Patterns of Global Terrorism. Editor: Anna Sabasteanski. Volume 1, Berkshire Publishing, 2005.
The Year in Review
The level of international terrorism worldwide in 1989 declined sharply from that of 1988, dropping by almost 38 percent from 856 incidents in 1988 to 528. The Middle East continued to experience the largest number of incidents of international terrorism, incurring 193 attacks—37 percent of the total worldwide. The proportion of international terrorism connected with the Middle East increases to 45 percent, however, when Middle East spillover attacks into other regions are added. These compare to statistics of 36 percent and 41 percent, respectively, in 1988. With 131 attacks, or 25 percent of the total, Latin America ranked second. Western Europe was third with 96 incidents. With the reduction of Afghan-sponsored attacks in Pakistan, Asia dropped to fourth with 55 incidents. Africa was fifth with 48 attacks. Four international terrorist attacks took place in North America. One incident was recorded in Eastern Europe during the year, although Soviet and Eastern European interests were attacked in other parts of the world.
Several factors were responsible for the major decrease in international terrorism:
- The Afghan Government curtailed its terrorist campaign in Pakistan after Soviet troops were withdrawn.
- Yasser Arafat’s renunciation of terrorism resulted in a sharp decline in operations by groups affiliated with the PLO.
- Dissension within the Abu Nidal organization (ANO)—previously one of the most active and deadly terrorist groups—and its focus on Lebanese militia matters decreased the group’s operations.
- A number of states involved in terrorism, including Libya and Syria, remained wary of getting caught sponsoring terrorists and reduced their support. Iran was a notable exception to the trend.
- Partly in response to internal problems and enhanced counterterrorist measures, many terrorist groups focused on building their infrastructure throughout the world to support attacks in the future.
- Counterterrorist capabilities continued to improve in most parts of the world, and cooperation among governments increased.
There was only one “spectacular” international terrorist operation in 1989—the bombing of UTA Flight 772 over Niger on 19 September. That attack accounted for 171 deaths, the greatest number associated with a single attack during the year. Investigators have not determined who was responsible. Terrorist “spectaculars” may well be becoming more rare as there seems to be a growing perception among terrorists that they have not achieved their goals with operations such as airline hijackings and that such attacks are increasingly difficult to conduct. Moreover, some of the groups most capable of carrying out such operations have focused their energies elsewhere.
The depiction of the alleged execution of US Marine violence, such violence is no longer included in the US Government’s statistical database on international terrorism. This new refinement in the 1989 statistical database ensures its continuing accuracy and reliability. Intra-Palestinian violence, however, remains a serious concern.
Corps Col. William R. Higgins on 31 July captured headlines and brought worldwide condemnation of the Iranian-backed terrorists responsible. Elsewhere, narcotraffickers in Colombia are believed responsible for several horrific attacks using terrorist methods to achieve their criminal goals. This likely includes the late November bombing of a domestic Avianca flight out of Bogotá in which all 111 on board perished.
The 528 international terrorist incidents recorded in 1989 resulted in 390 victims killed and 397 wounded. Fourteen terrorists were killed and 23 wounded. Reflecting the decline in the number of incidents, this represents a drop from 1988 when 638 victims were killed and 1,125 wounded. In 1988, 22 terrorists were killed and six wounded. The downing of UTA Flight 772 emphasized the continuing growth of casualties in Africa, from a total of 125 killed and 130 wounded in 1988 to 269 killed and 39 wounded in 1989. Asia experienced the most significant decline in casualties with the reduction in the Afghan campaign in Pakistan, dropping from 156 killed and 599 wounded in 1988 to 57 killed and 153 wounded in 1989. International terrorism in the Middle East accounted for 29 persons killed and 111 injured. Twenty-one persons were killed and 73 wounded in Latin America. In Western Europe, there were 14 victims killed and 21 wounded in international terrorists attacks.
The number of terrorist attacks and casualties suffered by the United States declined in 1989 from 1988, but US interests continued to be the most frequently targeted by international terrorists. In 1988, 193 attacks were directed against the United States, compared with 165 in 1989, a decline of 15 percent. Casualties among US citizens also declined, from 192 killed and 40 wounded in 1988 to 16 killed and 19 injured in 1989. The drop reflects, for the most part, the absence of a major incident that caused a large number of casualties, such as the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. The largest share of the attacks, or 64 percent, took place in Latin America, with bombings of oil pipelines partly owned by US companies accounting for most of the incidents. Almost 14 percent of the anti-US incidents took place in Asia, 13 percent in Western Europe, 5 percent in the Middle East, and 1 percent in Africa.
International terrorists attacked the citizens and property of 74 countries in a total of 60 countries. The United States was the most frequently targeted, followed by Israel. With the continuing increase in security for official interests, terrorist again carried out most the attacks—75 percent of the total worldwide—against businesses, tourists, and other nonofficial targets. Attacks against international organizations and governments targets decreased to 19 percent of the total. Attacks on noncombatant military targets increased marginally, to 41 from 38 in 1988; there were 88 in 1987.
The number of attacks by type followed a well-established pattern. Terrorists relied most frequently on bombings (44 percent of the total); arson was second (28 percent). Terrorists used firearms and other types of handheld weapons in 14 percent of the attacks. The incidence of kidnappings declined slightly but occurred in about 5 percent of the attacks. Approximately 44 percent of the kidnappings occurred in Latin America, with 19 percent in the Middle East.
The number of terrorist incidents that could be attributed to state sponsors declined in 1989. Evidence indicated 58 incidents involved state sponsors in 1989, a drop of 67 percent from 1988 when 176 such attacks were noted. The decrease was partly due to the ability of a number of states that have aided terrorist groups to effectively mask their involvement. The greatest portion of the drop resulted from Kabul’s apparent curtailment of its bombing campaign in Pakistan following the removal of Soviet military forces. Iran’s involvement in terrorism was not detected as frequently in 1989, but we suspect an upturn in its support during the second half of the year reflects a return to a greater pace of operations. Libya and Syria were not directly tied to any attacks in 1989, but they continue to provide various forms of support for several terrorist groups.
The spillover of Middle Eastern terrorism outside that region accounted for 43 attacks in 1989, down from 45 in 1988. The attacks in 1989 resulted in 181 persons killed and 15 wounded. Thirty-one incidents took place in Western Europe. Ten incidents took place in the United Kingdom and mostly were attacks on bookstores and businesses connected with Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. Of the remainder, six were in Turkey; four in Pakistan and Belgium, and three in the United States; two each in Austria, France, and the Netherlands; and one each in Afghanistan, Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Niger, Senegal, Sweden, Thailand, and West Germany.
Despite the decline in international attacks in 1989, terrorists retain the potential for resuming a greater level of violence, particularly against the United States. Terrorists in the Philippines appear more likely to broaden their targeting of US citizens to increase pressure on the United States to withdraw, and rebel soldiers may retaliate for US support to the Aquino government during the failed coup attempt in December. In Latin America, US interests in Panama may be targeted by diehard supporters of General Noriega, and other radicals in the region and in other parts of the world may use Washington’s military action in Panama as a pretext for stepped-up targeting. Other developments worldwide could spark increased terrorist operations; rivalries among Middle Eastern governments—particularly between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which has already generated a campaign of violence by Iran—and emerging alliances among Middle Eastern sponsors and groups, such as between Iran and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and other radical Palestinian groups, are of special concern. Ethnic groups in Caucasus, Moldavia, and other areas of the Soviet Union may resort to terrorism to achieve their goals, as could some of the numerous factions throughout Eastern Europe. Émigré communities in Western Europe and the United States could be drawn into supporting the violence. West European terrorist groups remain a major threat. Basque and Northern Ireland terrorists are unlikely to reduce the pace of their attacks, and other groups, like the Red Arm Faction (RAF) in West Germany and the Revolutionary Organization 17 November in Greece, have increased their technical capabilities. In Turkey, domestic problems seem to be fostering an increase of violence by long-dormant groups.
