Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 16, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Report: Syria Received Nuclear Weapons Technology from Pakistan - Bill Gertz (Washington Times)
    U.S. intelligence agencies suspect Syria was offered and received nuclear weapons technology from the covert Pakistani supplier group headed by A.Q. Khan.
    An annual report to Congress on arms proliferation states that Pakistani investigators have confirmed reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency that the Khan network "offered nuclear technology and hardware to Syria."
    "We are concerned that expertise or technology could have been transferred," said the intelligence report, which is the first time the Bush administration has publicly linked Syria to Khan.

Israel Campus Beat
- May 14, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    Should the West Extend Economic Aid to Non-Hamas Palestinians?

Florida Teen's Massacre Called "Gift from Allah" - Aaron Klein (WorldNetDaily)
    The death of Daniel Wultz, a Florida teenager critically injured in an April 17 suicide bombing in Israel, is a "gift from Allah" and revenge against American Jewish support for Israel, said Abu Nasser, a leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
    Abu Amin, a leader of the Islamic Jihad, said Sunday, "If we know there are Americans in a place we plan to attack...this would be a sign from Allah that this is a more blessed operation. Killing Americans and Jews in one operation - it can be great."

UK Security Services Infiltrated by Al-Qaeda - Vincent Moss (Sunday Mirror-UK)
    Bosses at Britain's MI5 security services believe they unwittingly recruited al-Qaeda extremists as part of a drive to find more Muslims and Arabic speakers to work as spies to help prevent future terrorist attacks.
    A senior ministerial source said: "The truth is that it has now been discovered that some of those people have strong links with al-Qaeda."
    MI5's primary role is to gather intelligence on those posing a threat to homeland security, while MI6 keeps tabs on Britain's enemies abroad.

Al-Qaeda Threatens Norway, Denmark, France (Aftenposten-Norway)
    A new al-Qaeda video released Thursday on the Internet urges Muslims to attack Norway, Denmark, and France for having published caricatures of the prophet Mohammed.
    "Muslims, avenge your prophet; it is our deep and fervent wish that the small state Denmark, Norway, and France be hit hard and destroyed," said the Libyan Mohammed Hassan on the video, produced by al-Sahab, a media organization with close links to al-Qaeda.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Restores Full Diplomatic Ties With Libya - Glenn Kessler
    The U.S. restored full diplomatic relations with Libya Monday, marking the end of a quarter-century of enmity and signaling to Iran and North Korea that similar rewards await countries that scrap their weapons of mass destruction. (Washington Post)
        See also The Complex Surrender of Libya's WMD - Judith Miller (Wall Street Journal)
  • Gunmen Made into Lawmen for Hamas Force - Matthew Gutman
    Crawling in the sand, Muhammad Abu Mujahid leads a band of guerrillas on a training exercise. Their mock mission: freeing Western hostages held by rogue Palestinian gangs. Until last month, Abu Mujahid's men were one of those rogue gangs. Now they are part of a new paramilitary force, known as the Police Support Unit, being assembled by Hamas. He and his men come from the Hamas-affiliated Popular Resistance Committee, a militant group that specialized in firing rockets into Israel and shooting at Israeli army jeeps. Israeli army reserve Col. Yoni Fighel, an analyst at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism, an Israeli think tank, says the new security force is a Hamas proxy that might "provide law and order in the morning and terrorism in the evening." (USA Today)
  • Turkey and Iran Raid Northern Iraq - Sami Moubayed
    Both Turkey and Iran have been launching military raids into northern Iraq against the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), labeled a terrorist group by the U.S., Britain, and the EU. Turkey recently launched a massive military operation involving more than 250,000 troops against the PKK in the mountains along Turkey's borders with Iran and Iraq. Extensive incursions into northern Iraq have been reported.
        Iran, meanwhile, has begun attacks on PKK units based in Iran, and the Iranian military has entered Iraqi territory in hot pursuit of PKK militants. The PKK wants to create a Kurdish state out of southeastern Turkey, northeastern Iraq, northeastern Syria, and northwestern Iran. The PKK's violence all but ceased after its leader Abdullah Ocelan was arrested in 1998, but it resumed activities in June 2004. The writer is a Syrian political analyst. (Asia Times-Hong Kong)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Aksa Brigades Threatens U.S., Europe - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Aksa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah, on Monday threatened to strike at U.S. and European interests in response to international sanctions on the PA. "We will strike at the economic and civilian interests of these countries, here and abroad," said a leaflet issued by the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • General Predicts "Global Jihad Tsunami" - Yaakov Katz
    "The Middle East is currently standing before a global Jihad tsunami," former Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. (res.) Aharon Farkash told a conference at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University on Monday. "Nowadays everyone is learning how to assemble a bomb in their home and is consulting with religious leaders to find out whether it is permissible to drop a nuclear bomb or commit a suicide [attack] in a place where there are Muslims."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jordan to Hamas: Explain Plots First - Abdul Jalil Mustafa
    Jordan reaffirmed Monday its refusal to receive a political delegation from Hamas before talks are held with security officials over an arms find in the kingdom and alleged plots by the militant group. "The Palestinian government must send a security delegation...and after that we can begin political contacts," said Jordanian government spokesman Nasser Jawdeh. Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas-led Palestinian government, refused to dispatch a security team to Jordan. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
  • Palestinian Katyusha Rocket Hits Southern Israel - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired a Katyusha rocket Tuesday at the western Negev community of Nativ Haasara. The rocket, launched from the rubble of the evacuated community of Dugit, struck a chicken coop, killing thirty chickens, and damaged a greenhouse. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Hamas' Imbroglio - Jamil Ziabi
    Terrorism is spreading. Less than a week ago, Jordanian television aired confessions of three Jordanians of Palestinian origin who testified to the involvement of Syrian-based Hamas officials in recruiting individuals and buying arms to target Jordanian installations and officials. These confessions were the outcome of investigations and security interrogations that encompassed more than 15 members of the Islamic Action Front, the political wing of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood.
        What added to my worry was a news report by our correspondent in Gaza, Fathi Sabah. Part of the report explained the influence of al-Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on Palestinian youth, following his first-time televised appearance. The report also mentioned a "Zarqawi presence" in the streets and camps of the Gaza Strip: his ideology, tucked under his black turban, so to speak, was everywhere. (Dar Al-Hayat-Lebanon)
  • Son of the Ayatollah - Fouad Ajami
    Ahmadinejad's primitiveness seems more true to Iran's brutal theocratic enterprise than Khatami's false spring. Ahmadinejad is a faithful son of Ayatollah Khomeini. He hails from the depth of Iranian society; he had his induction into politics through the Basij, a volunteer underclass militia that the merciless Khomeini had established to "deepen" the revolution and supply dispensable young foot soldiers for the terrible war of the 1980s against Iraq. The Basij were fed on a diet of "martyrdom" and sacrifice.
        Men like Ahmadinejad are no mystery: They are awake at the apocalypse. They are believers and cynics at the same time. They set fires and have a way of walking away from them in the nick of time, leaving the heartbreak to others. What are we to make of Ahmadinejad's millenarianism - the belief he expressed in the return of the Hidden Imam, that apocalyptic moment in history when the wicked are punished and the lowly inherit the Earth? In the same vein, what is one to make of the man's threat to "wipe Israel off the map"? (U.S. News)
  • Israel's Supreme Court Defines Citizenship - Editorial
    The Supreme Court on Sunday upheld Israel's right to determine who enters and may reside in it. Deputy Chief Justice Mishael Cheshin argued that "Israel isn't obliged to open its gates to citizens of an enemy state, with which it is engaged in armed conflict." Cheshin maintains that Hamas' ascendancy to power has turned the PA into a full-fledged enemy. Certainly under such circumstances, schemes for family reunification, whereby Israeli Arabs can bring in Palestinian spouses, "run counter to the common sense of self-preservation."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Legal Expert Supports Court Ruling - Dan Izenberg (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    How to Stop Iran (Without Firing a Shot) - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)

