Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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December 21, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Israel: Iran Received 12 Cruise Missiles with a 3,000-Km Range from Ukraine, Capable of Carrying Nuclear Warheads - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
    Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi (Farkash), Director of Military Intelligence, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that Iran had recently received 12 cruise missiles with a 3,000-km range, which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
    18 such missiles were transported from Ukraine to Russia, of which 12 ended up in Iranian hands; the other six were received by China.

Hizballah Highly Skilled at Infiltrating Technology, Experts Say - Marina Jimenez (Globe and Mail-Canada)
    Security experts say it's no surprise that a group linked to Hizballah cloned the cellphones of high-level executives at Rogers Wireless, a Canadian cellphone company.
    The impostors would call Iran, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Syria on the cloned phones.
    Cindy Hopper, a manager at Rogers security department, told a Toronto fraud conference in September 2005 that the group was also making phony passports and credit cards.
    Martin Rudner, head of the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies at Carleton University, said, "Hizballah successfully recruits computer scientists and is very effective in telecommunications and in encrypting their messages in order to defeat national security agents in Canada and the U.S."

Russia to Transport Natural Gas to Israel - Ofer Petersburg (Ynet News)
    The gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey will be extended to reach Israel, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week while inaugurating the pipe's final stop in Turkey.
    Infrastructure Ministry Director-General Eli Ronen welcomed the Russian-Turkish-Italian decision, saying, "We hope that Israel will thus become a leading player in the Middle East's energy industry."
    In addition, an oil pipeline will also be built from Russia to Jihan in southern Turkey, and will continue from there to Israel.
    Russia is the second largest oil supplier in the world. In addition, more than one-third of the gas in Europe comes from Russia.

Saudi Scholars: Enemy's Defeat is "Obvious" (SITE Institute)
    A call to the mujahideen, scholars, and preachers of the Sunni people in Iraq, signed by twelve Saudi scholars, was issued on the website of Sheikh Professor Nasser bin Soliman al-Omar, one of the signatories, and distributed among jihad forums.
    The message emphasizes the importance of unity among the mujahideen brigades, and between those engaged in jihad and the preachers and scholars, as their enemies seek to create fitna, or civil war, within Islam.
    The message states that the enemy's defeat is "obvious," and the eminent victory for the Muslims will be achieved through unity and patience.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Germany Releases Hizballah Hijacker Sought By U.S. - Craig Whitlock
    The German government disclosed Tuesday that it had freed Hizballah member Mohammed Ali Hammadi, 41, who had been convicted of hijacking a TWA airliner in 1985 during which U.S. sailor Robert Dean Stethem was murdered, despite long-standing requests from the U.S. to hand him over for trial. The State Department said Tuesday that the U.S government still wanted to put Hammadi on trial. (Washington Post)
        See also Who Was Robert Stethem? - Mark Crawford
    When the plane was at the Beirut airport in Lebanon, Petty Officer Stethem was singled out because he was in the U.S. military. After many hours of being cruelly beaten, tortured, and finally killed by the terrorists, they threw his body from the plane in a final disgraceful, cowardly act. The wounds were so terrible that his body had to be identified by its fingerprints. Throughout the ordeal, Robert Stethem did not yield, and instead encouraged his fellow passengers to endure by his example. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for heroism and bravery. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery. (American Victims of Islamic and Arab Terrorists)
  • Iraqi Insurgents Using Google Earth to Mount Attacks - Jasper Copping
    Insurgents could be using satellite images from the popular website Google Earth to mount attacks on British and American bases in Iraq, defense experts said Saturday. "Websites like Google Earth give these people [insurgents] the possibility of leveling the playing field a bit. If you can locate a target on the image it will give you very accurate co-ordinates and a terrorist will know exactly where to aim a missile. If you also have a GPS then you know exactly where you are and you can sit there with your PC and look at these very high resolution satellite images and you will know where to fire your missile from and what to fire it at," said Brian Collins, a professor of information systems at Cranfield University. (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Defense Minister Mofaz Instructs IDF to Prepare for Extensive Gaza Terror Wave in January - Alex Fishman
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz instructed the IDF to prepare for an expected terror wave from the Gaza Strip, in a meeting with IDF Southern Command officials Tuesday. The defense minister estimates that terror groups, headed by Hamas, are planning to resume their violence in full force ahead of the upcoming Palestinian elections, scheduled for late January. "The Palestinian Authority isn't functioning in the Strip, there's no guiding hand," he said. "Palestinian security forces are not following the PA chairman's orders." (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues, Israel Weighs Electricity Cut-Off in Gaza - Ze'ev Schiff
    On Sunday, after Palestinians fired a Kassam rocket from Gaza that landed not far from an Israel Electric Corporation power plant south of Ashkelon, Israel told the PA that it planned to shut off power for two hours in the early hours of Monday morning, as a warning of things to come if the rocket fire did not stop. Implementation was postponed to give the main Palestinian hospital in Gaza time to purchase emergency generators. Five Palestinian rockets struck Israel Tuesday, one at an army base. The Red Dawn warning system in Sderot went off twice Tuesday evening, sending the town's residents scurrying for shelter. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Ashkelon to Get Rocket Warning System - Yuval Azoulay
    The industrial zone south of Ashkelon will be connected to the Red Dawn rocket launch warning system within two weeks, the Israel Defense Forces has promised, after two Kassam rockets landed in the zone during the past week. The IDF decided to make the system operational only in the industrial zone since it does not believe that Palestinian terrorist organizations are capable of launching rockets into the city itself as of yet. The city council said it wanted to prevent the sirens from sending residents into panic throughout Ashkelon when most parts of the city are out of firing range. (Ha'aretz)
  • Abbas to Cairo for Talks on Delaying PA Elections - Khaled Abu Toameh
    PA Chairman Abbas is expected to visit Cairo soon for talks with President Mubarak on the possibility of delaying next month's parliamentary elections, PA officials in Ramallah said on Tuesday. According to the officials, Egypt supports postponing the elections for fear that Hamas would score a landslide victory. Abbas is also under tremendous pressure from many members of Fatah to call off the elections because of the continued power struggle in the ruling party. However, PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat warned on Tuesday that "postponing the elections will lead to violence, chaos, and bloodshed." Hamas said Tuesday that parliamentary elections were the only way to rid the Palestinians of the many crises they are facing. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fatah Gunmen Seize Bethlehem City Hall - Khaled Abu Toameh
    At least 15 masked Fatah gunmen armed with rifles and pistols stormed the Bethlehem Municipality building in Manger Square on Tuesday, demanding money and jobs in the PA security forces. Their demands included recruiting more than 320 Fatah militiamen to the security forces, resuming monthly payments to each one of them, and guarantees that Israel would stop pursuing them. The attackers left the building 90 minutes later after receiving assurances from PA Chairman Abbas that their demands would be met.
        In Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, about 100 Fatah gunmen on Tuesday occupied the local governorate headquarters to demand jobs and money. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinian Gunmen in Gaza Kidnap Foreign School Administrators
    Palestinian gunmen abducted a Dutch school principal and his Australian deputy Wednesday, as they drove to work at a private American school north of Gaza City. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran's Nuclear Nutter: Profile of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's combustive rhetoric about wiping out Israel, denying the Holocaust, and asserting Iran's inalienable right to nuclear power - a potential cloak for developing nuclear weapons - have triggered alarm bells around the world. The president is believed to be devoted to the cult of the 12th Imam, the Shi'ite savior better known as the Mahdi, whose return would usher in an apocalyptic revolution of the oppressed over the forces of injustice.
        In September, he told Newsweek: "Our religion prohibits us from having nuclear weapons." After his recent outbursts, nobody takes him at his word any longer. We have been here before. History would have been different if Hitler had stuck to painting and Pol Pot to teaching. Once again, it's three minutes to midnight. (Sunday Times-UK)
  • The Mutating Threat - Kevin Whitelaw
    Authorities fear that they have unearthed only the tip of a larger network of North African militants in Europe, many tied to the Algeria-based Salafist Group for Call and Combat (in French, GSPC). The group has developed an extensive European exile support network, now with much broader ambitions. Some U.S. officials now believe that the GSPC, after years of contacts with al-Qaeda leaders, has formally allied itself with bin Laden.
        GSPC operatives have been implicated in several serious plots, including Ahmed Ressam's attempt to blow up the Los Angeles airport in 1999 and one against the Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, in 2000. The GSPC kidnapped 32 European tourists in the Algerian desert in 2003, and more recently claimed responsibility for an attack on a remote Mauritanian Army post that killed 15 soldiers.
        U.S. officials say they have picked up signs that the GSPC is working with Zarqawi to direct foreign fighters to Iraq. Some U.S. officials believe there might be times when Zarqawi is receiving more foreign fighters than his group can safely absorb and that some could get diverted to North Africa to reinforce the GSPC. (U.S. News)
  • Observations:

