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Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000

Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000

Author:
Publication: US Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Date: April 2001

Released by the US Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism

INTRODUCTION

The year 2000 showed that terrorism continues to pose a clear and present danger to the international community.

From the millennium-related threats at the beginning of the year to the USS Cole bombing and the rash of hostage takings at the end, the year 2000 highlighted the need for continued vigilance by our government and our allies throughout the world. The tragic death of 19 US citizens at the hands of terrorists is the most sober reminder.

While the threat continues, 2000 saw the international community's commitment to counterterrorism cooperation and ability to mobilize its resources grow stronger than ever. As a result, state-sponsored terrorism has continued to decline, international isolation of terrorist groups and countries has increased, and terrorists are being brought to justice. Indeed, the vigilance of all members of the international community is critical to limiting the mobility and capability of terrorists throughout the world, and both we and the terrorists know it.

We base our cooperation with our international partners on four basic policy tenets:

First, make no concession to terrorists and strike no deals;

Second, bring terrorists to justice for their crimes;

Third, isolate and apply pressure on states that sponsor terrorism to force them to change their behavior, and;

Fourth, bolster the counterterrorist capabilities of those countries that work with the United States and require assistance.

These points have been the basis for international cooperation and the foundation for important progress.

UN Security Council Resolution 1333, which levied additional sanctions on the Taliban for harboring Osama Bin Ladin and failing to close down terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, was a major victory for international cooperation against terrorism. This resolution, passed a year after its predecessor resolution 1267, showed the extent to which the international community is prepared to go to isolate those states that refuse to adhere to international norms.

The UN's action also reflected the understanding that Taliban-controlled Afghanistan remains a primary hub for terrorists and a home or transit point for the loosely organized network of "Afghan alumni," a web of informally linked individuals and groups that were trained and fought in the Afghan war. Afghan alumni have been involved in most major terrorist plots or attacks against the United States in the past 15 years and now engage in international militant and terrorist acts throughout the world. The leaders of some of the most dangerous terrorist groups to emerge in the past decade have headquarters or major offices in Afghanistan, and their associates threaten stability in many real and potential trouble spots around the globe - from the Philippines to the Balkans, Central Asia to the Persian Gulf, Western China to Somalia, and Western Europe to South Asia. This is why the Taliban's continued support for these groups is now recognized by the international community as a growing threat to all countries.

International cooperation against agents linked to this network extended far beyond the collaboration on UNSCR 1333. Numerous countries have sent the message to the Taliban and its supporters that the international community - as a whole and as individual member countries - will not stand for such blatant disregard for international law. Good intelligence and law enforcement work - exemplified by the Jordanian government - enabled partner countries to thwart millennium attacks in early 2000. It has also led to invaluable coordination in the investigation of the October bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen's port of Aden. (It is worth noting that several suspects in the attack on the USS Cole fled back to, not surprisingly, Afghanistan.) We remain fervently committed to ensuring that those who committed and supported the attack on the USS Cole - and killed 17 US service persons - are brought to justice. We will continue to work closely with our allies to ensure that this terrorist incident and others like it do not go unpunished.

The opening in New York of the trial against those accused of perpetrating the bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998 marked another major victory. Strong international cooperation with our allies - Kenya, Germany, and South Africa, for example - led to the apprehension of several suspects in those crimes. Their trial underlines the importance of cooperative diplomatic, law enforcement, and judicial efforts to combat terrorism. It sends the same strong message that is the cornerstone of US counterterrorism policy: We will be unrelenting in our efforts to bring to justice every individual who chooses terrorism against the United States to advance his or her agenda.

Afghanistan is not the only threat, nor the only rallying point for international cooperation. The conviction of Abdel Basset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi to life imprisonment for his role in the downing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 also sent a strong message about the international community's determination to bring to justice those responsible for terrorist acts, regardless of how much time has passed. The US government remains dedicated to maintaining pressure on the Libyan government until it complies fully with the stipulations required by the UN Security Council to lift sanctions.

Central Asian states have stepped up their fight against terrorist elements in their region, particularly those operating from Afghanistan. At a US government-hosted conference in June 2000, representatives from five Central Asian states discussed the challenges in their region and committed themselves to developing mechanisms for cooperating to deny sanctuary and financial support to terrorists. We look forward to a follow-up conference and continued constructive engagement with the countries of the region.

