Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 10, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Iran Blames U.S. for North Korea's Nuclear Test - Brit Hume (Fox News)
    Iran says the North Korean nuclear test should be blamed on the United States.
    Iranian state radio says, "North Korea's nuclear test was a reaction to America's threats and humiliation." It says the threat of sanctions only increased the diplomatic pressure on North Korea.
    Iran suggested that the UN should not punish North Korea, but instead disarm the nuclear arsenals of larger nations.

Israel Campus Beat
- October 8, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    Does Israel Still Have a Partner for Peace?

Iran "Using British Banks to Channel Money to Terrorists" - Conal Walsh (Observer-UK)
    The Financial Services Authority is urgently scouring Britain's banking system for evidence of Iranian terrorism funding following an alert from U.S. authorities who presented intelligence indicating that suspicious Iranian funds were being funneled through the City of London and other financial centers.

Sunnis Learn Shia Customs to Bluff Baghdad Death Squads - Ahmad Ali and Oliver Poole (Telegraph-UK)
    As the sectarian violence that followed the destruction in February of the Golden Mosque at Samarra, a revered Shia shrine, shows no sign of abating, Sunnis in Iraq are studying Shia religious history and customs to enable them to bluff their way through illegal checkpoints set up by Shia death squads.
    Omar, a van driver with a recognizable Sunni name, paid for another ID card with his name as Haider, a typical Shia name.
    He also carries a round piece of clay, which Shia Muslims place on their foreheads when they pray, and a green cloth, the traditional symbol of the Shia, to place over his car's gear shift when he enters Shia neighborhoods.

78 Suicide Bombs in Afghanistan This Year - Rahim Faiez (AP/Cnews-Canada)
    Taliban militants have launched 78 suicide attacks across Afghanistan this year, killing close to 200 people, NATO said Sunday.
    Seth Jones, an analyst for the U.S.-based RAND Corp., said there had been an "extraordinary change" in the lethality of attacks in Afghanistan in 2006. "There have been more suicide attacks in Afghanistan in 2006 than in the entire history of the country combined," Jones said.
    See also British Hire Anti-Taliban Mercenaries in Afghanistan - Christina Lamb (Sunday Times-UK)
    British forces in isolated outposts of Helmand province in Afghanistan are to be withdrawn over the next two to three weeks and replaced by newly formed tribal police who will be recruited by paying a higher rate than the Taliban.

