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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July 17, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

The Islamic Party of Liberation - Ariel Cohen (Washington Times)
    The U.S. government should be taking a close look at Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation), a clandestine, cadre-operated, global radical Sunni political organization that operates in 40 countries around the world, with headquarters apparently in London.
    Analysts note the increasingly militant rhetoric, participation of Hizb fighters in the coups in the Arab world and on the side of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and explosives and weapons found when Hizb members are arrested.
    Hizb's proclaimed goal is jihad against America and the overthrow of existing political regimes and their replacement with a caliphate, a theocratic dictatorship based on Islamic religious law.

Terrorist Watch: Tablighi Jamaat - Susan Sachs (New York Times)
    Tablighi Jamaat, founded in rural India 75 years ago, describes itself as a nonpolitical, nonviolent group interested in bringing wayward Muslims back to Islam.
    But since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Tablighi Jamaat has cropped up on the margins of at least four high-profile terrorism cases.
    It has been cited either as part of a cover story for al-Qaeda recruits, or as a springboard into militancy, as in the case of John Walker Lindh, the American serving time for aiding the Taliban.
    "We have a significant presence of Tablighi Jamaat in the U.S., and we have found that al-Qaeda used them for recruiting, now and in the past," said Michael Heimbach, deputy chief of the FBI's international terrorism section.

Pakistani Foreign Office Sees No Harm in Recognizing Israel (Hi Pakistan)
    The Pakistani Foreign Office has strongly supported covert, if not overt, diplomatic ties with Israel, claiming the shift would bring about a bonanza of political, military, and economic benefits for Pakistan.
    According to a confidential summary prepared by the Middle East section of the Foreign Office last month, the advantages of recognizing Israel are: hostility of Western countries, in particular the U.S., towards Pakistan will decrease; flow of Western investment to Pakistan will grow; and it would help check fast expanding military ties between Israel and India.
    "We don't see any harm in recognizing Israel," said a senior Foreign Office official. "We have done the cost and benefit analysis."
    The country's prime intelligence agency, ISI, has also supported this major policy shift and contributed to the summary.
    The government recently launched a media campaign to mold public opinion on this vital foreign policy issue.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Facing "Guerrilla War" in Iraq, Commander Says
    Saddam Hussein loyalists are fighting an increasingly organized ''guerrilla-type campaign'' against U.S. troops, and terror groups are reviving, too, Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said Wednesday. ''It's low-intensity conflict in our doctrinal terms, but it's war however you describe it,'' said Abizaid, who took over last week as head of U.S. Central Command. Mid-level Baath Party operatives have organized themselves into cells of perhaps 10 people. With some regional coordination and financing, those cells plan attacks on American forces with improvised bombs, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons, Abizaid said. Terrorist groups operating inside Iraq include Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaeda-linked organization that appears to be regrouping in Iraq, possibly aided by members coming from Iran, as well as other non-Iraqi fighters, Abizaid said. (Boston Globe/AP)
  • IRA Suspect Sent Home by Israel Had Terrorist Past
    Israeli officials said Sean O'Muireagain, who left the country Wednesday after being released from detention, was a former IRA activist who had been correctly identified by British officials. They said he had admitted to Shin Bet investigators that he served time in prison for his role in an armed robbery organized by the IRA in the 1980s. (London Times)
        See also Suspect Detained at Britain's Request - Uri Dan
    An Israeli diplomat told me in London this week that British intelligence had really believed that an Irish terrorist sought by them had succeeded in gaining entry to Israel. So they asked the Shin Bet to arrest him and extradite him to Britain. (Jerusalem Post)
  • For Jews in France, a "Kind of Intifada"
    A gang of 15 North African teenagers, some of them wielding broom handles, invaded the grounds of a Jewish day school on Avenue de Flandre in northeast Paris. They punched and kicked teachers and students, yelled epithets, and set off firecrackers in the courtyard. The file of anti-Semitic assaults in France grows almost daily: 309 incidents in the past 15 months in the Paris region and more than 550 since September 2000. The National Consultative Committee on Human Rights, a government-funded body, reported a sixfold increase in acts of violence against Jewish people and property in France from 2001 to 2002. "At first, neither the politicians, nor the courts, nor the intellectuals, nor the media, nor public opinion, nor civil society - none of them said anything," said Simon Kouhama, president of the Jewish Citizens Forum. A recent poll by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency suggested that more than 25% of France's Jews have considered leaving. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Al-Aqsa Brigades: Disband Abbas's Government
    The London-based Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reports that al-Aqsa Brigades activists in Nablus distributed a flyer calling for an end to Mahmud Abbas's government and a halt to security meetings between Israelis and Mohammed Dahlan, following the arrest of three Fatah Tanzim activists by the IDF two days ago. Palestinian commentators speculated that the call was publicized in the press at the initiative of the PA and perhaps even by Arafat's office. (Maariv-Hebrew)
  • Palestinians Expelled to Gaza after Nativity Siege may be Allowed Back - Arnon Regular
    Israeli sources said Wednesday they would not oppose the return of 28 Bethlehemites who were expelled to Gaza in June 2002 in a deal that ended the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. According to Palestinian sources, most of the men are due to be integrated into the local security services. (Ha'aretz)
  • Damascus Moves Troops Out of Beirut
    Dozens of Syrian troops evacuated at least 10 posts southeast of Beirut Tuesday , implementing a redeployment plan. According to Lebanese security sources, 1,000 soldiers were scheduled to leave. In the past three years, since Syrian President Bashar Assad took office, the number of Syrian troops in Lebanon has declined from 35,000 to around 16,000. The Syrian army first entered Lebanon in 1976 to stop Lebanese Muslims, leftists, and Palestinian guerrillas from defeating the Christians in the initial stages of Lebanon's 15-year civil war. (DPA/Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Dahlan's Nationalist Strategy - Jihad Al Khazen
    Mohammed Dahlan is a smart nationalist; he didn't change his beliefs to fit the Americans and the Israelis. I know him very well. Dahlan called me two or three weeks after the beginning of the Aqsa intifada. He was obviously worried, for he spent time in Israeli prisons and knew the Israelis perfectly well. He said: "Jihad, the intifada should end. We should take advantage of the international compassion toward us right now. The intifada is scaring the Israelis and is pushing them to the right and that doesn't suit us." The importance of this comment lays in the fact that it was said 32 months ago, and I leave to each Palestinian and Arab the chance to think what would have happened if the intifada had stopped then. Dahlan's opinion is that Hamas should share power with Fatah, according to the influence and importance of each, to control Palestinian affairs, and face the Israelis in any coming negotiations with power and unity. (Dar Al-Hayat-Saudi Arabia)
  • Human Rights - Saudi-Style - Robert Fulford
    Saudi Arabia, rich theocratic monarchy and shaky friend of Washington, ranks last among all nations in civil liberties, according to the annual survey from Freedom House, an American research foundation. Saudi Arabia appeared on the "worst of the worst" list, beside Burma, North Korea, and Syria. For this reason, some of us suspected a hoax when we heard that Saudi Arabia plans an international human-rights conference, to be held in Riyadh in October. How will the conference deal with the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, otherwise known as the religious police? These men keep busy dragging people off to the police for "crimes of vice," such as women riding in taxis with males who are not their relatives.
        The religious police also persecute infidels. Last year, Ethiopian Christians reported being tortured for private Christian worship and Filipino Roman Catholics were sentenced for a prayer meeting at home (150 lashes, 30 days in jail, then deportation). (National Post-Canada)
  • Fighting for the Soul of Islam - Jim Hoagland
    On July 4, Islamic suicide attackers slaughtered 53 people in a mosque in Quetta, Pakistan. This was no jihad against Zionist oppressors, no blow against American crusaders. These victims were poor Shiite Muslims. This involved Muslims killing Muslims in the name of religion, part and parcel of an expanding civil war within Islam. Those who hate in this way hate much more than us. Historian Bernard Lewis in his book, The Crisis in Islam, points out that the radicals have an entire world to destroy before their apocalyptic design of restoring the Islamic caliphate can be realized. The key to winning the battle for the soul of Islam lies in the mobilization of a revitalized Islamic mainstream that will reassert and protect itself from the extremists. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:  

