Saudis, Kuwaitis Turn Over Suspects
Vol: 3 Issue: 19 Wednesday, December 19, 2001
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have turned over Islamic radicals belonging to the al Qaeda terrorist network to the FBI, according to London s Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper. Kuwait gave up Dubays Fahd al-Rashidi to FBI agents as part of the investigation into the September 11 attacks. Several terrorist suspects also were turned over to the FBI by the Saudi government, although it is not known if the people who was taken into custody by the FBI were Saudi nationals or other Arab nationals living in the kingdom.
US Buildup in Persian Gulf Continues
The United States is quietly continuing preparations for a greater military presence in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Third Army’s headquarters has been moved to from Florida to Kuwait and will have operational control over all US ground forces in the region. Analysts believe this signals the next stage of Washington’s war against terrorism.
The Third Army is currently based at Fort McPherson, Ga. At least 2,000 additional troops could arrive in Kuwait in accordance with the transfer. The administration says that it has not decided the target of the next stage of the war against terrorism. At the same time, Washington has termed Iraq as a significant threat.
Germans Sell Arms To Iraq
German authorities are investigating several businessmen for selling weapons goods to Iraq. An investigation was launched earlier this month into an effort by Iraqi government agents to buy high-technology machinery from German companies for producing large caliber guns. The investigation is being carried out by the Mannheim public prosecutors and the Cologne customs agency. The authorities detained a German mechanical engineer for his role in trying to arrange the machinery sales. Police have searched 20 offices and companies as part of the probe. According to German officials, Iraq may already have purchased a special deep well drilling machine that can be used to cut gun barrels out of metal blocks. Investigators suspect the Iraqis may be seeking to build long-range artillery 200 mm to 300 mm in size that would be capable of firing nuclear, chemical or biological (NBC) shells.
Pakistan Sets Up Terrorist Database
Pakistan has setting up a data bank that will monitor radical Islamic students in Pakistani religious schools, according to U.S. officials. The data base will be established with some of the millions of dollars in financial aid being sent to Pakistan s government under a new U.S. assistance package. The surveillance also will include video cameras to be installed in several Pakistani airports that will monitor people in the facilities.
Syria Considering Siding With The West
There is a debate raging in Syria about which side they are on. Especially since being on the side of the West includes EU and US offers to provide economic and military aid to Damascus if Syria stops Hizbullah attacks along the Israeli border. Under the offer, Syria would have to end its protection of terrorist groups harbored in Damascus.
Western intelligence sources said President Bashar Assad is said to favor a shift in Syrian policy away from terrorism and a reconciliation with the West. Assad is said to favor both an end to Hizbullah attacks along the Israeli border and a warning to terrorist groups based in Damascus to end all public relations activities. This means an end to announcements that claim credit for insurgency attacks.
Assad is opposed by a number of prominent Syrians, including Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas. Tlas and several military commanders fear that any break with Hizbullah would result in a Lebanese challenge to Syria’s occupation. Tlas believes that Hizbullah supports Syrian occupation of Lebanon as long as the Shi’ite movement is ensured a free hand in Lebanon.
Arafat Built Up Hamas, May Pay Price
Could Arafat actually crack down on Hamas? U.S. intelligence analysts are convinced that Arafat can. But they predict a bloody battle should Hamas choose to fight it out. Hamas, the analysts say, is no longer the same organization as that prior to September 2000. The movement has enjoyed a free hand from Arafat over the last 15 months. Hamas insurgents have access to Palestinian Authority weapons, weapons factories. Hamas has even been allowed to manufacture its own short-range rockets.
Hamas actually controls Palestinian towns and villages in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Hamas is also the dominant factor in Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza and in the northern West Bank. This means Hamas controls local charities and awards scholarships to young people. The PA or Fatah are all but invisible. Arafat has even given Hamas a forum on PA radio and television. Hamas spokespeople have used it to discuss what kind of nuclear weapon to use in any attack against Israel.