Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 6, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Report: Syria Hiding Iraqi WMD
(Israel TV Channel 2/ WorldNetDaily/Hazofe-Hebrew)
    A relative of Syrian President Assad is hiding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in three locations in Syria, Syrian journalist and human rights activist Nizar Najoef told a Dutch newspaper Monday, according to Israel Channel 2 television.
    The weapons were smuggled in large wooden crates and barrels by Zu Alhema al-Shaleesh, known for moving arms into Iraq in violation of UN resolutions and for sending recruits to fight coalition forces.
    One weapons-cache location is a mountain tunnel near al-Baidah in northwest Syria, the report said.
    In west-central Syria, weapons are hidden at a factory operated by the Syrian Air Force, near Tal Snan, between Hama and Salmiyeh, while others are located in tunnels at Shinshar which belong to the Syrian Air Force.

Saudi Nukes - Richard L. Russell (Washington Times)
    The Saudis already have in place a foundation for building a nuclear weapons deterrent.
    In the mid-1980s, they clandestinely paid $3-3.5 billion for 50 to 60 Chinese CSS-2 missiles capable of reaching up to about 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles).
    The CSS-2s had been armed with nuclear warheads when they were operational in the Chinese force structure, but Riyadh and Beijing claim that the missiles delivered to Saudi Arabia were armed with conventional warheads and rebuffed U.S. requests to inspect the missiles.
    The CSS-2 missiles are too inaccurate to be militarily effective with conventional munitions, but more than accurate enough for the delivery of nuclear weapons.
    It is well past time for Washington to renew calls for independent inspection of the Saudi missiles to ensure that they are armed as the Chinese and Saudis claim, and that ballistic missile modernization efforts are not underway.

