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 14, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Iran Said to Hide Another Nuclear Site - Paul Hughes and Louis Charbonneau (Reuters)
    "We have information about another secret nuclear facility in Iran," an official from the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled opposition group, said Monday in Vienna. He said the facility has been hidden from IAEA inspectors.
    In August 2002, the NCRI broke the news of two undeclared nuclear sites in Iran - a massive uranium-enrichment complex at Natanz and a heavy-water production facility at Arak.

Headway on the al-Qaeda Money Trail - Faye Bowers (Christian Science Monitor)
    Although al-Qaeda remains a formidable foe, those working to cut off its cash flow point to significant progress.
    Experts including a top Treasury official say terror financing is "the mother of intent" for terrorist activity.
    They claim al-Qaeda's cash flow has been reduced by two-thirds; $136.7 million in alleged terrorist funds, including $36.6 million in the U.S., have been frozen, in some 1,440 accounts; and 80 countries have created intelligence units to share information on terrorist financing.
    Three American charities - the Global Relief Foundation, Benevolence International Foundation, and Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development - were shuttered for alleged sponsorship of al-Qaeda.

Palestinian Hides Pistol in Baby Stroller - Uri Glickman (Maariv-Hebrew)
    Border policemen at the Hizme checkpoint north of Jerusalem arrested a Palestinian woman Tuesday pushing a baby stroller in which were hidden a pistol, 2 ammunition clips, and a knife.

Saudi Arabia Spent $2 Million for Ads (Odwyer's PR Daily)
    Saudi Arabia bought $1.5M worth of cable TV ads in June, and $455K in radio spots in August to position itself as a strong U.S. ally in the war against terror, according to just-filed Justice Dept. filings.
    The kingdom's TV ads ran in 18 markets, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Israelis and Palestinians Join in Peace Draft
    A group of prominent Israeli and Palestinian politicians, working outside official channels, have written a symbolic peace agreement that they hope could be a foundation for future negotiations. The 50-page draft peace agreement was completed over the weekend in neighboring Jordan by the two delegations, which included current legislators and former cabinet members on both sides. (New York Times)
        See also Palestinian lnitiator of "Geneva Understandings" Discloses: Purpose of Agreement Is to Arouse Political Debate in Israel, No Concession on Right of Return, No Recognition of Israel as Jewish State
        Kadura Fares, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a senior member of the Fatah movement, gave an interview to the London newspaper al-Hayat in which he clarified the purpose of the "Geneva understandings." He stated that they were intended to arouse an internal Israeli debate that would stand in opposition to the policy of the Israeli government. He specified that while at Taba the Palestinians were to obtain 87% of the 1967 territories, now they would achieve nearly 100% including Israeli removal of Ariel. He added that the Palestinians did not concede the right of return. Nor did they recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Finally, the Palestinians would acquire full sovereignty over Haram al-Sharif (the Temple Mount). (NewsFirstClass-Hebrew/MSN-Israel-Hebrew)
        See also PLO's Qaddumi Plays Down "Alternative Peace Pact"
    PLO political department head Faruq Qaddumi, at the Organization of the Islamic Conference meeting in Malaysia, said the alternative peace plan was an Israeli opposition stunt to receive more support. "Resistance is the only way," he said. (AFP/ChannelNewsAsia-Singapore)
  • Al-Qaeda Leaders Protected in Iran
    Saad bin Laden, 24, an English-speaking, computer-literate son of Osama bin Laden, has emerged in recent months as part of the upper echelon of the al-Qaeda network, a small group of leaders that is managing the terrorist organization from Iran, according to U.S., European, and Arab officials. Saad and other senior al-Qaeda operatives were in contact with an al-Qaeda cell in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in the days immediately prior to the May 12 suicide bombing there. Like other al-Qaeda leaders in Iran, Saad is protected by an elite, radical Iranian security force loyal to the nation's clerics, known as the Jerusalem Force. Also under the Jerusalem Force's protection is Saif al-Adel, al-Qaeda's chief of military operations; Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, the organization's chief financial officer; and perhaps two dozen other top al-Qaeda leaders.
        Saudi officials estimate there are up to 400 al-Qaeda members in Iran. An analysis of Osama bin Laden's satellite telephone calls from 1996 to 1998 showed that more than 10% were placed to Iran, demonstrating the ongoing contacts with Iran during that time, according to Rohan Gunaratna, director of terrorism research at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore. (Washington Post)
        See also Iranian "Jerusalem Force" Has Long Ties to al-Qaeda
    The elite, highly trained, and well-funded Jerusalem Force, one of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' five branches, has been given the mission of "exporting the Islamic revolution" by training, arming, and collaborating with foreign terrorist groups. It has provided instruction to more than three dozen Shiite and Sunni "foreign Islamic militant groups in paramilitary, guerrilla, and terrorism" tactics, according to a recent U.S. intelligence analysis. Hizballah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have received arms and training at one of several specialized sites in Iran, according to that document. The Jerusalem Force's former commander, Ahmad Vahidi, allegedly helped plan the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires. The group has maintained ties with the al-Qaeda terrorist network for more than a decade. (Washington Post)
        See also EU Accuses Iran of Torture and Liberties Abuses (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Arafat's Man Named PA Interior Minister - Khaled Abu Toameh
    In yet another blow to PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, Arafat told PLO and Fatah officials on Monday that he has decided to appoint Hakam Balawi, a member of the Fatah central council, as interior minister. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Did Syria Call Up Reserves?
    Despite a New York Times report that Syria had called up 300,000 reservists, the Israel Defense Ministry says it is not aware of any Syrian reserve call-up. (Reuters/Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Jordan Blocks Terrorist Infiltration - Nadav Shragai
    Four armed terrorists attempting to infiltrate Israel from Jordanian territory north of Bet She'an were spotted by Jordanian border guards, Jordanian Information Minister Nabil A-Sharif reported Monday. Two of the terrorists were killed and the other two wounded in an exchange of fire with Jordanian soldiers. The men were carrying weapons and a large amount of ammunition. (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S.-Occupied Iraq Joins Israel Boycott Meeting in Damascus
    Iraq joined 17 other member states for a meeting in Damascus Sunday of the Arab League's Office of Boycotting Israel. The U.S.-appointed interim Governing Council was granted Iraq's seat at the Arab League last month. Ahmad Khazaa, the Syrian head of the Office of Boycotting Israel, opened the meeting with a call for the continued "economic and political boycott of Israel." Delegates will discuss the issue of Israeli companies investing in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, Khazaa said. The three Arab League members which maintain diplomatic relations with Israel - Egypt, Jordan, and Mauritania - were as usual absent from the meeting. (AFP/Utusan-Malaysia)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Are Radical Islamists Choosing Chaplains for America's Military and Prisons? - Brendan Miniter
    The military relies on outside organizations to approve the religious credentials of its chaplains, and it uses only two groups for Muslim accreditation, the Graduate School for Islamic Social Sciences and a subgroup of the American Muslim Foundation, the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council. The co-founder of the latter group is under arrest for allegedly taking thousands of dollars in illegal payments from Libya. This outside accreditation process is the weakest security link. A third group, the Islamic Society of North America, accredits Muslim chaplains for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. All three groups receive money from Saudi Arabia. Islamic Society board member Siraj Wahhaj is an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Sen. Schumer has been pushing for a thorough review of how the federal government selects chaplains. He wants to know if moderate Muslim accrediting groups are barred from the process and whether the Muslim clerics who are now in the military and federal prisons are a security risk. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Let's Keep Our Eye on the Target - Moshe Arens
    The only important measure in this war against Palestinian terror is the number of Israelis murdered on our streets, and the only important means of victory is the prevention of these murders. Every proposal for an IDF action should be measured by this criterion: Is it likely to decrease the number of Israelis killed by acts of terror? In dealing with the U.S. and the Europeans, it is essential that we have a convincing case that each action has a direct life-saving impact.
        Yasser Arafat, who started this war, is now of secondary importance as the Palestinian war of terror has assumed its own momentum. Even if Arafat were to disappear tomorrow, the effect on Palestinian terror would probably be minimal. (Ha'aretz)
  • Surface-to-Air Missile Retrieval - James D. Zirin
    SA-7 shoulder-mounted, heat-seeking, surface-to-air missiles are capable of knocking a jumbo jet out of the sky at an altitude of 13,000 feet, from as far as five miles away, in as little as 13 seconds. One can fit inside a large duffel bag. The FBI estimates that from 1978 though 1998, 29 civilian planes were brought down by shoulder-fired missiles, including the SA-7, most of them in war zones, killing some 550 people. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    Palestinian "Democracy of the Gun" - Joshua Brilliant and Saud abu Ramadan (UPI)

