Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 29, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

Saudi Security Organs Infiltrated - Richard Sale (UPI/Washington Times)
    Al-Qaeda sympathizers and operatives within the Saudi armed forces "are believed to be gaining ground" in their campaign to topple the royal family, according to a senior administration official.
    "Our great worry is the degree to which al-Qaeda has penetrated the Saudi police, the National Guard, and other security organs," another administration official said.
    A U.S. intelligence official said, "al-Qaeda has a huge manpower pool to draw from inside Saudi Arabia."
    A classified DIA study says there are as many as 10,000 al-Qaeda sympathizers in the Saudi police, National Guard, and security forces.

    See also Al-Qaeda Steals Saudi Police Cars for Expat Attacks - Keith Jones and Philip Sherwell (Telegraph-UK)
    Al-Qaeda militants in Riyadh have stolen up to 15 police cars, possibly with the help of sympathizers within the force, as part of a strategy to set up fake official roadblocks to abduct or kill Westerners.
    The militants have also painted other vehicles to resemble official ones and made replica uniforms.
    U.S. intelligence believes that al-Qaeda has started inserting its agents at oil installations in preparation for an attack.

Aksa Brigades Seek Fatah Reforms - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Leaders of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades on Monday called for sweeping reforms in Arafat's ruling Fatah faction.
    The Brigades' "Working Program" accuses top officials of systematic extortion, theft, and nepotism.
    The document says many senior positions in the PA are occupied by unqualified people, including the "wives, sons, and daughters of top officials, who are receiving high salaries while sitting at home or abroad....The servants and the doormen working in their houses are employees receiving salaries from the public purse."
    Within Fatah, the Brigades are demanding nationwide elections, which were last held 14 years ago.

New Iraqi Police Fight U.S. Troops Who Trained Them - Damien McElroy (Telegraph-UK)
    An Iraqi journalist in Fallujah Wednesday reported that he met police officers and units of the country's new army who have formed a united front with Muslim fundamentalists against the Americans.
    See also Training Iraqis to Fight Iraqis - Dexter Filkins (New York Times)

