Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 22, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

Rally to Stop Iran. Now! (National Coalition to Stop Iran Now)
Monday, Sep. 22,
11:45 a.m.

Hammarskjold Plaza, 2nd Ave. at 47 St.,
New York City

Iran Conference
(Conference of Presidents, Genocide Watch, Jerusalem Center)
Tuesday, Sep. 23,
9 a.m.

See Below

Iran to Take Center Stage at UN Assembly - Allison Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)
    The Iran issue will be squarely in front of world leaders at the UN this week.
    A large rally calling for immediate action against Iran's nuclear program is planned for Monday across the street from the UN, and activists will stage other protests, from sidewalk demonstrations and e-mail petitions to public art exhibitions, while Iranian President Ahmadinejad is in New York.

Iran-Trained Shiites Launch Bombings in Iraq (AFP)
    Groups of Shiite extremists trained in Iran are returning to Iraq with plans to bomb high-profile targets, the chief of Dhi Qar province's police said Saturday.
    Brig.-Gen. Sabah al-Fatlawi told AFP "Special Groups" (Shiite extremists) of around 10 fighters each are returning by crossing the border from Amara, the capital of Shiite Maysan province in the south.
    "The Special Groups are returning from Iran after receiving training in using new tactics. We have seized 20 motorcycle bombs in Nasiriyah," Fatlawi said, referring to the capital of Dhi Qar, which neighbors Maysan.

Germany Arrests Two in Islamist Terror Plot - Craig Whitlock (Washington Post)
    German police arrested two men near Frankfurt on terrorism charges Friday, alleging they were involved in a cell that had plotted to blow up U.S. targets in Germany a year ago.
    Federal prosecutors said the two suspects - a German citizen of Afghan descent and a Turkish national - had traveled separately to Pakistan during 2007 to receive training at camps operated by the Islamic Jihad Union, a terrorist group allied with al-Qaeda.
    Earlier this month, German prosecutors filed an indictment against the three suspected ringleaders of the plot and said they had discussed bombing U.S. military bases in Germany and a dance club in the city of Giessen.

Palestinian Gunmen Fire on Home of West Bank Court Official (Maan News-PA)
    Four gunmen opened fire at the home and car of Ahmad Hannoun, former attorney-general of Nablus and current chief prosecutor of Jenin, in Jamma'in village south of Nablus early Sunday.

