Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 7, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Report: U.S. Seeks to Block Missiles for Hizballah (Ynet News/Janes' Defense Weekly)
    Janes' Defense Weekly reported on Thursday that Israel and the U.S. have intensified efforts to prevent Hizballah from replenishing its arms depots.
    On July 19, U.S. intelligence satellites spotted Iranians loading eight Chinese-designed C802 anti-ship cruise missiles and three launchers onto a transport aircraft at the military section of Mahrebad Airport outside Tehran for shipment to Hizballah via Syria.
    Iranian flights have landed at three Syrian air bases: the military section of Mezze International Airport in Damascus; Nasiriya, 40 km from the Lebanese border; and Qusayr, north of Damascus and 25 km from the Bekaa Valley.
    Israeli aircraft destroyed most of the bridges and roads linking Syria and Lebanon, but Israeli intelligence believes mountain smuggling trails were used to transport arms to Hizballah.

Lebanon Security Chief Escapes Attack - Clancy Chassay (Guardian-UK)
    Lt.-Col. Samir Shehade, the deputy chief of intelligence for Lebanon's internal security force (ISF), narrowly escaped a roadside bombing Tuesday that claimed the lives of four of his sergeants.
    Shehade was the senior officer involved in the arrest and interrogation of the four security chiefs accused of orchestrating former prime minister Hariri's killing.

The Clandestine Life of America's Top Al-Qaeda Source - Jane Mayer (New Yorker)
    For nearly a decade, a former al-Qaeda operative named Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl has been living in the U.S. government's witness-protection program under an assumed identity.
    A Sudanese citizen and a one-time confidant of Osama bin Laden, Fadl is expected to serve as a central witness in the prosecutions of at least two suspected terrorists being held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay.