The Middle East Overview
The total number of terrorist incidents in the Middle East fell from 313 in 1988 to 193. The incidence of Middle East spillover into other parts of the world declined from 45 to 43. The Iranian campaign against The Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie accounted for a major portion of the attacks of Middle East origin in Western Europe. Of the total terrorist incidents that occurred in the Middle East in 1989, 155—or just over 80 percent—reflected violence in Israel and the occupied territories, compared with 250 in 1988. Of the 1989 total, 117 were in the West Bank and Gaza, a decrease from 205 in 1988. Although no longer counted in the data base as international terrorist incidents because of their intraethnic character, there was an upsurge in intra-Palestinian violence; with the killing of many alleged “collaborators.”
A number of factors contributed to the drop in terrorist incidents in the Middle East in 1989. Continuation of the yearlong US dialogue with the PLO is conditional on Yasser Arafat’s pledge to discontinue PLO terrorism. Since the beginning of the dialogue on 15 December 1988, moreover, we have not been able to independently confirm any act of international terrorism authorized by the PLO’s leadership, although some hard-line PLO elements, apparently acted independently, claimed responsibility for several cross-border attacks aimed at Israeli civilian targets.
Another factor is the apparent internal political schism inside one of the most dangerous Middle Eastern terrorist groups—the Abu Nidal organization. The ANO was responsible for a number of attacks in 1988 that resulted in the deaths of nine persons. The group’s activities in 1989 however, were disrupted by a serious internal power struggle in which hundreds of ANO members were apparently killed in a dispute over the group’s terrorist agenda and its leader’s dictatorial style.
The one major terrorist attack that occurred in 1989—the bombing of UTA Flight 772 over Niger on 19 September in which 171 persons were killed—may have been perpetrated by Middle Eastern terrorists. Two statements attributed to the Islamic Jihad organization—a name used by the radical pro Iranian Hizballah organization—were issued, claiming responsibility for the bombing. Culpability for the bombing has not yet been established and the investigation continues.
Kidnappings and hostage takings also occurred during the year and a US military officer held hostage was murdered by his kidnappers. Five Westerners were taken hostage; a lone Western hostage was released. Hizballah elements and the ANO are the likely suspects in the kidnappings. The July abduction of Sheik Abdul Karim Obeid, a prominent Lebanese cleric, by Israeli forces led to a number of threats against the remaining eight US hostages in Lebanon. The Hizballah group, Organization of the Oppressed of the Earth, claimed in a communiqué that it had executed US hostage Col. William R. Higgins in retaliation for Obeid’s abduction.
Although the statistics on incidents perpetrated by Middle Eastern groups reflect a downturn, there are strong indications that the risk to Western and moderate Arab interests remains as high as ever. Iran continues to actively use terrorist tactics to advance its revolutionary goals. The Palestinian issue remains unresolved, and the course of the intifada will affect the operational agenda of several Middle Eastern groups vying to influence its direction. The Middle East peace process may result in greater violence by anti-Arafat groups if perceived as a success or in fragmentation or radicalization of the PLO is perceived as a failure.
Perhaps the greatest potential terrorist threat exists from the growing ties among Iran, its surrogate Hizballah organization in Lebanon, and radical Palestinian groups. Links between Iran and radical Palestinian groups—a relationship that augments Tehran’s ties to Hizballah—may have been responsible, according to some press reports, for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
The Algerian Government has condemned terrorism in international forums including the United Nations. The Higher Islamic Council in Algiers has strongly denounced Iranian death threats against author Salman Rushdie. Although Algeria condemns terrorism, it has stated that national liberation groups can legitimately resort to violence to accomplish their ends.
After talks in Algiers between the Government of Spain and the Basque separatist group ETA broke down in April, the Government of Algeria cancelled its provision of good offices and expelled some two dozen ETA members. The Algerian Government also attempted to mediate the release of US, Israeli, European, and other hostages in Lebanon last August, but its efforts failed after Hizballah refused to continue the talks.
There is no extradition agreement between the United States and Algeria, and the government has not acted on our requests for assistance in pursuing terrorist cases. As part of a longstanding policy, Algerian has permitted radical groups, some of whom engage in terrorism, to maintain representation in Algiers. The ANO continues to maintain a presence in Algiers. However, reflecting its growing concern over terrorism, the Algerian Government has taken steps to expand the capabilities of counterterrorism units in the police and security apparatus. We have seen over the past year a more pragmatic stance on terrorism issue.
The Egyptian Government has waged a campaign to limit the potential terrorist threat posed by radical Moslem fundamentalists and by Egyptian nationalist groups. Twenty members of Egypt’s Revolution—a radical group espousing the militant nationalism of former Egyptian President Nasser—have been on trial for the May 1987 attack on US Embassy personnel and for earlier attacks on Israeli diplomats in which two people were killed. The Egyptian prosecution has requested the death penalty for 10 members of the group and life sentences for the rest. There is no conclusive evidence that the sizable Palestinian and Libyan presence in Egypt poses a major terrorist threat, and the activities of expatriates are closely monitored by Egyptian authorities.
There were no terrorist attacks against US personnel in Egypt during 1989, but a number of bomb threats were made against US and UK interests. At least four telephone threats were made during the year against US and British diplomatic and commercial targets, and in June explosive devises were discovered at the US and British cultural centers in Cairo. An explosive device also was discovered at the Giza pyramids along a road traveled by Western tourists. None of the devices exploded.
Egypt has a strong counterterrorism policy and has publicly branded terrorist acts as criminal. It cooperates with the US and other countries in counterterrorism programs and has taken steps to strengthen its own capabilities across the board. It has called for stronger international cooperation in combating terrorism, including improved sharing of intelligence data, strengthened counterterrorism protocols, and increased assistance to less wealthy nations for use in developing counterterrorism programs.
Iraq was removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1982. Since the expulsion of the ANO in 1983, Iraq has continued working to improve its international image. Iraq did not sponsor any known acts of international terrorism in 1989. Iraq has continued, however, to provide safe haven to some Palestinian groups, including the Iraqi-created Arab Liberation Front and Abu Abbess’s Palestine Liberation Front, responsible for the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking and killing of an American passenger. In addition, press reports indicate that Abu Ibrahim, the former leader of the now defunct 15 May terrorist organization, has returned to Iraq. Abu Ibrahim is known for the skill with which he built highly sophisticated and lethal suitcase bombs. Iraq continues to support anti-Iranian dissident groups including Mujaheddine-Khalq (MEK).
There have been questions in the Turkish media about possible Iraqi support for the terrorist Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK). The Iraqi Government maintains it works effectively with the Turkish Government at the local level on the border as well as on a government to government basis to significantly reduce PKK violence. A major failure was the December 1989 PKK massacre of Turkish villagers near the Iraqi border.
Several terrorist attacks including bombings, apparently targeting foreigners, have taken place in Baghdad beginning in July. The perpetrators are unknown although one attack, a bombing at the New British Club which injured 230 people, was claimed by the United Organization of the Halabjah Martyrs, a suspected radical Kurdish group. An afternoon bombing in mid-December on a main business street killed and wounded many passers-by.
The Iraqi authorities are working with the FAA in improve security at Baghdad’s airport.
Israel remained the primary target of Palestinian terrorist attacks during 1989. Indicative of such attacks:
- On 6 July, a 23-year-old Palestinian seeking revenge against Israel forced a crowded bus into a ravine along the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. Sixteen people were killed, including an American and two Canadian tourists; over 20 were injured. This was the single bloodiest attack directed at civilians in Israel in many years.
- There were a number of fatal attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians in Israel:
- On 21 March, a Palestinian stabbed and killed two Israelis and wounded two others in Tel Aviv.
- On 3 May, a Palestinian stabbed and killed two Israelis in West Jerusalem and injured an 80-year-old woman and two men.
- On 9 September, a Palestinian stabbed a bus driver on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway and later admitted to murdering another Israeli at a worksite.
- There were also terrorist attacks by a Jewish extremist group, the Sicarii, and by Israeli settlers. Indicative of such attacks:
- On 10 April, the Sicarii killed two Palestinians and wounded two others near the Jaffe Gate in Jerusalem. The perpetrators claimed the attack was in retaliation for the stoning of Jewish worshippers earlier in the week. This was the first acknowledged attack by the Sicarii against Palestinians. Previously, Sicarii had claimed credit for attacks on Jewish peace activists.