While our cooperation with states such as Jordan and Egypt is strong, the terrorism picture in the Middle East remains grim, particularly given the recent escalation of violence in the region. Despite domestic political changes that suggest evolution towards a more moderate policy, Iran remained the primary state sponsor of terrorism, due to its continued support for groups that violently oppose peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. We expect those states in the region that are committed to peace to distance themselves from all forms of terrorism and to ensure that their countries do not become safehavens or launching points for terrorist acts.

During the past year, increased bilateral and multilateral cooperation with friendly nations has brought unified pressure and action against terrorism. We have expanded our bilateral dialogues with Russia, India, the United Kingdom, Israel, and Canada, and have extended cooperation in intelligence sharing, law enforcement, and antiterrorism training. In addition, we have worked closely with the member states of the G-8, which continued to condemn terrorism emanating from Afghanistan and Iran, and made strides in cutting off terrorist financing.

Like our G-8 counterparts, the United States places a high priority on denying terrorists their sources of financing and blocking their ability to use the funds they already control. In January 2000, we signed the new International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing. The convention creates an international legal framework for investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting those involved in terrorist financing and describes preventive measures to identify and choke off sources of income for terrorists and to restrict the movements of such funds across international borders. We look to all members of the international community to join the 35 signatories and to ratify and implement the convention.

In addition, we are strengthening our efforts to fight the spate of hostage-taking seen in 2000. Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and South America are just a few of the areas that have been plagued by hostage-taking, often linked to terrorist elements. We maintain our policy that we will not concede to terrorist demands or pay ransom. Doing so only rewards the terrorist- criminals and encourages continued criminality. We do remain committed to negotiations with hostage-takers for the safety of US citizens and other nationals.

The foundation of our efforts is diplomacy. Our diplomats and representatives maintain relations with countries that are the frontline of defense for US citizens at home and abroad. Our diplomatic efforts build crucial cooperation necessary for joint counterterrorism efforts and raise international political will to fight terrorism. We will continue to reach out to our allies while isolating those who are sympathetic to terrorism. We will continue to use all US tools and cooperation with these allies to disrupt terrorist activity and build a world that is intolerant of terrorists. And we will never rest until we have brought to justice each terrorist that has targeted the United States and its citizens.

Notes

Adverse mention in this report of individual members of any political, social, ethnic, religious, or national group is not meant to imply that all members of that group are terrorists. Indeed, terrorists represent a small minority of dedicated, often fanatical, individuals in most such groups. It is those small groups--and their actions--that are the subject of this report.

Furthermore, terrorist acts are part of a larger phenomenon of politically inspired violence, and at times the line between the two can become difficult to draw. To relate terrorist events to the larger context, and to give a feel for the conflicts that spawn violence, this report will discuss terrorist acts as well as other violent incidents that are not necessarily international terrorism.

Definitions

No one definition of terrorism has gained universal acceptance. For the purposes of this report, however, we have chosen the definition of terrorism contained in Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d). That statute contains the following definitions:

The term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience;

The term "international terrorism" means terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country, and;

The term "terrorist group" means any group practicing, or that has significant subgroups that practice international terrorism.

The US government has employed this definition of terrorism for statistical and analytical purposes since 1983. Domestic terrorism is probably a more widespread phenomenon than international terrorism. Because international terrorism has a direct impact on US interests, it is the primary focus of this report. However, the report also describes, but does not provide statistics on, significant developments in domestic terrorism.

SOUTH ASIA

In 2000, South Asia remained a focal point for terrorism directed against the United States, further confirming the trend of terrorism shifting from the Middle East to South Asia. The Taliban continued to provide safehaven for international terrorists, particularly Osama Bin Ladin and his network, in the portions of Afghanistan it controlled.

The government of Pakistan increased its support to the Taliban and continued its support to militant groups active in Indian-held Kashmir, such as the Harakat ul- Mujahidin (HUM), some of which engaged in terrorism. In Sri Lanka, the government continued its 17-year conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which engaged in several terrorist acts against government and civilian targets during the year.

Afghanistan

Islamic extremists from around the world - including North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Central, South, and Southeast Asia - continued 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.

Throughout 2000, the Taliban continued to host Bin Ladin despite UN sanctions and international pressure to hand him over to stand trial in the United States or a third country. In a serious and ongoing dialogue with the Taliban, 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.

In October, a terrorist bomb attack against the USS Cole in Aden Harbor, Yemen, killed 17 US sailors and injured scores of others. Although no definitive link has been made to Bin Ladin's 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.

