Tags: How | Rogue | Nations | Aid | Terrorism

How Rogue Nations Aid Terrorism

Sunday, 16 September 2001 12:00 AM

According to the U.S. State Department, several rogue nations are clear-cut state sponsors of terrorism.

Afghanistan, the shield and protector of ultra-terrorist Osama Bin Laden, isn't the only country accused of sponsoring terrorism. State sponsors of terror include: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Cuba, North Korea and Sudan.

"The designation of state sponsors of terrorism by the United States -and the imposition of sanctions - is a mechanism for isolating nations that use terrorism as a means of political expression," according to the department's Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism in a report issued in April.

"Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Cuba, North Korea, and Sudan continue to be the seven governments that the U.S. Secretary of State has designated as state sponsors of international terrorism," the report said, noting that Iran gave "support to numerous terrorist groups, including the Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, and the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which seek to undermine the Middle East peace negotiations through the use of terrorism.

"Iraq continued to provide safehaven and support to a variety of Palestinian rejectionist groups, as well as bases, weapons and protection to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), an Iranian terrorist group that opposes the current Iranian regime. Syria continued to provide safe haven and support to several terrorist groups, some of which oppose the Middle East peace negotiations.

"In South Asia, the United States has been increasingly concerned about reports of Pakistani support to terrorist groups and elements active in Kashmir, as well as Pakistani support, especially military support, to the Taliban, which continues to harbor terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan."

In recent years, the State Department reported, "Notwithstanding some conciliatory statements in the months after President Khatami's inauguration in August 1997, Iran remains the most active state sponsor of terrorism. There is no evidence that Iranian policy has changed, and Iran continues both to provide significant support to terrorist organizations and to assassinate dissidents abroad." Here is how the following countries are involved in state sponsored terrorism:

Islamic extremists from around the world - including North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Central, South, and Southeast Asia - continue to use Afghanistan as a training ground and base of operations for their worldwide terrorist activities in 2000. The Taliban, which controlled most Afghan territory, permitted the operation of training and indoctrination facilities for non-Afghans and provided logistics support to members of various terrorist organizations and mujahidin, including those waging jihads (holy wars) in Central Asia, Chechnya and Kashmir.

The Taliban has continued to play host to bin Ladin despite U.N. sanctions and international pressure to hand him over to stand trial in the United States or a third country.

Significantly, before the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the United States repeatedly made clear to the Taliban that it would be held responsible for any terrorist attacks undertaken by bin Ladin while he is in its territory. Afghanistan was thus already on notice that in the event of a terrorist act such as Tuesday's it would not escape severe punishment.

Intelligence experts believe that bin Laden was responsible for the a terrorist bomb attack against the USS Cole in Aden Harbor, Yemen, which killed 17 U.S. sailors and injured scores of others. The report notes that while no definitive link has been made to his organization, Yemeni authorities have determined that some suspects in custody and at large are veterans of Afghan training camps.

In August, Bangladeshi authorities uncovered a bomb plot to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a public rally. Bangladeshi police maintained that Islamic terrorists trained in Afghanistan planted the bomb.

The United States has expressed its concern about reports of continued Pakistani support for the Taliban's military operations in Afghanistan. It is widely believed that Pakistan is providing the Taliban with materiel, fuel, funding, technical assistance and military advisers.

Pakistan has done nothing to prevent large numbers of Pakistani nationals from moving into Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban. Islamabad also failed to take effective steps to curb the activities of certain madrassas, or religious schools, that serve as recruiting grounds for terrorism. Pakistan publicly and privately said it intends to comply fully with UNSCR 1333, which imposes an arms embargo on the Taliban.

After the attack on the USS Cole raised fear that the U.S. would launch retaliatory strikes against bin Ladin's organization and targets in Afghanistan, Pakistani religious party leaders and militant groups threatened U.S. citizens and facilities if such an action were to occur in the same way they did after the U.S. attacked training camps in Afghanistan in August 1998.

However, the government of Pakistan generally has cooperated with U.S. requests to enhance security for U.S. facilities and personnel and now appears ready to assist the U.S. in whatever action it takes against bin Laden and Afghanistan.

Cuba continued to provide haven to several terrorists and U.S. fugitives in 2000. A number of Basque ETA terrorists who gained sanctuary in Cuba years ago continued to live on the island, as did several U.S. terrorist fugitives.

Havana also maintained ties to other state sponsors of terrorism, including Libya, Iraq and Latin American insurgents. Colombia's two largest terrorist organizations, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the National Liberation Army, maintained a permanent presence on the island.