    • Arafat has no obvious heir; he nurtured none. Palestinian politicians "are smelling that Arafat may be going. There are rumors about his illness, so all are trying to improve their positions," said Israeli Col. (res.) Shalom Harari, a former Defense Ministry senior adviser on Palestinian affairs who is now a fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya.
    • Arafat used to boast of what he called "democratiyat al-bandukiya," or democracy of the gun. "Now he has it," Harari said. The fundamentalist Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine all have guns. So does Fatah and its renegade groups.
    • Palestinian analysts say they expect an internal conflict in Arafat's Fatah. After his departure, younger Fatah members, veterans, and the chiefs of the different security apparatuses - that were until now taking instructions from Arafat personally - will be fighting each other.
    • Israeli experts point to the increased lawlessness in Palestinian society. "In every city, you find groups of masked men," Harari said. While education and health services are working and municipalities are functioning, there is no functioning legal system and no central government. "Each person must receive protection from his clan," Harari said. Merchants in the West Bank town of Nablus, for example, need a private militia or pay protection money.
    • "The clan has become the center rather than a central government," Harari added. "There is no understanding of what is a state." He recalled an incident in which a district governor went to settle a dispute with another clan using his jeeps and guns. Several bystanders were shot.
    • One of the most dramatic incidents occurred in front of international television cameras when Fatah men armed with kalashnikovs blocked then-prime minister Mahmoud Abbas's way to the PLC chamber in Ramallah. Abbas resigned.

        See also Clans: The Backbone of Palestinian Society - Karin Laub
    At the root of Palestinian society is a tribal system that on one hand can stifle individuals' independence, discourage dissent, and greatly restrict women - but on the other has also helped Palestinians manage their lives during hundreds of years of Turkish, British, and Israeli rule. "The one thing that never breaks down is kinship," said Palestinian anthropologist Sharif Kanaana, who reports growing hostility by some Palestinians toward those who are not relatives or neighbors. (AP/Washington Post)

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