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 21, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Saddam Will Hide Once Attack Starts - Michael Theodoulou and Roland Watson (London Times)

    Saddam Hussein plans to "disappear" once America attacks Iraq and has told his generals to fight without him, according to the London-based al-Hayat Arabic daily.
    The Iraqi leader instructed his military commanders this month that when war broke out they should take their orders from his son Qusay, who alone will know of Saddam's whereabouts.
    U.S. officials are concerned that Saddam could evade capture in the way that Osama bin Laden did in Afghanistan.

Anti-Hussein Iraqis in Hungary for Training by U.S. Military - Peter S. Green (New York Times)

    Washington has permission from Hungary to train up to 3,000 Iraqis to accompany a U.S. force in Iraq.
    The first group of volunteers is training at the Hungarian Air Force base in Taszar.
    Maj. Gen. David W. Barno, in command of the training program, said recently that the Iraqis might serve as a local police force in areas captured by the Americans.

Nation Craves Liberation, Says Iraqi Who Escaped - Zainab Al-Suwaij (Los Angeles Times)

    When I was in fourth grade in 1980, Saddam Hussein invaded Iran. Outside our school, my friends and I would flash victory signs at young soldiers heading off to the front, but they would shake their fingers at us and make an upside down V - the opposite of victory.
    Students were forced to attend staged rallies and police carrying whips would force us out into the streets and hand us signs to hold up for the cameras.
    On behalf of Iraqis who cannot speak openly with reporters or who have given their lives trying to free Iraq from Hussein's brutal rule, let me say clearly: American, British, and other allied soldiers are a sign of hope and liberation.

Military Turns to Software to Cut Civilian Casualties - Bradley Graham (Washington Post)

    U.S. military planners are hoping to reduce the potential for civilian casualties by using a new computer program whose name belies its serious purpose: "Bugsplat."
    Instead of drawing a simple circle around a target to show a bomb's estimated blast effect and determine what civilians might be at risk nearby, Bugsplat generates blob-like images - resembling squashed insects - that military officials say more precisely models potential damage by a particular type and size of bomb dropped by a particular aircraft flying at a given altitude.
    This enables commanders to fine-tune attacks and, in some instances, can embolden them to order bigger bombs than they would have employed relying on less sophisticated modeling methods, Air Force officials said.
    "It will allow us to target those facilities that we want to target with confidence that we're not going to cause collateral damage," said Brig. Gen. Kelvin R. Coppock, director of intelligence for the Air Combat Command.

Doctors Under Fire (IDF)

    Lt. Dr. Yonah Cruger, a 28-year-old Jewish immigrant from Canada, is currently serving as doctor for the Lavi battalion of the Israel Defense Forces in Hebron.
    "Obviously everyone tries to minimize the risk. But sometimes there is no choice and you have to run into the middle of the battle," Cruger explains.

