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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2006

U. S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 is found here.
U.S. law requires the Secretary of State to provide Congress, by April 30 of each year, a full and complete report on terrorism with regard to those countries and groups meeting criteria set forth in the legislation. This annual report is entitled Country Reports on Terrorism. Beginning with the report for 2004, it replaced the previously published Patterns of Global Terrorism.

The report covers developments in countries in which acts of terrorism occurred, countries that are state sponsors of terrorism, and countries determined by the Secretary to be of particular interest in the global war on terror. As provided in the legislation, the report reviews major developments in bilateral and multilateral counterterrorism cooperation as well.

The report also provides information on terrorist groups responsible for the death, kidnapping, or injury of Americans, any umbrella groups to which they might belong, groups financed by state sponsors of terrorism, reports on all terrorist organizations on the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list, and other terrorist groups determined by the Secretary to be relevant to the report.

Beginning with the report for 2005, Country Reports on Terrorism will also address terrorist sanctuaries and terrorist attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. It will also include statistical information provided by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) on the number of individuals killed, injured, or kidnapped by terrorist groups.
From Chapter 1:
Several states continue to sponsor terrorism. Iran remains the most significant state sponsor of terrorism and continues to threaten its neighbors and destabilize Iraq by providing weapons, training, advice, and funding to select Iraqi Shia militants. Syria, both directly and in coordination with Hizballah, has attempted to undermine the elected Government of Lebanon and roll back progress toward democratization in the Middle East. Syria also supports some Iraqi Baathists and militants and has continued to allow foreign fighters and terrorists to transit through its borders into Iraq.

...we have seen a trend toward guerrilla terrorism, where the organization seeks to grow the team close to its target, using target country nationals. Through intermediaries, web-based propaganda, and subversion of immigrant expatriate populations, terrorists inspire local cells to carry out attacks which they then exploit for propaganda purposes. This circumvents the need to insert a team across borders or clandestinely transfer funds and materiel. The 2004 Madrid bombing, the London attacks of July 2005, and the thwarted August 2006 attempt to attack passenger jets operating from British airports include elements of this approach.
A deeper trend is the shift in the nature of terrorism, from traditional international terrorism of the late 20th century into a new form of transnational non-state warfare that resembles a form of global insurgency. This represents a new era of warfare, and countering this threat demands the application of counterinsurgency techniques that focus on protecting, securing, and winning the support of at-risk populations, in addition to targeting violent extremist networks and individual terrorists.
State sponsors of terrorism, as set out here are identified as Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Sudan. Reading this, could lead to the conclusion that Venezuelajust missed the cut:
In reviewing Venezuela's overall level of cooperation in U.S. efforts to fight terrorism, the Secretary of State certified Venezuela as "not fully cooperating" with U.S. antiterrorism efforts. ***
President Hugo Chavez persisted in public criticism of U.S. counterterrorism efforts, deepened Venezuelan relationships with Iran and Cuba, and was unwilling to prevent Venezuelan territory from being used as a safe haven by the FARC and ELN, effectively flouting UN Security Council Resolutions 1373 and 1540, which form part of the legal basis of international counterterrorism efforts.

Chavez' ideological sympathy for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) limited Venezuelan cooperation with Colombia in combating terrorism. FARC and ELN units often crossed into Venezuelan territory to rest and regroup with relative impunity. Splinter groups of the FARC and another designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the United Self- Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), operated in various parts of Venezuela and were involved in narcotrafficking.

It remained unclear to what extent the Venezuelan government provided material support to Colombian terrorists. However, limited amounts of weapons and ammunition -- some from official Venezuelan stocks and facilities -- have turned up in the hands of Colombian terrorist organizations. The Venezuelan government did not systematically police the 1,400-mile Venezuelan-Colombian border to prevent the movement of groups of armed terrorists or to interdict arms or the flow of narcotics.
Some interesting deescriptions of terrorist groups here:
Hizballah remains the most technically capable terrorist group in the world. It has strong influence in Lebanon's Shia community, which comprises about one-third of Lebanon's population. The Lebanese government still recognizes Hizballah as a legitimate "resistance group" and political party. Hizballah maintains offices in Beirut and elsewhere in the country, has official liaison officers to the security services, claims 14 elected officials in the 128-seat Lebanese National Assembly and was represented in the Cabinet for the first time, by the Minister of Water and Electricity Mohammed Fneish, until his resignation, along with other Shia ministers on November 11, 2006. Hizballah has largely withdrawn its military presence from southern Lebanon in accordance with UNSCR 1701, although likely maintains weapons caches in southern Lebanon and justifies its continued arms status by claiming to act in defense of Lebanon against acts of Israeli aggression, such as regular Israeli overflights of Lebanese airspace. Hizballah alleges that Israel has not withdrawn completely from Lebanese territory because, in Hizballah's view, the Shebaa Farms and other areas belong to Lebanon. Hizballah supports a variety of violent anti-Western groups, including Palestinian terrorist organizations. This support includes the covert provision of weapons, explosives, training, funding, and guidance, as well as overt political support.
The Southeast Asia-based Jemaah Islamiya (JI) is a terrorist group that seeks the establishment of an Islamic caliphate spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, southern Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, and the southern Philippines. More than 300 JI operatives, including operations chief Hambali, have been captured since 2002. Several are no longer incarcerated, however, including JI emir Abu Bakar Bashir who was released from prison in 2006 after serving a 25-month sentence for his involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings. The death of top JI bombmaker Azahari bin Husin in November 2005, and further arrests of several close associates of senior JI operative Noordin Mat Top in 2006 likely disrupted JI's anti-Western attacks­ that occurred annually from 2002-2005.
Many other groups in that section, including the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) of Sri Lanka , Shining Path of Peru (killed over 35,000), FARC, and way too many others. The Tamil Tigers are singled out as innovators in the world of terrorism:
Many LTTE innovations, such as explosive belts, vests, and bras, using female suicide bombers, and waterborne suicide attacks against ships, have been copied by other terrorist groups.
Interesting reading and worth a visit.

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