- On 7 December, Sicarii claimed responsibility for burning the car of a Hebrew University professor; a second firebomb damaged his apartment.
- On 15 December at a village near Nablus, five Israeli settlers fired weapons at the homes and vehicles of several Palestinians and at a mosque. The firing punctured water tanks, broke windows, and caused other damage.
PLO hardliners and Syrian-backed Palestinian groups outside the PLO attempted more than a dozen cross-border attacks on Israel from Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt during the year; no Israeli civilians died as a result of these operations. While the precise target of most of the attacks is unclear, hard-line elements in the PLO claimed responsibility for at least three attacks directed at Israeli towns.
Israel has consistently taken a strong position against terrorism and had devoted significant resources to antiterrorism planning and training. Private sector and government-sponsored research is conducted into developing new equipment and techniques, as well as measuring terrorism trends. A massive counterterrorism effort covers neighboring countries known to harbor terrorists or that have failed to inhibit their activities.
Israel uses aggressive measures to protect its citizens and visitors, the best known of which deals with protecting its national air carrier El Al at home and abroad. Ordinary citizens are also trained in counterterrorism tactics, and even school children receive instruction in bomb detection.
Israeli forces have launched preemptive and retaliatory air and commando raids against suspected terrorist installations in neighboring Lebanon. In July, Israeli forces abducted Sheik Abdul Karim Obeid, a leading Hizballah figure in South Lebanon, apparently to obtain information about the whereabouts of Israeli hostages. Arab and other groups branded the abduction terrorist, while Israel defended the action as necessary in view of the threat it faces.
During the past year, Israelis have become increasingly concerned that the Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories will result in more violence within pre-1967 Israel. The police and reserve forces have been expanded and surveillance has been heightened. To enhance control over part of the Arab population, Israeli authorities compelled residents of the Gaza to obtain magnetically coded identity cards. These measures have met with limited success, however, given the relative ease of travel between the occupied territories and Israel.
Israeli courts generally hand down strict prison sentences to those convicted of terrorist and other attacks. During 1989, the courts initiated several prosecutions of suspected terrorists. In October, an Israeli court sentenced the Palestinian responsible for the July bus attack to 16 life prison terms, one life sentence for each of the victims killed in the attack.
The Israeli President in June, however, upon the recommendation of the Justice Minister, reduced the life sentence of three convicted members of the Jewish Underground to 10 years. The three had been convicted of murdering three Arab students in Hebron, wounding over 30 others, and planting explosives. They had already served five years of their life sentences.
There were no terrorist incidents in Kuwait in 1989; however, Iran continued actively recruiting members of the Kuwaiti Shia community to carry out acts of terrorism. The leader of the group responsible for several explosions in Saudi Arabia during the hajj confessed that officials from the Iranian Embassy in Kuwait recruited and trained the cell. According to confessions by members of the group, the explosives used in the attack were acquired from the Iranian Embassy.
The Kuwaiti State Security Court handed down sentences against several Shia in 1989. Two Shia received suspended two year sentences for possession of detonators. The detonators belonged to two of their family members who were killed in a car explosion in 1987. Authorities concluded that the two victims were planning to plant a bomb but that it exploded prematurely. In June, 22 Shia defendants—of Kuwaiti, Iraqi, Iranian, and Lebanese origin—were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 5 to 15 years for conspiring to overthrow the Kuwaiti Government.
Lebanon was the scene of several acts of international terrorism, in addition to the violence associated with the fifteen-year-old bloody civil war, which has been characterized by frequent use of terrorist tactics. The most significant international attacks were the assassinations of the last remaining Saudi official in West Beirut and of Yasser Arafat’s personal representative, which brought the total number of international incidents to 16 for 1989, a decrease from 28 in 1988. Random explosions and attacks on Israeli targets made up the remaining incidents, most of which went unclaimed. The groups undertaking them may have included Palestinian factions, Lebanese leftist and nationalist groups, and Moslem fundamentalist groups, both Sunni and Shia.
Kidnappings of foreigners as well as of Lebanese nationals continued to plague Lebanon. Five foreigners were kidnapped in 1989—one British citizen, two Swiss Red Cross workers, and two West German relief workers. A prominent Lebanese cleric, Sheikh Obeid, was seized by Israeli forces. At yearend as many as 24 foreigners were believed to remain hostage:
- On 31 July, pro-Iranian Hizballah terrorists released a videotape of the hanging of Col. William R. Higgins, which it claimed was in retaliation for the abduction of Sheik Obeid by Israeli Defense Forces on 28 July. Higgins, who was abducted in February 1988, was commander of the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization observer unit for Lebanon and had been accused of spying by his captors. Higgins had probably been dead for some time when Obeid’s abduction provided the Hizballah leadership with a convenient occasion to make the death public. The terrorists also threatened to kill American hostages Joseph Cicippio and Edward Tracy if Obeid was not released, but these threats were not carried out, probably because of international pressure. Obeid remains in jail in Israel.
- Radical Palestinians were probably responsible for taking hostage two Swill International Red Cross workers outside Sidon in October, and two West German relief workers in May. PLO officials have publicly accused the ANO of conducting these kidnappings, which may have been intended to embarrass PLO Chairman Arafat or to obtain ransom for the hostages.
Hizballah terrorists have also been active in attempting to smuggle weapons and explosives into Africa and Europe, undoubtedly to support future terrorist operations, possibly at Iran’s behest. Cypriot authorities acting on a tip seized a shipment of jam bound for Monrovia, Liberia, and discovered that it contained explosives, grenades, and detonators. On 23 November in Valencia, Spanish authorities arrested eight radical—including three confessed Hizballah members—before they were able to accept a shipment of foodstuffs that contained additional explosives, grenades and detonators. Both shipments originated in Sidon. These and other discoveries indicate that Iran may be using Hizballah to reestablish its terrorist network in Europe.
In September, a lone hijacker, believed to be of Western Saharan origin, hijacked a Royal Air Maroc passenger aircraft to Spain’s Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft had been on a domestic flight in Morocco. The hijacker was taken into police custody by Spanish authorities upon landing. No one was injured in the incident.
In early 1989, Morocco and the United States signed an agreement on joint cooperation in fighting international terrorism, organized crime and the illicit production, trafficking, and abuse of drugs. In accord with the terms of this agreement, the United States has enjoyed excellent cooperation with the Moroccan Government in countering terrorism. A Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty negotiated in 1983 remains unsigned. The treaty includes extradition provisions.
The Saudi Arabian Government continued to work to prevent terrorism on its territory in 1989. Despite these efforts, the hajj was once again the site of terrorist activity. We believe two explosions—which resulted in one death—were sponsored by Tehran and stemmed from resentment by Iran and radical Shia elements over Riyadh’s imposition of restrictions on Iranian attendance of the hajj following pro-Khomeini riots in 1987. In the aftermath of these bombings, Saudi security forces detained a large number of people; however, most were quickly released after interrogation. The persons finally arrested were tried without publicity and according to Sharia law—the customary legal procedure in Saudi Arabia. On 21 September, after review of the sentences by two different appeals boards and the King, 16 Kuwaiti Shia were beheaded. The Saudis also televised pictures of the bombing sites and confessions of the Kuwaiti Shia. The group’s leader confessed that the cell members had been recruited and trained by officials from the Iranian Embassy in Kuwait.
After Riyadh’s execution of the 16 Kuwaitis, senior Iranian and Hizballah leaders issued statements threatening to avenge the “murders,” prompting Saudi security agencies to intensify the internal controls, especially in airports and around Riyadh. Several months after the execution, police were continuing to set up roadblocks and carry out random identification checks. Despite heightened security measures, radical Shia elements carried out several retaliatory attacks against Saudi interests:
- On 14 October, a Saudia Airlines office was severely damaged by an explosion in Lahore, Pakistan.
- On 16 October, a Saudi diplomat in Ankara, Turkey, was seriously injured when a bomb exploded in his car.
- On 1 November, a Saudi official in Beirut was assassinated by members of the Islamic Jihad.
In the area of antiterrorism training, the Saudi Ministry of Interior announced that the antiterrorism unit of the Saudi Special Forces—which began training in 1988—was being disbanded and its West German trainers repatriated. Following a number of terrorist acts and threats against Saudi diplomatic personnel abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated a program aimed at setting up an embassy guard service and a system of regional security offices.