    Taliban Leaders Graduated from Saudi-Funded Schools - Arnaud de Borchgrave (Washington Times)

    • The 24,000-strong Saudi royal family has finally conceded that the root cause of Islamist terrorism has been its own Wahhabi ideology. Following the al-Qaeda bombings in Riyadh on May 12 that killed 35, including eight Americans, Saudi security and intelligence organizations reported that almost 1,000 Saudi clerics are either linked to, or in sympathy with, al-Qaeda. They have been fired or banned from addressing worshippers after Friday prayers. Crown Prince Abdullah has issued new regulations prohibiting any reference to jihad, or holy war, in radio and television broadcasts.
    • The Saudi clergy has sent Wahhabi clerics as missionaries all over the world to build mosques and set up madrassas (Koranic schools that teach only religion, to the exclusion of all other disciplines). There are about 2,000 mosques in the U.S., most of them started by Wahhabi clerics.
    • Following the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in February 1989, the Saudi Wahhabis lavished some $300 million a year on building a network of several thousand madrassas in Pakistan, whose graduates went on to Afghanistan for training in al-Qaeda's camps.
    • The University for the Education of Truth, a leading madrassa in Khattak near Peshawar, graduated nine out of Taliban's top 10 leaders. With a student body of 2,500, the institution is fully funded by the Saudi clergy and wealthy Saudis.

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