Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 7, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Saddam Did Have WMD Plans, Says Inspector - Brian Brady (Scotsman-UK)
    Saddam Hussein had the ability to unleash biological and chemical weapons "at short notice" on foreign nations, according to a new report by Charles Duelfer, the new director of the Iraq Survey group.
    Furthermore, there was evidence that he was plotting to expand his facilities last year, prior to the invasion of British and American troops.
    "Iraq did have facilities suitable for the production of biological and chemical agents needed for weapons. It had plans to improve and expand and even build new facilities," said the report.

Report: Saddam Flown to Qatar Prison (ITV-UK)
    Saddam Hussein has been secretly flown out of Iraq and taken to a high-security prison in Qatar in response to fears that Iraqi insurgents would try to stage a prison break-out, according to reports.

Bethlehem PA Governor's Bodyguard Was Jerusalem Bus Bomb Mastermind - Donald Macintyre (Independent-UK)
    Abdul Rahman Makdad, 28, organized the February bomb on the number 14 bus in Jerusalem and the one just a month earlier which had killed 11 people on a number 19 bus.
    "I was responsible for the last two operations," he answered coolly. "I don't recall the numbers of the buses."
    With the establishment of the PA in the wake of the Oslo accords, Makdad came to Gaza from Libya with Fatah's Palestinian Liberation Army, and then to Jenin, where he served in the Palestinian Security Services.
    He was transferred to Bethlehem where he became a bodyguard to the PA governor, and was in that job until he was arrested.