Latin America Overview
There were 131 international terrorist attacks in Latin America during 1989, down from 146 in 1988. This decrease is primarily because of reductions in oil pipeline attacks in Colombia. Elsewhere in the region, the number of international terrorist attacks in 1989 remained essentially the same as last year. Although the number of international terrorist attacks decreased in Colombia, it still led all Latin American countries with 46. Although not counted in the international terrorism statistics because of their essentially domestic nature and criminal motivation, indiscriminate narcoterrorist attacks increased significantly in Colombia, and caused many civilian deaths. Chile was second with 23 international incidents in 1989. Peru had 21, and Honduras and the Dominican Republic each had eight. As in past years, anti-US attacks comprised the majority—about 80 percent—of all international terrorist actions. US personnel of facilities were the targets of 106 of the international terrorist incidents in the region. The most violent anti-US attack was the murder of two American missionaries in Bolivia.
International terrorist incidents in Bolivia numbered five in 1989, down slightly from six in 1988. Attacks this year were focused on US targets, and the Forces of Liberation Zarate Willka was probably responsible for all five actions. The group conducted its most lethal terrorist action in May when it killed two American Mormon missionaries in La Paz. The two probably were killed because they were easier targets than official US personnel or facilities. A message left at the murder scene suggested that the missionaries were attacked to protest alleged US interventionism in Bolivia. In December the group claimed responsibility for a bombing at the US Embassy in retaliation for US military actions in Panama.
Bolivia’s judicial system initially responded slowly to the Mormon murders. Several judges assigned to hear the case resigned in the face of threats. The police were also short of resources needed to carry out an extensive investigation. The authorities, however, have since cooperated closely with the FBI agents sent on temporary assignment to assist in the investigation. Several alleged members of Zarate Willka are expected to go to trial in 1990.
According to press reports, Peruvian guerrillas occasionally use Bolivian territory for rest and relaxation, and have shown increasing interest in assisting indigenous terrorist groups in recruitment and training activities. Peruvian guerrillas do not appear to have carried out any terrorist attacks in Bolivia in 1989. The country also is facing a growing threat from narcotraffickers, especially those from Colombia, who are seen it Bolivia with increasing frequency since the Barco government there launched its offensive against them. Immigration authorities lack sufficient intelligence on foreign terrorists and other criminals, and given the long stretches of unguarded frontier; they do not have the means for denying entry to such people.
In Chile, 23 international terrorist attacks occurred in 1989, more than double last year’s total. All the attacks were anti-US actions. Many were against Mormon churches which are often targeted by leftist radicals in Chile and elsewhere in the region as easily identifiable US targets. Not all attacks this year were conducted by the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR), Chile’s largest and most active radical leftist group. The Arnoldo Camu Command claimed responsibility for a bomb that detonated across the street from the US Embassy in September. The Lautaro Youth Movement conducted an attack on a Mormon chapel where an American citizen was singled out and mistreated in July, and another Lautaro group, the Lautaro Popular Rebel Forces, left leaflets at a Mormon chapel that was set on fire. In December, the Lautaro Commando claimed one of several bombings at Mormon churches in Chile, scrawling “Yankees out of Panama” on the wall of one chapel. That same week, the USIS Binational Center in Santiago was bombed by unidentified terrorists.
Because of the indigenous terrorist threat, the Pinochet government maintained a strong and active antiterrorist force comprised of army units, the Carabineros, the Investigations Police (roughly equivalent to the FBI), and the National Information Center (CNI), all of which are well trained. At times, however, their investigations and suspect interrogations violated basic human rights, according to most human rights monitors, although there was marked improvement in their performance over the previous years.
Significant quantities of weapons have been smuggled to leftist groups in the country via the porous border with Argentina and the extensive coastline.
Terrorist prosecutions in the courts have virtually been only against leftists, while incidents of rightwing terrorism have rarely been followed by arrests. The failure to apprehend any rightwing extremists has led to speculation that their activities may be unofficially sanctioned by some members of the security forces. Those terrorists arrested usually are tried by military courts and receive lengthy prison terms.
In June the Chilean Government publicly expressed disappointment over a US decision not to extradite a FPMR member who was being held in preventive custody in Alaska. The FPMR member had been en route to Sweden after being deported from Australia, but was taken off the airliner when it landed for refueling. After considering the Chilean case against him, the US authorities determined the charges of importing weapons into Chile were not extraditable offenses under the term of the US-Chilean Extradition Treaty. The FPMR member was released and put on a flight to Sweden where he maintained a residence.
In March, the Chilean Government blamed terrorists and communists for the cyanide fruit scare that threatened one of the country’s most lucrative exporting industries. In the United States, the FDA had temporarily banned Chilean fruit after finding cyanide traces in Chilean grapes in Philadelphia.
The United States has a continuing interest in resolving the 1976 murders of former Chilean Ambassador and Pinochet-critic Orlando Letelier and American associate Ronni Moffitt in Washington, D.C. After being rebuffed in other legal efforts, the US Government in January invoked a 1914 Bilateral Dispute Settlement treaty to resolve the case. At yearend, the Chilean Government had yet to agree to the members or the mandate of the international commission called for in the treaty.
Colombia is a country under attack by three leftist guerrilla groups, narcotraffickers, and rightwing paramilitary groups. Its democratic institutions are under direct threat. Cuba provides some training to all major guerrilla groups, and an undetermined number of Colombians travel their each year for training.
International terrorist incidents in Colombia during 1989 remained high, despite a decline from the year before. Amidst spiraling domestic violence, the guerrillas have targeted foreign personnel and property. The decrease in pipeline bombings in 1989 accounted for the sharp downturn in the number of attacks on international targets. Twenty-three pipeline attacks occurred in 1989, down from 58 in 1988. This decline in pipeline sabotage attacks—counted as anti-US actions as well as international terrorist actions because of US companies’ involvement in the oil consortium there—probably came about as a result of aggressive counterinsurgency measures by the Colombian Government that kept the pipeline saboteurs—the National Liberation Army (ELN)—off guard.
The ELN was probably responsible for all other guerrilla-sponsored international terrorism in Colombia as well, although not every incident was claimed by the group. ELN kidnapped 11 foreigners in six separate incidents. Ten of the kidnap victims were foreign engineers working in jobs related to the oil industry. The eleventh victim was a Colombian ranch owner who holds dual US-Colombian citizenship.
The military, following reorganization by President Barco, initiated increasingly aggressive tactics against the guerrillas in 1989, culminating in a November offensive that resulted in the highest number of subversive casualties on record. The government also engaged the M-19 in peace talks that appeared close to success by yearend, as M-19 agreed to demobilize and become a legal political party.
The Dominican Republic was the scene of eight international terrorist attacks this year, all of which were directed against US targets. In February, an attempted bomb attack against the USIS Binational Center failed. In April, another bomb exploded at the Binational Center, killing a Dominican baby and wounding its mother. Bombs also exploded in April at a restaurant and on a street in Santo Domingo’s business section. In December, several more anti-US attacks occurred in the wake of the US military action in Panama. In one of these attacks, a Mormon missionary was shot in the leg in Santo Domingo. Also in December, a caller claimed two attacks on a US telephone company subsidiary in the Dominican Republic in the name of the Revolutionary Army of the People.
Two suspects were charged for the April bombing on the Binational Center, although one was later released and allowed to travel to Cuba for medical treatment, where he died. The remaining suspect, believed to have planted the bomb that killed the infant, remains in custody. He reportedly received Libyan terrorist training.
In response to FAA concerns, the Dominican Government tightened security measures at Santo Domingo’s international airport, and airport officials are receiving additional training at FAA facilities.
In April, the Dominican Government, with the concurrence of the Spanish Government, accepted six Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) members who were being deported from Algeria. Subsequently Spain requested that two of the six be extradited to face terrorist charges. Although this request is under formal consideration, the President has indicated they will not be extradited.