Smart Sanctions

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1333, passed in December 2000, targets the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The Taliban ignored its obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 (passed in November 1999) and has continued to provide shelter to Usama Bin Ladin. In UN Security Council Resolution 1333, the Security Council:

Demands the Taliban comply with Resolution 1267 and cease providing training and support to international terrorists;

Insists the Taliban turn over indicted international terrorist Osama Bin Ladin so he can be brought to justice, and;

Directs the Taliban to close all terrorist camps in Afghanistan within 30 days.

Until the Taliban fully complies with its obligations under this resolution and Resolution 1267, member states of the United Nations should:

Freeze the financial assets of Osama Bin Ladin;

Observe an arms embargo against the Taliban that includes a prohibition against providing military weapons, training, or advice;

Close all Taliban offices overseas;

Reduce the staff at the limited number of Taliban missons abroad;

Restrict the travel of senior Taliban officials except for the purposes of participation in peace negotiations, compliance with the resolution, or for humanitarian reasons, including religious obligations;

Ban the export to Afghan territory of a precursor chemical, acetic anhydride, which is used to manufacture heroin, and;

Close all offices of Ariana Afghan Airlines and ban all nonhumanitarian assistance flights into and out of Afghanistan. Broad exemptions are given to humanitarian flights operated by, or on behalf of, nongovernmental organizations and government relief agencies providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

The sanctions imposed by these two resolutions are targeted sanctions. They are not economic sanctions:

These "smart sanctions" provide for broad humanitarian exemptions to avoid harming the Afghan people;

They permit private-sector trade and commerce, including food, medicine, and consumer products;

They permit, without impediment, the work of the humanitarian organizations providing assistance to the civilian population of Afghanistan;

They permit Afghans to travel by air for urgent humanitarian reasons and to fulfill their religious obligations, such as the hajj, including on the banned Ariana Afghan Airline. The UN Sanctions Committee already has approved about 200 flights for 13,000 Afghans in 2001 for this purpose. The Committee never has denied a request for a legitimate humanitarian waiver, and;

They permit Taliban officials to travel abroad to participate in a peace process and to discuss fulfilling the demands of the Resolutions.

India

Security problems associated with various insurgencies, particularly in Kashmir, persisted through 2000 in India. Massacres of civilians in Kashmir during March and August were attributed to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT) and other militant groups. India also faced continued violence associated with several separatist movements based in the northeast of the country.

The Indian government continued cooperative efforts with the United States against terrorism. During the year, the US-India Joint Counterterrorism Working Group - founded in November 1999 - met twice and agreed to increased cooperation on mutual counterterrorism interests. New Delhi continued to cooperate with US officials to ascertain the fate of four Western hostages - including one US citizen - kidnapped in Indian-held Kashmir in 1995, although the hostages' whereabouts remained unknown.

Pakistan Pakistan's military government, headed by General Pervez Musharraf, continued previous Pakistani government support of the Kashmir insurgency, and Kashmiri militant groups continued to operate in Pakistan, raising funds and recruiting new cadre. Several of these groups were responsible for attacks against civilians in Indian-held Kashmir, and the largest of the groups, the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, claimed responsibility for a suicide car-bomb attack against an Indian garrison in Srinagar in April.

In addition, the Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, continues to be active in Pakistan without discouragement by the government of Pakistan. Members of the group were associated with the hijacking in December 1999 of an Air India flight that resulted in the release from an Indian jail of former HUM leader Maulana Masood Azhar. Azhar since has founded his own Kashmiri militant group, Jaish- e-Mohammed, and publicly has threatened the United States.

The United States remains concerned about reports of continued Pakistani support for the Taliban's military operations in Afghanistan. Credible reporting indicates that Pakistan is providing the Taliban with materiel, fuel, funding, technical assistance, and military advisers. Pakistan has not prevented 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.

The attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in October prompted fears of US retaliatory strikes against Bin Ladin's organization and targets in Afghanistan if the investigation pointed in that direction. Pakistani religious party leaders and militant groups threatened US citizens and facilities if such an action were to occur, much as they did after the US attacks on training camps in Afghanistan in August 1998 and following the US diplomatic intervention in the Kargil conflict between Pakistan and India in 1999. The government of Pakistan generally has cooperated with US requests to enhance security for US facilities and personnel.

Sri Lanka

The separatist group the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) - redesignated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1999 - remained violent in 2000, engaging in several terrorist acts against government and civilian targets. LTTE attacks, including those involving suicide bombers, killed more than 100 persons, including Minister of Industrial Development Goonaratne, and wounded dozens. Two US citizens and a British national were apparent incidental victims of the group in October, when an LTTE suicide bomber cornered by the police detonated his bomb near the Town Hall in Colombo. The LTTE continued to strike civilian shipping in Sri Lanka, conducting a naval suicide bombing of a merchant vessel and hijacking a Russian ship.