Song Praising Hizballah Catapults Band to Rock-Star Status - Matthew Schofield (San Jose Mercury News)
    The song blares from seemingly every shop and car window in the Palestinian territories, hailing Hizballah.
    Before the recent war between Israel and Hizballah, Ala-Eddin Abdul-Haija's Band of the North was a little-known purveyor of love songs.
    Now it's the most popular Palestinian musical group in recent memory, thanks to "Greetings, Hope of Lebanon."
    "Look at Nasrallah, bold courageous Nasrallah," they sing. "He has responded to the call for revenge from Muslims and Arabs."
    The song begins with a clip from a Nasrallah speech, in which he pledges, "Jerusalem, we are coming."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Test Fires 2,000-Pound Guided Bomb
    Iran on Thursday ended its large-scale military exercises by test-firing a 2,000-pound guided bomb. "It is a flying bomb and can be used as a guided long-range air-to-surface missile," Gen. Amir Amini, deputy commander of Iran's air force, told state TV. During maneuvers dubbed "The Blow of Zolfaghar," which began on Aug. 19, Iran has test-fired short-range surface-to-surface and sub-to-surface missiles, a new air defense system, fighter planes, and laser bombs. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • Iran Sees No Rush for Nuke Deal - Scott Peterson
    Iran appears in no rush to negotiate over its controversial nuclear program, emboldened by factors which range from an ironclad belief in the rightness of its nuclear case, to record-high oil prices, and the state of conflicts in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan that Tehran believes have given Iran an advantage over U.S. and Israeli foes. "Iran does not feel the need to compromise on this; they are creating facts on the ground [by efforts to enrich uranium]," says Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst for the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. "If this argument was taking place in 2002, when oil was $25 per barrel...Iran's calculations would be much, much different," he said. "The Iranian view at this moment is that they are on a winning streak," says Ali Ansari, an Iran expert at St. Andrews University in Scotland. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Iran's Leader Declares Intent to Speak at UN - Nicholas Wapshott
    President Ahmadinejad of Iran declared that he intended to attend the UN General Assembly on Sep. 19 and debate his country's nuclear program with President Bush, who is due to address the Assembly that day. However, it was far from clear whether the Iranian president was serious in his suggestion. The Islamic Republic News Agency reported that Ahmadinejad said, "We are ready for a debate with the Americans at the UN General Assembly." (New York Sun)
  • Ahmadinejad Seeks to Purge Universities of Liberal Professors - Francis Harris
    Ahmadinejad demanded Tuesday that students denounce liberal professors, amid growing signals that a purge of regime opponents is gathering steam. Earlier this year, scores of liberal academics were forced into retirement while the regime appointed an ayatollah to head Teheran University. (Telegraph-UK)
  • UN Rights Panel Off to Rocky Start - David R. Sands
    The UN's revamped human rights body, the new Human Rights Council, created this spring to replace the ineffectual and widely disparaged Commission on Human Rights. has thus far failed to live up to reformers' expectations, with its first two special sessions devoted to slamming Israel's handling of the war in Lebanon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mark Lagon told a House International Relations subcommittee Wednesday. (Washington Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel to Lift Lebanon Blockade - Ronny Sofer
    U.S. Secretary of State Rice and UN Secretary-General Annan have informed Prime Minister Olmert that the multinational force in Lebanon is ready to take over monitoring of the country's sea and air ports. In response, Israel decided to lift the eight-week aerial and naval blockade of Lebanon on Thursday. (Ynet News)
  • Russian Arms in Hizballah Hands Cloud Russian Foreign Minister's Visit - Herb Keinon
    Russian-made, state of the art weapons Israel says Hizballah used during the recent war in Lebanon will be one of the main topics of discussion during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit to Israel on Thursday. According to diplomatic officials, Israel wants Russia to stop supplying arms to Syria and Iran because some of these weapons ended up in Hizballah's hands. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Russia Ready to Investigate Weapons Supplies to Hizballah (MosNews-Russia)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Palestinians on the Verge of Civil War? - Paul McGeough
    In Beit Hanun in Gaza, Ribhi Hussein, the father of little Osama, says: "You see this one-year-old? He will grow up to a bomber in Tel Aviv....He is my boy, but he is not as priceless as Jerusalem." On a rise overlooking the Mediterranean north of Gaza City stands a palatial residence, the home of Dr. Nabil Shaath, who was foreign minister in the Fatah-led former government. Here, the swimming pool, the manicured gardens, and the Asian household staff are read by ordinary Palestinians as proof of the rampant corruption that caused voters to turn against Fatah.
        Dr. Ibrahim Ibrach, a political analyst at Gaza's Al Azhar University, agrees that the current crisis has eroded some of Hamas' popular support, but predicts that if an election was held tomorrow, Hamas would probably win because the Fatah factions are fighting among themselves. "If Hamas fails - or if it is made to fail - Palestinian voters will not rush back to Fatah's corruption and its failed peace efforts." (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
  • Everything You Know About the Recent Mideast War Is Wrong - Emanuele Ottolenghi
    Each war brings Israel a new challenge. Each time, it takes Israel time to absorb the blow, understand its nature and mechanisms, and then make elaborate corrections and improvements to its combat doctrine. In the past, Israel has learned from its mistakes and it improved its fighting capabilities the next time around. In this recent war with Hizballah, Israel's performance was no different from that in past wars. At a heavy price, it inflicted a severe, but not decisive, blow to Hizballah. It will now learn how to fight better next time around. (National Review)
  • Bomb Tehran Today or Be Bombed Tomorrow? - Bennett Ramberg
    History records applications of military force to thwart nuclear proliferation. To beat Hitler, the U.S. and Britain not only bombed a nuclear-related heavy-water plant in German-occupied Norway, but determined to destroy or capture all elements of the atomic enterprise in the defeat of the Third Reich. Nearly four decades later, Iran's air force attacked Iraq's Osirak reactor in September 1980. The following year, Israel finished the job, setting back Baghdad's nuclear program by a decade. Washington's 2003 foray into Iraq put a stake into a nuclear cadaver that had succumbed years earlier, the result of the search-and-destroy activities of international inspectors following the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
        The risks of thwarting Iran's nuclear ambition pale by comparison to what could occur were the revolutionary regime to get The Bomb. While Israel could inflict second-strike devastation on Iran, its survival instinct will never leave its fate in the hands of a nation that calls for its extinction and has the capacity to launch an atomic first strike. This portent leaves the U.S., the most capable country to contest Iran, with its own stark choice in the event it or others cannot resurrect effective diplomacy: destroy Tehran's nuclear capacity today with conventional air strikes, accepting the probability of significant oil market and terrorist disruption, or assume the risk of a regional nuclear holocaust resulting in far more dramatic energy and Middle East political turmoil tomorrow. The writer served in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs in the administration of George H. W. Bush. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Observations:

    The True Price of a Prisoner Exchange Deal - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)

    • We all long to see Cpl. Gilad Shalit reunited with his family. But it is difficult to see how the wildly asymmetrical deal Israel is reportedly considering, in which 800 Palestinian terrorists currently held in Israeli prisons would be released, is either morally tenable or wise.
    • Israelis have already had several occasions to regret such lopsided exchanges. Of the thousands of security detainees and terrorists released over the past 20 years in exchange for soldiers and in political gestures, hundreds have returned to terror activity.
    • Put simply, releasing security prisoners has, in numerous cases, created a clear and present danger to Israeli lives. There are similar problems concerning the negotiations that are reportedly underway with Hizballah over the return of reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.
    • Israel has a huge moral commitment to its kidnapped soldiers - to do all it can to bring them home. But it also has a moral commitment to those soldiers' comrades to reduce, not increase, the risk of them being kidnapped in the first place.
    • The price that our enemies are asking for our soldiers - a price that essentially amounts to more terror and more kidnappings - is one Israel cannot afford to pay.

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