Despite the terrorism in neighboring countries, there were no significant terrorist acts in Ecuador in 1989. Substantial reconciliation was reached with the domestic terrorist group Alfaro Vive Carajo (AVC). In March, government officials and AVC representatives signed an accord under which the AVC agreed to give up armed actions and to enter into legitimate political activities.
In October, five AVC members who had been held without formal charges in the 1985 kidnapping-murder of a local businessman were released from prison. Two other AVC members, who have been formally charged, are awaiting prosecution. In October, the government allowed the AVC to host a conference entitled “Forum on Latin American Democracy.” Reportedly, representatives of several Latin American terrorist or former terrorist groups were among the attendees. Another terrorist group, the Monteneros Patria Libre (MPL), remains sworn to destroy the government.
In El Salvador, the number of terrorist actions involving foreign persons or property decreased in 1989, from 13 in 1988 to nine. One person with dual US-Salvadoran citizenship was killed by the FMLN as a result of his political beliefs. Two US and Canadian citizens were injured when a bomb went off in a village where they were working for the Lutheran Church. In November, Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN) guerillas launched a major offensive in San Salvador, jeopardizing civilians and targeting foreign personnel to gain international attention. Despite claims to the contrary, the guerillas’ choice of a luxury hotel as a staging ground for battle with Salvadoran troops indicates that they planned to exploit the presence of foreigners for propaganda purposes, thereby endangering civilians. Several foreigners, including an American, were injured during the offensive.
FMLN-associated terrorists were responsible for the assassinations of two high-level government officials—killing the Attorney General in April and the Minister of the Presidency in June. They also killed prominent political figures, including nine mayors, the national fire chief, the former president of the supreme court, as well as numerous civilians. The FMLN also began targeting family members of military personnel and, in October, urban terrorists killed the 23-year-old daughter of an armed forces colonel. The FMLN conducted other acts of domestic terrorism such as a bus attack in August in which the driver was killed and a woman passenger severely injured, a bombing in the capital’s central marketplace in June in which three died and 25 were wounded, and an earlier bus attack in May in which seven were killed and eight wounded. Following the May incident, the FMLN in a communiqué publicly accepted responsibility for the attack and laid out new “rules of engagement” intended to minimize civilian injuries. In all, during the FMLN’s campaign against the transportation system, approximately 80 buses were destroyed or damaged. The FMLN also launched an economic sabotage campaign in which it inflicted losses on the coffee, cotton, sugar, and cattle industries. In November, the government suspended diplomatic relations to Managua after an aircraft originating from Nicaragua and loaded with surface-to-air missiles destined for the FMLN crashed in El Salvador.
To limit terrorist activities, the Salvadoran military and security forces conducted preemptive raids of terrorist safe houses, hideouts and support areas. Over 1,200 weapons were seized across the country. The legislature sought, starting in June, to strengthen the country’s terrorism laws. In December, it passed a modified version, but the president returned the proposed law, asking that several portions be dropped or amended as he considered them restrictive of individual rights. The judicial system remains inadequate and is incapable of processing and investigating the large number of terrorism-related detainees and crimes. The courts are hampered by inadequate resources, lack of competent workers, corruption, intimidation, and antiquated laws.
There continued to be bombing incidents and killing which appear attributable to the rightwing. Individual members of the armed forces may also be involved in this violence. The Salvadoran Government announced in early 1990 that several members of the military were responsible for the 16 November murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter. The government continues its investigation into this important human rights concern.
Although there were few incidents of international terrorism in Guatemala in 1989, there was a sharp increase in domestic terrorism in the capital. Terrorism took the form of bombings at shopping malls and other public locations, grenade attacks, and attacks on economic targets. There continues to be frequent cases of murder, kidnapping, disappearances and torture, some of it due to far-right elements and dissidents within the military. Although some attempts have been made by the government and various other institutions in the country to address this problem, there appears to be a general lack of social or political will to find and prosecute those responsible. In 1989, there was an increase in guerrilla activity, particularly in urban areas. These guerrillas receive support from Cuba, Nicaragua, and other communist and leftist countries and organizations.
Guatemala has sought increased cooperation with its neighbors to restrict the movement of terrorist and insurgent groups across its borders.
The number of international terrorist incidents in Honduras increased markedly in 1989, up from two in 1988 to eight in 1989. All actions were directed at US personnel or facilities in Honduras. In the past few years, leftists have primarily targeted US military personnel. In 1989, a variety of US targets were hit, including three attacks that resulted in injuries to 10 US soldiers. Other US interests targeted included the Peace Corps, USAID, and Standard Fruit Company. The Morazanist Patriotic Front is suspected of several anti-US attacks, including an April assault on a convoy of US and Honduran soldiers.
Other leftist guerrilla groups that have resorted to terrorist tactics in the past are the Popular Liberation Movement-Cinchoneros (MPL-Cinchoneros) and the Popular Revolutionary Forces-Lorenzo Zelaya (MPF-LZ). Both receive significant logistic, training, and financial support from Nicaragua and Cuba, with key personnel maintaining their headquarters in Nicaragua.
Efforts toward increased collaboration among Honduran guerilla organizations, the FMLN in El Salvador, and the Sandinista army and intelligence organizations have been reported. The FMLN likely uses Salvadoran refugee camps in Honduras for infiltrating its guerrillas into El Salvador. The Honduran armed forces interdicted two major arms shipments transiting from Nicaragua to the Salvadoran guerrillas in 1989.
The Honduran Armed Forces continued their antiterrorist operations and monitoring of radical organizations during the year. They conducted sweeps of known guerrilla operating areas, raids on unsuspected safe houses, and border searches of vehicles for possible arms shipments. Three Hondurans believed sought for questioning for involvement with armed leftist organizations surfaced in Mexico, where they were given asylum. One of the two surviving terrorists who attempted to bomb a US Embassy warehouse in April has received a preliminary hearing and is in custody awaiting trial.
Nicaragua, like Cuba, also provides training and safe haven to Latin American and other terrorist and guerrilla groups. It continues to support Salvadoran guerrillas despite a commitment to end such assistance. In Honduras, the Nicaraguan regime provides support to the Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement and the Popular Revolutionary Forces-Lorenzo Zelaya, and is believed to have ties to the Morazanist Patriotic Front. Managua also frequently acts as a coordinator and provides a venue for radical groups from many parts of the world as well as those from Central and South America. In recent years, Nicaragua has better concealed its links to West European terrorists. Managua maintains diplomatic relations with all six countries presently on the US list of terrorism-supporting countries.
During 1989, there were reports that the Panama Defense Forces of the Manuel Noriega regime and the paramilitary “Dignity Battalions,” which were used primarily to intimidate opposition figures, had made contingency plans to seize US citizens as hostages in case of US action against Noriega. Shortly after the US invasion in December, an American teacher was taken hostage by pro-Noriega gunmen was killed. Regime agents were also suspected of being behind the February bombing of an opposition television station in an effort to destabilize the political situation prior to the national elections.
During 1989, the Noriega regime made a concerted effort to improve relations with Libya and to a lesser extent with Iran. It also took steps to establish relations with North Korea and improve its ties to Cuba.
Panama’s geographical position and role as a trade and banking center made it a crossroads for the travel and transactions of various terrorist and insurgent groups, including Colombian narcoterrorists. Some of this activity was facilitated by the Cuban and Nicaraguan Embassies and the Libyan People’s Bureau in Panama. Noriega and several political associates were publicly implicated in the shipment of arms to such groups as El Salvador’s FMLN and Colombia’s M-19 and FARC. In the later part of the year, a high-ranking FMLN leader announced his group was establishing a press center in Panama that would be issuing “war bulletins.”
International terrorist attacks in Peru reached 21 in 1989, up from last year’s total of 15. This number of international incidents does not reveal the true extent of violence in the country where nearly 3,200 people died in terrorism-related violence, the vast majority of which was attributed to Sendero Luminoso (SL). SL continued the trend it started late in 1988 of attacking foreigners in rural areas. Although their attacks traditionally go unclaimed, we believe the group was responsible for the death of a British tourist, an Australian, a New Zealander, an Austrian, and a German couple. All these attacks occurred in the countryside. In Lima, SL attacked a busload of touring Soviet fishermen in July and carried out simultaneous attacks later in the year at the Chinese and Soviet Embassies and the US Marine residence. Local police also suspect the group was behind an attack on the US Embassy in February. At that time, an explosive device was tossed from a passing vehicle at the front of the Embassy. SL’s involvement with the drug trade may have motivated an attack on a Drug Enforcement Administration helicopter, also early in 1989.