Iranian General Killed in Clashes with Rebels (Fars-Iran)
    Four members of the Iranian security forces, including Brig.-Gen. Mohammad Sar-Golzaie, were killed in clashes with rebels in Sistan-Baluchestan province in southeastern Iran, a police official said on Friday.
    The province borders Afghanistan and Pakistan and has seen a spate of attacks by the terrorist group Jundullah (Soldiers of God) in recent years.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel's Prime Minister Resigns
    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert handed in his resignation to President Shimon Peres on Sunday. Olmert will remain Israel's interim prime minister until a successor assumes power either by forming a coalition in the current Knesset or through general elections. Peres is likely to ask Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni - who won the Kadima party primary election last week - to form a coalition. (CNN)
  • Russia Passing Intelligence on Israel to Syria and Hizbullah
    Israel believes Russia passes intelligence it gathers about the Jewish state to Syria and indirectly to Hizbullah, IDF Col. Ram Dor, chief of information security, told Yediot Ahronot on Friday. Describing Russian spy ships that dock in Syria and Russian personnel who man electronic eavesdropping stations in the Golan Heights, he said, "My assessment is that their facilities cover most of the State of Israel's territory." "The Syrians share the intelligence that they gather with Hizbullah, and the other way around. This we know, because we know how to build a mirror-image that shows us what enemy intelligence knows about us," Dor said. "So if the Russians help the Syrians get information, and the Syrians constantly pass it on to Hizbullah, it is a reasonable supposition that the information gathered by the Russians also reaches Hizbullah's hands." (Reuters)
        See also Russia Rejects New Measures Against Iran - Conor Humphries
    At a meeting Friday with diplomats from the U.S., China, Britain, France and Germany, Russia "said it was against the development at this stage of additional measures [against Iran] in the UN Security Council," the Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday. France has echoed the U.S. call for sanctions, but China said such a move would not resolve the stalemate. (AFP)
  • Ayatollah Khamenei Says Iran, Israel on "Collision Course" - Ramin Mostaghim and Borzou Daragahi
    Iran's highest authority lashed out against Israel on Friday with some of his harshest comments in recent memory about the Jewish state. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is Iran's top political and military figure, said his country's hostility to Israel extended beyond the government to the Israeli people as well, brushing aside recent overtures by top Iranian officials to the Israeli public. Khamenei said Iran and Israel were on a "collision course," and that "It is incorrect, irrational, pointless and nonsense to say that we are friends of the Israeli people." (Los Angeles Times)
  • 21 Foreigners Among Dead in Islamabad Suicide Bomb Blast - Shaiq Hussain and Pamela Constable
    Pakistani officials said Sunday that 21 foreigners, including two Americans stationed at the U.S. Embassy, were among the victims of a massive suicide truck bombing Saturday that destroyed the Marriott hotel in Islamabad. Officials put the death toll at 53, with at least 266 injured. The hotel is a center of social and political life in the Pakistani capital and a frequent choice of foreign visitors. The ambassador from the Czech Republic was among the dead. (Washington Post)
        See also Hotel Bomb Shows Al-Qaeda's Deadly New Reach - Zahid Hussain (Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Military Intelligence: Iran Has Third of What It Needs to Build A-Bomb - Roni Sofer
    Head of the Military Intelligence Research Division, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, told the Israeli Cabinet Sunday that Iran is well on the way to building a nuclear bomb. Baidatz said the international community is not putting enough pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear enrichment program. "Iran is focusing its efforts on enriching uranium and improving the operational capabilities of its centrifuges. It is mastering the necessary technology and now has one-third of what it needs to create a bomb. In view of the UN Security Council's inability to enforce a fourth round of sanctions, Iran's confidence is increasing and they now believe there is nothing the international community can do to stop them. Time is on Iran's side," he warned. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Rejects Claim It Caused Arab Woman's Death - Yuval Azoulay
    The Israel Defense Forces has vehemently rejected a charge that Border Police officers caused the death of a 60-year-old Palestinian woman during a raid in the West Bank town of Abu Dis on Sunday. The IDF confirmed that troops were carrying out searches in the woman's home, but stated there was no contact between the woman and the police. Family members indicated that the woman had had a heart condition for years. (Ha'aretz)
  • Despite Cease-Fire, Palestinians in Gaza Fire Mortars at Israel
    Palestinians in Gaza fired two mortars into Israel on Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Peace from the Bottom Up - Jackson Diehl
    The Bush administration's attempt to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal has quietly expired after Secretary of State Rice's 16 trips to the region over the past 21 months and last year's Annapolis peace conference. Nor is it likely to revive anytime soon. With Wall Street's meltdown, the failing Afghan war, the growing U.S. military engagement in Pakistan and Russia's neo-imperialist eruption - not to mention the nuclear threats of Iran and North Korea - the perpetual headache of the West Bank and Gaza, where violence is at a relative low point, can barely be felt in Washington.
        This isn't an argument for the next administration to write off Middle East diplomacy, but to try a different approach, one that focuses on building a foundation for peace from the ground up, rather than pushing fickle and fragile leaders to dictate a settlement from above. The timeline for success would be measured in years and the goal would be the construction of a healthy and vibrant Palestinian civil society - that is, independent media, courts, political parties and nongovernmental organizations that could stand behind a settlement with Israel. Natan Sharansky has been proposing this course for years. (Washington Post)
  • EU: Say No to Syria - Rep. Eleana Ros-Lehtinen
    European allies appear ready to reward Syria's belligerent regime with an "Association Agreement" that would provide Assad's regime with eagerly sought political legitimacy and material assistance. Yet Syria continues to sponsor such Islamist terrorist organizations as Hizbullah and Hamas, which undermine the stability and security of many countries in the Middle East. In 2005, Syria agreed to abide by the provisions of the Euro-Mediterranean Code of Conduct on Countering Terrorism, which committed it to actively prevent terrorists from acquiring money and weapons, disrupt their networks, and deny them asylum or safe haven. Instead, the Syrian regime's provisions of arms, funding, and safe haven to Islamist terrorist organizations remain uninterrupted.
        As a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Syria has pledged to never acquire nuclear weapons. However, the evidence clearly shows that Syria was nearing completion of a nuclear reactor built with assistance from North Korea when Israel conducted its strike in September 2007. The writer is the senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Everyone Needs to Worry About Iran - Richard Holbrooke, R. James Woolsey, Dennis B. Ross, and Mark D. Wallace (Wall Street Journal)

    • Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the United Nations in New York this week. Don't expect an honest update from him on his country's nuclear program. Iran is now edging closer to being armed with nuclear weapons, and it continues to develop a ballistic-missile capability.
    • The challenge Iran poses is very real and not a partisan matter. We share a common concern - Iran's drive to be a nuclear state. We believe that Iran's desire for nuclear weapons is one of the most urgent issues facing America today, because even the most conservative estimates tell us that they could have nuclear weapons soon.
    • A nuclear-armed Iran would pose a direct threat to America's national security. For this reason, Iran's nuclear ambitions demand a response that will compel Iran's leaders to change their behavior and come to understand that they have more to lose than to gain by going nuclear.
    • Iran is a deadly and irresponsible world actor, employing terrorist organizations including Hizbullah and Hamas to undermine existing regimes and to foment conflict. Emboldened by the bomb, Iran will become more inclined to sponsor terror, threaten our allies, and support the most deadly elements of the Iraqi insurgency.
    • At the same time, Iranian leaders declare that Israel is illegitimate and should not exist. President Ahmadinejad specifically calls for Israel to be "wiped off from the map," while seeking the weapons to do so. Such behavior casts Iran as an international outlier. No one can reasonably suggest that a nuclear-armed Iran will suddenly honor international treaty obligations, acknowledge Israel's right to exist, or cease efforts to undermine the Arab-Israeli peace process.
    • Facing such a threat, Americans must put aside their political differences and send a clear and united message that a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable.

      Mr. Holbrooke is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Mr. Woolsey is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Ross was a special Middle East coordinator for President Clinton. Mr. Wallace was a representative of the U.S. to the UN for management and reform.

    International Conference on
    State-Sanctioned Incitement to Genocide:
    What Can Be Done

    Tuesday, Sep. 23, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
    Hyatt Regency, Washington

    (To attend, send RSVP by email to [email protected])

    An unprecedented coalition of victims of genocide, including representatives from Darfur and Rwanda, will be speaking out against the dangers of state-sanctioned incitement to genocide on the same day that Iranian President Ahmadinejad will be addressing the UN General Assembly. Speakers will include:
    • Amb. Richard Holbrooke (architect of Dayton Accord on Bosnia)
    • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs)
    • Salih Mahmud Osman (Member of Parliament-Sudan, human-rights advocate on Darfur)
    • Esther Mujawayo (Survivor of the Rwanda genocide in 1994)
    • Prof. Gregory Stanton (founder Genocide Watch and the Cambodian Genocide Project at Yale University)
    • Prof. Irwin Cotler (former Canadian Attorney General and Minister of Justice)
    • Prof. Gregory Gordon (former Legal Officer, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda)
    • Amb. Dore Gold (former Israeli Ambassador to the UN)
    Please visit on Tuesday, Sep. 23 to view the live broadcast of this conference.

    Sponsored by Genocide Watch, International Association of Genocide Scholars, Yale University's Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism,  Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

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