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 10, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Where Did the Regime Go? - Dana Priest and Walter Pincus (Washington Post)
    Secret CIA and military teams in Iraq and surveillance devices set up to monitor Saddam Hussein's inner circle Wednesday reported that nearly the entire Iraqi leadership had vanished.
    U.S. military commanders said they suspected some leaders had headed to Hussein's hometown of Tikrit and that others had fled to Syria.
    Dogged fighting by Iraqi forces at Qaim, near the Syrian border, has led some to suspect Iraqi troops there may be protecting important Iraqi leaders, although it was not clear whom.
    The most likely explanation for the sudden dropoff in detectable communications and activity among such a large number of key people, according to intelligence analysts, is that an order to disappear was given in Hussein's name, and that he is still alive.
    U.S. intelligence officials said allied forces continued to stop and turn around busloads of non-Iraqi fighters attempting to come into Iraq from Syria.

The Fragility of the Iraqi Regime - David Ignatius (Washington Post)
    According to Western intelligence officials, in the days before the war, Saddam Hussein held his two sons, Uday and Qusay, as virtual prisoners because of fear they might take action against him.
    During the final defense of Baghdad, Republican Guard officers ordered some of the thousands of volunteers from other Arab nations to the front lines to face the American assault. "When the volunteers turned around to look for the Republican Guard, they had disappeared - leaving non-Iraqis to defend the regime," an intelligence official said.