Peru’s smaller, pro-Cuban guerrilla group, the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), probably conducted seven of the 21 international attacks in Peru in 1989. In mid-April, the group tossed an explosive device over the wall of the USIS Binational Center in the suburbs of Lima. The timing of this attack suggests that it many have been meant to mark the anniversary of the US air strikes on Libya in 1986. The MRTA has conducted other such attacks to mark the event in previous years. The group also claimed responsibility for the bombing of two Mormon churches and a Binational Center in rural Peru during December in protest of US actions in Panama.
During 1989, the Peruvian Government attempted to initiate several strategies against the domestic terrorist threat, primarily dealing with enforcement. In April, a new political-military commander was assigned to the Upper Huallaga Valley, a principal staging area for SL and MRTA activities. He was given wider latitude for dealing with these groups and was initially assigned additional resources. At yearend, eight of Peru’s 24 departments had been designated emergency zones, as well as parts of the department of Lima. Such designation permits direct military involvement in antiterrorist actions.
To counter the public relations efforts of pro-Sendero support elements abroad, the Peruvian Government has attempted through international forums, including the UN and the OAS, to call attention to Sendero’s antidemocratic and terrorist campaign in the country. In this effort, Peruvian Government officials have been joined by members of opposition and leftist parties.
Approximately 2,000 people are under detention in Peruvian prisons charged with terrorist crimes, three times as many as were being held just years ago. Prosecution through the courts moves slowly. The trial of Osman Morote, who was captured in 1988 and is suspected of being the second-highest-ranking SL leader, is in his third retrial. By the end of the year, the trial of Victor Polay, suspected of being number two in MRTA, had concluded and was awaiting the court’s decision. Three suspected members of the Abu Nidal organization, arrested in 1988, remain under detention.
Europe and North America Overview
In Western Europe, domestic and Middle Eastern groups staged 96 international terrorist attacks in 1989, a substantial decrease from 150 in 1988. Western Europe ranked third in the number of attacks worldwide, with 18 percent occurring there. Of these, 22 were against US targets, resulting in one death, compared with 191 deaths and 11 wounded in 1988. Thirty-one of the international incidents resulted from Middle Eastern spillover. Indigenous groups operating against domestic targets accounted for most of the terrorist attacks in Western Europe, indicating they remain a major problem despite their generally less spectacular nature.
Continued counterterrorism efforts throughout the region, and a continuation of the low-level of Middle Eastern spillover—a result of caution by state sponsors and the apparent decision by Palestinian groups to focus operations elsewhere—contributed to the decline in the number of incidents in Western Europe. Multilateral cooperation among West European authorities resulted in several notable arrests of indigenous group members, including Red Brigades (BR) in Spain, France, and Switzerland, Provision Irish Republican Army (PIRA) in France and the Federal Republic of Germany, and Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) in France. In addition, authorities discovered several weapons caches apparently linked to Middle Eastern groups in Denmark, Cyprus, and Spain.
There were just two international terrorist incidents in Austria in 1989. The more significant of these took place in July when three Kurdish activists, including the leader of the Iranian Kurdish Democratic Party, were assassinated in Vienna during a meeting with three Iranian officials. The government was slow to respond to these murders despite strong evidence of official Iranian complicity. After public and press complaints about the slow response, as well as accusations that the government had succumbed to Iranian threats against the lives of Austrians in Iran, the investigation was intensified and, in November, warrants were issued for the three Iranian officials on suspicion of murder. One of the officials, who was injured during the shooting, was not originally considered a suspect and had been allowed to leave the country. The second fled Austria immediately after the killings, and the third took refuge in the Iranian Embassy in Vienna.
Austrian authorities have sought Interpol’s assistance in finding the fugitives and have stepped up surveillance against the Iranian Embassy in Vienna to prevent the escape of the one individual still suspected of being there.
Five Middle Eastern terrorists are imprisoned in Austria for attacks that took place in 1981 and 1985. In June, an Innsbruck court sentenced a terrorist sympathetic to the South Tyrol cause to five and a half years for crimes, including the unsuccessful attempt to derail a train in October 1988.
Austria values its role as an international center for negotiation and conciliation, and persons of all political persuasions are allowed to operate inside the country. Austria has traditionally close relations with many Arab states. The United States has noted an improvement in the policy level dialogue on counterterrorism since the November visit to Washington of the new Austrian Interior Minister.
There were five international terrorist attacks in Belgium in 1989—one more than in 1988. In March the Saudi Arabian Sunni Imam of Brussels’ largest mosque and his Tunisian librarian were killed by a gunman, probably in reaction to the Iman’s public opposition to Ayatollah Khomeini’s demand for the execution of author Salman Rushdie. In June an unknown gunman killed an Egyptian who worked as a driver at the Saudi Embassy in Brussels; the attack may have been linked to Saudi Arabia’s refusal to allow Iran to participate in the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in July. In March, unknown assailants threw two Molotov cocktails through a window of a Yugoslav travel agency in Brussels, causing minor damage but no injuries. No group claimed responsibility, but the incident probably resulted from ethnic Albanian conflicts in the Yugoslav Province of Kosovo. In December, a Syrian diplomat escaped an attempted assassination when two grenades were discovered attached to the undercarriage of his car.
Authorities continue investigations into the October killing of Belgian Jewish leader Joseph Wybran as well as the other attacks. A little known group, Soldiers of the Right, claimed credit for the attack on Wybran as well as the March attack in Brussels on the Saudi Imam. While Belgian authorities have drawn no firm conclusions concerning the identities of the killers or reasons for the attacks, some press reports have linked Soldiers of the Right to the Abu Nidal organization, possibly working in the pay of Iran.
Belgian hostage Dr. Jan Cools was released in Lebanon in May while the Belgian trade minister was on a visit to Libya. Although the trade minister initially indicated he discussed Dr. Cools’ release with Qadhafi, the Belgian Government stated the minister’s visit was to discuss trade relations with Libya and was unrelated to the Lebanese hostage issue. Dr. Cools’ abduction had also been claimed by the same group that claimed the Wybran and Saudi Imam’s killings, Soldiers of the Right.
Belgium continued efforts in 1989 to reach agreement on border security—including visa controls, information sharing and extradition matters—with the cosignatories of the Schengen agreement (Holland, Luxembourg, France, and West Germany).
Canada and the United States
Canada was the scene of one international terrorist incident in 1989. On 7 April, a Lebanese immigrant living in Montreal hijacked a US-bound passenger bus and ordered it to Ottawa. The hijacker claimed he was a member of the Lebanese Liberation Front and demanded that Syrian forces withdraw from Lebanon. He surrendered after releasing his hostages. No one was injured in the incident, but Canadian interests suffered from terrorist attacks in other areas of the world. One Canadian citizen was killed the bombing of UTA Flight 772 over Niger and another was wounded in a bombing in El Salvador in January.
Canada successfully sought the extradition from the United Kingdom of a former Sikh resident of Canada. He was wanted on charges of participating in the bombing that killed two baggage handlers in Tokyo’s Narita Airport in 1985. The baggage handlers died when a bomb exploded in luggage bound for an Air India flight which they were removing from an arriving Canadian flight. The suspected terrorist was extradited to Canada in December.
At yearend, convicted Palestinian terrorist Mahmoud Mohammed Issa Mohammed was still contesting deportation efforts by the Canadian Government. Mohammed, a former member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), is accused of having lied on his immigration application by concealing a conviction in Greece for participation in a 1968 attack on an El Al airliner. One Israeli was killed in that attack. A Canadian immigration panel is still deciding Issa’s claim to refugee status.
Canada participates with the US in a bilateral consultative group on counterterrorism cooperation. In 1989, it participated in a joint counterterrorism exercise, exchanged information on terrorism, discussed measures for managing transborder incidents, examined areas for joint research and development, and coordinated counterterrorism programs of third [world] countries.
