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 25, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Perle: There Will Be No French Veto - Amir Taheri - (Gulf News-Dubai)
    Q: Will the U.S. ignore a French veto?
    Richard Perle (U.S. Defense Policy Board chairman): Certainly.
    If a veto can dictate our policy, then France would be regarded as the master of the world.
    In any case, there will be no French veto. The French know that if they veto we shall ignore them. They would also know that Saddam Hussein couldn't win.
    So, what would be the sense of antagonizing a victorious U.S. to please a losing Saddam?
    Just before the war starts, France will jump on our side. It has happened all the time, most recently in Afghanistan. The French behaved in exactly the same way last time when Saddam had invaded Kuwait.
    Q: Is there enough Arab support for the American position?
    Perle: More than enough. Not a single Arab state is making the slightest move against our policy on this issue.
    And at least a dozen are actively cooperating with us in whatever field we require.

Going After Hamas - Ben Caspit (Maariv)
    One year ago, Israel gave Gen. Zinni a list of 105 terrorists. Of the 65 in the West Bank, 73% have been killed or arrested, compared with 4 out of 40 in Gaza.
    "Hamas in Gaza has become a monster.... We need to return it to its normal size," said Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz.

Arabs Send Troops to Protect Kuwait (Telegraph-UK)
    About 500 soldiers from the United Arab Emirates arrived in Kuwait Sunday, leading an Arab force deployed to protect the emirate from Iraq.
    The UAE troops will build up to a full brigade of about 3,000 soldiers and will be joined by 4,500 Saudi-led multinational forces of the Gulf countries.
    There are 100,000 U.S. and British soldiers in Kuwait.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. and Allies Ask UN to Affirm Iraq Won't Disarm
    The U.S., Britain, and Spain asked the Security Council Monday to declare that Iraq had missed its last chance to disarm to avoid a war. But France, Russia, and Germany moved to strengthen the UN inspections and give Saddam Hussein months more to show that he is complying. (New York Times)
        See also Facing Down Iraq - Editorial
    An American resolution, reaffirming the conclusion that Iraq has failed to disarm, deserves the Security Council's support. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Officials Say UN Future at Stake in Vote
    The Bush administration has begun to characterize the decision facing the Security Council not as whether there will be war against Iraq, but whether council members are willing to irrevocably destroy the world body's legitimacy by failing to follow the U.S. lead, senior U.S. and diplomatic sources said. One foreign diplomat said U.S. officials told him, "You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not. That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not." (Washington Post)
  • Russia Plays its Economic Card over Iraq
    Despite Russia's reminder to the U.S. last week that it could still use its UN Security Council veto against military action in Iraq, Moscow's stance has generally been more conciliatory than that adopted by Paris. Russia's attitude towards Iraq is pragmatic: its interests are economic. By recognizing those interests as legitimate, and by making clear they could be furthered by the removal of the Ba'athist dictatorship, the Anglo-American coalition could win over Russian support. The easiest issue to resolve is Iraq's $8bn debt to Russia. The U.S.-UK coalition could recognize Iraq's foreign debts and guarantee their repayment by the post-Saddam regime. (Financial Times-UK)
  • Turkey's Cabinet Approves U.S. Troops
    The Turkish government endorsed a proposal Monday to allow thousands of American troops into the country for a possible attack on Iraq, yet it was not clear whether the Turkish Parliament would vote on the plan before all the details had been worked out. (New York Times)
  • Diplomat Dies 21 Years after Assassination Attempt
    Former Israeli ambassador to London Shlomo Argov, 74, who was shot and severely wounded by a Palestinian gunman on the steps of the Dorchester Hotel in 1982, died Sunday after spending the past 21 years in hospital. Mr. Argov was paralyzed by the assassination attempt, and regained consciousness for only about three years. The attack was Israel's stated reason for launching its invasion of Lebanon, after which Yasser Arafat and his Palestine Liberation Organization forces were expelled from the country. (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Snowstorm Blankets Jerusalem
    A rare snowstorm swept across Israel and Lebanon on Tuesday, closing major highways and schools, and blanketing Jerusalem in wintry white. Forecasters said the storm will continue through Wednesday and is expected to deliver the heaviest snow since 1950. (AP/
  • Arafat Still Holds the Reins of PA Finances - Arnon Regular
    Last Wednesday, there was a long line outside the Palestinian Finance Ministry in Ramallah. Hundreds of Fatah members and employees of the Palestinian Authority, equipped with letters signed by Yasser Arafat, were waiting to receive whatever aid money he had approved for them. Thousands of Palestinians receive such aid every month. Despite the appointment of former IMF official Salam Fayyad as finance minister, the stream of personal payments directly authorized by Arafat has not stopped. Fayyad has not interfered with Arafat's allocations, which are financed not by the PA but by the PLO, or by income from PA-sponsored fuel, cement, and flour monopolies, which continues to flow directly into the coffers of Arafat's financial adviser, Mohammed Rashid. An Arafat loyalist, Hassan Abu Sharia, continues to hold veto power over every new appointment in the PA, including in the security services. Fayyad thus has no power over hiring and firing. (Ha'aretz)
