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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November 17, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Secret Memo Details Saddam-bin Laden Ties - Stephen F. Hayes (Weekly Standard)
    Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al-Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al-Qaeda - perhaps even for Mohamed Atta - according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum.
    The memo, dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
    See also The News about Saddam and Osama - Editorial (Washington Times)

Report: Al-Qaeda Determined to Use Chemical, Biological Weapons - (AP/Ha'aretz)
    The al-Qaeda terror network is determined to use chemical and biological weapons and is restrained only by the technical difficulties of doing so, a UN expert panel said in a confidential report.
    The report is the second by the five-member expert group led by Michael Chandler of Britain, established by the Security Council to monitor implementation of sanctions against 272 individuals and entities linked to al-Qaeda.

Top Iraqi Scientist Flees - Dafna Linzer (AP/Washington Post)
    The Iraqi scientist who headed Saddam Hussein's long-range missile program has fled to neighboring Iran, a country identified as a state sponsor of terrorism with a successful missile program and nuclear ambitions, according to U.S. officers involved in the weapons hunt.
    Dr. Modher Sadeq-Saba al-Tamimi's departure comes as top weapons makers from Saddam's deposed regime find themselves eight months out of work but with skills that could be lucrative to militaries or terrorist organizations in neighboring countries.
    U.S. officials have said some are already in Syria and Jordan.

British Olympic Hope "Was Iraq Suicide Bomber" (Observer/ Guardian-UK)
    The Yemeni paper Al Ayyam reported that the parents of a British-based Muslim, Wail al Dhaleai - a 22-year-old martial arts expert from Sheffield who was hoping to fight with the British Olympic tae kwon do team - were telephoned by Islamic fighters in Iraq telling them their son had killed himself in an attack on U.S. troops earlier this month, raising fears that groups of handpicked young British Muslims are heading to Iraq to fight Coalition forces.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Group Tied to Al-Qaeda Says It Bombed Turkish Synagogues
    An obscure terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda claimed responsibility Sunday for the twin truck-bombings at two Istanbul synagogues that killed 23 people and wounded more than 300 on Saturday, and Turkish officials said they had evidence that suicide drivers had carried out the blasts. Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of Al Quds al Arabi, a London-based Arab newspaper, told Al Jazeera that the terrorist group, known as the Abu Hafs al Masri Brigades, made the claim by e-mail. The group has been identified with al-Qaeda in the past. (New York Times)
        See also Six Jewish Worshipers Murdered in Blasts - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
        See also "There is Nothing Left" - Tovah Lazaroff
    Neveh Shalom was the largest synagogue in Istanbul and acted as a community center as well. 80% of the building was destroyed in the blast. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fire Partially Destroys Jewish School
    A fire destroyed part of a Jewish school in what France's interior minister said was likely an anti-Semitic act. No injuries were reported in Saturday's blaze at the Merkaz Hatorah private school, located in Gagny, a Paris suburb. (AP/New York Times)
        See also France to Hold Urgent Meeting on Anti-Semitism
    France will hold an urgent top-level meeting on fighting anti-Semitism on Monday following the firebombing of a Jewish boys' school near Paris, President Jacques Chirac's office has announced. Jewish synagogues and schools have been attacked repeatedly in recent years in violence the authorities usually link to Muslim youth. "When someone sets fire to a Jewish school, it's hard for me to think this is not an anti-Semitic act," said Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
  • Saudi Cash Scrutinized by U.S. for Terror Ties
    U.S. counter-terrorism officials are quietly investigating whether funds disbursed by the Riyadh government have helped finance the spread of international terrorism, tracing as much as $4 billion a year that the Saudi government has spent worldwide, partly in an effort to gain support for its strict brand of conservative Islam, known as Wahhabism. FBI and Treasury Department agents are focusing on tracking as much as $300 million a year in Saudi funds disbursed through the kingdom's embassy in Washington and regional consulates, as well as through Riyadh-sponsored charities. Overseas, the CIA and National Security Agency are pursuing far larger sums of money that the Saudi government has spent on thousands of Wahhabi projects around the world. The probe marks the first time U.S. law enforcement officials are investigating the actions and expenditures of the Saudi government itself. (Los Angeles Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • The Jewish People Will Never Be Broken, Sharon Tells GA - Jenny Hazan
    "Despite repeated attempts to eradicate the Jewish people from the face of the earth, we have succeeded at realizing the dream of reestablishing an independent and democratic Jewish state," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the 72nd UJC General Assembly's opening ceremony on Sunday evening. The ceremony opened with a moment of silence for the victims of Saturday's attacks in Istanbul. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Text of Prime Minister's Speech at the General Assembly (Prime Minister's Office)
  • U.S. to Support Proposal Seeking UN Support of Roadmap - Aluf Benn and Gideon Alon
    The U.S. administration informed Israel on Sunday that it plans to support the Russian resolution seeking UN Security Council endorsement of the roadmap peace initiative. U.S. administration officials said Washington would try to incorporate specific modifications in the wording of the resolution, so as to stress the importance of direct negotiations between the two sides.
        Prime Minister Sharon told Russian President Vladimir Putin that a decision in the Security Council would endanger Israel's security, because the agreement would be forced upon Israel, and control would be transferred to the UN. (Ha'aretz)
  • PM: IDF Foiled Building of 43 Illegal Outposts Since Aqaba - Aluf Benn and Gideon Alon
    Prime Minister Sharon, responding to a question, told the cabinet Sunday that since the Aqaba summit in June, there were 43 separate attempts by settlers to set up unauthorized outposts to existing settlements, all of which were removed by IDF soldiers. There have been reports that U.S. officials have in recent days sent sharp messages to Israel, criticizing its activities on settlements in the territories, and the separation fence. The U.S. messages were relayed by the National Security Council's Middle East Director, Elliot Abrams, to Sharon's Chief of Staff Dov Weisglass. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Bringing Jihad Home - Jim Hoagland
    One royal family member, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, urged Saudis last week to abandon "stupid conspiracy theories" blaming Israel's Mossad or the CIA for all the ills that befall the Arabs. The kingdom has yet to ask itself honestly why 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001, were Saudis, he said bluntly. The graduates of al Qaeda's training camps initially directed their attacks against global targets and Western nations, not their own homelands of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or Algeria. Their goals were to renew Islam's westward march of conquest and establish a global caliphate rather than pursue nationalist struggles. However, the jihadists are now either compelled or tempted to make their stand more on their home turf - and to target their Sunni co-religionists and fellow Arabs more directly. (Washington Post)
  • It's No Longer Business As Usual for the Saudis - Madeleine K. Albright and Bill Woodward
    If there is a central front in the war against terror, it is Saudi Arabia, not Iraq. A reformed Saudi Arabia could defeat terror at its roots. A radicalized Saudi Arabia could rock the global economy and destabilize the entire Middle East. There are some steps the U.S. could take to help the Saudi government oppose and deter terror. First, the U.S. should re-engage seriously in the Middle East peace process. Finally, the U.S. should continue working with allies to encourage steps toward democracy in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Arab world. The Bush administration is right to cast its lot with the peoples of this region, despite its astounding lack of popularity among them. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Observations:

    The Inextricable Link between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism - Natan Sharansky (Wall Street Journal)

    • Why was there no drop in the level of anti-Jewish incitement in the region after the inception of the Oslo peace process? To the degree that Oslo had succeeded in bringing about a real reconciliation with Israel or in facilitating the spread of political freedom, it would have frustrated the overarching aim of eradicating the Jewish "evil" from the heart of the Middle East and preserving the autocratic power of the Arab regimes.
    • At Madrid and then at Oslo, Israel had agreed, first reluctantly and later with self-induced optimism, to conform to the ascendant ethos of international politics. Extending its hand to a terrorist organization still committed to its destruction, Israel agreed to the establishment of a dictatorial and repressive regime on its very doorstep, sustaining its commitment to the so-called peace process no matter how many innocent Jews were killed and wounded in its fraudulent name.
    • In the summer of 2000, at Camp David, Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians nearly everything their leadership was thought to be demanding. The offer was summarily rejected, Arafat started his "uprising," Israel undertook to defend itself - and Europe ceased to applaud. Had not Israel taken every last step for peace? But it was the world's Jew, by refusing to accept its share of blame for the "cycle of violence," that was out of line.
    • Americans, too, have had numerous opportunities to see their nation in the dock of world opinion over recent years for the crime of rejecting the values of the so-called international community. Anti-Americanism in the Islamic world and anti-Americanism in Europe are in fact linked, and both bear an uncanny resemblance to anti-Semitism.

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