The United States experienced three likely incidents of international terrorism is 1989. Bookstores in New York and California selling The Satanic Verses were bombed. Iran is believed to be behind the series of attacks around the world protesting the book.
Spillover of terrorism from the Middle East accounted for the lone terrorist incident in Cyprus in 1989. On 28 August two Iranian Kurdish dissidents—one of whom had published anti-Khomeini articles in Sweden—were shot and one killed in Larnaca as they were returning to their hotel. Authorities speculated that the murders were carried out by pro-Iranian supporters, but the investigation remains at a standstill.
In the court prosecution following the May discovery of SA-7 missiles believed to be planned for use in assassinating visiting Lebanese Christian leader General Michael Aoun, five of the six Lebanese suspects were convicted and each sentenced to a variable term of one to eight years in prison. The sixth, because of mental disorder, was sentenced to a term of one to five years. According to news reports, the six pleaded guilty to charges of illegal importation, possession and transportation of arms and explosives, in return for the government dropping the more serious charge of conspiracy to commit murder. The authorities proceeded with the trial despite repeated warning from groups sympathetic to the arrestees that Cyprus would suffer retribution should the six be prosecuted.
In June, the Cypriot Supreme Court reviewed the sentences that a lower court had imposed the previous January on two suspected Arab terrorists. The two were convicted of involvement in a 1987 ambush in which a British soldier and young female British dependent were wounded. While the Supreme Court upheld one conviction, it overturned the other, stating that the defendant’s complicity had not been proved beyond “every reasonable doubt.”
In October, a cache of explosives, grenades, and detonators believed to belong to Hizballah operatives was discovered in Larnaca in foodstuffs being shipped from Lebanon to Liberia. Authorities investigated the contents of the shipment after being tipped that it contained drugs. A second, related shipment was discovered in Valencia, Spain one month later. There are indications that both the Cyprus and Valencia arms and explosives were likely to be used against Western and moderate Arab targets.
Denmark experienced no acts of international terrorism in 1989. Two cases related to terrorism, however, captured public attention. Danish police in May discovered a Copenhagen apartment filled with antitank rockets, explosives, and other military ordnance. Although it is not known to what purpose these weapons were to be put, the group involved, dubbed the “Appel gang,” has been implicated in the planning of two kidnapping attempts in Europe and is suspected of involvement in several bank robberies. Seven gang members are currently imprisoned. The Danish group has been linked to the Middle East’s PFLP and may have been gathering information on Jewish interests for the PFLP as well as sending them money from the robberies. The second terrorism-related case concerned the arrest and interrogation of a Danish schoolteacher in Israel in July. The schoolteacher claimed that she traveled to Israel to meet the family of her Palestinian activist boyfriend and to learn about events on the West Bank. Israeli police claim she was part of a plot to place a bomb at the Jewish Olympics and blow up the Danish delegation, which included the chief rabbi of Copenhagen. The schoolteacher maintained her innocence and returned to Denmark upon her release from jail.
In January, the Foreign Ministry indicated that relations with Libya were being upgraded when it announced that an ambassador was being assigned to replace its charge d’affaires in Tripoli. Although the Danish Foreign Ministry intended the move only as a personnel action to accommodate the rotation of its personnel, criticism immediately followed, as this move appeared to break ranks with Denmark’s Western allies on how to handle relations with Libya. The Foreign Ministry subsequently withdrew the appointment and the Danish mission in Tripoli has been maintained at the charge level.
Denmark is a favorite destination of Middle Eastern asylum seekers and approximately 99 percent of all Palestinian applicants receive asylum. It is believed that most major Middle Eastern terrorist groups have taken advantage of this liberal policy to place “sleeper agents” in Denmark.
Federal Republic of Germany
International terrorist attacks decreased in 1989 from 1988, with 17 incidents as compared to 25, and the number of Middle Eastern spillover incidents decreased from four in 1988 to one in 1989. Five relatively minor incidents were against US targets. The number of domestic incidents continued to decline, suggesting that West German counterterrorist efforts have been successful and that there may be ideological disarray among radical West German leftists.
A variety of groups were responsible for the international attacks. Northern Ireland’s PIRA intensified its campaign against British military forces stationed in West Germany, conducting seven attacks that killed four persons and injured eight. Leftwing German groups are suspected in six international attacks conducted in solidarity with a hunger strike by imprisoned members of the Red Army Faction. The six were: three against Shell gas stations that also protested Shell investments in South Africa, and three arson attacks against a US automobile dealership, a US hotel, and a French automobile dealership. In June, several Serbians assassinated a Kosovo Albanian in Stuttgart. The PKK is suspected in the attempted assassination of a Turkish Kurd in Celle in April.
Middle Eastern terrorists are suspected in a bombing at Cologne University that injured two persons in February. A meeting of Iranian student groups commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution was taking place on the campus at the time of the explosion.
On the domestic front, the RAF claimed responsibility for the technically sophisticated bombing attack that killed Deutsche Bank Chairman Alfred Herrhausen and injured the driver of his armored car in November. The assassination was the first RAF attack since the group’s failed attack against a senior Finance Ministry official in September 1988. West German authorities are undertaking one of the biggest law enforcement efforts in recent years to find the persons who planted the bomb. Efforts are still under way to identify those responsible for the 1988 attempted assassination of Finance Ministry State Secretary Hans Tietmeyer. The RAF claimed responsibility for both attacks.
In May, imprisoned RAF terrorists ended a 100-day hunger strike that failed to achieve the primary goal of collocation of RAF prisoners. At one point, up to 50 prisoners in 18 prisons throughout West Germany participated in the strike. Supporters staged dozens of arson attacks and demonstrations in an expression of solidarity with the hunger strikers.
Several counterterrorist prosecutions took place in West German courts in 1989. In May, the Hesse State Supreme Court convicted Lebanese national Muhammad Ali Hammadi and sentenced him to life imprisonment for his role in the June 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 to Beirut, the murder of US Navy diver Robert Stethem, and the possession of explosives. The kidnapping of two West German relief workers in Lebanon just days before the Hammadi verdict may have been an unsuccessful attempt to influence the court in its decision. The two relief workers continue to be held. Bassam Makki, a Lebanese terrorist arrested in June 1989, received a two-year sentence for conspiracy to carry out bomb attacks against US and Israeli interests in Munich and Frankfurt. The trial of 20 PKK members for murder and other serious charges began in November 1989 in Düsseldorf. Also in Düsseldorf in June, the court sentenced a woman journalist to five years in prison for her involvement in a 1986 bombing of Lufthansa’s headquarters in Cologne by the domestic terrorist group Revolutionary Cells.
German authorities are expected to begin several other counterterrorism trials early in 1990. Two suspected PIRA members are charged with the bombings of British Army barracks in Duisburg and Ratigen during the summer of 1988. In addition, the West German Government has requested the extradition from France and Ireland of five suspected PIRA members accused of participation in bombing and shooting attacks against other British targets in Germany. Hafiz Dalkamoni, a ranking official of the PFLP-GC, and another group member have been held in custody since October 1988. They will be tried for two failed attacks against US military duty trains in 1987 and 1988. Press reports have also mentioned Dalkamoni as a suspect in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, in view of the similarities in the bombs found in his group’s possession and the one that destroyed the airliner.
The Federal Republic of Germany’s policies toward asylum seekers have resulted in the presence in the country of persons from terrorist supporting states or groups. Some terrorist organizations have established a support infrastructure within the country. In addition, since German border controls are minimal and Germany is a transportation center, it is likely that some wanted terrorists have passed through the country without knowledge of the authorities.
German authorities continue to work closely with US, British, and other authorities to identify the individuals responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland. West Germany actively participates with other members of groups such as Summit Seven, Interpol, the Trevi Group, and the United Nations and its specialized agencies such as ICAO and the IMO, to strengthen antiterrorism cooperation efforts. It continued efforts in 1989 to reach agreement on border security—including visa controls, information sharing, and extradition matters—with the other signatories of the Schengen agreement.
