Middle East Intelligence Bulletin
Jointly published by the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon and the Middle East Forum
  Vol. 2   No. 1

January 2000 


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Intelligence Briefs: Middle East

Iraq, Syria Resume Diplomatic Ties (27 December 1999)
Algeria's AIS Agrees to Disband (5 January 2000)
Scud Missile Components Bound for Libya Intercepted (11 January 2000)
Habash to Retire as Head of PFLP (11 January 2000)
Suspected Member of Abu Nidal Terrorist Group Arrested in Austria (14 January 2000)
Kuwaiti Collaborator Arrested after Return from Iraq (14 January 2000)
Over 300 Political Prisoners Held by PA (15 January 2000)

Iraq, Syria Resume Diplomatic Ties
27 December 1999

Today's edition of the Iraqi weekly newspaper Nabadh al-Shabab quoted Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahaf as saying that Syria and Iraq will soon open interest sections in each others capitals. The two countries cut diplomatic relations in August 1980 when Iraq invaded Iran.

Algeria's AIS Agrees to Disband
5 January 2000

AFP reported today that the Islamic Salvation Army (AIS) reached an accord with Algerian military officials whereby its estimated 800-3,000 fighters will disband. However, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), Algeria's largest Islamist organization responsible for most of the violence that has descended upon the country since 1992, remains committed to armed struggle against the secular military-backed Algerian regime.

Scud Missile Components Bound for Libya Intercepted
11 January 2000

The Maltese Foreign Ministry said today that in April of last year it intercepted a shipment of Scud missile parts bound for Libya from London's Gatwick airport. The cargo was confiscated and returned to London, said the statement, which came just two days after British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook announced that a second shipment of Scud missile parts en route to Libya were seized in London on November 24.

Habash to Retire as Head of PFLP
11 January 2000

George Habash, the secretary-general of the militant leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), intends to retire this year, a spokesman for the group said in Damascus today. Habash, who has led the group since its establishment in 1967, has suffered from serious heart problems in recent years. His retirement will become official at the party's next general congress, which will be held sometime in the next six months. A likely successor to Habash is his chief deputy, Abu Ali Mustafa, who returned to the West Bank in October 1999.

Suspected Member of Abu Nidal Terrorist Group Arrested in Austria
14 January 2000

Reuters reported today that Austrian police have arrested a woman who was allegedly in charge of finances for the Fatah Revolutionary Council terrorist organization headed by Abu Nidal. Nimer Halime was apprehended after she attempted to withdraw 100 million shillings ($7.4 million) from a bank account in Vienna.

Kuwaiti Collaborator Arrested after Return from Iraq
14 January 2000

The Kuwaiti army officer who headed the puppet government installed by Iraq after its August 1990 invasion returned to his homeland from Baghdad today and was promptly arrested. Alaa Hussein Ali al-Mu'ayyan was convicted of treason in absentia and sentenced to death during his 10-year absence from the country, but reportedly was granted a retrial by the Kuwaiti government in exchange for his return.

Over 300 Political Prisoners Held by PA
15 January 2000

Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG) reported today that over 300 political prisoners are currently held by Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority (PA). The report said that most have been detained for at least one year without charge or trial. It also noted that 22 prisoners have died in custody since the establishment of the PA.

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