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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September 4, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Report: Mossad Team Visited Iraq for Anti-Terror Efforts (Ha'aretz)
    A Mossad delegation visited Baghdad last month in order to coordinate its anti-terrorism efforts with U.S. forces in Iraq, according to a report in the Arab-language Al-Hayat newspaper.
    Based on comments by a Kurdish official, the newspaper claimed that the delegation carried out a field tour in the Iraqi capital and aerial tours in a U.S. military helicopter above Mosul, Tikrit, and Ramadi.

Lebanon Clears Canada Missionary over Israel Ties (Reuters/MSNBC)
    A Lebanese military tribunal cleared a Canadian missionary on Monday of charges of spying for Israel while on a project to replant Lebanon's biblical cedar forest.
    Bruce Balfour, 52, had been in jail since his arrest at Beirut's airport on July 10.

Jordan Helps U.S. Train Yemeni Troops (Middle East Newsline)
    Jordan's military has been contracted by the U.S. Special Operations Command to train Yemeni forces in counter-insurgency and related operations.
    The U.S. Defense Department has determined that the Jordanian officers have a greater rapport with Yemeni and other Arab forces than Arabic-speaking U.S. instructors.

Jordanian King Visits Tehran (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    Jordan's King Abdullah II arrived in Tehran Tuesday on the first visit by a Jordanian monarch to Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, and was given a warm reception by President Mohammad Khatami.
    Iranian political analyst Davoud Bavand said, "Iran, and Jordan, which supports the U.S. policies, share common views on the interim administration taking shape in Iraq." Both nations have expressed support for Iraq's new Governing Council.