The war in the north between the Tigers and the Sri Lankan Government continued, although by year's end the government had re-taken 70 percent of the Jaffna Peninsula. The government of Norway initiated efforts to broker peace between the two parties and may have contributed to an LTTE decision to announce unilaterally a cease-fire in December.

Several terrorist acts have been attributed to other domestic Sri Lankan groups. Suspected Sinhalese extremists protesting Norway's peace efforts used small improvised explosive devices to attack the Norwegian-run charity Save the Children as well as the Norwegian Embassy. Sinhalese extremists also are suspected of assassinating pro-LTTE politician G. G. Kumar Ponnambalam, Jr, in January.

EAST ASIA

Japan continued to make progress in its counterterrorist efforts. Legal restrictions instituted in 1999 began to take effect on the Aum Shinrikyo. Four Aum Shinrikyo members who had personally placed the sarin on the subway in 1995 were sentenced to death. Tokyo also made substantial progress in its efforts to return several Japanese Red Army (JRA) members to Japan. The government of Japan indicted four JRA members who were forcibly returned after being deported from Lebanon. Tokyo also took two others into custody: Yoshimi Tanaka, a fugitive JRA member involved in hijacking a Japanese airliner in 1970, who was extradited from Thailand, and Fusako Shigenobu, a JRA founder and leader, who had been on the run for 30 years and was arrested in Japan in November.

Several nations in East Asia experienced terrorist violence in 2000. Myanmese dissidents took over a provincial hospital in Thailand; authorities stormed the hospital, killed the hostage takers, and freed the hostages unharmed. In Indonesia, there was a sharp increase in international and domestic terrorism, including several bombings, two of which targeted official foreign interests. Pro-Jakarta militia units continued attacks on UN personnel in East Timor. In one incident in September, three aid workers, including one US citizen, were killed.

Small-scale violence in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam occurred in 2000, some connected to antigovernment groups, allegedly with support from foreign nationals. Several small-scale bombings occurred in the Laotian capital, some of which targeted tourist destinations and injured foreign nationals. An attack on 24 November in downtown Phnom Penh, Cambodia, resulted in deaths and injuries. The US government released a statement on December 19 that "deplores and condemns" alleged US national or permanent resident support, encouragement, or participation in violent antigovernment activities in several foreign countries with which the United States is at peace, specifically Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

In the Philippines, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) abducted 21 persons, including 10 foreign tourists, from a Malaysian resort in April, the first time the group conducted operations outside the southern Philippines. ASG members later abducted several foreign journalists, three Malaysians, and one US citizen in the southern Philippines. (The US citizen and one Filipino remained captive at year's end.) After breaking off peace talks in Manila in April, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) mounted several terrorist attacks in the southern Philippines against Philippine security and civilian targets. Philippine officials also suspect MILF operatives conducted bombings in Manila, including two at popular shopping malls in May. Other groups, including the Communist Party of the Philippines New People's Army, and the Alex Boncayao Brigade, mounted attacks in the archipelago.

Myanmar

In January, 10 armed Myanmese dissidents - linked to the takeover in 1999 of the Myanmese Embassy in Bangkok - took over the Ratchaburi provincial hospital in Thailand. Thai security forces stormed the hospital and freed the victims. All the hostage takers were killed, and no hostages were injured during the assault. Separately, Myanmar sentenced to death one terrorist involved in the 1999 Embassy seizure.
 
 

Indonesia

Indonesia experienced a sharp rise in international and domestic terrorism during the year, as weakening central government control and a difficult transition to democracy provided fertile ground for terrorist activities. Several bombings occurred in 2000, two of which targeted official foreign interests. Unidentified assailants detonated a car bomb in front of the Philippine ambassador's residence in central Jakarta as the ambassador was entering the compound on 1 August. The explosion killed two Indonesians, seriously injured three other persons - including the ambassador - and slightly injured 18 bystanders, including one Filipino and two Bulgarians. Unidentified perpetrators also conducted a grenade attack against the Malaysian Embassy on 27 August, but no injuries resulted.

Six other bombings from July to November targeted domestic interests in the capital. The most destructive occurred on September 13 when a car bomb in the Jakarta stock exchange's underground parking garage killed 10 Indonesians. Other targets included the Attorney- General's office, the Jakarta governor's residence, a Jakarta hotel, a local nongovernmental organization, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, which was used as the courtroom venue for former president Suharto's corruption trial. Multiple bombings also occurred in major cities in North Sumatra, Riau, and East Java.

