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 30, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Boston Muslim Leader Tied to Radical Groups - Jonathan Wells, Jack Meyers, Maggie Mulvihill and Kevin Wisniewski (Boston Herald)
    Osama M. Kandil, chairman of the board of trustees of the Islamic Society of Boston, which has city approval to construct a $22 million cultural center and mosque in Roxbury, is identified in a federal government affidavit as a member of what U.S. investigators have dubbed the "Safa Group," a complicated array of individuals and interlocking for-profit and non-profit entities allegedly involved in financing Islamic terrorism.
    The Islamic Society of Boston also has a longstanding relationship with Dr. Yusuf Abdullah al-Qaradawi, a radical Egyptian cleric whose vocal support of suicide bombings and the terrorist group Hamas prompted the State Department to bar him from entering the U.S. four years ago.
    Public records show that Kandil is also one of nine founding directors of the controversial Muslim Arab Youth Association.
    In the 2002 book American Jihad, author and Islamic terrorism expert Steven Emerson wrote that MAYA conferences "have regularly attracted a parade of top Islamic militants.''

Saudi Government Grants Bin-Laden's Family Right to Operate Saudi Airport - Omer Carmon (News First Class-Hebrew)
    The Saudi government is currently privatizing the operation of five civilian airports in the country.
    A company owned by the family of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been granted the right to operate one of the airports.

