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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October 8, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Missing Shoulder-Fired Anti-Aircraft Missiles in Iraq Elevate Concern Over Transfer to Terrorist Groups - Raymond Bonner (New York Times)
    The U.S. military has been unable to locate a large number of shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles that were part of Saddam Hussein's arsenal, compounding the security risks for airports and airlines in Iraq and around the world.
    The lack of accounting for the missiles - officials say there could be hundreds - is the primary reason Baghdad International Airport has not yet reopened to commercial traffic.
    Portable missiles were fired at incoming planes several times in recent weeks, one senior official said. Most of those incidents have not been reported to the public.
    There is a vibrant international black market for missiles, in which an SA-7 can fetch as much as $5,000 - far more than the $500 the U.S. military is offering.
    The SA-7 was developed by the Soviet Union in the late 1960s, and there are Chinese versions as well.
    In the last 15 years, more than 50,000 missiles have been sold to governments of developing countries, according to Clive Williams, director of terrorism studies at the Australian National University in Canberra.
    At least 30 insurgent and terrorist groups possess this kind of missile, Jane's Terrorism Intelligence Center reported in August.

Fear of Sabotage by Mistranslation at Guantanamo - Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker (New York Times)
    American interpreters at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who are under suspicion of espionage may have sabotaged interviews with detainees by inaccurately translating interrogators' questions and prisoners' answers, senior American officials said Monday.
    Concerns about the reliability of some of the camp's 70 military and civilian linguists only add to the growing mystery surrounding the motives and objectives of as many as 10 people who worked at the camp, had contact with the prisoners, and now are under suspicion.

Useful Reference:

Israel's Ambassador to the UN at an Emergency Session of the Security Council - 5 October 2003 - Dan Gillerman (Israel's UN Mission)
    The encouragement, safe harbor, training facilities, funding, and logistical support offered by Syria to a variety of notorious terrorist organizations is a matter of public knowledge.
    No negotiations can bring progress, while our citizens die on the streets.

