. It holds that the 70,000 U.S. troops garrisoned in Germany, accompanied by their 70,000 dependents, make up too many forces with too outdated a mission stationed too far from potential trouble at too high a cost. (New York Times)
  • Vote France Off the Island - Thomas L. Friedman
    I would vote France off the UN Security Council and replace it with India, the world's biggest democracy, the world's largest Hindu nation, and the world's second-largest Muslim nation. India is just so much more serious than France these days. I also want to avoid a war - but not by letting Saddam off the hook, which would undermine the UN, set back the winds of change in the Arab world, and strengthen the World of Disorder. The only possible way to coerce Saddam into compliance - without a war - is for the whole world to line up shoulder-to-shoulder against his misbehavior, without any gaps. But France, as they say in kindergarten, does not play well with others. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    U.S.-EU Crisis is Death Blow to "Road Map" - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)

    • The crisis between the U.S. and Europe will have profound implications for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, undermining the Quartet's effort to impose a solution to the conflict on Israel, and strengthening the Sharon government's opposition to the Quartet "road map" and the prime minister's view that the "Bush framework" is the only relevant diplomatic arena for a political peace process.
    • For Israel, the crisis over Iraq is proof that European and European Union thinking is tendentious, based on irrelevant considerations that can complicate problems rather than solve them.
    • It will now be much easier for Israel to persuade Washington that European representatives cannot be given overdue influence, if they are given any influence at all, in solving the Middle East conflict. It will also strengthen those who argue that any proposal that would send European forces to the conflict as monitors or peacekeeping troops, must be rejected outright.
    • Israeli officials note that Europe has not managed to solve a dispute between Spain and Morocco over the uninhabited Parsley Island off Gibraltar, and needed to bring in Washington to find a diplomatic solution, which it did. They point out Europe couldn't solve the Kosovo crisis without the Americans. If Europe was so helpless in a conflict on its own continent, ask Israeli officials, why should we agree to their involvement in our conflict?
    • The Sharon government now speaks about its readiness to accept the principles named by President Bush in his June 24, 2002 speech on the Middle East - but Jerusalem wants to explain to the White House and State Department that Bush should not sign onto the road map with Europeans who are obstructing Washington's plans for Iraq.
  • See also Quartet Envoys, Minus U.S., Meet with Arafat - Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Miguel Moratinos of the EU, Andrei Vdovin of Russia, and Terje Roed-Larsen of the UN met in Ramallah Tuesday with Yasser Arafat to prepare for a number of meetings on Palestinian reform and the road map scheduled for February 18 and 19 in London.
        Shortly after he met with representatives of the Quartet, Arafat said the recent talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials were nothing more than a "media stunt."

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