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  • Israel Fears Nuke Test Will Encourage Iran
    Israeli analysts fear North Korea's nuclear test will encourage Iran to go ahead with its program and move Arabs states to seek a nuclear capability. Former minister Dan Meridor, who headed a recent review of Israel's defense doctrine, said the North Korean test demonstrates the weakening of the non-proliferation regime. North Korea has helped Iran develop a missile capability and has offered help to Syria, Meridor noted. He was concerned Iran will conclude it is possible to develop a bomb despite world pressure, and that Arab countries would then seek a nuclear capability to prevent a Muslim-Shiite hegemony. (UPI)
        See also North Korean Nuclear Test May Be Only Partial Success, Experts Say - William J. Broad and Mark Mazzetti
    Throughout history, the first detonations of aspiring nuclear powers have tended to pack the destructive power of 10 to 60 kilotons of conventional high explosives, but the strength of the North Korean test appears to have been a kiloton or less. A senior Bush administration official said the North Koreans had expected the detonation to have a force of about four kilotons. An American intelligence official said the small size of the explosion "tells you they have a lot of work to do in terms of weaponizing what they've got." He added, "If the lower-yield estimates are valid, then it's not a militarized system, but also not something a terrorist would reject." (New York Times)
        See also Low Yield of Blast Surprises Analysts - Dafna Linzer
    The explosion set off by North Korea appears to have been extremely small for a nuclear blast, with a variety of seismic readings around the world measuring no more than a half-kiloton explosion, three officials said. Some observers would not eliminate the possibility that the blast was created by conventional explosives. (Washington Post)
        See also North Korea Sets Off an Earthshaking Explosion and Claims It Was Nuclear - John Leicester (AP/ABC News)
  • Academic Boycott "Wrong Political Tool," Says Israeli Minister
    Israeli Education Minister Yuli Tamir discussed the "tremendously dangerous" impact of a boycott of Israeli universities on Monday during a visit to Britain: "It is dysfunctional and it is using the wrong political tool, and it creates within the academic community quite a lot of restricted dialogue and an attempt to silence...the differences." In addition, "some of the language used to justify the boycott seems to be over and above what is reasonable political criticism."  (Guardian-UK)
        See also Israeli Minister Warns of Anti-Semitism Spreading through UK Universities
    Ms. Tamir said: "More and more Jewish students in university feel intimidated and feel they have been exposed to one degree or another of anti-Semitism. This is something that should worry all of us." (This Is London-UK)
  • Darkness in Dhaka - Bret Stephens
    As these lines are being written, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, a gadfly Bangladeshi journalist, is running for his life. Assuming he survives till Thursday, he will face charges of blasphemy, sedition, treason, and espionage in a Dhaka courtroom. His crime is to have tried to attend a writers' conference in Tel Aviv on how the media can foster world peace. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. (Wall Street Journal, 10Oct06)
        See also Bangladeshi Journalist's Sedition Trial Highlighted - Daya Gamage
    Choudhury, the editor of Blitz, the largest tabloid English-language weekly in Bangladesh, was arrested in November 2003 when he tried to attend a conference in Israel. American Jewish Committee Executive Director David A. Harris said of Choudhury: "He has been a vocal opponent of radical Islam in his own country Bangladesh. He denounced the establishment of kindergarten madrassas, where the students have been indoctrinated with Wahhabi teachings promoted by Saudi Arabia that demonize Christians and Jews." (Asian Tribune)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Worried North Korea to Pass Iran Nuke Know-How - Aluf Benn
    Israel is concerned that North Korea will transfer materials and technology for the development of nuclear weapons to Iran, a senior Israeli official said Monday. According to the official, North Korea had issued a warning last week that it would not hesitate to transfer "technology, materials, and nuclear arms" to other countries. North Korea has close defense ties with Iran and Syria and has been a major source for the supply of surface-to-surface missiles and ballistic missile know-how to both countries. The official warned that the North Korean nuclear test is likely to result in Tehran expediting its nuclear development program.
        Israel joined nations throughout the world Monday who condemned the North Korean nuclear test, and called for a continuation of the "moratorium on nuclear tests." (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel Condemns North Korea's Nuclear Test (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Gillerman: Reaction to North Korea Test a Precedent for Iran - Yitzhak Ben-Horin
    Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman estimated Monday that the world's reaction to North Korea's nuclear test would serve as a precedent to the West's treatment of Iran. He said that "even a nation such as China understands that what is happening with North Korea is the 'coming soon' occurrence in Iran, and we must not let that happen." (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • In Light of the Korean Bomb - Editorial
    if North Korea can challenge the Non-Proliferation Regime without suffering the consequences, one should not assume that the third member of the "axis of evil," Iran, will take fright and cancel its plans to acquire nuclear arms. Iran may even speed up its efforts and form a strategic alliance with North Korea, one of its main suppliers of missiles, that will include the sale of off-the-shelf nuclear weapons. Iran's nuclear program poses a direct threat to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states.
        The North Korean nuclear test is a reminder to Israel regarding the right order of its priorities: above all, it must ensure its existence, by retaining its power, limiting possible conflicts through diplomatic compromises, and forming alliances with global and regional powers. (Ha'aretz)
  • Living Under a Nuclear Threat - Yossi Melman
    The nightmare scenario is becoming a reality. It is a vision of a fragile world living under a nuclear mushroom - nuclear arms spreading among countries until they fall into the hands of terrorist groups. Iran may conclude that a determined leadership which ignores the world is able to withstand the pressure of a divided international community and develop nuclear weapons. Will the North Korean test serve as shock therapy for Russia and China to join the West against Iran? (Ha'aretz)
  • Arab Leaders Sweat Iran, Sunnis Start to See Shiite State as Bigger Threat than Israel - Frida Ghitis
    Some Middle East observers have come to see signs of a dramatic realignment in the region that could transform relationships between long-standing friends and enemies. At the root of the change is Sunni Arabs' fear of Shiite Iran. "Every country in the Arab world, except Syria, has something to fear from Iran," said Ofra Bengio of Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. With its growing influence in what is now Shiite-dominated Iraq, its nuclear program, and a defiantly reinvigorated revolutionary regime, Iran may just be starting to keep Arab leaders awake at night. As a result, Sunni regimes in the Arab world, according to some observers, are beginning to see Iran, not Israel, as the country to fear. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Observations:

    A Wake Up Call for Israel Too - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)

    • In the wake of the nuclear test that North Korea conducted Monday, it is imperative that the West and Israel quickly sober up and stop deluding themselves that the Iranian nuclear program can be stopped. North Korea proved once again that diplomatic pressure, economic temptations, threats of military action, or sanctions could not stop fanatic regimes of totalitarian states from obtaining the bomb if they are determined.
    • North Korea developed nuclear arms with its meager means because it believes they are an essential tool for the survival of the regime and a lever that would help it attain its strategic goals through nuclear extortion of its neighbors and the West. The same holds true for Iran. Iran's financial and scientific resources, as well as its oil-sponsored maneuverability, are far greater than North Korea's. Thus, the chances that Iran would stop its nuclear program before it attains operational nuclear and missile capabilities are slim.
    • It is also doubtful that a military operation by a Western coalition (Israel included) could stop the Iranian nuclear program. Such an operation could delay it by a few years, but will probably not stop it.
    • It is highly reasonable that additional countries will take the nuclear path. Japan can develop nuclear weapons fairly quickly to neutralize the North Korean threat. In our region, there are clear signs that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey will not sit idly by. It is also reasonable that money-starved North Korea will sell its nuclear know-how and equipment to the highest bidder in much the same way it distributed its missile production know-how to Syria, Iran, and other Middle East countries.

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