Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see web version.


January 22, 2004

To contact the Presidents Conference:
[email protected]

In-Depth Issue:

Top U.S. Senator: Iraq WMD May Have Gone to Syria (Reuters)
    U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) said Wednesday: "I think that there is some concern that shipments of [Iraqi] WMD (weapons of mass destruction) went to Syria."

Weapons Experts Setting Up Bases in Libya (AP/Washington Post)
    Teams from the UN, the U.S., and Britain are secretly setting up bases in Libya for the purpose of scrapping Tripoli's weapons of mass destruction, diplomats said Tuesday.

Saudis "Kidnap Reformist Prince" - Roger Hardy (BBC News)
    A Saudi prince has accused his government of kidnapping him in Switzerland after he spoke out in favor of reform in Saudi Arabia.
    Prince Sultan bin Turki bin Abdel-Aziz says he was lured to a meeting in Geneva, where he was drugged before being flown back to the desert kingdom. The prince says he is currently under house arrest in Riyadh.
    Prince Sultan - a grandson of Saudi Arabia's first king - says his troubles began last year when he first went public denouncing corruption and calling for democratic reform.

Minnesota Resident Charged with Helping al-Qaeda (AP/FOX News)
    A Minneapolis grand jury on Tuesday indicted Mohammed Abdullah Warsame, 30, a Canadian citizen of Somali descent, for conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda.
    Warsame admitted to federal authorities that he attended a training camp in Afghanistan at the same time as bin Laden.

Useful Reference: Israel's Anti-Terror Fence

The Security Fence: Facts and Figures (Israeli Consulate-New York)

Seam Zone Website (Ministry of Defense)

Updated Map of Israel's Security Fence (Ministry of Defense)