Israeli Hi-Tech Sector Reviving - Bill Powell (Fortune)
    While the continuing instability in the Middle East is having corrosive effects on business throughout the region, the only bright spot is that Israel's once vibrant high-tech sector is showing signs of life again, with exports up 12% since May.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Sees Life in Mideast Road Map
    The Bush administration on Wednesday rejected Arafat's view that its Middle East "road map" peace plan is dead. "I believe the road map is the way forward....We got started on it and some progress is being made," said Secretary of State Colin Powell. Powell blamed Palestinian militants for the slow progress in carrying out the peace plan. "We didn't deal with Yasser Arafat when we were putting the road map together so his comments don't mean a lot to me," Powell said.
        Meanwhile, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, former U.S. assistant secretary of state and ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said he thought the road map was finished. He said the Bush administration was disenchanted with Abbas, and may be unwilling to spend the political capital needed to revive the road map. (Reuters)
  • Russia, Saudis to Coordinate Anti-Terror Efforts
    Russian and Saudi officials agreed Wednesday to coordinate their anti-terrorism efforts during a visit to Moscow by Crown Prince Abdullah, the country's de facto leader. Moscow has said Saudi charities have provided financial support to Chechen separatists, and that the Chechen gunmen who seized a Moscow theater last October made calls to Saudi Arabia during the siege. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to raise the issue of having Russia become an observer nation in the Organization of the Islamic Conference, since Russia contains 20 million Muslims. (CNN)
  • Iranians Hear Israeli President on Radio
    Israel's Iranian-born president, Moshe Katsav, hosted an emotional radio talk show with listeners from his native country on Monday on the Persian service of Israel Radio. Katsav chatted in a mix of Hebrew and Farsi with Iranian listeners who called in during the program, recalling his fondness of the country he left as a boy. "My family lived in Iran for over 2,500 years," he said. "We nurture in our hearts very warm feelings for Iran's history and culture." (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Kill Israeli Soldier Near Jenin - Amos Harel
    Palestinian gunmen ambushed a group of Israeli soldiers near Jenin early Thursday, killing one. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the Al Quds Brigades of the Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility. The shooting was one of a number of attacks on IDF soldiers in the territories overnight. (Ha'aretz)
  • IAF Planes Destroy Hizballah Battery - David Rudge
    IAF planes on Wednesday hit and apparently destroyed a Hizballah anti-aircraft battery in southern Lebanon from which shells were fired earlier over western Galilee. (Jerusalem Post)
  • India Seeks Defense Equipment During Sharon Visit
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will visit India from September 9-11. International defense sources in Brussels say India is interested in purchasing sophisticated Israeli defense equipment such as submarine-launched cruise missiles, micro-satellite systems for surveillance, laser-guided systems, precision-guided munitions, anti-ballistic missile systems, and a variety of radars. India has already acquired Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles, night vision devices, artillery guns, battlefield surveillance radars, fast attack naval craft, and rifle ammunition. (Hindustan Times)
        See also India, Israel, and the U.S.: A Strategic Alliance
    Two-way trade between Israel and India runs at more than $1 billion a year, with Israel particularly keen to cultivate India as a market for its defense industry. The U.S., which must approve Israeli weapons sales that include American technology, recently allowed the transfer to India of the Israelis' Phalcon Airborne Early Warning, Command and Control System, in an estimated one billion dollar deal. According to one U.S. foreign policy commentator, Washington is transforming its growing partnership with New Delhi into an alliance comparable with the one it has with Japan. (Taipei Times)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Nudging Iran to Nuclear Disclosure - John Hughes
    On Monday in Vienna, at a UN atomic energy agency meeting, the U.S. will seek to nudge Iran toward full disclosure of its troubling nuclear development program. The U.S. is expected to argue that Iran should be found in noncompliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. A consequence of such a finding might be action by the UN Security Council, including sanctions. But other members of the agency have substantial trade and economic interests in Iran and the outcome of any U.S. initiative is not certain.
        The Israelis have long considered Iran to offer a more potentially dangerous nuclear threat than Iraq. Former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres recently described Iran as the "largest terror nucleus in the Middle East," possessing a selection of nuclear resources that put it right behind North Korea in nuclear capability. "There is no greater danger," Peres wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "than the conjunction of an evil regime with nuclear capabilities." (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Reading the Najaf Bombing - Stephen Schwartz
    After the horrendous bombing at the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf, Iraqi Shias and Shia leaders in the U.S. pointed fingers at the Wahhabi sect, which is the official religion of Iraq's southern neighbor, Saudi Arabia. Wahhabis are known for their genocidal hatred of Shia Muslims. No sane Shia could have set off a bomb at the Imam Ali shrine, including Iranian Shias. The main cleric killed in the blast, Ayatollah Muhammad Bakir ul-Hakim, had spent years in Iran and was generally aligned with Tehran. While Western pundits sought a Shia figure on whom to pin the crime, Shia mourners marched in Iraq chanting: "There is only one God - Wahhabis are God's enemies." In addition, the Iraqi media were filled with articles condemning the Saudis and the Wahhabis in the most extreme terms. (Weekly Standard)
  • U.S. Bombed by Egyptian Press - Zev Chafets
    According to Al Ahram, the Egyptian version of a great metropolitan paper, America was responsible for blowing up the UN headquarters in Baghdad, the car bomb near the mosque in Najaf, and the bombing of the Jordanian embassy in the Iraqi capital. It isn't every day the U.S. is accused of terrorism and mass murder by the government-run paper of a regime that receives billions in U.S. aid. Cairo's journalists are more unhinged and paranoid than their counterparts in other, explicitly anti-American, countries. The official press of Iran and Syria, for example, didn't blame America for the bombing in Najaf. They blamed Israel. (New York Daily News)
  • Observations:

    Ten Years Since Oslo: The PLO's "People's War" Strategy and Israel's Inadequate Response - Joel S. Fishman (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Israel and the PLO have been confronting each other according to completely different paradigms of conflict.
    • Since the late 1960s, the PLO has adopted a "people's war" paradigm that continued to guide its policies even after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords.
    • According to the "people's war" paradigm, borrowed from Marxist-Leninist traditions in China and Vietnam, conflict is waged on both the political and military levels, but for militarily weaker guerilla groups, political conflict is more important, especially the delegitimization of an adversary and the division of his society.
    • Prior to 1993, Israel largely responded to the PLO militarily as a terrorist threat, but not politically. After 1993, with the PLO "renouncing" terrorism, Israel embraced the PLO leadership and ignored the signs that the PLO was still engaged in political warfare against it (incitement, reluctance to alter the PLO Covenant, UN votes, textbooks). Israeli governments later complained about these symptoms of political warfare, without identifying the cause.
    • Established Israeli traditions place undue emphasis on the narrowly-framed military approach to the detriment of the political, which leaves Israel particularly vulnerable to broad-based strategic deception. Israeli policy-makers must reexamine the assumptions upon which they have based political and military policy over the last decade.

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