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S., Israel Move Toward Common Position on Terror Sponsors
    President Bush's strong defense of Israel's air strike on Syria is erasing any differences between the U.S. and Israel on the tactics of fighting terror. The White House has concluded Syria is on the wrong side of the war against terror, and longtime State Department reservations about Israel's tactics are being swept aside by Bush's public stance. The Bush administration, led by the president, is now in full-throated denunciation of Syria for harboring and supporting extremist groups. A senior U.S. official said Tuesday the installation struck last weekend by Israeli missiles was in active operation, training terrorists. Bush on Tuesday said Israel's air strike was essential to its defense. "We would be doing the same thing," he said. "This country will defend our people." "Israel will not be deterred from protecting its citizens and will strike its enemies in every place and in every way," Prime Minister Sharon said Tuesday. (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Israeli Map Shows "Terror Network" in Damascus
    Israeli authorities on Tuesday released a map pinpointing what it said were homes and offices of Palestinian militant leaders in Damascus, illustrating the extent of the "Terror Network in the Damascus Region." The map shows supposed locations of the homes of senior Hamas leaders Mousa Abu Marzook and Khaled Mashal, Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah and Ahmed Jibril, chief of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). It also shows 10 sites in Damascus that are the political, military, and media offices for Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Fatah, and the PFLP-GC. "The map is proof of the extensive presence of Palestinian terror groups in Syria," an Israeli security source said. "Everyone that is involved in terror and endangers the lives of Israeli citizens is not immune." (Reuters)
        See also Map: Terror Network in the Damascus Region (Reuters)
  • Iran Defies UN Ultimatum to Halt Nuclear Work
    Iran insisted Tuesday that it would continue to enrich uranium, despite pressure from the IAEA, the UN watchdog, to suspend the process pending clarification of its activities. (London Times)
        See also Tehran Likely to Get the Bomb - and There is No Plan B
    Britain, the U.S., and the EU are still working on the dwindling hope that Iran can be persuaded to postpone its plans, if not to scrap them. If Iran went nuclear, it could dominate and destabilize a region already in upheaval, and could trigger a much wider arms race. The latest remark came from Kamal Kharazzi, the Foreign Minister, a moderate. "We will not allow anyone to deprive us of our legitimate right to use nuclear technology, particularly enrichment for providing fuel for nuclear plants," Kharazzi said. (London Times)
  • Arafat Suffered Heart Attack
    A close aide to Arafat said he had suffered a heart attack last week. "Although he has had a slight heart attack, the doctors say he will make a full recovery. He is in full control. There is nothing to worry about," said the Palestinian official. At the beginning of last week, Arafat was visited by his personal physician from Jordan, Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, and a heart specialist, Yousuf al-Qusous. If Arafat requires medical treatment that is not available in Ramallah, he would be likely to travel to Egypt or Jordan but only if Israel permits him to return to the West Bank. Israeli foreign ministry official Jonathan Peled said the government would be happy to see Arafat leave but was unlikely to allow him to return. (Guardian-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Israel on High Alert for Holiday Terror Attacks - Amos Harel and Uri Ash
    The country is on high alert status following 37 intelligence warnings of possible attacks. The IDF is deploying to prevent a terror attack during the Sukkot holiday, which begins Friday night. The army has information about five separate terror groups trying to dispatch suicide bombers into Israel, three in Nablus and two in Jenin. The alerts also refer to ambushes on roads and infiltrations into settlements. (Ha'aretz)
  • Lessons from the Haifa Bombing - Amos Harel
    Since the Haifa suicide bomber moved through an area where the separation fence is already standing, special steps were taken along the length of the fence to beef up its security. Soldiers at checkpoints were told to examine cars with Israeli license plates, for fear that they might be smuggling terrorists or explosives. Checkpoints were also beefed up with female soldiers, to body search women, and with dogs, trained to sniff out explosive material. The army says the dogs will be used to examine vehicles, not people.
        Due to the alerts, the army has closed the entrances in the fence that lead to privately owned Palestinian farm land. The army had allowed Palestinians to move through the gates by showing their ID card and going through a security check. That lax approach was exploited by illegal workers. The gates will be reopened in a few days - but only to those with the appropriate permits.
        The army is establishing a new unit to man the checkpoints along the seam. Some 300 soldiers will be specially trained for the job and be operational by March, part of the army's intention to take over permanent responsibility for the checkpoints in the fence.
        In Gaza, the army has cut off Rafah from Khan Yunis to prevent munitions smuggled from Egypt into Rafah through tunnels from being transferred to northern Gaza. Military sources said large numbers of rifles are involved as well as other munitions. (Ha'aretz)
  • Widening the War Against Terror - Ze'ev Schiff
    Israel has signaled to Syria and others that it has decided to expand the war against terror to states giving asylum and assistance to terrorists and their commanders who harm Israel and its citizens. All the Palestinian terror organizations except Fatah train at the Ein Saheb camp, and Iranian instructors are said to appear there occasionally. Syria also hosts other training camps for Palestinian organizations and for Hizballah, combining training for a number of organizations in one camp in order to ease logistics, which it handles. (Ha'aretz)
        See also The Syrian Terrorist Base - James Robbins
    A 1997 report described Ein Saheb as "the most important base of [the PFLP] and ranks as one of the preeminent training camps where it houses extreme fundamentalists from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Algeria. The training is run by officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. They are instructed in street fighting, plane hijacking, hostage taking, and blowing up specific targets - Israeli, American, European, and other targets in certain Arab countries." (National Review)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Bush: "Arafat is a Loser" - Glenn Kessler
    President Bush told Jordan's King Abdullah at Camp David two weeks ago that Arafat "is a loser." Bush told the king, "I'm not going to spend my political capital on losers, only winners. I'm still in a war mode, and the war is terrorism. If people don't fight terrorism, I am not going to deal with them." Secretary of State Powell said Friday the road map is in a "pause," but "it's not as if with that pause that we have disengaged."
        The Bush administration embraced Abbas as the new future of Palestine, which culminated in a White House meeting with Bush at the end of July. Abbas reached a cease-fire with Palestinian militant groups, but never effectively disarmed them, as the Israelis and Americans demanded. "The security efforts were really dismal," a senior U.S. official said. U.S. officials say Abbas's Washington visit enraged Arafat, prompting him to undercut Abbas in a series of events that led to his resignation. (Washington Post)
  • Arafat: No Way Out - Richard Wolffe and Dan Ephron
    In private conversations with Middle East leaders, there is a sense that the U.S. has reached the end of the line. The White House is stuck with an Israeli leader it will not oppose and a Palestinian leader it cannot abide. "Not only is Israel a sovereign state, but it's a democratic state," said one senior administration official. "The Israeli people didn't elect Sharon to bring peace. They elected him to bring security." The Israelis admit they look to the Bush White House before they strike. And what they are seeing is a green light to strike back, as long as Arafat remains untouched. (Newsweek)
  • Arafat's Role in Recent Terrorism Has Intensified - Ze'ev Schiff
    Even if Arafat had no connection to the Haifa attack carried out by Islamic Jihad, the various intelligence branches of the security services in Israel are sure that his role in recent terrorism has intensified. (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:

    Israeli Actions Signal Change in Strategy - Charles A. Radin (Boston Globe)

    • Israel's basic principle in negotiating with the Palestinians under the Oslo peace process could be summarized as "land for peace." In return for ceding predominantly Palestinian-populated lands, the PA was to end armed attacks on Israelis from those territories.
    • Sharon has changed the order, recasting the principle as "peace for land." When the Palestinian leadership begins to deliver peace by disarming the extremist groups that deny Israel's right to exist, Israel will be ready to talk about ceding land, Israel's leaders say.
    • "We gave land, and we did not get peace in return," Sharon's spokesman, Ra'anan Gissin, said Friday. "We want a durable peace with tangible results," Gissin said, "not hugs, kisses, and photo ops on the White House lawn. They have to stop terrorism...and then we will consider giving them part of this land that is the cradle, the birthplace, of the Jewish people."

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