Iran remains the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2000. Its Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) continued to be involved in the planning and the execution of terrorist acts and continued to support a variety of groups that use terrorism to pursue their goals.

Iran's involvement in terrorist activities remained focused on support for groups opposed to Israel and peace between Israel and its neighbors. Statements by Iran's leaders demonstrated Iran's unrelenting hostility to Israel.

Iran has long provided Lebanese Hizballah and the Palestinian rejectionist groups - notably Hamas, Palestine Islamic Jihad, and Ahmad Jibril's PFLP-GC - with varying amounts of funding, safe haven, training and weapons.

This activity continued at its already high levels after the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May and during the Palestinian uprising in the fall. Iran continued to encourage Hizballah and the Palestinian groups to coordinate their planning and to escalate their activities against Israel. Iran also provided a lower level of support - including funding, training, and logistics assistance - to extremist groups in the Gulf, Africa, Turkey and Central Asia.

Iran also was a victim of terror sponsored by Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK). The Islamic Republic presented a letter to the U.N. Secretary General in October citing seven acts of sabotage by the MEK against Iran between January and August 2000. The United States has designated the MEK as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Iraq planned and sponsored international terrorism in 2000. Although Baghdad focused on anti-dissident activity overseas, the regime continued to support terrorist groups. The regime has not attempted an anti-Western terrorist attack since its failed plot to assassinate former President Bush in 1993 in Kuwait.

Czech police continued to provide protection to the Prague office of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which produces Radio Free Iraq programs and employs expatriate journalists. The police presence was augmented in 1999, following reports that the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) might retaliate against RFE/RL for broadcasts critical of the Iraqi regime.

To intimidate or silence Iraqi opponents of the regime living overseas, the IIS reportedly opened several new stations in foreign capitals during 2000. Various opposition groups joined in warning Iraqi dissidents abroad against newly established "expatriates' associations," which, they asserted, are IIS front organizations.

Opposition leaders in London contended that the IIS had dispatched female agents to infiltrate their ranks and was targeting dissidents for assassination. In Germany, an Iraqi opposition figure denounced the IIS for murdering his son, who had recently left Iraq to join him abroad. Dr. Ayad `Allawi, secretary general of the Iraqi National Accord, an opposition group, stated that relatives of dissidents living abroad are often arrested and jailed to intimidate activists overseas.

In northern Iraq, Iraqi agents reportedly killed a locally well-known religious personality who declined to echo the regime line. The regional security director in As Sulaymaniyah stated that Iraqi operatives were responsible for the car-bomb explosion that injured a score of passersby. Officials of the Iraqi Communist Party asserted that an attack on a provincial party headquarters had been thwarted when party security officers shot and wounded a terrorist employed by the IIS.

Baghdad continued to denounce and delegitimize U.N. personnel working in Iraq, particularly U.N. de-mining teams, in the wake of the killing in 1999 of an expatriate U.N. de-mining worker in northern Iraq under circumstances suggesting regime involvement. An Iraqi who opened fire at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) office in Baghdad, killing two persons and wounding six, was permitted to hold a heavily publicized press conference at which he contended that his action had been motivated by the harshness of U.N. sanctions, which the regime regularly excoriates.

The Iraqi regime rebuffed a request from Riyadh for the extradition of two Saudis who had hijacked a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight to Baghdad, but did return promptly the passengers and the aircraft. Disregarding its obligations under international law, the regime granted political asylum to the hijackers and gave them ample opportunity to ventilate in the Iraqi government-controlled and international media their criticisms of alleged abuses by the Saudi Arabian Government, echoing an Iraqi propaganda theme.

While the origins of the FAO attack and the hijacking were unclear, the Iraqi regime readily exploited these terrorist acts to further its policy objectives.

Several expatriate terrorist groups continued to maintain offices in Baghdad, including the Arab Liberation Front, the inactive 15 May Organization, the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), and the Abu Nidal organization (ANO). PLF leader Abu `Abbas appeared on state-controlled television in the fall to praise Iraq's leadership in rallying Arab opposition to Israeli violence against Palestinians. The ANO threatened to attack Austrian interests unless several million dollars in a frozen ANO account in a Vienna bank were turned over to the group.