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Indictment Ties U.S. Professor and 8 Others to Terror Group - Eric Lichtblau with Judith Miller
    In a 50-count grand jury indictment unsealed in Tampa on Thursday, federal prosecutors brought racketeering charges against a Florida professor and seven other people, accusing them of financing and helping support suicide bombings in Israel. The indictment charges that Palestinian Islamic Jihad, linked to more than 100 killings in Israel, has been deeply rooted within the U.S. since the 1980s, using American academic and fund-raising groups as fronts. Prosecutors charged that Sami Al-Arian, a suspended professor at the University of South Florida, was the group's North American leader and conducted a wide-ranging conspiracy to funnel money, support, and logistical advice to terrorists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (New York Times)
        See also Sami Al-Arian, in his Words (St. Petersburg Times);
        Excerpts from the Indictment (AP/Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
  • Peres Questions France's UN Status
    Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, speaking Thursday to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, suggested India replace France as a permanent member of the Security Council. "Why not for example, India, that represents much more of the 20th century, in terms of people, in terms of position, in terms of visions?" Peres said. He also said, "One must ask, why was it right to bomb Kosovo...without the United Nations? Is Milosevic more dangerous than Saddam Hussein?" (AP/Newsday)
  • Briton Murdered in Riyadh - Steven Lee Myers
    Robert Dent, 37, a British defense worker, was shot and killed Thursday in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, as he waited in his car at a traffic light. According to the British travel advisory for Saudi Arabia, 7 bombings have killed or injured Westerners since November 2000. (New York Times)
  • The Jihad Against U.S. Textbooks - Suzanne Fields
    "Islam and the Textbooks," a 35-page report compiled by the American Textbook Council in New York, finds that millions of American schoolchildren are being cheated of accurate history. The Islamist terrorists who attacked America on September 11 and the suicide bombers who set out to terrorize Israel cited their murderous rampage as a "jihad." Yet a seventh-grade world history book by Houghton Mifflin defines "jihad" merely as a struggle for a Muslim "to do one's best to resist temptation and overcome evil." On significant Islam-related subjects, textbooks omit, flatter, embellish, and resort to happy talk, suspending any criticism or harsh judgments. (Washington Times)
        See Full Report (American Textbook Council)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Rocket Sderot for Second Day - Arnon Regular, Amos Harel, and Tsahar Rotem
    Palestinians fired two Qassam rockets Thursday at the Negev town of Sderot and one rocket at the settlement of Netzarim in the Gaza district. No damage or injuries were reported in either attack. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Expects Little Warning from U.S. before Iraqi War - Amos Harel and Aluf Benn
    A number of IDF units are preparing under the assumption that they will enjoy only a six-hour warning prior to the start of the U.S. offensive. The most prevalent assessment at this time is that the attack will begin during the first week of March.
        The IDF Home Front Command will not declare an emergency situation with the start of the offensive, but will adjust its instructions as the situation unfolds. Defense analysts emphasize that the chances that missiles will be fired against Israel by Iraq are very small - especially in view of the absence of any intelligence on the presence of missiles and launchers in the western desert of Iraq.
        The arrival in Israel this weekend of senior U.S. liaison officer General Charles Simpson signals the beginning of the countdown to the start of the American offensive. General Simpson will stay in Israel indefinitely. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Seeks Closer Ties and Funding with Iran - Daniel Sobelman
    Hamas has been forced to seek closer ties with Iran in order to compensate for a loss in funding from other sources, intelligence sources say, noting the significantly increased frequency of visits to Tehran by leading members of the organization. A serious blow has been dealt to Hamas funding from the U.S., though the flow of money from Saudi Arabia continues. (Ha'aretz)
  • Sharon: We are Guardians of Jerusalem for Future Generations
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Thursday told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, "I don't think there is any right to anyone to make any compromise when it comes to Jerusalem....We are guardians of Jerusalem for future generations." Sharon categorically rejected the Palestinian claim of a "right of return" of refugees. "We understand the tragedy" of the refugees, he said, but Israel has no responsibility for them because it was attacked. Accepting their return "means the destruction of Israel as (an) independent, democratic Jewish state," he said. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Stand Against the Evil that Took My Son's Life - Judea Pearl, father of Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl - murdered one year ago
        Danny's captors concentrated on his Jewish and Israeli heritage. Evidently the murderers were confident that Danny's Jewish connections were sufficient to license the gruesome murder they were about to commit. Such a brazen call to condone the killing of a human being by virtue of his religion or heritage is strongly reminiscent of the horrors perpetrated by Nazi Germany.
        In a world governed by reason and leadership, one would expect world leaders to immediately denounce such racist calls before they become an epidemic. However, President Bush was the only world leader to acknowledge the connection between Danny's murder and the rise of anti-Semitism: "We reject the ancient evil of anti-Semitism whether it is practiced by the killers of Daniel Pearl or by those who burn synagogues in France." (Wall Street Journal)
  • Jordanian King Sides with Americans, U.S. Warns Paris - Ze'ev Schiff
    A good many British and American aircraft are flying eastward over Israel to Jordan. Israeli officials know how many planes have overflown the country and are also able to guess what they contain. What is going on behind the scenes in Jordan is characteristic of events in a number of other Arab states as well. On the one hand, they are voicing loud objections to a war, yet almost all of them share the approach that it would be a good thing to be rid of Saddam Hussein, because he is endangering the region. The young Jordanian king is especially impressive. Contrary to the position taken by his father, King Hussein, in the 1991 Gulf War, King Abdullah has come out unequivocally on the side of the U.S. and intends to reap the full benefits of this move.
        The U.S. decided to go back to the Security Council with the aim of getting a resolution passed that will enable them to use force against the Iraqis. It has been learned that in order to forestall a French veto, the Americans have warned Paris that their reaction to a veto will include rules and regulations that will be aimed against the French economy and the economic relations between the two countries. (Ha'aretz)
  • A Last Chance to Stop Iraq - Kenneth M. Pollack
    The American, British, and Israeli intelligence services believe that unless he is stopped, Saddam Hussein is likely to acquire a nuclear weapon in the second half of this decade. How will Saddam Hussein behave once he has acquired a nuclear weapon? He has been anything but circumspect about his aspirations: He has stated that he wants to turn Iraq into a "superpower" that will dominate the Middle East, to liberate Jerusalem, and to drive the United States out of the region. His half-brother and former chief of intelligence, Barzan al-Tikriti, was reported to say that Iraq needs nuclear weapons because it wants "a strong hand in order to redraw the map of the Middle East." We have heard from many intelligence sources that Saddam Hussein believes that once he has acquired nuclear weapons it is the U.S. that will be deterred. He sees these weapons as offensive - as enabling aggression.
        Given Saddam Hussein's current behavior, his track record, his aspirations and his terrifying beliefs about the utility of nuclear weapons, it would be reckless for us to assume that he can be deterred. Yes, we must weigh the costs of a war with Iraq today, but on the other side of the balance we must place the cost of a war with a nuclear-armed Iraq tomorrow. (New York Times)
  • U.S.-Turkey Negotiations Not Just about Money - Zvi Barel
    Turkey has said that it will not place its forces under American command, something the U.S. is demanding out of concern that Turkey may try to conquer parts of northern Iraq or conduct an independent military maneuver against the Kurds to prevent the establishment of an independent Kurdish state. Sources in the Turkish prime minister's office said Wednesday that they see no possibility of refusing the American government, especially in light of the NATO compromise regarding protection of Turkey and the need for American support of Turkey's standing in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. (Ha'aretz)
  • "Arafat and Saddam are the Same" - Aluf Benn
    Sharon proposes a division of labor: Israel will take care of Arafat. America will smash the sources of Arab power: terrorism, missiles, and weapons of mass destruction. Sharon reminds U.S. visitors that a victory in Iraq won't solve all the problems in the region and that Syria, Libya, and Iran have to be dealt with. The signs are encouraging: Mubarak is courting Sharon, Arafat announces he'll appoint a prime minister, European and UN diplomats are ready to "waste" Arafat, their former protege, and admit privately that Sharon has beaten his veteran rival. (Ha'aretz)
  • How Muslims (Finally) Conquered Europe - Bat Ye'or
    Europe has undergone a profound structural and demographic change, which is not yet fully perceived by Europeans, even less by Americans. This transformation of a Judeo-Christian-based civilization and culture by strong trends of Islamization is creating social, political, and cultural grounds for confrontations that could provoke dangerous social implosions. The drifting away of Europeans from America reveals a traumatic fear of a terrorism that the EU always refused to acknowledge, scapegoating instead Israel and America. It reveals the preservation, at all costs, of Arab and Muslim corrupt dictatorships, including Arafat, with whom the EU has built its economic and international political strategy, power, and security. And, more threatening, it indicates a profound transformation, a mutation, whereby a civilization is engulfed in "dhimmitude" (submission to Islamic domination). (FrontPage Magazine)
  • Palestinian Factions Plot Revenge - James Bennet
    Although more than two years of conflict and a shared nationalist impulse have blurred the distinctions among the Palestinian factions, divisions of ideology endure in Nablus, which Israel calls the center for terrorism in the West Bank. The liquid crystal display on the cellular phone of a bearded representative of Hamas showed a picture of Osama bin Laden beside an image of the Twin Towers. The representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group with Marxist roots, displayed a picture of Che Guevara. A leader of the Aksa Martyrs Brigade, a militant group of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, had a picture of a rifle.
        To the members of Hamas, there was no such thing as an Israeli civilian. All Israelis were soldiers, one said, and they would be welcome in this land only as tourists. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    The Danger of Saudi "Blowback" - Gerald M. Steinberg (Jerusalem Post)