Indonesian officials made little progress in apprehending and prosecuting those responsible for the bombings. The Indonesian National Police arrested 34 persons suspected of involvement in the Malaysian Embassy and the stock-exchange bombings, but a lack of evidence forced the release of all suspects in mid- October. The police claim the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) - a group seeking an independent state in northern Sumatra - conducted both attacks and planned another against the US Embassy to "create chaos" in Jakarta. The evidence made public as of December, however, does not support elements of this theory. Nevertheless, the GAM or Achenese separatists did conduct sporadic attacks on ExxonMobil oil facilities in Aceh early in the year. The group's primary target was Indonesian security elements, some of which continued to guard ExxonMobil facilities.

Indonesian nationalists and some radical Islamist groups occasionally carried out violent protests outside US diplomatic facilities in response to perceived US interference in domestic affairs and support for Israel. One demonstration culminated in a mob attack against the US Consulate in Surabaya on September 15, and another involved the Islamist militant Front Pembela Islam (Islamic Defenders' Front) threatening US citizens in the country. Other Islamist extremists in October searched for US citizens in a central Javanese city, warning them to leave the country.

Militiamen attacked a UNHCR aid office in Atambua, West Timor, on September 6, killing three aid workers, including one US citizen. Suspected militia members also killed two UN peacekeepers - a New Zealander and a Nepalese national - during the year.

Japan

Aum Shinrikyo, which conducted the sarin nerve agent attack in the Tokyo subway system in 1995, remained under active government surveillance. The Aum now is required by law to report regularly on its membership, residences, and other holdings. The Tokyo district court in 1999 and 2000 sentenced to death four of the five senior cultists who actually placed the sarin on the subway. (The fifth culprit, Ikuo Hayashi, showed a repentant and cooperative attitude and, in 1998, received a less severe life sentence.) The prosecution of cult leader Shoko Asahara continued, with four drug- related charges dropped in October in an effort to expedite a verdict. Aum leadership took further steps to improve the cult's image following up its public apology and admission of responsibility for the subway attack with an agreement to pay US$40 million damage to attack victims, rejection of cult founder Asahara as a religious prophet, a pledge to remove teachings advocating murder from the cult's religious doctrine, and a change of its name to Aleph.

Separately, four Japanese Red Army (JRA) members were returned to Japan in March after being deported from Lebanon. They later were indicted on charges of attempted murder and forgery of official documents. Japanese officials continued to seek the extradition of a fifth colleague, Kozo Okamoto, who was granted political asylum by Lebanon because he had participated in operations against Israel. In June, the Japanese government successfully extradited Yoshimi Tanaka - one of the fugitive members of the JRA involved in hijacking a Japanese Airlines plane to North Korea in 1970 - from Thailand. During a preliminary hearing before the Tokyo district court in July, Tanaka publicly apologized and submitted a signed report admitting to hijacking and assault charges. His trial began on December 16.

In November, Osaka police successfully tracked down and arrested Fusako Shigenobu, a founder and leader of the JRA, who had been on the run for 30 years. Prosecutors have charged her with suspicion of conspiracy related to JRA's seizure of the French Embassy in The Hague in 1974, as well as attempted murder, and passport fraud. Police later seized two supporters who allegedly helped her evade detection while in Japan. Only a handful of JRA members remain at large.

Japan has yet to sign the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing.

Laos

Several small-scale bombings of undetermined origin occurred in Vientiane during 2000, some of which targeted tourist destinations and injured foreign nationals. Unidentified assailants threw an explosive device at a restaurant on March 30, injuring 10 tourists from Britain, Germany, and Denmark. Bombings also occurred at Vientiane's morning market in May - injuring four Thai nationals - and the central post office in July, where two foreign tourists narrowly escaped injury. Unidentified perpetrators also detonated explosives at the Vientiane bus station, the domestic airport terminal, and a national monument. Authorities discovered other bombs planted at the morning market, a foreign embassy, and in a hotel outside Vientiane and rendered them safe.

Press reporting during the year indicated that political dissidents conducted some of the attacks in the capital, although the suspected groups denied involvement.

Malaysia

Malaysia experienced two incidents of international terrorism in 2000, both perpetrated by the Philippine- based Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). The ASG abducted 21 persons, including 10 foreign tourists, from the Sipadan diving resort in eastern Malaysia on April 23. A suspected ASG faction also kidnapped three Malaysians from a resort on Pandanan Island in eastern Malaysia on September 10. The group released most of the hostages from both incidents but continued to hold one Filipino abducted from Sipadan as of the end of the year.