64-Year-Old Woman Gives Birth in Israel - Dan Even (Maariv International)
    A 64-year-old woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Sunday at Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv, after having undergone fertility treatments for years.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Says West Bank Security Barrier is Stopping Palestinian Terrorism
    Israel's Deputy Defense Minister Ze'ev Boim says the West Bank security barrier has been a resounding success, blocking all attacks in the areas where it has been completed. The 200 km section of the barrier that is operational has been fully effective for the past 10 months. The International Court of Justice at The Hague is due to hand down its much-awaited advisory opinion on the legality of the security barrier on July 9. (VOA News)
        See also Israel to Ignore Hague Decision
    President Moshe Katsav said Saturday that if the International Court of Justice in The Hague orders Israel to stop building the anti-terrorism barrier, "We will have to reject it....Most democratic countries would not suffer that kind of intervention from the court....It is only for security purposes, it is intended to keep the Palestinians from killing us."  (Maariv International)
        See also Mideast Security Barrier Working
    Palestinians who are reluctant to find any good in the barrier also are benefiting from a reduction in Israeli military operations into their neighborhoods and have begun to rebuild damaged streets and buildings. Jenin residents seem desperate to move on with their lives. For the first time in years, the craving for a shred of normalcy seems to be replacing the thirst for vengeance. (Washington Times)
  • 9/11 Panel Links Al-Qaeda, Iran
    The commission investigating the 9/11 attacks has concluded that bin Laden's terrorist network had long-running contacts with Iran. Al-Qaeda, the commission determined, may even have played a "yet unknown role" in aiding Hizballah militants in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers complex in Saudi Arabia, an attack the U.S. has long blamed solely on Hizballah and its Iranian sponsors. Commission investigators said intelligence "showed far greater potential for collaboration between Hizballah and al-Qaeda than many had previously thought." (Washington Post)
  • Iraqi Militants Allege Slaying of U.S. Soldier
    Al-Jazeera television received a video Monday that militants said showed the execution of Pfc. Keith M. Maupin, an American soldier who had been taken hostage in April. (Washington Post)
  • Saudi Envoy's Zionist Claims "Are Offensive"
    The Saudi ambassador to London, Prince Turki al-Faisal, has reinforced controversial claims by the kingdom's royal family of a link between "Zionists" and recent al-Qaeda terror attacks in the country, speaking in a television interview broadcast Sunday of "an attack on the kingdom...from Zionist circles." His comments were condemned by Lord Janner, the former Labour MP, who called them "highly offensive."  (Telegraph-UK)
  • Report: Syrian Human Rights Deteriorating
    Human rights in Syria are deteriorating under arbitrary arrests, a crackdown on minority Kurds, and systematic torture, according to a report released Sunday by the Syrian Committee for Human Rights, a Syrian dissident group based in London. The report accused Syrian authorities of ignoring the constitution and international conventions on torture, and using beatings with bats, whips and cables, electrocution, and rape threats. "This year, we had recurrent news of severe and systematic torture practiced by the security authorities," the report said. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Murdered North of Ramallah - Arnon Regular and Jonathan Lis
    An Israeli in his 60s was found murdered in his truck Tuesday north of the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Ha'aretz)
  • Man Wounded in New Palestinian Rocket Attack - Arieh O'Sullivan
    A man in his 50s was moderately wounded Tuesday when a Kassam rocket landed in an industrial zone in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, one day after a deadly Kassam attack killed two Israelis in Sderot including a 4-year-old at a kindergarten.
        IDF forces began operating in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday in what security officials said could be an extended operation to prevent rocket fire on Israel. Military sources said that various methods and technology were being deployed to thwart the Kassam rocket squads, including aerial surveillance via attack helicopters and unmanned drones to observe Palestinians trying to fire more rockets. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Sharon: Terror Won't End with Gaza Pullout - Gideon Alon
    "Palestinian terrorism will continue despite the disengagement, and we will not stop fighting it because of the disengagement. The problems we've had for 120 years will continue after the disengagement," Prime Minister Sharon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Egyptian Police Accused of Rights Abuses
    The first day, Egyptians opposed to the war in Iraq were allowed to vent anger in the streets. The next day, authorities let loose the police. Officers beat the largely peaceful protesters, lashed them with water cannon, and set dogs on them. Human rights groups say demonstration leaders were detained for days or weeks without charge, and in some cases tortured. Welcome to policing Egyptian-style. While authorities in Cairo have been discussing a proposal to train PA police, rights groups say Egyptian police tactics may be the last thing Gaza needs. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Gaza Disengagement May Ignite Escalation - Amir Rappaport
    According to the reasonable scenarios, the terrorist organizations will increase their efforts to conduct attacks as the date of the disengagement approaches. They are in the midst of a competition. The Palestinian public will remember the winner as the one that succeeded in driving Israel out of the Gaza Strip, amidst death and destruction. This competition is likely to ignite an especially severe escalation. The attack on the Orhan outpost Sunday increased the number of Israeli casualties in Gaza to 20 dead in the last two months. (Maariv International)
        See also Resistance Activists Blow Up IDF Outpost
    Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that "all the Israeli statements about a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip are due to the Palestinian resistance operations. We are completely confident that as the Hizballah Organization managed to kick the Israeli forces out of Lebanon, the Palestinian resistance will kick them out of the Palestinian territories, and we will continue our resistance." (PA Press Center)
  • Meet the New Jihad - Michael Ware
    In a safe house on the outskirts of Fallujah, the men wear white robes and long beards and greet each other solemnly. They are all Iraqi, but their beliefs are those of the strict Wahhabi strain of Islam repressed under Saddam Hussein. Militants like these are determined to wreak more carnage and have no intention of laying down their arms. A TIME investigation of the insurgency today - based on meetings with insurgents, tribal leaders, religious clerics, and U.S. intelligence officials - reveals that the militants are turning the resistance into an international jihadist movement. (TIME)
  • Muslim Reformers Condemn Saudi Wahhabism - Steven Stalinsky
    Liberal Egyptian intellectual Tarek Heggy recently wrote about the need for Muslim moderates to work against Wahhabism: "The time has come for the Saudi government to part ways with Wahhabism and to realize that the alliance between the House of Saud and the Wahhabi dynasty is responsible for the spread of obscurantism, dogmatism, and fanaticism." An increasing number of reform-minded Muslims have begun to speak out against the impact of Saudi Wahhabism in the Muslim world. (National Review)
  • Observations:

    Alice in Wonderland's Middle East - Barry Rubin (Jerusalem Post)

    • Most of the world believes the Palestinians are fighting only because they want an end to Israel's presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as a state of their own. Were this true, the conflict would have ended long ago, certainly in the year 2000.
    • According to surveys taken by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, whose head is a minister in Arafat's cabinet, 45% of Palestinians believe that the intifada's goal is to wipe Israel off the map; 65% favor continued violence against all Israeli targets.
    • A poll by Bir-Zeit University's Development Studies Program shows that 54% doubt a Palestinian state could coexist with Israel even if there was a comprehensive peace treaty; 61% advocate continued armed struggle even if Israel pulls out of all Gaza.
    • Palestinians continue to be told by their leaders, preachers, activists, and media that all-out struggle is necessary and total victory is both possible and the only proper patriotic and Muslim policy.

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