  • Cancellation of Cairo Talks Angers Egyptians - Khaled Abu Toameh
    "The Egyptians are really angry," a Palestinian official said Monday in the wake of the cancellation of inter-Palestinian talks which were supposed to have resumed in Cairo. "They see the Palestinian groups' stance as a severe blow to Egypt's credibility and prestige." "The Egyptians have told Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders that they will not come to their aid if Israel decides to eliminate them one by one," the official said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Reds are Trouncing the Blues - Amir Oren
    In meetings with foreign delegates, the head of Military Intelligence (MI), Major General Aharon Ze'evi, and the head of MI's research division, Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, pull out a chart that shows the greater frequency of red columns (attempted suicide attacks that were foiled) as compared to blue columns (attacks that occurred). Between October 2000 and May 2002, the blue lines had the clear advantage. After Operation Defensive Shield, the red columns shot up, and they now dwarf the blue ones. The turnaround is attributed to the IDF's presence in the field and in shortening the lines of communication between the intelligence gatherers and processors and the end-users. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • It Didn't Have to Be This Way - Richard C. Holbrooke
    In a roughly similar situation, in 1999, the Clinton administration and our NATO allies decided to bomb Serbia (for 77 days) without even seeking UN approval, after it became clear that Russia would veto any proposal. The uncertain diplomatic process that has brought the administration to the very edge of starting a war just as international opposition to it is solidifying does not make it easy for those who have supported the goal of enforcing existing Security Council resolutions - a goal that Washington and London risk muddling by their strange quest for that unnecessary second resolution. [The writer was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Clinton.] (Washington Post)
  • Turkey Names its Price - Wesley Clark
    Turkey desperately needs U.S. financial assistance. But more importantly, Turkey sees its vital interests at risk in a U.S.-led war: it must prevent the emergence of a separate Kurdish state; it must prevent wholesale movement of Kurdish refugees into Turkey, which would exacerbate internal security concerns; and it must gain the prompt resumption of full oil flows from Iraq. To prevent the emergence of a Kurdish state, Turkey will want Kurdish forces disarmed and, reportedly, some access to and influence over the post-conflict Iraqi government. We know from experience in both Bosnia and Kosovo that disarming combatants who have fought for years inside their own countries is difficult, sensitive, and only partially effective. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Europe's Misplaced Fears Over Terror - Reuel Marc Gerecht
    Scratch European anxiety about the coming Anglo-American invasion of Iraq and you usually discover a foreboding about the possible repercussions among Europe's large and expanding Muslim population. An assault on Saddam Hussein could provoke, it is feared, demonstrations or riots in the streets, terrorist attacks, and worsening rancor between Europe's Muslims and non-Muslims. It may be no coincidence that France, Germany, and Belgium have become the anti-American axis in western Europe since they all have sizeable, increasingly militant, and, in the eyes of the non-Muslim natives, increasingly indigestible Muslim communities.
        Yet European fears are misplaced. The coming war will probably diminish, not enhance, the odds that young Muslim males will become holy warriors or take to the streets more violently than their non-Muslim, anti-war European compatriots. The Muslim communities in Europe are not radically different in temperament from what they were in 1990-91. Then the war came and went, but few strictly Muslim disturbances occurred. (Financial Times-UK)
  • Iraq's Economy: What's Left? - Paul Rivlin
    What is left of Iraq's economy after the 1980-88 war against Iran and the Gulf war of 1991? And what are the prospects for rehabilitating Iraq after another war? Iraq has an expatriate population and capital abroad that could play a role in reconstruction, but without the promise of long-term stability, regime change alone will not induce labor and capital to return. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies/Tel Aviv University)
  • Observations:

    Appeasing Hitler and Saddam - Alistair Cooke (BBC/FrontPage Magazine)

    • When Hitler broke the First World War peace treaty in 1936 by occupying the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland, he knew that French morale was too low to confront any war just then and 10 million of 11 million British voters had signed a so-called peace ballot. The slogan of this movement was "Against war and fascism" - a slogan that now sounds as imbecilic as "against hospitals and disease." In blunter words, a majority of Britons would do absolutely anything to get rid of Hitler, except fight him.
    • So many of the arguments mounted in the last fortnight are exactly what we heard at that time in the House of Commons debates and read in the French press. The French especially urged "negotiation, negotiation." They negotiated so successfully as to have their whole country defeated and occupied.
    • After the Rhineland, the maverick Churchill started a highly unpopular campaign for rearmament by Britain, warning that Hitler had already built an enormous mechanized army and superior air force. But he's not used them - people protested.
    British journalist Alistair Cooke became NBC's London correspondent in 1935 and started reporting for the BBC in l937.

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