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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March 12, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Al Qaeda Suspected in Eight U.S. Cities - Lisa Myers (NBC News)
    Information seized during the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has triggered new investigations of possible al Qaeda operatives in eight U.S. cities, including New York and Detroit.
    Documents revealed that al Qaeda money transfers into the U.S. had continued after September 2001.
    The documents could provide "a direct link to potential terrorists," especially to sleeper cells, one official said.

U.S. Troops Move Through Turkey (UPI)
    Officially, the Turkish government will not allow the U.S. 4th Infantry Division to land and transit from the Mediterranean ports of Mersin and Iskanderun until its parliament votes again.
    In fact, U.S. and Turkish generals are quietly cooperating to stretch very far the interpretation of the January agreement to upgrade Turkish bases and ports.
    That agreement allowed 3,500 U.S. troops ashore. But with a nod and a wink from Turkish chief of staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, a lot more troops have landed.

U.S. Army's Chemical Weapons Detectives - Mary Beth Sheridan (Washington Post)
    The 75th Exploitation Task Force is preparing for a crucial mission: flying into Iraq on helicopters close behind advancing allied troops to document suspected weapons of mass destruction those troops encounter.

Tel Aviv's First Arab Deputy Mayor - Matthew Gutman (Jerusalem Post)
    The Tel Aviv-Jaffa city council has elected Jaffa-born former soccer star Rifat "Jimmy" Turk as deputy mayor of the city.
    "It is our duty to prove that coexistence in peace and equality is not just a dream," Turk told the council.

Useful Reference:

The 30th Government of Israel Ministers and Senior Government Officials (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Disputed Territories: Forgotten Facts About the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Would Accept Short Extension of Iraq Deadline
    The White House said President Bush would force a vote by the end of the week in the Security Council on an American-backed resolution giving an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. White House officials said Mr. Bush wanted a vote despite France's pledge to veto a resolution on Iraq and doubts about whether the U.S. can even muster the nine votes needed to adopt a resolution in the absence of a veto. Britain was seeking a compromise that could attract at least eight or nine votes, driven in part by growing domestic pressure on Prime Minister Tony Blair not to join in military action alongside the U.S. without UN authorization. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday that the U.S. could proceed militarily without Britain if necessary. (New York Times)
        See also In Iraq Debate, Small Nations are Swinging a Lot of Weight
    Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico, and Pakistan have been caught in a vise grip of competition between the U.S. and France. (Washington Post)
  • Shia Muslims Gird for Insurrection
    Thousands of Shiites were killed after their failed mutiny in 1991. They had seized almost all of southern Iraq, hoping for support from the U.S. troops that had chased the Iraqi military out of Kuwait, but the Americans refused to intervene and the rebels were destroyed with relentless cruelty by the Iraqi Republican Guard. According to Iraqi exiles, many Shiites are eagerly awaiting a chance to revolt again. (Toronto Globe and Mail)
  • Saddam Ready to Kill Iraqis
    A U.S. military official said that at least two Republican Guard divisions are believed to be armed at this moment with chemical artillery shells. Gen. Ali Hassan al Majid, or "Chemical Ali," Saddam's cousin, has been placed in charge of military activities in southern Iraq. Considered a war criminal by human rights groups, Majid commanded the 1988 chemical weapons attacks on the Kurds, oversaw the brutal occupation of Kuwait in 1990 and 1991, and commanded the Republican Guard divisions that brutally put down a rebellion by Shiites in southern Iraq. (Washington Times)
  • Saddam Reportedly Opens Suicide Camp
    Saddam Hussein has opened a training camp for Arab volunteers willing to carry out suicide bombings against U.S. forces, Arab media and Iraqi dissidents said Tuesday. Scores of Islamic activists have gone to a special camp run by the Iraqi intelligence service near the town of al-Khalis, 40 miles northeast of Baghdad. Many Muslims believe that participating with Iraqis in a possible war against invading U.S. forces is a religious duty. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF Renews Focus on Hebron - Amos Harel
    A radical change has occurred in Hebron over the last four months. With the IDF exerting heavy pressure on Nablus and Jenin, some of the leading wanted men in these cities apparently have relocated to Hebron, beefing up the local terrorist cells with know-how and expertise. As a result, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have doubled the number of attacks. The IDF has decided to divert more intelligence resources to Hebron, to double its troops there, and to crack down on Islamic charities serving as a front for terror organizations. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas: Palestinian PM a U.S. Conspiracy - Khaled Abu Toameh
    With the exception of Arafat's Fatah movement, all the Palestinian political factions have opposed the decision to appoint a prime minister. However, none of them have attacked the intended appointee, Mahmoud Abbas, or questioned his merits. At Saturday's closed meeting of the PLO central council in Ramallah, Arafat shouted, "What other choice did I have? They [the Quartet members] put a lot of pressure on me." According to a Hamas official, "Abbas can't do anything against Hamas because we represent the majority of Palestinians who don't accept dictates from Washington and Tel Aviv." (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas, Islamic Jihad Reject Palestinian PM (Reuters/Gulf News-Dubai)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Blaming the Jews - Editorial
    By blaming American Jews for an Iraq policy he opposes, Rep. James P. Moran Jr. has confirmed our opinion that he is unfit to serve in Congress. His comment perpetuates a stereotype of Jews as a unified bloc steering the world in their interest and against everyone else's. Over the centuries anti-Semites have used this libel to distract attention from their own failings and to instigate violence and discrimination against Jews. Mr. Moran's comment will be used to concentrate the poison of anti-Semitism in many parts of the world where it remains virulent and dangerous. Jews in fact are far from unified in their opinion of President Bush's Iraq policy. It wouldn't necessarily be anti-Semitic - just demonstrably wrong - to argue that Mr. Bush's Iraq policy is motivated primarily by a desire to protect Israel. But the argument moves from merely wrong to patently offensive when it attributes to Jews or "the Jewish community" a single view and a nefarious influence. (Washington Post)
  • Keep the UN United - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
    Sometimes it may be necessary to use force to deal with threats to the peace - and the UN charter makes provision for that. But war must always be a last resort. It should be used only when every reasonable alternative has been tried - in the present case, only if we are sure that every peaceful means of achieving Iraq's disarmament has been exhausted. The broader our consensus on how to deal with Iraq, the better the chance that we can come together again and deal effectively with other burning conflicts in the world, starting with the one between Israelis and Palestinians. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Call the Vote and Walk Away - Charles Krauthammer
    The UN did not sanction the Kosovo war, surely a just war, and that did not in any way make it illegitimate. Of the scores of armed conflicts since 1945, exactly two have received Security Council sanction: the Korean War (purely an accident, the Soviets having walked out over another issue) and the Gulf War, that ended in a cease-fire whose terms everybody agrees Hussein has violated. (Washington Post)
  • Wahhabi Extremists Seizing Control of U.S. Mosques - Mary Jacoby and Graham Brink
    For more than three decades, Saudi-backed organizations have poured billions of dollars into the U.S. and other countries to fund Wahhabi mosques, Islamic schools, and conferences. The main clearinghouse for Wahhabism in the U.S. is the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), subsidized by the Saudi government.
        An ISNA subsidiary called the North American Islamic Trust owns about 27% of the estimated 1,200 mosques in the U.S., says a report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Khalid Duran, an Islamic scholar and author, said the trust wants "all the mosques to be ideologically pure in their own Wahhabist line." Duran and others said the trust often takes title to a mosque after extremists have seized control. Soon, Wahhabi literature shows up in the mosques and related Islamic schools, and only Wahhabi-oriented speakers are allowed to talk. (St. Petersburg Times)
  • Talking Points:

    IDF: Likelihood of Iraqi Attack "Extremely Low" - Nina Gilbert (Jerusalem Post)

    • Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that the likelihood of an Iraqi attack on Israel is considered to be "extremely low," drawn from the assessment that Saddam will only try to attack Israel if he is cornered, but by that time Iraq will not have the capabilities to do so.
    • Ya'alon said Israel's air defenses have been on high alert since the September 11 terror attacks on the U.S.
    • The IDF's intelligence assessment is that Hizballah would moderate its activities during a war out of fear of reprisals from Israel.
    • According to a senior IDF intelligence official, the Iraqis believe war is inevitable. Yet, cooperation with UN inspectors is continuing and enabling Iraq to buy time to prepare. Iraq also believes that lack of international legitimacy for a U.S. attack would give the regime and Saddam himself a chance to outlast a war.
    • According to the intelligence official, the PA is trying to stop Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza because of Israel's harsh reprisals. However, the success of this effort has been limited and will not be effective as long as the PA does not uproot the Hamas terror infrastructure, he added.

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