Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with Access/Middle East
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 9, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Missile Threat to Israel Still Exists - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
    According to defense sources, there are still a number of suspicious areas in western Iraq near the Syrian border where Iraqi forces are still operating and there's no certainty these are "clean." This is also the American military assessment.

Israel, Jordan to Talk on Iraq Pipeline (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
    Israel and Jordan will hold meetings about the possibility of restarting an oil pipeline which sent Iraqi oil from Mosul to the northern Israeli port of Haifa via Jordan during the British Mandate period, a National Infrastructure Ministry source said on Wednesday.
    "Jordan contacted the prime minister's office," the source said. "We know the section of the pipeline here is in excellent condition but we want to know what the Jordanian part is like and whether it can be restarted easily."
    Restarting the pipeline could reduce Israel's fuel costs by 25%.
    [The Iraqi bases H-2 and H-3 in western Iraq were once pumping stations on the Mosul-Haifa pipeline - the "H" stands for Haifa.]

Al Qaeda in Mexico Seek Entry to U.S. - Bill Gertz (Washington Times)
    At least 14 al Qaeda members are said to be in Mexico, working with Mexican organized crime groups and attempting to infiltrate into the U.S. to conduct attacks.
    Additionally, intelligence officials said captured al Qaeda operations chief Khalid Shaikh Mohammed recently told U.S. officials that al Qaeda was planning to carry out a firebombing attack on Washington's Metrorail.