Patrols Along Canadian Border Up 50% as U.S. Girds Against al-Qaeda - Allan Woods (National Post-Canada)
    A report last week in the Detroit News said the number of agents patrolling Michigan borders has increased by 50% in the past month.
    Michigan officials will stress how vulnerable they are to terrorist attacks from Canada in a meeting this week with Tom Ridge, the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Assad Defends Syria's Chemical, Biological Weapons
    Syria is entitled to defend itself by acquiring its own chemical and biological deterrent, President Bashar Assad said Monday, coming closer than ever before to admitting that his country possessed stockpiles of WMD. "It is natural for us to look for means to defend ourselves. It is not difficult to get most of these weapons anywhere in the world and they can be obtained at any time," he said. It is the worst kept secret in the Middle East that Damascus has one of the largest stockpiles of chemical agents in the region. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Assad Still Blames Everybody But Himself - Editorial
    The notion that Syria is powerless to rein in rejectionists sounds bizarre coming from the mouth of a man whose father ruthlessly suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood in Hama in 1982. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Pakistan Called Libyans' Source of Atom Design
    Pakistan was the source of the centrifuge design technology that made it possible for Libya to make major strides in the last two years in enriching uranium for use in nuclear weapons, Bush administration officials in Washington and other Western experts said Monday. "These guys are now three for three as supplier to the biggest proliferation problems we have," a senior official in Washington said, referring to previously disclosed Pakistani aid to the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran. (New York Times)
  • Bush Refuses to Lift Sanctions Against Libya
    President Bush refused to lift U.S. sanctions against Libya on Monday, saying Libya's "declaration of December 19, 2003, must be followed by verification of concrete steps." Bush said the U.S. has "serious concerns" about other Libyan policies and actions, including Libya's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, Libya's role with respect to terrorism, and Libya's poor human rights record. (AP/FOX News)
  • Egypt Muzzles Calls for Democracy
    Rights advocates, opposition politicians, and analysts interviewed in Egypt paint a portrait of an authoritarian government that tightens or loosens the screws of repression depending upon how it perceives threats, that is obsessed with its Islamic opposition and feels harassed by human rights activists, and that wields a powerful state security apparatus that operates under far-reaching emergency laws and often deals brutally with opponents. And they contend that U.S. aid - nearly $2 billion per year over the past two decades - has propped up an unpopular government, its army and police, and helped suppress democracy. (Washington Post)
  • Hamas "Contacts" with U.S. Officials
    The Palestinian radical Islamist group Hamas has had contacts with U.S. officials and did not rule out further talks, Mohammed Nazal, a member of the Hamas political bureau based in Damascus, said. "In principle, we are not hostile to contacts or meetings with the American administration. In the past we have had such contacts without revealing their existence or contents," he added. Sources close to the extremist group told AFP that meetings with U.S. representatives had taken place in Beirut and Qatar. (The Australian)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • "5,000 Suicide Bombers Waiting to Act" - Gal Berger
    The head of the Al Aqsa Brigades in Gaza, Abu Kasi, told the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat Tuesday that the brigades have more than 5,000 suicide bombers in the territories prepared to act at any moment, and that they see Yasser Arafat as their sole leader. Abu Kasi confirmed that IDF actions had affected the brigades' infrastructure, as he admitted losses of 300 killed and nearly 100 captured. (NewsFirstClass-Hebrew)
  • Muslim Pro-Israel Activist Threatened - Michael Freund
    "As a result of my pro-Israel views, I have received a lot of verbal assault, and a few threats to my life," said Sarah Nasser, a devout Muslim and third-year student at the University of Toronto. "Being a supporter of the existence of Israel does not conflict with Islam, it complements Islam," she said. "The Koran does not have any verses that do not allow for the Jews to return to the Land of Israel." "I love Jews as I love true Muslims," she said. "Therefore, I believe Jews should have a right to live legitimately in their homeland." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Approves Purchase of Turkish Water - Amiram Cohen
    The government Sunday approved the purchase of one billion cubic meters of water from Turkey - 50 million cubic liters per year for twenty years. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Looking Over the Horizon - Moshe Arens
    There is almost no chance of reaching a settlement with the PA, regardless of who the prime minister, selected by Arafat, will be. But to conclude that Israel therefore should now withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria and uproot the settlements there is myopic vision at its utmost. Staging a unilateral Israeli withdrawal means bringing terrorism back to the doorstep of Israel's cities. The belief that the fence currently being built can serve as adequate protection and make unnecessary the presence of the IDF in the areas beyond the fence is an illusion. Israelis will not be able to live peaceably as long as terrorists reign in the areas across the fence. The writer is a former minister of defense. (Ha'aretz)
  • Not the Slightest Regret - Yoel Marcus
    I would like to know why there is no one on the other side crying out against the Palestinian Authority's policy of hatred and bloodshed. Where is their B'Tselem? Where are the Palestinian refuseniks who object to the murder of women and children? How come, when civilians are accidentally killed in one of our military operations, everyone clamors right away for an investigation, while their suicide bombers have no qualms about boarding a bus packed with children or entering a crowded restaurant and blowing themselves up, fully aware of who they are taking with them? Not only are they not denounced, but their families are treated with respect and showered with perks and pensions. (Ha'aretz)
  • Can Technology Defeat "Low-Tech" Terrorism? - Uzi Eilam
    There is no single technology, no single group of people, and no single line of defense that will supply a comprehensive answer to the threat of terrorism. Instead, it is necessary to construct "layers of defense." Layers of defense around air travel, for example, will include biometrics to confirm the identity of travelers and means of fortifying the cockpits and arming the pilots. They will also address the threat to civil aviation of shoulder-fired missiles and will develop new technologies and systems for perimeter defense for the airports. All in all, technology can play an important role in the construction of a comprehensive defense against the threat of terror. But international cooperation in this area - in the form of an integrated, coordinated worldwide effort - is crucial. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies/Tel Aviv University)
  • Observations:

    Handle with Care: Words Like "Conflict," "Terrorist" - Tom Fiedler
    (Miami Herald)

    • When a Palestinian woman walked into a crowded restaurant in Haifa a few weeks ago and detonated a bomb, she killed 19 people, including three children. According to Reuters, she had waged an ''attack'' - the verbiage of war. The account also said the bombing showed that Palestinian leaders had failed to ''rein in militants,'' an apparent reference to the bomber.
    • Webster's definition of terrorism is, ''The systematic use of terror as a means of coercion.'' Had someone had the chance to interview the bomber prior to her entering the restaurant, I doubt she'd disagree with that definition as a description of her motive.
    • On the other hand, Webster defines militant as someone who is ''engaged in warfare or conflict.'' That definition can be deemed as accurate only from the extremist Palestinian point of view where attacks against Israeli civilians are justified as a fight for freedom. By any logic, militants engaged in warfare don't blow up little babies.
    • Unlike some of our colleagues, we see a line where a militant becomes a terrorist. When a suicide bomber blows up a bus carrying innocent civilians, it's an act of terrorism, not militancy.

      The writer is executive editor of the Miami Herald.

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