Israeli Processor Computes at Speed of Light - Tova Cohen (Reuters/ABC News)
    An Israeli start-up has developed a processor that uses optics instead of silicon, enabling it to compute at the speed of light, the company said.
    Lenslet said its processor will enable new capabilities in homeland security and military, multimedia, and communications applications.
    "It's conceivable this technology could become mainstream inside chips in 10 years time," said Jim Tully, chief of research for semiconductors and emerging technologies at Gartner Inc.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Iran Won't Share al-Qaeda Information with U.S.
    Iran said on Wednesday it will not share intelligence with the U.S. about al-Qaeda members held in Iran despite repeated requests from Washington for it to do so. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Tuesday that Washington was prepared to resume limited contacts with the Iranian government but that relations would not improve until Tehran shared intelligence on al-Qaeda. (Reuters)
        See also State Department Retreats on Efforts to Free Iran
    The Bush administration is backing away from efforts to help free Iran, having concluded that the job is best left to Iranians themselves, who aren't yet ready. That's the message conveyed by the State Department's number two official in testimony on Oct. 28 to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Regime change in Iran - is that our policy?" asked Sen. Charles Hagel, Republican from Nebraska. "No sir," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said. (New York Sun; 29 Oct 03)
  • Saudi Campaigns for Change Far From Home
    More than 350 people have been arrested by police in Saudi Arabia this month for taking part in protest demonstrations inspired by the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia, a group of London-based Saudis headed by Saad al-Fagih, who represent the first opposition voice broadcasting into the kingdom. Al-Fagih believed the movement's Al-Islah network was reaching an audience in the millions because of the large number of individual satellite dishes in Saudi Arabia. People communicate with his service by cellphone and Internet chat rooms, and a device in the London studio can disguise voices if the callers want protection. (New York Times)
  • Iraqis See Israel as Culprit in Bombings
    Many people in Iraq see Israel as being behind the suicide bombings Monday at the International Committee of the Red Cross and three police stations, which killed at least 35 people and wounded more than 200 - an idea that seems farfetched to many Americans. (Los Angeles Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Wound Israeli Couple in Shooting Near Jenin - Margot Dudkevitch
    Valeri and Nelly Weissbrott, both doctors at Haemek Hospital in Afula, were wounded Wednesday when a terrorist opened fire at their vehicle as they drove to their home in Kadim near Jenin in the northern West Bank. It is the third time the couple has been shot at by terrorists in exactly the same location. The Fatah Al Aksa Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Syria's Anti-Semitic "Diaspora" TV Series Airs During Ramadan
    Syria's month-long Ramadan TV special, "Diaspora," has begun airing on Hizballah's Al-Manar satellite television channel. Episode 1 is preceded by the text: "Two thousand years ago, the Jewish sages established a global government, aimed at ruling the world." The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday that Washington complained to both the Lebanese and Syrian governments about the show. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Dubious Promises from Iran - Editorial
    Last week's announcement that Iran has vowed to suspend its effort to produce enriched uranium for nuclear weapons should be taken with a heavy dose of skepticism. Even if Iran formally agrees to do this, there is scant likelihood that the deal will do anything to dissuade the radical Islamic regime from its goal of obtaining nuclear weapons. The European deal with Iran will not prevent that government from building more centrifuges, which are needed to make weapons-grade uranium, and there is nothing in the agreement to prevent Iran from resuming uranium enrichment in the future.
        Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, says the Iran deal buys time for a government that has no intention of halting its nuclear program. A more productive approach, Milhollin believes, would have Washington mobilize its Western European and Japanese allies to stop selling Iran dual-use items like machine tools, computers, and high-strength steel used to produce ballistic missiles unless Iran agrees to give international inspectors access sufficient to determine that it is really dismantling its nuclear weapons program. One thing should be crystal-clear when it comes to heading off this danger: Time is not on our side. (Washington Times)
  • The Egyptian Underground: Rooting Out the Terrorists - Jonathan Schanzer
    While Egypt may not be directly responsible for the attacks that take place in Gaza, it has indirectly allowed Gaza's terrorists to arm themselves using underground tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Over the last ten years, the Israelis have found 70 or more tunnels originating in Egypt. These tunnels are a crucial supply line of weapons - everything from armor-piercing weapons and automatic rifles to mines and rocket-propelled grenades - for groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
        The September arrest and subsequent interrogation of a PA security official revealed to Israeli intelligence that the PA had smuggled in eight anti-aircraft missiles through these tunnels that could threaten Israeli helicopters and commercial airliners. One high-ranking Israeli official reports that "in some cases, Egyptian soldiers are directly involved. They receive bribes or other incentives for keeping the tunnels open." Washington should ask the U.S. embassy in Egypt to undertake its own survey work along the Egypt-Gaza border to determine what assistance would be necessary to close the tunnels. If Egypt still does not see the light, a team of multinational forces and observers should be considered. The writer is a Soref Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (National Review)
  • In Love With Libya - Jeffrey Gedmin
    Nearly everybody agrees that Libya has earned its Get Out Of Jail card. Britain agrees that Libya shows "genuine remorse," as an editorial in the London Evening Standard put it. So does Silvio Berlusconi's Italy, having already announced it would use its current presidency of the EU to lift the international embargo. Libyan remorse?
        To assess the quality of Libya's "remorse," listen to Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the 31-year-old son and probable heir of the Libyan dictator. Saif al-Islam (the name means "sword of Islam") runs the Qaddafi Foundation which moves vast sums of compensation money to individuals his father deems victims of worldwide terrorism. In a recent interview in Die Welt am Sonntag, Saif al-Islam warned Germany not to help the U.S. militarily against Taliban remnants in Afghanistan. "The attacks [of Sept. 11] were against America," he said. "That's very, very far from Europe. If Germany stands by America militarily, it could itself become the target of such attacks." Meanwhile, Libya has continued to supply weapons to combatants across Africa. The CIA, in an unclassified report, has confirmed Libya's "continued interest in nuclear weapons." Other senior adminstration officials say Qaddafi is still developing chemical and biological weapons programs. (American Spectator, Oct. '03)
  • Observations:

    Iraq is No Vietnam - Thomas L. Friedman (New York Times)

    • There is this notion being peddled by Europeans, the Arab press, and the antiwar left that "Iraq" is just Arabic for Vietnam, and we should expect these kinds of attacks from Iraqis wanting to "liberate" their country from "U.S. occupation." Hogwash.
    • The people who mounted the attacks on the Red Cross are not the Iraqi Vietcong. They are the Iraqi Khmer Rouge - a murderous band of Saddam loyalists and al-Qaeda nihilists, who are not killing us so Iraqis can rule themselves. They are killing us so they can rule Iraqis.
    • The Baathists and Arab dictators are opposing the U.S. in Iraq because they understand that U.S. power is not being used in Iraq for oil, or imperialism, or to shore up a corrupt status quo, as it was in Vietnam. They understand that this is the most radical-liberal revolutionary war the U.S. has ever launched - a war of choice to install some democracy in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world.

          See also Another Vietnam? No - Ralph Peters (New York Post); Vietnam It Isn't - Richard Cohen (Washington Post)

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