    • What can the Bush administration do to persuade Iran's leaders that their bid to develop nuclear weapons will exact an unacceptable price on their regime? What can it do, that is, short of launching air strikes?
    • Begin by shelving the current approach. For three years, the administration has deferred to European and UN diplomacy while seeking to build consensus around the idea that a nuclear-armed Iran poses unacceptable risks to global security. The result: Seven leading Muslim states, including Pakistan and Indonesia, have joined hands with Iranian President Ahmadinejad to affirm his right to develop "peaceful" nuclear technology.
    • Take the diplomatic offensive. "Western countries must push the internal conflicts inside the Iranian government," says Mehdi Khalaji, an Iranian journalist and visiting scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Khalaji also urges the U.S. government to recast the content of its Farsi-language radio station, known as Radio Farda.
          "The administration could say, 'If you halt enrichment, we can negotiate. If you stop supporting Hamas and Hizballah, we can negotiate. If you release the following political prisoners, we can negotiate. If you stop meddling in Iraq, we can negotiate.' This would provoke a controversy inside the government. Some would say, 'OK, we can give up on these prisoners. We can back away from our relationship with Hamas.'"
    • Target the regime's financial interests. In many ways, the Islamic Republic of Iran has become the Islamic Republic of Iran, Inc. Between 30% and 50% of Iran's economy is controlled by the bunyad, so-called "Revolutionary Foundations" run by key regime figures answerable only to Khamenei. Hard-line Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, considered to be Ahmadinejad's spiritual mentor, controls the sugar monopoly, while former President Ali Rafsanjani is said to be the richest man in the country.
          Since Ahmadinejad came to power, these ayatollah-oligarchs have been running for financial cover: Capital outflows from Iran surpassed the $200 billion mark in the past year alone. Much of that money has made its way to banks in the United Arab Emirates, many of which have correspondent banks in the U.S. "We are preventing financial transactions going to the Palestinian Authority because banks are scared they'll be hit by U.S. terrorism-financing laws," says a source who closely tracks the Iranian economy. "Why can't we do the same thing with Iran?"
    • Support an independent labor movement. On May Day, 10,000 workers took to Tehran's streets to demand the resignation of Iran's labor minister. And despite last year's $60 billion oil-revenue bonanza, the Iranian government routinely fails to pay its civil servants, leading to chronic, spontaneous work stoppages.
          Workers' rights got a boost in January when Tehran's bus drivers went on strike to demand the release of their imprisoned and tortured leader Mansour Ossanloo. In a state that bans independent labor unions, the strike was an unprecedented event, calling to mind the 1980 Gdansk dock strike that became Poland's Solidarity movement.
    • Threaten Iran's gasoline supply. Iran is often said to have an oil weapon pointed at George Bush's head. Rob Andrews, a Democratic congressman from New Jersey, notes the reverse is closer to the truth: Because Iran lacks refining capacity, it must import 40% of its gasoline. Of that amount, fully 60% is handled by a single company, Rotterdam-based Vitol, which has strategic storage and blending facilities in the UAE. The regime also spends $3 billion a year to subsidize below-market gas prices.

          See also Europe to Offer Iran Conditional Incentives - Dan Bilefsky (New York Times); China Backs EU Approach to Iran Stand-Off (Reuters)

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