The Iraqi Army Decided Not to Fight - Amir Taheri (London Times)
    The Iraqi Army, which suffered from Saddam Hussein's savagery as much as other Iraqi institutions, decided not to fight from the start.
    Its units did not become involved in a single engagement, above company level, against the coalition forces.
    Had the Iraqi Army and people wanted to fight, coalition tanks would not have been at the gates of Baghdad in two weeks.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • The Fall of Baghdad
    Much of Baghdad tumbled into American hands on Wednesday, although fighting had not subsided entirely. Bastions of Iraqi resistance were still holding out in north and central Iraq, military officials said. Ten or more Iraqi regular army divisions were still deployed in the field, though many others have collapsed without a fight. An enormous arsenal of conventional weapons was still hidden around the country where tens of thousands of Hussein loyalists, Baath Party officials, and Iraqi soldiers have apparently gone home or underground. (New York Times)
  • Oil Town Kirkuk Falls
    U.S.-backed Kurdish forces have moved into the town of Kirkuk that controls significant oil fields in northern Iraq, as the Iraqi army appeared to have fled the town. (BBC)
  • U.S. Says Syria Helping Iraqis Flee
    Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld charged on Wednesday that Syria might be helping Saddam Hussein's supporters to flee Iraq. "We are getting scraps of intelligence saying that Syria has been cooperative in facilitating the move of the people out of Iraq and into Syria," he told a news conference. "Then in some cases they stay there and find safekeeping there. In other cases they move them from Syria to some other places." "We also have seen in a number of instances people from Syria moving into Iraq, unhelpfully." (Reuters)
        See also U.S. Warns Syria to Abandon WMD
    A senior US official said on Wednesday that Syria, which Washington says is developing weapons of mass destruction and supports terrorism, should heed the lesson of the U.S.-led conflict in Iraq. "Syria is a good case where I hope they will conclude that the chemical weapons program (and) the biological weapons program they've been pursuing are things they should give up," said John Bolton, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. "This is a wonderful opportunity for Syria to foreswear the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction," he said. (News24-South Africa)
  • $50M to Aid Iran Dissidents Proposed
    Legislation authorizing $50 million a year to aid democratic activists inside Iran seeking a peaceful end to that country's regime has been proposed by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS). Under the proposed legislation, the State Department would fund an Iran Democracy Foundation to support "pro-democracy broadcasting to Iran," such as the satellite television and radio stations based in Los Angeles that many Iranians watch and listen to already; support training for the Iranian-American community to reach out to Iranian dissidents; and fund human rights and civil society groups working inside Iran. (UPI)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Kill Two Israeli Soldiers in Jordan Valley Attack - Tsahar Rotem
    Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a military base near the northern Jordan Valley town of Beka'ot before dawn Thursday, killing two IDF soldiers and wounding nine, Israel Radio reported. The two gunmen were killed. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Stunned by Collapse of Saddam's Regime - Khaled Abu Toameh
    "Now that Saddam is gone, the Palestinians feel like orphans. We have lost an important ally. He was even more popular than Yasser Arafat," said Abdel Majiud al-Bahs, a 46-year-old engineer. Some Palestinians chose to vent their anger on the Arab media, especially al-Jazeera, Abu Dhabi, and al-Arabiya TV stations for broadcasting lies about the developments on the battlefield. "For the past three weeks these stations gave us the impression that Iraq had the upper hand in the fighting against the U.S. and British forces," complained Yahya al-Natsheh, a store owner in al-Bireh. "Once again the Arabs have fallen victim to the lies of their leaders and media. We never learn from our mistakes," said Abed al-Zamel, a 70-year-old retired schoolteacher. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Bomb in School Near Jenin Wounds 15 - Arnon Regular and Jonathan Lis
    A bomb, apparently brought to a Jenin area school by one of the pupils, blew up in a classroom at the boys' school in the village of Jeva Wednesday, wounding 15 students. At first, teachers suspected a Jewish terrorist cell might be responsible, but Palestinian sources rejected the theory. Palestinian sources said they are examining the possibility that one of the Palestinian organizations wanted to hide the bomb in the school for future use and that it went off prematurely. (Ha'aretz)
        A Palestinian security official said it appeared one of the students had found a hand grenade and been playing with it when it went off in a classroom. (Courier-Mail-Australia)
  • Israeli Arab Paper: "Deal Seriously" with Growing Involvement in Terror - Yair Ettinger
    The Al-Ahali Arab-language daily, published independently in Sakhnin in the Galilee and distributed throughout Israel, called Tuesday on the Israeli Arab leadership "to deal seriously" with the growing involvement of Israeli Arabs in terror, following the recent arrest of six Israeli Arabs and the sentencing of five others on terror-related charges. "For how long will the Palestinian catastrophe continue under the shadow of various unrealistic and inhuman ways of thinking that provide Israel with excuses?" said an editorial, quoting figures released by the Shin Bet security service that show that 77 Israeli Arabs were involved in terror in 2002. "On the moral, political, and religious planes, is there any reason to kill civilians in terror attacks? With what right can a person bomb a coffee shop, school, or club in the name of Palestine?" (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Shame and Humiliation - John R. Bradley
    The pride the Arabs felt in the initial stages of the invasion, before those legendary "pockets of resistance" halting the advance of the world's only superpower were revealed as a myth, has been replaced by immense shame and humiliation. The images of U.S. soldiers taking a picnic in the heart of Baghdad will haunt the Arab psyche for generations to come. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
  • The Iraq the Arab World Saw All Along - Mamoun Fandy
    People assume that anti-Americanism is rife and violent throughout the Arab world. But the anti-Americanism that does exist is not so different from that of the Europeans. Indeed, despite a war raging in one of the most important Arab capitals, there have been no reports of actual violence against American targets in the Middle East. This is because many knew Saddam Hussein's record up close. Some in Egypt remember that Egyptian workers who had gone to work in Iraq in the 1980s came home in coffins. Foreign workers from around the Arab world were killed by the gangs of Uday Hussein because they rooted for the wrong team in a soccer match. (New York Times)
  • James Baker on the Road Map
    I believe that there exists a window of opportunity similar to the one that existed in the aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991. Any decision to reopen the "road map" to substantive amendment, for instance, is an open invitation to interminable delay. The U.S. must press Israel - as a friend, but firmly - to negotiate a secure peace based on the principle of trading land for peace in accordance with UNSC Resolution 242. The U.S. must keep up the pressure on the Palestinian Authority as well, particularly by requiring a 100 percent effort to stamp out terrorist violence. (Toronto Star)
  • Observations:

    What is This War About? - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)

    • This war is in large part about 9-11, not because the Iraqi regime was behind the attacks, but because, by Osama bin Laden's own admission, that attack was in large part inspired by a lack of U.S. credibility, demonstrated by the Clinton administration's withdrawal from Somalia, its failure to respond meaningfully to terrorist outrages such as the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and, above all, by its willingness to allow Saddam to flout UN disarmament resolutions and economic sanctions and to toy with U.S. ultimatums.
    • Without U.S. credibility, America's power to influence events in the Middle East to mediate a peace between Palestinians and Israelis, to demand an end to Syrian support for terror and so on, is essentially nil.
    • The second large consideration is regional democratization. For decades, successive U.S. administrations have treated the Arab world as a zone of democratic exclusion, even as they pushed democratic reforms in Latin America, East Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe. At some point, this double-standard had to end. U.S. support for such corrupt and repressive regimes as Egypt and Saudi Arabia furnishes more than a kernel of truth to the Islamist case.
    • Forceful U.S. advocacy of Arab democratization is not just a moral endeavor but a strategic priority. The Bush administration can apply itself to the task by insisting that genuine Palestinian democratization precede, rather than follow, a declaration of statehood.

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