Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 14, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Al-Qaeda Threatens: "We Will Attack Israel, We Established a Base in Jordan" - Jacky Hogi (Maariv-Hebrew, 13Nov05)
    Al-Qaeda in Iraq announced that its operatives succeeded in establishing a base in Jordan and their intention is to attack Israel.
    A notice posted Friday on fundamentalist Internet websites said: "After the attack in the heart of Jordan, it will soon be possible to reach Jewish targets in Israel."

Palestinian Imam: "May Bin Laden's Path Succeed" - Jonathan D. Halevi (News First Class-Hebrew)
    A website identifying with al-Qaeda posted a video a few days ago presenting a Palestinian imam praying for the success of bin Laden and his representative in Iraq, Zarqawi.
    The preacher calls on Allah "to help Zarqawi's efforts" and those of his leader, bin Laden.
    The video represents additional proof of al-Qaeda influence in the Palestinian territories.

Israel Campus Beat
- November 13, 2005

Point Counter-Point:
    Can Jordan Play a Role in Stabilizing the Palestinian Authority?

Senior PA Leaders Envision Continuing "Active Resistance" in West Bank (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)
    PA national security advisor Jibril Rajoub and PA minister of civil affairs Muhammad Dahlan have recently openly advocated the continuation of "active resistance" (i.e., terrorist activities) by Fatah and the other Palestinian terrorist groups in the West Bank and oppose disarming them.
    The statements express a basic concept that after the disengagement, the focus of the violent confrontation with Israel should be transferred from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, while lip service continues to be paid to the lull.
    This concept is shared by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and elements in Fatah, and is opposed to Abbas' pronouncements in favor of an end to a militarized intifada.

Three Chinese Military Officials Killed in Amman Bombings (Xinhua-China)
    Three members of China's University of National Defense were killed in Wednesday's Amman, Jordan, hotel bombings.