A Malaysian Islamist sect known as Al-Ma'unah targeted domestic security forces for the first time in July. Members of the group raided two military armories in Perak state, about 175 miles north of Kuala Lumpur, and took four locals hostage. Sect members killed two of the hostages - a Malaysian police officer and soldier - before surrendering on July 6. Malaysian authorities arrested and detained several dozen members following the incident and suspect that 29 of those held also launched attacks against a Hindu temple, a brewery, and an electrical power tower.
 
 

Philippines

Islamist separatist groups in the Philippines increased attacks against foreign and domestic targets in 2000. The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) - designated one of 29 Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the US government - conducted operations outside the southern Philippines for the first time when it abducted 21 persons - including 10 foreign tourists - from a Malaysian resort in April. In a series of subsequent, separate incidents, ASG group members abducted several foreign journalists, three Malaysians, and one US citizen in the southern Philippines. Although obtaining ransom money was a primary goal, the hostage takers issued several disparate political demands ranging from releasing international terrorists jailed in the United States to establishing an independent Islamic state. The group released most of the hostages by October allegedly for ransoms totaling several million dollars, while Philippine government assaults on ASG positions paved the way for some other hostages to escape. The ASG, however, continued to hold the US citizen and a Filipino captive at year's end.

Manila made some legal progress against ASG kidnapping activities in 2000 when a regional trial court sentenced three group members to life in prison for abducting Dr Nilo Barandino and 10 members of his household in 1992. The Philippine government also filed charges against ASG members involved in multiple kidnapping cases, although the suspects remained at large.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) - the largest remaining Philippine Islamist separatist group - broke off stalled peace talks with Manila in late April. After the military launched an offensive capturing several MILF strongholds and attacking rebel checkpoints near Camp Abubakar - the MILF headquarters in the southern Philippines - the MILF mounted several terrorist attacks in the southern Philippines against Philippine security and civilian targets. In July, Philippine Armed Forces captured Camp Abubakar, and the MILF responded by declaring a "holy war" against Manila and continuing attacks against civilian and government targets in the southern Philippines. Philippine law enforcement officials also have accused MILF operatives of responsibility for several bombings in Manila, including two at popular shopping malls in May and five at different locations in Manila on December 30. Police arrested 26 suspected MILF members in connection with the May bombings and still held them at year's end.

Communist rebels also remained active in 2000, occasionally targeting businesses and engaging in sporadic clashes with Philippine security forces. Press reporting indicates that early in the year the Communist Party of the Philippines New People's Army (CPP/NPA) attacked a South Korean construction company and in March issued an order to target foreign businesses "whose operations hurt the country's economy and environment". The Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) - a breakaway CPP/NPA faction - strafed Shell Oil offices in the central Philippines in March. The group warned of more attacks against oil companies, including US-owned Caltex, to protest rising oil prices.

Distinguishing between political and criminal motivation for many of the terrorist-related activities in the Philippines continued to be difficult, most notably in the numerous cases of kidnapping for ransom in the southern Philippines. Both Islamist and communist insurgents sought to extort funds from businesses in their operating areas, occasionally conducting reprisal operations if money was not paid.

Thailand

In January 2000, 10 armed Burmese dissidents - linked to the takeover in 1999 of the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok - took over the Ratchaburi provincial hospital. Thai security forces stormed the hospital and freed the victims. Although no hostages were injured during the assault, all the hostage-takers were killed. Separately, Myanmar sentenced to death one terrorist involved in the 1999 Embassy takeover.

Authorities responded with military force and legal action to separatist activity in the south. In February, security forces dealt a severe blow to the New Pattani United Liberation Organization - a Muslim separatist group - when they killed its leader Saarli Taloh-Meyaw. Authorities claim that he was responsible for 90 percent of the terrorist activities in Narathiwat, a southern Thai province.

In April, police arrested the deputy leader of the outlawed Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) - a Southern separatist group - in Pattani. The case was still pending before the court at year's end.

Authorities suspect Muslim separatists conducted several small-scale attacks on public schools, a government-run clinic, and a police station in the south.

In June, a Thai criminal court ordered extradited to Japan Yoshimi Tanaka - a member of the radical Japanese Red Army Faction, wanted for the hijacking in 1970 of a Japan Airlines plane. His trial in Tokyo began in mid- December.

