Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 30, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

Report: Iranian "Sputnik" Could Be Linked to Missile Program (PRNewswire-Yahoo)
    U.S. intelligence analysts are concerned about the planned launch by Iran in early 2005 of a satellite on an upgraded version of Tehran's largest ballistic missile, the Shihab-3, Aviation Week & Space Technology reports.
    Iran's satellite launch plans could be a "Trojan Horse" to help develop both range and warhead improvements to the Shihab-3 missile under the cover of a civilian space program.

Scheme to Deliver Uranium Enrichment Plant to Libya Uncovered in South Africa - Douglas Frantz and William C. Rempel (Los Angeles Times)
    Authorities pursuing traffickers in nuclear weapons technology recently uncovered a scheme to deliver a complete uranium enrichment plant to Libya, exposing a previously undetected South African branch of Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan's global black market in nuclear know-how and equipment.
    In September, police raided a factory outside Johannesburg where they found the elements of a two-story steel processing system for the enrichment plant, packed in 11 freight containers for shipment to Libya.

IDF Commanders to Receive Battlefield Photos on Hand Receiver (IDF)
    Next year, company and division commanders will be able to view real-time intelligence photographs from pilotless aircraft on a small screen worn on their hands.
    A larger receiver will connect to the commander's vehicle.
    "The commander will be able to view the battlefield in real time and direct his forces without needing to rely on verbal reports," explained Lt.-Col. Yoni of the field intelligence department at the Ground Forces headquarters.

Useful Reference:

The Suicide Bombers and Martyr Culture at Al-Najah University in Nablus (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies).
    Al-Najah University (the largest in the PA-administered territories) is a center for propaganda, indoctrination, and terrorism for all the Palestinian terrorist organizations, especially Hamas and Fatah, and a convenient site for recruiting students into the ranks of their operational-terrorist wings.
    At the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year, the various Palestinian terrorist organizations distributed "propaganda and indoctrination kits" to new freshmen.
    View illustrations from the student orientation kits.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • UN International Atomic Energy Agency Accepts Nuclear Vow by Iranians; U.S. Charges Board with Irresponsibility
    In a defeat for the Bush administration, the 35-country ruling board of the International Atomic Energy Agency passed a mildly worded resolution on Monday welcoming Iran's total freeze on a sensitive part of its nuclear program. The resolution removes the possibility that the IAEA will drag Iran before the UN Security Council for possible censure or even sanctions. After the resolution passed, Jackie Wolcott Sanders, the head of the American delegation, accused Iran of deceit and the IAEA board of irresponsibility. She also charged that Iran's assertion that it wants to produce only nuclear energy, not bombs, is untrue, and that Iran has a clandestine nuclear weapons program that "poses a growing threat to international peace and security."  (New York Times)
        See also White House Calls Deal on Iran Nukes "A Start"
    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher expressed disappointment that the IAEA stopped short of referring Iran to the Security Council. "The United States remains as skeptical as ever that Iran will, in fact, live up to the terms of this agreement," Boucher said. "If they do violate it - in the pure skeptic's view, when they violate it - it will be reported, and that'll be the basis for further action." (Washington Times)
        See also Iran Won't Abandon Nuclear Program
    Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani, said Tuesday that Tehran will never completely abandon its uranium enrichment activities, and that the program will only be suspended long enough to complete negotiations with Europe. (CNN)
  • Gitmo Detainee Allegedly Was After Jewish Targets
    A British detainee in Guantanamo Bay allegedly planned to carry out terrorist attacks against Jewish targets in the U.S. Documents filed in a district court in Washington allege that Martin Mubanga, 31, a Muslim convert, was recruited to al-Qaeda while visiting Pakistan in 2000. He trained in a terrorist camp in Afghanistan before traveling to his birthplace of Zambia. After his 2002 capture by Zambian intelligence services, he was found with a list of 33 mostly New York-based Jewish organizations, and that he "stated that he received instructions to carry out violence against one, if not all, of the groups listed."  (JTA)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Officer Killed in Tunnel Collapse in Southern Gaza
    Captain Moshe Taranto, 23, commander of the tunnel search unit of the Gaza Brigade, was killed Monday and another officer lightly injured when a tunnel dug by Palestinians collapsed under the Philadelphia Route on the Egypt-Israel border. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel: Interim Deal Must Come First - Herb Keinon
    Anyone who insists on "going directly to a final status agreement now is dooming both sides to the status quo," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Monday following comments by PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas Sunday that the Palestinians will "not accept a temporary solution." "It may not be possible to reach a final status solution," one senior Israeli diplomatic source said. "Maybe the only thing we can do is reach an interim solution that will lead to reconciliation." "The real test will follow [the elections] - is [Abbas] capable of taking the necessary steps, can he unify the security services, can he stop the terror and incitement?" (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel's Foreign Minister Hails New Chance for Peace (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
  • Fatah Wins Vote at Al-Najah University - Arnon Regular
    Fatah won student elections at Al-Najah University in Nablus Monday for the first time in eight years. Student votes are often considered a bellwether of wider trends among Palestinians. Fatah won 38 seats on the 81-seat council, up from 28 seats in the last elections in 2001, while Hamas won 36 seats, down from 46. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Europe's Ritual Dance: The Western Counterpart of Iran's Deception - Michael Ledeen
    I do not believe Israel will solve the problem of the Iranian nuclear threat for us, both because it is militarily very daunting and because successive Israeli governments have believed that Iran is too big a problem for them, and if it is to be solved, it will have to be solved by the U.S. and our allies. Iran is the keystone of the terrorist edifice, and we are doomed to confront it sooner or later, nuclear or not.
        Secretary of State Powell recently stressed that American policy does not call for regime change in Tehran - even though the president repeatedly called for it. And the president is right; regime change is the best way to deal with the nuclear threat and the best way to advance our cause in the war against the terror masters. We have a real chance to remove the terror regime in Tehran without any military action, but rather through political means, by supporting the Iranian democratic opposition. (National Review)
  • Analyzing King Abdullah's Change in the Line of Succession - Robert Satloff
    Jordan's King Abdullah has stripped his younger half brother Hamzeh of his position as crown prince. Nearly five years after the death of his father, Abdullah no longer operates under his father's shadow and clearly considers himself to be in full control of the Hashemite kingdom. He evidently calculated that he had attained a status in the country such that his decision would be accepted without dissent by courtiers, family members, and common people alike.
        Some in the media suggest that replacing Hamzeh, the son of American-born Queen Noor, with Hussein, the son of Palestinian-born Queen Rania, might even enhance Abdullah's popularity. Abdullah's succession move underscores his tight control on the Jordanian political system. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Confronting a New Battlefield in Thailand - Bertil Lintner
    In early November, a Buddhist village leader was beheaded in Thailand's Muslim-dominated south. On Oct. 25, at least 84 Muslims died in the hands of Thai security forces. Many now fear that the Thai Buddhist majority may be drawn into a broader Islamic struggle. Thailand's three southern provinces once formed Pattani, an independent Muslim sultanate. Armed rebellions led by descendants of the Pattani sultans erupted in 1947 and 1948, and in 1960 the first organized separatist movement was formed. Operating from sanctuaries across the border in Malaya (now Malaysia), it worked to establish "an Islamic state."
        During the 1990s, the movement became increasingly associated with radical Islam. Purist Wahhabi teachings gained ground in numerous privately-run Islamic schools, and militants who had fought in Afghanistan returned home. According to Southeast Asian security agencies, the final goal is to establish an Islamic mega-state encompassing Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, southern Thailand, and the Muslim areas of the southern Philippines. (Jakarta Post-Indonesia)
  • Observations:

    Palestinian Priorities After Arafat: Palestinian Unity or Peace? - Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Arafat's death generated new hopes in the international community that a "window of opportunity" had now opened in the Middle East peace process.
    • Meanwhile, Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen), who was elected to succeed Arafat as the PLO chairman, faces grave challenges to his leadership. Arafat left to his successors a regime that necessarily - and unlike his absolutist pattern of governing - will be based on a broad coalition between the various political and terrorist factions.
    • Given its fragility, the new Palestinian leadership's agenda will be focused on strengthening its political authority rather than demonstrating greater willingness to make significant political concessions in future negotiations.
    • Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Alla said during his visit with Abu Mazen to Cairo that the PA intention to "settle the issue of carrying weapons [in public] does not mean ceasing the resistance. The resistance will prevail as long as the occupation [exists]. Its nature will be determined by the [Palestinian] leadership and the circumstances of each stage."
    • There is clearly a growing contradiction between the determination of the U.S. and the EU to move quickly with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the degree to which the Palestinians have the self-confidence and inner stability to become fully engaged as negotiating partners.

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