Qa'idat al-Jihad, Iraq, and Madrid: The First Tile in the Domino Effect? - Reuven Paz (Terrorism Information Center-Center for Special Studies)
    The most detailed and explicit statement against Spain's involvement in the Iraqi issue, by elements of Qa'idat al-Jihad, appeared in December 2003, in an analysis in a 50-page book, titled Iraqi Jihad, Hopes and Risks.
    About 8 pages of the book are dedicated to Spain.
    The main motif in this analysis is how to create a change in the Spanish government that enforces the withdrawal of Spanish forces from Iraq; significant decrease of Spanish support for the U.S. by popular pressure; opposition in Italy and Poland to the presence of their troops in Iraq; and creating pressure in the UK against the alliance of their government with the Americans - a kind of domino effect, in which the starting point is Spain.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Forces Take Heavy Losses as Violence Spreads Across Iraq
    Sunni Muslim insurgents killed about a dozen U.S. Marines in heavy fighting Tuesday in Ramadi. Troops from the U.S. and several allied countries also came under fire from militiamen loyal to Muqtada Sadr, a militant Shiite Muslim cleric. (Washington Post)
        See also U.S. to Move Slowly Against Sadr
    American officials are seeking for now to enlist other Shiite clerics in a plan to marginalize Sadr, the most vociferously anti-American figure among Iraqi Shiite leaders, and to diminish his backing among Shiites. They said they hoped that Iraqi police officers or troops would ultimately arrest him. (New York Times)
        See also No Wide Shiite Rally to Sadr's Forces (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Jewish School Firebombed in Montreal
    A firebomb damaged the library at a Montreal Jewish elementary school on the eve of the Passover holiday Monday, and police found anti-Semitic notes taped to the school's walls. Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin called the firebombing an "attack on freedom." Last month, B'nai B'rith Canada reported an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2003, with almost 600 cases of violence, harassment, and vandalism against Jews. (AP/Washington Post)
  • British Bomb Plot Involved Deadly Chemical
    British authorities believe terror suspects arrested last week were planning to make a bomb that would include a highly toxic, easily obtained chemical called osmium tetroxide that could blind or kill anyone who breathed its fumes. "It's a nasty piece of work," said Dave Siegrist, a bioterrorism expert at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, Va. "It irritates the eyes, lungs, nose and throat. It leads to an asthma-like death, what we call a 'dry-land drowning.'"
        Eight British citizens of Pakistani descent were arrested on March 30. There was some indication the group was targeting Gatwick airport, the British public transportation system, and enclosed shopping areas. Authorities say the operation was being run out of Pakistan by a suspected al-Qaeda figure. (ABC News)
  • Europe Trying to Act First Against Terrorist Networks
    With a new threat of terrorism coursing through Europe, intelligence and police authorities say they are acting more aggressively, with greater emphasis on pre-emptive action to roll up networks of Islamic militants whose members may not have committed crimes, but who have the skills or ideological resolve for violence. Huge antiterror sweeps and arrests have followed in Britain, Belgium, and France, and related arrests have been made in Canada and Saudi Arabia. (New York Times)
  • Jordan Sentences Islamic Militants to Death for U.S. Diplomat's Murder
    A military court in Jordan on Tuesday sentenced to death eight Islamic militants linked to al-Qaeda - six of them in absentia - for the assassination of Laurence Foley, 60, a senior administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, in the front yard of his Amman home in October 2002. One militant still at large, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has been accused by the U.S. of building a network of foreign militants in Iraq and has a $10 million bounty on his head. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S. Embassy in Jordan Was Potential Target
    The U.S. Embassy in Amman was the target of a terror plot hatched by armed Muslim terrorists detained in Jordan last week and believed to be linked to al-Qaeda, embassy spokesman Justin Siberell said Tuesday. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • An Iraqi Intifada - Zvi Bar'el
    The last four days of clashes in Iraq, which have left dozens of locals and Americans dead, appear to be the first signs of an uprising that has already earned the title of intifada. A large group of Shi'ites defined as loyalists to political leader Muqtada al-Sadr has initiated an organized struggle against the coalition forces under the banner of a local Iraqi liberation movement rather than a pan-Islamic one. After the war, al-Sadr took control of Baghdad's large Shi'ite quarter, setting up a number of militia groups estimated to number some 10,000 fighters.
        Al-Sadr's strength led him to arrive at unspoken "agreements" with the U.S. under which the U.S. army remained outside of areas under al-Sadr's control. But these "agreements" collapsed recently when the Americans realized al-Sadr was using the relative quiet to entrench his strength and, apparently and primarily, to set up "an Iranian extension" in Iraq. Al-Sadr's war against the coalition is the offshoot of an internal power struggle, primarily against the leadership of Ali al-Sistani, who is accepted as the religious and political leader of the religious Shi'ite majority. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Two-Front Insurgency - William Safire
    Sadr has openly declared alliance with Hamas and Hizballah and war on the West. Now that the Saddam restorationists and Islamic fundamentalists have made their terrorist move, we can counterattack decisively. We should break the Iranian-Hizballah-Sadr connection. Plenty of Iraqi Shiites, who are Arab, distrust the Persian ayatollahs in Iran and can provide actionable intelligence. (New York Times)
  • Let My People Go: Iranian Jews Held Against Their Will - Pooya Dayanim
    Since Islamic extremists took over Iran, the number of Jews there has dropped from 100,000 to 20,000. Eleven Iranian Jews who attempted to flee Iran between 1994 and 1997 by crossing the Iranian border with Pakistan never made it to the other side: They were detained by the Islamic Republic's goons. And their story has never been fully told. No concrete action or step has been taken by any government or international human-rights organization to give these Jews their freedom. (National Review)
  • Former Terrorist: Expunging Hatred Will Take a Generation - Alyssa A. Lappen and Jerry Gordon
    On March 25, former PLO terrorist Walid Shoebat mesmerized a Wesleyan University audience as he described an attempted lynching when he and fellow Beit Sahour rioters attacked an Israeli officer. Shoebat worked as a PLO student organizer at Loop College in Chicago. To attract participants, his group advertised events deceptively. In Arabic a poster might announce "a fund raiser for the cause." In English, the same poster would invite students "to a Middle East feast with baklava and lamb." Shoebat said that even if the educational systems that mass manufacture hatred should be unexpectedly dismantled, Jew hatred could not be expunged from PA, Arab, or Muslim societies in less than a generation. (
  • Observations:

    Egypt's Path to Rights Needs a Push - Sen. Mitch McConnell (Washington Post)

    • Egyptian President Mubarak's visit to the U.S. next week affords the administration an opportunity to correct the course for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Egypt.
    • According to the State Department's 2003 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Egypt remained a repressive country where citizens "did not have the meaningful ability to change their government" and where the government "significantly restricted freedom of assembly and association."
    • Egypt's cooperation with the U.S. has come at a high price to the American taxpayer. Since 1948 Egypt has received more than $59 billion in U.S. foreign assistance.
    • The first step must include a recalibration of aid that includes a provision of assistance to all levels of government in Egypt and civil society. The Egyptian elite should make room at the table for reformers, and it should share foreign assistance dollars more equitably with indigenous and international nongovernmental organizations.
    • Should Egypt fall short on its commitments, the U.S. must retain control of foreign aid dollars so that funds can be shifted to other development sectors - or returned to the U.S. Treasury. Such a "use it or lose it" approach might provide necessary motivation for the Egypt government to accelerate much-needed political and economic reforms.

      The writer, a Republican senator from Kentucky, is majority whip and chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations.

        See also Egypt's Path to Rights - Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Washington Post)

    This edition was compiled and edited in Israel during Chol Hamoed Pesach.

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