Thai officials again publicly pledged to halt the use of Thailand as a logistics base by the Sri Lankan group the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The pledges, which echoed reassurances made by Bangkok in previous years, followed the discovery in June of a partially completed submersible at a shipyard in Phuket, Thailand, owned by an LTTE-sympathizer, as well as an unclassified paper by Canadian intelligence published in December that outlined the Tigers' use of front companies to procure weapons via Thailand.ÊÊ

OVERVIEW OF STATE-SPONSORED TERRORISM 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. US policy seeks to pressure and isolate state sponsors so they will renounce the use of terrorism, end support to terrorists, and bring terrorists to justice for past crimes. The United States is committed to holding terrorists and those who harbor them accountable for past attacks, regardless of when the acts occurred. The US government has a long memory and will not simply expunge a terrorist's record because time has passed. The states that choose to harbor terrorists are like accomplices who provide shelter for criminals. They will be held accountable for their "guests'" actions. International terrorists should know, before they contemplate a crime, that they cannot hunker down in safe haven for a period of time and be absolved of their crimes.

The United States is firmly committed to removing countries from the list once they have taken necessary steps to end their link to terrorism. In fact, the Department of State is engaged in ongoing discussions with North Korea and Sudan with the object of getting those governments completely out of the terrorism business and off the terrorism list.

Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Cuba, North Korea, and Sudan continue to be the seven governments that the US Secretary of State has designated as state sponsors of international terrorism. Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2000. It provided increasing 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 safe haven 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. Libya at the end of 2000 was attempting to mend its international image following its surrender in 1999 of two Libyan suspects for trial in the Pan Am 103 bombing. (In early 2001, one of the suspects was convicted of murder. The judges in the case found that he acted "in furtherance of the purposes of ... Libyan Intelligence Services".) Cuba continued to provide safe haven to several terrorists and US fugitives and maintained ties to state sponsors and Latin American insurgents. North Korea harbored several hijackers of a Japanese Airlines flight to North Korea in the 1970s and maintained links to other terrorist groups. Finally, Sudan continued to serve as a safe haven for members of al-Qaida, the Lebanese Hizballah, al-Gama'a al- Islamiyya, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the PIJ, and HAMAS, but it has been engaged in a counterterrorism dialogue with the United States since mid-2000.

State sponsorship has decreased over the past several decades. As it decreases, it becomes increasingly important for all countries to adopt a "zero tolerance" for terrorist activity within their borders. Terrorists will seek safe haven in those areas where they are able to avoid the rule of law and to travel, prepare, raise funds, and operate. The United States continued actively researching and gathering intelligence on other states that will be considered for designation as state sponsors. If the United States deems a country to "repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism", the US government is required by law to add it to the list. 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 the Middle East, the United States was concerned that a variety of terrorist groups operated and trained inside Lebanon, although Lebanon has acted against some of those groups. Lebanon also has been unresponsive to US requests to bring to justice terrorists who conducted attacks against US citizens and property in Lebanon in previous years.

Cuba

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

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

Iran

Despite the victory for moderates in Iran's Majles elections in February, aggressive countermeasures by hardline conservatives have blocked most reform efforts. Iran remained 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-related 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. Supreme Leader Khamenei continued to refer to Israel as a "cancerous tumor" that must be removed; President Khatami, labeling Israel an "illegal entity", called for sanctions against Israel during the intifadah; and Expediency Council Secretary Rezai said, "Iran will continue its campaign against Zionism until Israel is completely eradicated". Iran has long provided Lebanese Hizballah and the Palestinian rejectionist groups - notably HAMAS, the 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 following the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May and during the intifadah 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.

Although the Iranian government has taken no direct action to date to implement Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the decree has not been revoked, and the $2.8 million bounty for his assassination has not been withdrawn. Moreover, hardline Iranians continued to stress that the decree is irrevocable. On the anniversary of the fatwa in February, the IRGC released a statement that the decree remains in force, and Ayatollah Yazdi, a member of the Council of Guardians, reiterated that "the decree is irrevocable and, God willing, will be carried out".

Iran also was a victim of Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK)- sponsored terrorism. The Islamic Republic presented a letter to the UN 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

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

Czech police continued to provide protection to the Prague office of the US 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 women 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 UN personnel working in Iraq, particularly UN de-mining teams, in the wake of the killing in 1999 of an expatriate UN de-mining worker in northern Iraq under circumstances suggesting regime involvement. An Iraqi who opened fire at the UN 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 UN 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 May 15 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 responsibility for armed incursions into Iran that targeted police and military outposts, as well as for mortar and bomb attacks on security organization headquarters in various 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.