    Israeli Security Experts: How to Deter an Iranian Attack - C. Hart (WorldNetDaily)

    • The possibility of an Iranian missile attack against Israel is of major concern to Israel's military advisers. Israel's current policy is to let Iran know, in no uncertain terms, what Israel's retaliation will be in the event of an attack. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, former head of the IDF's research and assessment division with special responsibility for preparing the National Intelligence Assessment, claims that Israel must make clear to the Iranians that "in building our capabilities, and by letting them know that we have these capabilities, we are very strong about the decision that if Israel will be attacked, it will be the end of Iran."
    • Today, global diplomacy is in the forefront of efforts by the international community to dissuade Iran from going nuclear. But Amidror is convinced that efforts on the diplomatic front are too little too late. "At this stage, the chances for success by using only political pressure are very slim. At the end of the day, the world will have to decide what is more dangerous - to attack this infrastructure of the Iranians, or to deal with an Iranian nuclear war." "Our experience with the international community is that we cannot build our security on the assumption that they will be on our side."
    • Uzi Rubin, a defense consultant to the IDF, was responsible for overseeing the first Arrow anti-missile system. According to Rubin, "the nuclear threat is not about the chance of one single missile that can sneak through. It's about Israel's retaliatory efforts. They [Iran] have a slight chance or no chance at all of getting through. They will get a second strike from Israel, and that's what they are concerned about." Rubin sees this as Israel's greatest deterrence policy. "Iran could not guarantee their people that they wouldn't be wiped out by retaliation. That is the deterrence."
    • Iran and the Arab nations have some 1,000 missiles that can hit Israel. Syria alone has 400-500 short-range missiles; the Egyptians have 200 Scuds. Iran's current missile systems are not only capable of hitting targets in Israel, but also hitting U.S. and other forces in the Persian Gulf. That's why military analysts are insisting this is not an Israeli crisis, but an international one.

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