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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May 19, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Saudi Arms Sold to Al Qaeda? - Peter Finn (Washington Post)
    Saudi authorities are investigating suspected illegal arms sales by members of the country's National Guard to al Qaeda operatives in the country, U.S. and Saudi officials said.
    The weapons were seized in a May 6 raid on an al Qaeda safe house and were traced to National Guard stockpiles.

    See also Bomber "Moles" in Saudi Forces - Robin Gedye and John R Bradley (Telegraph-UK)
    Al Qaeda has infiltrated Saudi Arabia's military and security forces at the highest level, including those entrusted with the protection of Western residential compounds, American intelligence officials believe.
    They are convinced that the Riyadh suicide bombers depended on a significant level of "insider" knowledge of the compounds and that al Qaeda even infiltrated the elite National Guard, which is involved in compound security.
    Intelligence sources said several bombers were wearing National Guard uniforms to help them get into the three bombed complexes.

Terrorists Leave Arafat's Compound (Jerusalem Post)
    On Sunday, 15 Palestinians wanted by Israel, including those involved in the murder of a Jew in a shooting ambush last week, left Arafat's Ramallah compound, according to Palestinian officials.
    Officials said Arafat agreed to remove the men because he wanted to avoid giving Israel a pretext for a renewed attack on his headquarters.

Uncovered: The Secret Grave of 600 Murdered Kuwaitis - Marie Colvin (London Times)
    The bodies of Saddam´┐Żs victims are being dug out of the ground every day in Iraq.
    Nine feet under a former Iraqi army base, the bodies of 600 Kuwaiti prisoners of war missing since 1991 have been found, revealed by a former member of the Iraqi secret police who sought a share of a $1m reward offered by Kuwait for information about their fate.
    For 12 years, Iraqi officials pretended the Kuwaitis were alive and being held as POWs.