    • The departure of the American forces from Saudi Arabia once the war with Iraq is over will create new and more menacing difficulties for the U.S., Israel, and other countries. If the huge arsenals of the world's most advanced weapons become available to radical groups and Islamic terrorists, this would create a catastrophic case of "blowback."
    • After the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, guerrillas who were trained and armed by the U.S. (including bin Laden) turned their weapons against their former benefactors. The potential blowback from the Saudi arsenal of advanced aircraft and missiles would be many times more devastating.
    • For over 30 years, Saudi defense officials (princes of the royal family) have been converting a significant portion of their oil income into weapons. Multi-billion dollar deals to acquire large numbers of the most advanced combat aircraft, tanks, missiles, and other systems have made Saudi Arabia one of the most highly armed countries in the world.
    • In the early 1980s (and despite strenuous objections from Israel and within the U.S.), the Reagan Administration agreed to sell AWACS airborne battle stations to the Saudis, as well as F-15s (over 150 of these advanced fighter-bombers are now in the Saudi inventory), and tactical missiles such as Maverick and Sidewinder. In addition, weapons purchased from France and Britain should not be overlooked.
    • If the U.S. and other Western forces depart, huge stockpiles of some of the most advanced weapons in the world would no longer be locked away. In the likely event of a major political upheaval in Saudi Arabia, and the replacement of the royal family with an Islamic regime that is closely aligned with Islamic radicals or terror groups, these weapons could become a central element in the war against the U.S. and the West.
    • In addition, the intercontinental ballistic missiles purchased from China many years ago provide the foundation for a Saudi strategic force.
    • Given the scale of these dangers, American post-war planning for Saudi Arabia should neutralize the blowback scenario. If or when the U.S. forces depart, they should be sure to take all their baggage with them. The advanced aircraft, missiles, electronics and other systems can be flown or shipped out (with compensation based on the residual value of these weapons, of course). Whatever cannot be moved, such as the bases, radar antennas, and ground facilities, must be destroyed.

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