Saving Lives: Israel's Security Fence (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The Security Fence: Israel's Line of Defense (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • More U.S. Money in Syria Despite Act
    Despite the Syria Accountability Act endorsed by Washington last December, last week the Syrian government awarded a contract to U.S. Improvid Petroleum Recovery and India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) for exclusive oil exploration, prospecting, and production in the northeastern part of the country. "The U.S. share of oil investments in the country is the most important....The new contract which was signed in Damascus after the American president endorsed the Syria Accountability Act raises suggestions that American oil companies might have received guarantees from the U.S. administration that the act won't be implemented," said one analyst. U.S. oil investments in Syria are estimated at $600 million.
        Analysts noted that a month after Bush signed the Act into law, the U.S. administration has not taken any concrete step to implement or discuss the issue of implementation. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • BBC Faults Itself in Review of Furor on the Case for War
    The BBC on Wednesday broadcast a documentary that aired a litany of its own mistakes in reporting the suspected misuse of intelligence. The BBC was described by its own producers as being too loose with language, too distracted to investigate charges that its reporting was wrong, and simply negligent in checking the basis of a two-minute report on May 29, 2003, that members of Prime Minister Blair's staff had "sexed up" the case to go to war with Iraq by using intelligence they "probably knew" was wrong. (New York Times)
        See also What Went Wrong at the BBC - Trevor Asserson (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Wolf and Satterfield Coming to Middle East
    U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East John Wolf and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield are scheduled to arrive in order to re-ignite the stalled "road map," reports Army Radio. On Thursday, the prime minister's bureau chief, Dov Weisglass, will meet National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to discuss the security fence. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Downgrades Delegation to Swedish Conference
    After the Swedish government rejected Israel's requests to have an art exhibit glorifying a female Palestinian suicide bomber removed, Israel has downgraded its delegation to the Stockholm International Forum's upcoming conference on genocide. Unlike in previous years, when the delegation to the Forum's annual conference was led by a cabinet minister, this year it will be led by Nimrod Barkan, an official in the Foreign Ministry. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The American Disengagement Plan - Aluf Benn
    All the signs point to the Americans believing an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians to be a lost cause and a waste of time and political prestige. They know there is no chance of an agreement while Arafat "rules" the Palestinian side. After the failure of the "Aqaba process" last June and the fall of former PA prime minister Abu Mazen, the Americans decamped, and have now even stopped mentioning any solution for the conflict in political statements such as President Bush's State of the Union address, which last year included the promise to promote "peace between a secure Israel and a democratic Palestine."
        The U.S. has achieved its strategic goal, to prevent "leakage" of the conflict to neighboring countries. The Arab world is divided and conflicted and busy with the survival of its regimes rather than with concern for the Palestinians. Now America is deeply involved in the election campaign, during which they are refraining from pressures on Israel. But this time there is a suspicion that this is not a time out until after the elections, but a more profound and significant disengagement. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Fissures in House of Saud - Arnaud de Borchgrave
    Al-Qaeda training camps have been discovered in the desert near several major Saudi cities, camouflaged as seminaries, with the pseudo-clerics doubling as instructors for training in both weapons and insurgency attacks. Internal security in Saudi Arabia is entirely in the hands of some 7,000 princes of the House of Saud who control all the kingdom's critical nerve centers, from air force squadrons to governors' palaces. So the horrifying conclusion is that certain princes sympathize with bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
        Bin Laden remains a legendary figure among Saudis, especially Wahhabi clergymen who get a hefty slice of the national budget and raise billions through the zakat, a 2.5% levy on income required by the Koran of all true believers. Since 1979, the Wahhabi establishment has spent an estimated $70 billion on Islamist missionary work, ranging from the funding of some 10,000 madrassas in Pakistan to the construction of thousands of mosques and seminaries and community centers all over the Muslim and Western worlds. Collaboration with U.S. efforts to shut down Wahhabi charities suspected of being conduits for al-Qaeda was, for the most part, tokenism. (UPI/Washington Times)
        See also Time to Rebuild the House of Saud - Paul Sheehan
    Saudi Arabia is the world's leading financier of religious bigotry, militant medievalism, sectarian violence, and the subjugation of women. It is the Taliban with money. And if the House of Saud falls, the prodigious oil wealth of the Arabian peninsula will likely fall to the Wahhabist branch of Islam, which promotes jihad, religious war against idolators, especially the West, especially America. (Sydney Morning Herald)
  • Alternatives to Arab Military Reform - Ashraf Fahim
    Together, the 22 Arab states spent nearly $50 billion on armaments in 2002, in addition to the billions of dollars in military aid sent by the U.S. to Jordan and Egypt. In 2001, six Arab states spent more on arms than they did on health or education. Nearly 70% of arms expenditures were by Gulf states, who don't really need the weapons. The remaining weaponry languishes in the armories of nations who have traditionally performed poorly on the battlefield.
        Underdevelopment and technological inferiority have greatly contributed to Arab military ineffectiveness, especially with regard to air power. Other deficiencies come from the fact that the armed forces operate in authoritarian political systems and according to an ineffective military doctrine inherited from the USSR. Arab militaries have tended to be overly hierarchical and tactically rigid; enlisted men have been inadequately trained and poorly treated. (Beirut Daily Star)
  • Observations:

    Crime Should Not Pay - Moshe Arens (Ha'aretz)

    • Crime should not pay - that is a maxim of all civilized societies. This is equally true for nations that have committed crimes against their neighbors. Aggression should not be rewarded, it should be punished.
    • The accepted rule of international behavior is that a nation committing aggression not be "rewarded" by the return of territories it lost as a result of the war it had started. Violation of this rule is nothing less than an invitation to further aggression.
    • Today's Germany is not demanding the return of territories it lost to Poland in the last world war. Nor is Japan demanding the return of Korea or Manchuria to Japanese control. Only the case of Israel and its Arab neighbors seems to be different.
    • People tend to forget that the doctrine of "territories for peace" was used by Hitler in 1939, when he declared that he would leave Europe in peace if territories in Poland that Germany lost in World War I were ceded to Germany.
    • Now along comes Syria, which attacked Israel three times: in 1948, 1967 and again in 1973, demanding control of territories it lost in wars of aggression and demanding that Israel "return to the 1967 borders."
    • Common sense and the accepted rules of international behavior should determine Israel's response to Bashar Assad's overtures. Sure, we are prepared to negotiate a peace treaty with Syria. But forget about the Golan Heights, and consider yourself lucky if you are not presented with a bill for economic reparations for the damage your aggressive behavior has caused Israel and its citizens over the past 56 years.

          See also Many Israelis Want to Keep Golan Heights - Ramit Plushnick-Masti (AP/Washington Post)

    To subscribe to the Daily Alert, send a blank email message here.
    To unsubscribe, send a blank email message here.