Bounty on Ba'athist Butchers - Charlotte Edwardes (Telegraph-UK)
    At least 150 former Ba'ath party officials from the Basra area who acted as brutal torturers for Saddam Hussein's regime are living in fear, after leaders of the Al Dawah movement, a Shia religious party, offered a £1,000 reward for each one captured or killed.
    British military police in Basra confirmed that a spate of revenge executions appeared to be underway.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • 13 Homicide Bombers Kill 29 in Casablanca, Morocco
    13 homicide bombers attacked five locations in Casablanca, Morocco, Friday evening, killing 29 and injuring more than 100. Among the dead were 22 Moroccans, 4 Spanish, 2 French, and 1 Italian. One failed bomber is in custody. Targets included the Casa de Espana restaurant, a Jewish cemetery and a Jewish social center, a hotel owned by the Kuwaiti government, and a Jewish-owned Italian restaurant across from the Belgian consulate. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Sees Signs of a Revived Al Qaeda
    Leaders and operatives of al Qaeda have reorganized bases of operations in at least a half-dozen locations, including Kenya, Sudan, Pakistan, and Chechnya, and have begun to recruit and train new members and plan new attacks on Western targets in earnest, senior counterterrorism officials say. The U.S. has secretly arrested a number of al Qaeda followers in recent months who are suspected of having been sent to the U.S. to scout targets for new terror attacks. Some of those recently arrested were said to have been studying possible locations for attacks on gasoline tanker trucks or suspension bridges. (New York Times)
  • Iran a Safe Haven for Al Qaeda?
    U.S. officials say they have evidence the bombings in Saudi Arabia and other attacks still in the works were planned and directed by senior al Qaeda operatives who have found safe haven in Iran. Two of bin Laden's key lieutenants, Saif al Adel and Mohammed al Masri, are known to be in Iran. Al Adel was once bin Laden's chief of security and al Masri ran the al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. (CBS News)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinian Homicide Bomber Kills Seven, Wounds 20 on Jerusalem Bus
    Seven Israelis were killed and 20 wounded, three of them seriously, when a Hamas suicide bomber blew up on a city bus in north Jerusalem on Sunday. A second suicide bomber blew up in the northern outskirts of Jerusalem, without injuring others. Jerusalem Police Chief Mickey Levy said the bomber boarded the bus disguised as a religious Jew. In reaction to the bombings, Prime Minister Sharon canceled his trip to the U.S. scheduled for this week. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Homicide Bomber Kills Israeli Couple in Hebron
    Gidi, 31, and Dina Levy, 37, from Kiryat Arba were murdered by a Palestinian homicide bomber on Saturday in Hebron. Military sources said the bomber was disguised as a religious Jew. (Ha'aretz)
  • Terror Cells Worked in Tandem - Amos Harel
    The suicide bombers in Hebron and Jerusalem were photographed together before heading off on their respective missions. They were neighbors, who knew each other well and belonged to the same cell in Hamas.
        The defense establishment expects the current wave of terror to continue and intensify whenever there is any sense that progress is being made in talks with Abu Mazen's government. The Palestinians did not appear to be enthusiastic during the Sharon-Abu Mazen talks on Saturday night about taking over security control in northern Gaza; the army believes Abu Mazen first wants to consolidate his power over the coming two months, before undertaking solid action. (Ha'aretz)
  • Sharon Meets with Abu Mazen - Aluf Benn
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) met Saturday night amid growing concern on the Israeli side that the efforts to replace Yasser Arafat and his leadership with more moderate figures is proving to be a failure. Intelligence and security sources share the conclusion that the Abu Mazen government is finding it difficult to function in view of the resurgence of Arafat, his continuing control over the Palestinian security apparatus and funding, and his efforts to undermine reforms in the PA. According to the director of the Prime Minister's Office, Dov Weisglass, who returned from Washington on Thursday, the Americans, who publicly support Abu Mazen's government, perceive him as having little chance for success, and Arafat is seen as stronger than they originally thought. (Ha'aretz)
        At the Israeli Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Sharon said that he would continue to meet with Abu Mazen. He also said: "Israel will continue to foil any murder attempt against it citizens until we see that there is someone on the other side that can do it." (Ha'aretz)
  • Suicide Bomber on Bicycle Attacks IDF Patrol - Joel Leyden
    A suicide bomber on a bicycle attacked an IDF patrol near Kfar Darom in the Gaza District on Monday, wounding 3 soldiers. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fatah Terrorists Attack Jewish Town Near Green Line
    Two terrorists from the Fatah-affiliated Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, armed with Kalashnikov rifles, cut through a security fence and entered the Jewish town of Shaarei Tikva in Samaria on Saturday night. After a security patrol discovered their entry, IDF forces found and killed the terrorists in an exchange of gunfire. (Hatzofe-Hebrew)
  • Hamas Plan to Hijack Bus Thwarted - Efrat Weiss and Felix Frisch
    Israel's security services uncovered a Hamas plot to hijack a bus in northern Jerusalem and bring it into PA territory in order to exchange the hostages for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Most of the cell members were Jerusalem residents and possessed Israeli identity cards. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • U.S. Buys No Friendship in Arab Lands with Pro-Palestinian Diplomacy - Fouad Ajami
    We should know the Arab world for what it is today and entertain no grand illusions about the gratitude the road map would deliver in Palestinian and Arab streets. We buy no friendship in Arab lands with pro-Palestinian diplomacy; we ward off no anti-American terrorism. There is no possibility the rancid anti-Americanism of Hosni Mubarak's Egypt would be assuaged with a big push for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement. We take up a false trail when we fall for the claim that our troubles in the Arab world spring from our policy on Israel and Palestinians. (US News)
  • ''Road Map'' Unlikely to Lead Anywhere - Tom Segev
    Even some supporters of a compromise agreement have lost much of their enthusiasm. You sit in a cafe with equally liberal-minded friends, talking peace and human rights, withdrawal from the territories and Palestinian independence. If you're lucky, the place doesn't blow up while you're still there - only after you've left. (Boston Globe)
  • Saudi Shi'ites Support Dynasty Over Radicals - Amir Taheri
    Officially, they do not exist. In reality, however, Saudi Arabia's Shi'ites account for 15% of the kingdom's population of 20 million. Concentrated in the oil-rich province of al-Sharkiyah, Saudi Shi'ites form a good part of the kingdom's urban middle class. Yet of the top 400 government positions, only one undersecretary of state is held by a Shi'ite. Of the 120 members of the all-appointed Saudi parliament, only two are Shi'ites. With the rise of militant Hanbalism (Wahhabism), Shi'ites have emerged as the strongest supporters of the royal family. If the al-Saudi dynasty is toppled, they fear its place would be taken by fanatics like bin Laden, who publicly state that Shi'ites must either convert to Hanbalism, leave the country, or face death. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Saudi House of Cards - Said K. Aburish
    The Saudi government will never reform itself. The royal family has grown used to squandering the country's wealth, and nothing will persuade it to willingly give up its perks. There are more than 9,000 adult male members of the House of Saud, all of them living lavishly. More than 50 of them are billionaires. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Unheeded Alarms in Saudi Arabia - Editorial (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    Does the International News Media Overlook Israel's Legal Rights in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict? - Dan Diker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • International news organizations covering the Arab-Israeli conflict frequently refer to international agreements and resolutions in ways that are prejudiced against Israel's legal rights and claims.
    • Frequent references to Israel's legal obligation to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders are inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 242 and the Oslo Accords.
    • Neither the Oslo Declaration of Principles of September 1993 nor the Oslo II Interim Agreement of 1995 require either Palestinians or Israelis to refrain from the construction of settlements, neighborhoods, houses, roads, or any other similar building projects.
    • References in the news media to "occupied Arab East Jerusalem" reflect an underlying assumption that eastern Jerusalem has always been an Arab city like Damascus or Baghdad, ignoring the fact that Jerusalem has had an overwhelmingly Jewish majority as far back as the mid-nineteenth century.
    • Despite UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's announcement on 25 July 2000 that Israel had fully implemented UN Resolution 425 when it unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon, news organizations have continued to refer to the Shaaba Farms, located on Israel's side of the border with Lebanon, as "disputed."

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