Pakistani Quake Orphans "Adopted" for Jihad - Dean Nelson. (Times-UK)
    Children orphaned by the Kashmir earthquake are being "adopted" by terrorist groups to train them to fight in the jihad.
    Pakistan's leading human rights organization, the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust, said jihadi groups fighting the Indian government were taking orphans off the streets and putting them in training camps.
    The organization said that sympathetic government officials were also passing children on to the jihadis.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • The Bombings in Jordan: The Start of Zarqawi's Spreading Terror Beyond Iraq? - Bill Powell
    Maj.-Gen. Rick Lynch, a coalition spokesman in Baghdad, said the Amman bombings are "an indication of al-Qaeda in Iraq spreading across the region." The western portion of Iraq is infused with insurgents, and the border with Jordan is relatively porous. "When al-Zarqawi sent operatives from Afghanistan, his rate of success in infiltrating them into Jordan was 10% to 15%," says a Jordanian security official. "Now it is much easier: with a fake passport, you cross the border, and the same day you are in Amman." Jordan's security officials estimate that more than 500 Jordanians have been arrested for links with al-Zarqawi's organization. A security official says al-Zarqawi's recruiters operate throughout Jordan. (TIME)
        See also below Observations: Amman Bombings Reflect Zarqawi's Growing Reach - Craig Whitlock (Washington Post)
  • Jordanian Security Forces Arrest Iraqi Woman in Bombings - Hassan M. Fattah
    Jordanian security officials Sunday announced the arrest of an Iraqi woman alleged to be part of the suicide bomber team in last week's attacks on three hotels in Amman. In a taped confession aired on Jordanian state-run television, Sajida Mubarak al-Rishawi, 35, said she was meant to be the fourth bomber. Rishawi said she and her husband, Ali Hussein Ali Shumari, left Ramadi, in the western province of Al Anbar in Iraq, for Jordan on Nov. 5 with their devices. Rishawi is the sister of Samir Mubarak al-Rishawi, a senior aide to Zarqawi. Jordanian security officials say they have foiled at least 150 planned attacks by Zarqawi's group since April 2004 - and another 10 this year alone. (New York Times)
        See also Iraqi Woman Confesses on Jordan TV - Shafika Mattar
    Rishawi described how she failed to blow herself up: "My husband detonated (his bomb) and I tried to explode my belt but it wouldn't."  (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Jordanian Soldiers Seduced by Al-Qaeda "Aided" Suicide Attacks - Marie Colvin and Uzi Mahnaimi
    A nationwide hunt for the accomplices of suicide bombers who blew up three hotels in Amman has led to the arrest of at least 10 members of the Jordanian armed forces. Security sources said the bombers were Iraqi, but they received help from Jordanian soldiers who had been seduced by radical preachers secretly aligned with Zarqawi. (Times-UK)
  • Iran Developing Nuclear Warhead for Its Long-Range Missiles - William J. Broad and David E. Sanger
    In mid-July, senior American intelligence officials called the leaders of the international atomic inspection agency in Vienna and unveiled the contents of what they said was a stolen Iranian laptop computer. The Americans flashed selections from more than a thousand pages of Iranian computer simulations. They presented them as the strongest evidence yet that, despite Iran's insistence that its nuclear program is peaceful, the country is trying to develop a compact warhead to fit atop its Shahab missile, which can reach Israel and other countries in the Middle East. Nuclear analysts at the international atomic agency studied the laptop documents and found them to be credible evidence of Iranian strides. (New York Times)
  • Rice: Dismantling Terrorist Infrastructure "Essential"
    Secretary of State Rice told the Saban Forum in Jerusalem on Sunday: "Dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism is essential for peace because in the final analysis, no democratic government can tolerate armed parties with one foot in the realm of politics and one foot in the camp of terrorism....Israel's neighbors must demonstrate their concern for peace not only with rhetoric but with action. We encourage them - Egypt to enhance its cooperation with Israel on basic security issues. And we call on all Arab states to end incitement in their media, cut off all funding for terrorism, stop their support for extremist education, and establish normal relations with Israel." (State Department)
  • Iraqi Defense Minister: Militants Training in Syria - Shafika Mattar
    Iraq's defense minister slammed Damascus on Sunday for letting militants train on Syrian soil. "We have more than 450 detainees who came from different Arab and Muslim countries to train in Syria and enter with their booby-trapped vehicles into Iraq to bring destruction and killings," Saadoun al-Dulaimi said during a visit to Amman. (AP/Newsday)
        See also Iraq Says Syria Harbors Foreign Killers - John Ward Anderson and Hasan Shammari
    "We do not have the least doubt that 9 out of 10 suicide bombers who carry out suicide bombing operations among Iraqi citizens...are Arabs who have crossed the border with Syria," Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak Rubaie said in Cairo. "Most of those who blow themselves up in Iraq are Saudi nationals," he added. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • 27 Palestinians Killed in Amman Bombings
    27 Palestinians, including four senior Palestinian officials, and 17 people from the same family, were killed in the hotel bombings in Amman last Wednesday. The Palestinian leadership attended the funeral of Maj.-Gen. Bashir Nafeh, the military intelligence chief in the West Bank, Col. Abed Alloun of the PA Interior Ministry, the Palestinian cultural attache in Cairo Jihad Fattouh, and Musa'ab Khurma, deputy director of the Amman-Cairo Bank. In the northern West Bank village of Silet al-Thaher, the Al-Akhras clan mourned 17 relatives killed at a wedding party. An east Jerusalem businessman, Bashar Qaddoumi, was also killed.
        "I expect now a significant change in the Palestinian political culture," said Palestinian newspaper commentator Hani al-Masri. "For sure, this attack will push Palestinians to reconsider this way of suicide bombings."  (Palestine Media Center)
        See also Amman Attack Sours Jordanians on Al-Qaeda - Orly Halpern
    "These attacks have caused a significant change in Jordanian public opinion," said Fares Braizat, head of the public opinion polling unit of the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan. "Most people now have a very unfavorable view of al-Qaeda." On Thursday, a day after the bombing, Islamists, Arab nationalists, Baathists, and members of the professional unions - all of whom strongly oppose the government and support armed resistance - demonstrated in the streets of Amman, calling for the death of terror leader Zarqawi. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Nablus Hamas Leader Killed in Gunbattle with IDF
    IDF troops killed Nablus Hamas leader Amjad Hinawi, 34, during a gunbattle Monday when soldiers attempted to arrest the fugitive. Gunmen opened fire at the soldiers during the operation and troops returned fire, killing Hinawi. A Kalashnikov rifle and a pistol were found on his body. (Jerusalem Post)
        Hanawi is believed to have masterminded several suicide bombings in Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Clinton, Israeli Leaders Praise Rabin at Memorial - Lily Galili
    Former U.S. President Bill Clinton was the key speaker at a rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday commemorating the 10th anniversary of the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. "I was in awe of his ability to move from being a soldier to being a peacemaker, a politician to a statesman," Clinton said. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Clinton: Arafat Made "Colossal Blunder" over Camp David Offer - Jonathan Lis
    Arafat's decision not to adopt the peace initiative offered at Camp David five years ago was a "colossal historical blunder," said visiting former U.S. President Clinton Saturday. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Sen. Clinton: I Support West Bank Fence, PA Must Fight Terrorism - Lily Galili and Roni Singer
    U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton said Sunday that she supports the separation fence Israel is building along the edges of the West Bank, and that the onus is on the PA to fight terrorism. "This is not against the Palestinian people," she said during a tour of a section of the barrier being built around Jerusalem. "This is against the terrorists. The Palestinian people have to help to prevent terrorism. They have to change the attitudes about terrorism."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Jordan's Two Banks Draw Closer - Danny Rubinstein
    Sixteen of the people killed by the terror attacks in the Amman hotels last week were foreigners. The rest were mostly Jordanian citizens, more than half of them of Palestinian origin. The cartoonist of the daily newspaper Al-Quds drew the Palestinian and Jordanian flag at half-mast. East of the Jordan lives a population that is, for the most part, of Palestinian origin. A few weeks ago Abdul Salam al-Majali, Jordan's former prime minister and one of its leading statesmen, announced a new plan to establish a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation with joint and separate government institutions for the two banks of the Jordan.
        As the separation fence between Israel and the West Bank is being completed, the Palestinians are forced to turn to Jordan. A similar process is taking place in the Gaza Strip, whose border with Israel is blocked, and where the only alternative is opening the one with Egypt. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Are There Signs of a Jordanian-Palestinian Reengagement? - Dan Diker and Pinchas Inbari (ICA/JCPA)
  • America's SOS to the IDF - Amir Oren
    Last month, U.S. Brig.-Gen. Joseph Votel made an urgent request to an old friend, IDF Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Nuriel, chief of the foreign liaison department of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, to send him a top-secret item the IDF has developed that could be useful in combating the improvised explosive devices (IED) used against U.S. forces in Iraq. Within five days, the items in question and their manuals were on a plane headed overseas. The ability of the IDF, the Defense Ministry, and the defense industries to help the Americans thwart IED attacks in Iraq is becoming the tipping point on which the Bush administration is tottering. The most lethal factor in the deaths of U.S. troops in Iraq is the IEDs planted along roadways or in booby-trapped vehicles. By the Americans' admission, the most effective aid to defeat the IEDs comes from Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:

    Amman Bombings Reflect Zarqawi's Growing Reach - Craig Whitlock (Washington Post)

    • Triple suicide bombings in Jordan last week marked a breakthrough for Islamic guerrilla leader Abu Musab Zarqawi in his efforts to expand the Iraqi insurgency into a regional conflict and demonstrated his growing independence from the founders of al-Qaeda, according to Arab and European intelligence officials.
    • While bin Laden has been on the run for the past four years, largely cut off from the outside world, Zarqawi has attracted hundreds if not thousands of fighters to Iraq and has avoided capture despite the presence of 150,000 U.S. troops.
    • The Amman bombings were not the first time Zarqawi had launched an attack on Jordan from his base in Iraq. In August, his followers fired Katyusha rockets at U.S. ships in the Red Sea port of Aqaba, but missed. In April 2004, the Jordanian government said it had disrupted a Zarqawi plot to blow up the headquarters of the Jordanian intelligence service. It said the plot involved truckloads of chemical-laced explosives that could have created a gas cloud with the potential to kill 80,000 people.
    • Unlike bin Laden, Zarqawi has also placed a high priority on fighting Israel and has tried - unsuccessfully - to organize bombings and suicide attacks there, according to Arab intelligence sources.
    • "The real goal of Zarqawi is to banish Israel from the region, or even annihilate Israel," Ernst Uhrlau, intelligence coordinator for German Chancellor Schroeder, said at a security conference in Berlin on Thursday. Uhrlau characterized the Amman attacks as an attempt by Zarqawi "to demonstrate the ability to act against Israel from inside Jordan."
    • August Hanning, president of Germany's foreign intelligence service, said there were signs of increased numbers of Islamic extremists going to Iraq from Europe to fight for Zarqawi, not because his network had recruited them directly, but merely because his success inspired them to join.

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