Libya

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 and were ongoing at year's end. (The court issued its verdict on January 31, 2001. 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". Concerning the other defendant, Al-Amin Kalifa Fahima, the court concluded that the Crown failed to present sufficient evidence 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.

Libya played a high-profile role in negotiating the release of a group of foreign hostages seized in the Philippines by the Abu Sayyaf Group, reportedly in exchange for a ransom payment. The hostages included citizens of France, Germany, Malaysia, South Africa, Finland, the Philippines, and Lebanon. The payment of ransom to kidnappers only encourages additional hostage taking, and the Abu Sayyaf Group, emboldened by its success, did seize additional hostages - including a US citizen - later in the year. Libya's behavior and that of other parties involved in the alleged ransom arrangement served only to encourage further terrorism and to make that region far more dangerous for residents and travelers.

At year's end, Libya had yet to comply fully with the remaining UN 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 government until it does so. Qadhafi stated publicly that his government had adopted an antiterrorism 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 several other past terrorist operations, including the Labelle discotheque bombing in Berlin in 1986 that killed two US servicemen and one Turkish civilian and wounded more than 200 persons. The trial in Germany of five suspects in the bombing, which began in November 1997, continued in 2000. 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 the Middle East peace process, including the Palestine Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

North Korea

In 2000, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) engaged in three rounds of terrorism talks that culminated in a joint DPRK-US statement wherein the DPRK reiterated its opposition to terrorism and agreed to support international actions against such activity. The DPRK, however, continued to provide safe haven to the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction members who participated in the hijacking of a Japanese Airlines flight to North Korea in 1970. Some evidence also suggests the DPRK may have sold weapons directly or indirectly to terrorist groups during the year; Philippine officials publicly declared that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front had purchased weapons from North Korea with funds provided by Middle East sources.

Sudan

The United States and Sudan in mid-2000 entered into a dialogue to discuss US counterterrorism concerns. The talks, which were ongoing at the end of the year, were constructive and obtained some positive results. By the end of the year Sudan had signed all 12 international conventions for combating terrorism and had taken several other positive counterterrorism steps, including closing down the Popular Arab and Islamic Conference, which served as a forum for terrorists.

Sudan, however, continued to be used as a safe haven by members of various groups, including associates of Osama Bin Ladin's al-Qaida organization, Egyptian al-Gama'a al- Islamiyya, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the 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

Syria continued to provide safe haven and support to several 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), the 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 government allowed HAMAS to open a new main office in Damascus in March, although the arrangement may be temporary while HAMAS continues to seek permission to reestablish its headquarters in Jordan. In addition, Syria granted a variety of 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 the peace process, 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 longstanding ban on attacks launched from Syrian territory or against Western targets.

Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction (WMD) Terrorism At the dawn of a new millennium, the possibility of a terrorist attack involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD) - chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN), or large explosive weapons - remained real. As of the end of 2000, however, the most notorious attack involving chemical weapons against a civilian target remained Aum Shinrikyo's sarin nerve agent attack against the Tokyo subway in March 1995.

Most terrorists continued to rely on conventional tactics, such as bombing, shooting, and kidnapping, but some terrorists - such as Osama Bin Ladin and his associates - continued to seek CBRN capabilities.

Popular literature and the public dialog focused on the vulnerability of civilian targets to CBRN attacks. Such attacks could cause lasting disruption and generate significant psychological impact on a population and its infrastructure.

A few groups, notably those driven by distorted religious and cultural ideologies, showed signs they were willing to cause large numbers of casualties. Other potentially dangerous but less predictable groups had emerged, and those groups may not abide by traditional targeting constraints that would prohibit using indiscriminate violence or CBRN weapons.

Some CBRN materials, technology, and especially information continued to be widely available, particularly from commercial sources and the Internet.

Terrorist Use of Information Technology Terrorists have seized upon the worldwide practice of using information technology (IT) in daily life. They embrace IT for several reasons: It improves communication and aids organization, allows members to coordinate quickly with large numbers of followers, and provides a platform for propaganda. The Internet also allows terrorists to reach a wide audience of potential donors and recruits who may be located over a large geographic area.

In addition, terrorists are taking note of the proliferation of hacking and the use of the computer as a weapon. Extremists routinely post messages to widely accessible Web sites that call for defacing Western Internet sites and disrupting online service, for example. The widespread availability of hacking software and its anonymous and increasingly automated design make it likely that terrorists will more frequently incorporate these tools into their online activity. The appeal of such tools may increase as news media continue to sensationalize hacking.
 


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