The Iraq-supported Iranian terrorist group, Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), regularly claimed blame for armed incursions into Iran that targeted police and military outposts, as well as for mortar and bomb attacks on security organization headquarters in Iranian cities. MEK publicists reported that in March group members killed an Iranian colonel having intelligence responsibilities. An MEK claim to have wounded a general was denied by the Iranian Government. The Iraqi regime deployed MEK forces against its domestic opponents.

In 2000, Libya continued efforts to mend its international image in the wake of its surrender in 1999 of two Libyans accused of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. Trial proceedings for the two defendants began in the Netherlands in May.

The court issued its verdict on Jan. 31. It found Abdel Basset al-Megrahi guilty of murder, concluding that he caused an explosive device to detonate on board the airplane resulting in the murder of the flight's 259 passengers and crew as well as 11 residents of Lockerbie, Scotland. The judges found that he acted "in furtherance of the purposes of ... Libyan Intelligence Services."

The court concluded that the Crown failed to present sufficient evidence against the other defendant, Al-Amin Kalifa Fahima, to satisfy the high standard of "proof beyond reasonable doubt" that is necessary in criminal cases.

In 1999, Libya paid compensation for the death of a British policewoman, a move that preceded the reopening of the British Embassy. Libya also paid damages to the families of victims in the bombing of UTA flight 772. Six Libyans were convicted in absentia in that case, and the French judicial system is considering further indictments against other Libyan officials, including Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi (Gadhafi).

At year's end, Libya had yet to comply fully with the remaining U.N. Security Council requirements related to Pan Am 103: accepting responsibility, paying appropriate compensation, disclosing all it knows and renouncing terrorism. The United States remains dedicated to maintaining pressure on the Libyan regime until it does so. Qadhafi stated publicly that his government had adopted an anti-terrorism stance, but it remains unclear whether his claims of distancing Libya from its terrorist past signify a true change in policy.

Libya also remained the primary suspect in other terrorist operations, including the Labelle discotheque bombing in Berlin in 1986 that killed two U.S. servicemen and one Turkish civilian and wounded more than 200 people. Although Libya expelled the Abu Nidal organization and distanced itself from the Palestinian rejectionists in 1999, it continued to have contact with groups that use violence to oppose Middle East peace negotiations, including Palestine Islamic Jihad and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

In 2000, so-called Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) engaged in three rounds of terrorism talks that culminated in a joint DPRK-U.S. statement wherein the DPRK reiterated its opposition to terrorism and agreed to support international actions against such activity. North Korea, however, continued to provide haven to Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction members who participated in the hijacking of a Japanese Airlines flight to North Korea in 1970.

Evidence suggests communist North Korea might have sold weapons directly or indirectly to terrorist groups during the year. Philippine officials publicly declared that Moro Islamic Liberation Front had purchased weapons from North Korea with funds provided by Middle East sources.

Genocidal, slavery-ridden Sudan continued to be used as a haven by groups including associates of Osama bin Ladin's al-Qaida organization, Egyptian al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Palestine Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Most groups used Sudan primarily as a secure base for assisting compatriots elsewhere.

Khartoum also still had not complied fully with UN Security Council Resolutions 1044, 1054, and 1070, passed in 1996--which demand that Sudan end all support to terrorists. They also require Khartoum to hand over three Egyptian Gama'a fugitives linked to the assassination attempt in 1995 against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia. Sudanese officials continued to deny that they had a role in the attack.

Syria continued to provide haven and support to terrorist groups, some of which maintained training camps or other facilities on Syrian territory. Ahmad Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Abu Musa's Fatah-the-Intifada, and George Habash's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) maintained their headquarters in Damascus.

The Syrian regime allowed Hamas to open a main office in Damascus in March. In addition, Syria granted terrorist groups - including Hamas, the PFLP-GC, and the PIJ - basing privileges or refuge in areas of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley under Syrian control. Damascus generally upheld its agreement with Ankara not to support the Kurdish PKK, however.

Although Syria claimed to be committed to peace talks, it did not act to stop Hizballah and Palestinian rejectionist groups from carrying out anti-Israeli attacks. Damascus also served as the primary transit point for terrorist operatives traveling to Lebanon and for the resupply of weapons to Hizballah. Damascus appeared to maintain its long-standing ban on attacks launched from Syrian territory or against Western targets.

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According to the U.S. State Department, several rogue nations are clear-cut state sponsors of terrorism. Afghanistan, the shield and protector ofultra-terrorist Osama Bin Laden, isn't the only country accused of sponsoring terrorism. State sponsors of terror include:...
Sunday, 16 September 2001 12:00 AM
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