Jewish Casualty of Operation Iraqi Freedom (JTA)
    Corporal Mark Evnin, 21, of Burlington, Vt., a sniper scout with the Marines' 1st Division, was killed near Kut by Iraqi machine-gun fire.
    According to San Francisco Chronicle reporter John Koopman, Evnin was shooting back after coming under fire. His wounds did not appear life-threatening, but he died while being evacuated by helicopter.
    Evnin is the grandson of Rabbi Max Wall, rabbi emeritus of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington, who served as a chaplain with the 9th Infantry during World War II.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Celebrations, Looting in Downtown Baghdad
    Wednesday in downtown Baghdad was marked by celebrations in the streets and looting of government buildings, as police and other remnants of the Saddam Hussein government failed to appear. People told television reporters they were celebrating the end of the Saddam Hussein regime. (VOA)
  • U.S. Forces Tighten Grip on Baghdad
    U.S. troops estimated they killed hundreds of Iraqi soldiers and irregulars who mounted a counterattack Tuesday in Baghdad, racing over several bridges across the Tigris in about 50 buses, trucks, and armored vehicles. U.S. airstrikes destroyed a number of the vehicles, but most made it across the river before being beaten back by heavily armored tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, said Col. David Perkins of the 3rd Infantry Division. Pentagon officials said a U.S. A-10 plane appears to have been shot down by a French-made Roland surface-to-air missile. Iraqi government television remained off the air, although Iraqi radio continues to broadcast. With Hussein loyalists mixing civilian and uniformed fighters, soldiers manning the U.S. positions in Baghdad were having a hard time separating hard-core enemies from civilian bystanders. (Washington Post)
  • Jailed Iraqi Children Freed in Baghdad Suburb
    Around 150 children spilled out of a jail in northeast Baghdad after the gates were opened as a U.S. military vehicle approached, said Marine Lt. Col. Fred Padilla. "The children had been imprisoned because they had not joined the youth branch of the Baath party," he said. "Some of these kids had been in there for five years." "There were parents running up, so happy to have their kids back." (AFP/Yahoo)
        See also Bearing Wounds, Shiites Return to Torture Chamber
    Adnan Shaker grabbed the electric wire attached to the ceiling in the cell where he lived until a few days ago, and demonstrated how his jailers had tied his hands behind his back when they administered the shocks. "They put electricity into me three times a day," he said. Two days after the southern city of Basra was seized by the British military, Shaker and other former prisoners returned to their jail on the outskirts of the city to tell their stories to anyone who would listen. (Washington Post); see also Shaking Off Saddam (Newsweek)
  • The Anglo-American Alliance Wins Again - Martin Walker
    Confounding the Arab media who had talked darkly of a new spirit of Iraqi patriotism resisting the invaders, the people of Basra braved gunfire to dance in the streets and cheer for the British troops who finally broke the grip of Saddam's regime. This reporter saw one Basra citizen even kiss a British tank. (UPI)
  • New Palestinian PM Slow to Form Cabinet
    The new Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), appears unlikely to meet a Thursday deadline for establishing a new government. Those close to him say he wants to overhaul the cabinet, bringing in technocrats and rooting out endemic corruption in the Palestinian Authority. But a major shake-up would mean dismissing longtime loyalists of Mr. Arafat, who wants only minor adjustments to a cabinet he formed less than a year ago, Palestinians said.
        "I'm pleased with the new leader of the Palestinian Authority," President Bush said Tuesday in Northern Ireland, at a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. "I look forward to him finally putting his cabinet in place so we can release the road map." But too warm a welcome from the West could work against Abbas, Palestinians said. Arafat is likely to resent Abbas if he jets off to Western capitals while Arafat remains confined to his battered compound in Ramallah. Abbas, who is seldom seen in public, "needs to establish his Palestinian constituency and gain legitimacy here before he is seen in Washington, London, and Paris," said Mahdi Abdul Hadi, a Palestinian political scientist. (New York Times)
        See also Text of Bush-Blair Statements in Northern Ireland (White House)
  • Arab Volunteers Draw U.S. Scrutiny
    Several thousand guerrilla fighters from Arab countries have flocked to Iraq in the past few weeks to join the battle against U.S. and British forces, with many of them now in the capital engaging in suicidal attacks, senior U.S. officers said Tuesday. They come from Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, and the Palestinian territories. Maj. Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of the 1st Marine Division, expressed outrage at the tactics employed by Arab fighters and some of the Iraqi paramilitary members. "They literally hide behind women and children, holding them in their houses as they fire," he said. (Washington Post)
  • Palestinian Fighters Vow Ongoing War against U.S. in Iraq
    Palestinians in Lebanon refugee camps see the Iraqi conflict as part of a wider war with the United States and Israel. They believe that even if Saddam Hussein's regime is defeated, guerrilla war will continue in the region.
        "There isn't one American soldier on Baghdad soil," said a reporter speaking from the Iraqi capital on Lebanon's Al-Manar television station, run by Hizballah. Asked about the sound of guns in the background, the reporter explained that it was caused by Iraqi soldiers firing into the air in celebration of pushing back the Americans. (Toronto Globe & Mail)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Hamas Leader Killed in Gaza Air Attack - Erik Schechter
    An IAF attack helicopter killed senior Hamas terrorist Sa'id Arabid as he was driving through the Hamas stronghold of Zeitoun in Gaza City on Tuesday. Seven others were killed in the attack. According to the IDF, Arabid has led the military operations of Hamas, together with Muhammad Deif, since the early 1990s and was responsible for the planning and implementation of scores of attacks against Israelis. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Rocket Sderot, Gush Katif - Eli Vaked and Felix Frisch
    Palestinians fired Kassam rockets Wednesday from Gaza at the Israeli city of Sderot and at Jewish towns in Gush Katif. There were no injuries. In response, Israeli forces entered the area between Beit Hanoun and Jabalya from where the rockets had been fired. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • U.S. Bombs Palestinian Embassy in Baghdad
    U.S. jets bombed the Palestinian embassy in Baghdad on Monday. The embassy was severely damaged as its roof and all its contents were destroyed. The spokesman also said that a civilian Baghdad neighborhood of Palestinian refugees, in Iraq since 1948, was a target of U.S. bombing on Sunday. (Palestine Media Center)
  • Israeli Arab Named to Supreme Court - Baruch Kra
    Haifa District Court Judge Salim Joubran, 56, was appointed Tuesday to serve as an acting Supreme Court justice until the end of the year. If Joubran's trial period is a success, he will become the first Arab Israeli to serve as a permanent justice. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • War in Iraq Shows First Signs of Destabilizing Saudi Arabia - Lawrence Smallman
    The Saudi royal family's close alliance with the U.S. is the main factor behind an upsurge in support for an emerging jihad movement in the country. Last month, Hamad Bin Abdulrahman Al-Wardi, vice governor of Al-Jawf province, was assassinated as he drove to his office in Sakakah. This is the same town where Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sahibani, an Islamic court president, was shot dead after he sentenced a mujahid to prison for having fought in Afghanistan for the Taliban. On March 18, the Ministry of Interior confirmed that a man was accidently killed in Riyadh while making a bomb. (Al Jazeera-Qatar)
  • Five Ways to Take a City - Michael R. Gordon
    The most important thing about the saga of Basra is what the battle was not. For all of the fighting, it was not a Mesopotamia Stalingrad in which British soldiers fought their way across the city, block-by-block. That was the nightmare scenario the Saddam Hussein regime had hoped to use to frighten the allies from invading in the first place. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    Are 100 Bin Ladens on the Way? - Daniel Pipes (National Post-Canada)

    Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak predicts that the war in Iraq will have horrible consequences: "Instead of one bin Laden there will be one hundred bin Ladens." However, I expect that Muslim anger will diminish after an allied victory in Iraq, for the following reasons:

    • Iraqi gratitude: Watching the gratitude of liberated Iraqis will undercut the Muslim sense of outrage that this war harmed the Iraqi population.
    • Oil: When a new Iraqi government takes charge of its oil resources, the canard that Washington is fighting for control over Iraqi oil will die.
    • Imperialism: The alacrity with which the allies remove themselves from controlling Iraq will assuage fears of it becoming part of a U.S. empire.
    • Strong horse: As bin Laden himself put it, "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." An allied victory will establish who the strong horse is, diminishing the ardor of its enemies to fight.

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