The number of international terrorist attacks in France declined to five in 1989 from 15 in 1988. Most of the incidents were unclaimed and involved bombs that caused property damage and no casualties. In March, a small bomb exploded on a window ledge outside the Moroccan Consulate in Lyon. A car bomb exploded outside the Commerce Office of the People’s Republic of China diplomatic mission in September. In October, a bomb damaged a publishing firm that printed the French version of The Satanic Verses; no injuries resulted. The French Government launched a major investigation to determine the group responsible for bombing a French UTA passenger jet in Central Africa, killing 171 persons aboard.
French police scored a number of successes against international terrorist groups in 1989. The French Government continued its fight against the Spanish Basque group ETA, which has traditionally used southwestern France as a staging ground for its operations. The Socialist government of Michel Rocard has maintained its policy of pursuing major ETA leaders living clandestinely in France, rather than expelling hundreds of minor suspected ETA terrorists or supporters as was practiced during the Chirac government during 1986/88. The action against ETA has been waged with a scrupulous regard for French laws, resulting in the occasional release of suspected Basque terrorists for lack of evidence or refusal to extradite them to Spain for procedural reasons.
In January 1989, French police arrested Jose Urruticoechea (aka Josu Ternera), considered to be among the top three ETA leaders, along with nine other ETA members. In May and June, French authorities arrested one of ETA’s founders and treasurer. In December, police uncovered the largest ETA arms cache ever discovered in France.
Other international terrorist groups affected by French police actions include the Italian Red Brigades and PIRA. In September, French authorities, acting in close coordination with Italian security services, arrested five members of a Parisian cell of the Red Brigades-Fight Communist Party faction. The following month French police arrested three members of the Red Brigades’ Union of Communist Combatants faction. French police worked closely with British and Irish authorities to arrest three important PIRA militants—including Patrick Murray, reputed to be one the group’s most deadly members—in eastern France in July. The PIRA members were allegedly preparing for a terrorist attack against British military targets in West Germany.
French counterterrorism policies were not uniformly applied to the challenge of dealing with domestic regionalist or nationalist terrorism. Paris maintained a tough stance with the small French Basque Iparretarrak (IK) separatist movement, as well as the Breton Revolutionary Alliance (ARB). The French Government took a more conciliatory approach, however, toward the Corsican National Liberation Front (FLNC) and the small Guadeloupe-based Caribbean Revolutionary Alliance (ARC).
IK maintained a low level of violence throughout 1989. The group failed in its attack on a French Government building in Biarritz in January, but successfully bombed an empty regional French tax office in Bayonne in June, and, in its potentially most deadly act, timed a bomb to derail the Paris-Madrid express—an operation that might have killed dozens had the train not been delayed on the Spanish side of the border. Police in Bayonne arrested the group’s chief ideologue in March.
The ARB carried out a nuisance campaign in 1989, targeting French public buildings in Brittany. French authorities arrested a half dozen members, and by yearend the group appeared inactive, if only temporarily.
Local police destroyed the ARC’s small terrorist network in Guadeloupe during 1987, and by 1989 the group no longer presented a serious threat. Responding to protests from a variety of political forces in Guadeloupe, the French Government included a dozen ARC members in the traditional Bastille Day amnesty in July 1989. At the time of the amnesty declaration, French counterterrorism magistrates were on the verge of trying the ARC members for a variety of terrorist acts.
The French Government policy toward the Corsican FLNC has been to lure it away from violence and to convince the group to abide by the truce declared with the central government in May 1988. In addition to formulating reforms designed to grant Corsica greater political and economic autonomy, the French Government released approximately 50 suspected FLNC terrorists in French prisons, and later extended the Bastille Day amnesty to include all convicted Corsican terrorists. The FLNC appears to have used the truce to rebuild its clandestine military apparatus. In November the group blew up two tourist apartment complexes in Corsica and destroyed a French Ministry of Agriculture building in Ajaccio. No casualties resulted from the attacks.
France was active in several multilateral organizations in 1989. President Mitterrand, acting in his capacity as leader of the Group of Seven leading industrial Western countries, reacted to the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 by calling an emergency meeting of the Summit Seven terrorism experts group, which met in Paris in January. The French Government convened a second meeting of the group in June to discuss counterterrorism language for the July Summit communiqué. In its role as European Community President during the last half of the year, France chaired the community’s Trevi Group, which manages police and security cooperation among the twelve members. Under French leadership, Trevi continue to work on the challenges stemming from the EC’s 1992 open borders project and began devising security measures to compensate for the abolition of the community’s internal frontiers. France was also active in multilateral efforts within ICAO and other venues to establish an international regime to tag plastic explosives.
France has one of Europe’s most experienced cadres of specialized counterterrorist magistrates, and the courts convicted substantial numbers of terrorists during 1989. These included the ringleaders of the leftwing Action Directe group and several mid-level Basque terrorists from ETA and Iparretarrak. In December 1989 a Paris court convicted a member of the now-defunct Palestinian terrorist group, 15 May Organization, and sentenced him to life imprisonment for his role in a series of bombings in London and Paris between 1983 and 1985 against Marks and Spencer department stores and Bank Leumi. The former 15 May leader, Abu Ibrahim, will be tried in absentia in early 1990.
The number of international incidents declined in Greece, from nine in 1988 to five in 1989, but domestic terrorism remained a major problem. The Greek terrorist group Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) bombed four cars belonging to US civilian employees at the Hellenikon Air Base—a tactic it used in its anti-US campaign in the 1970s. Another attack directed at foreigners was the bombing of a French bank to protest the convictions of French terrorists.
Greek domestic groups remained among the most active in Europe during 1989. The groups focused their attacks on targets associated with the Koskotas financial scandal, deliberations on the extradition of Mohammed Rashid, and the Parliamentary elections. The Revolutionary Organization 17 November in separate attacks killed one prosecutor and a prominent member of Parliament, Pavlos Bakoyiannis, who was the son-in-law of the leader of the conservative New Democracy party. 17 November is believed responsible for wounding a Supreme Court prosecutor and a Member of Parliament, George Petsos, who was a former Minister of Public Order. Greek authorities also believe the group was responsible for a bank robbery in June. The Revolutionary Organization 1 May claimed responsibility for killing another prosecutor and bombed the homes of a Supreme Court justice and the Greek police chief. ELA bombed a variety of domestic targets, including Greek Government buildings, a police precinct station and a European Community office, and it sent letter bombs to two journalists. Several local offices of Greek political parties were bombed before the elections in November, but no groups claimed responsibility.
The domestic terrorist attacks struck at the heart of the rule of law in Greece, targeting senior figures in the judiciary and members of Parliament. Despite repeated government declarations of actions against the terrorists in 1989, no key terrorist suspects were arrested.
In response to the shooting of the three judicial figures in January, the government of then Prime Minister Papandreou announced an eight-point counterterrorism program to increase the manpower and resources devoted to protecting potential targets and to identify and apprehend the terrorists. In the wake of the Bakoyiannis killing, the government of successor Prime Minister Tzannetakis pledged an enhanced counterterrorism effort, to include an offer of more that $1 million for information leading to the assassin’s capture. Neither of these efforts, however, has yet borne fruit. Meanwhile, two accused members of the “Anti-State Struggle” group implicated in an October 1987 shootout were released on bail and their trial indefinitely postponed.
The US request for extradition of Mohammed Rashid progressed to the top of the Greek judicial system. Rashid is a suspected Palestinian terrorist believed to have been involved in the 1982 bombing aboard a Pan Am aircraft over the Pacific in which one Japanese youth was killed. In May 1989, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision in favor Rashid’s extradition to the US. The case has since been awaiting a final decision, which, according to the Greek Constitution, rests with the Minister of Justice. Successive justice ministers have announced that the decision would be deferred pending the outcome of two separate rounds of parliamentary elections. In neither round did any single party receive sufficient votes to form a government.
Rashid remains in detention pending the outcome of a third round of elections set for April 1990. The Greek Government has said it has grounds to hold Rashid until September 1990. The United States considers Rashid’s extradition a key bilateral issue and an important indicator of Greece’s commitment to the fight against international terrorism.
There we no significant international incidents in Ireland in 1989.
The major forum for the Irish Government’s counterterrorism efforts during the year remained the Intergovernmental Conference of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. British requests for extradition of convicted IRA terrorists have been pursued through Irish courts. One British request, however—for suspected PIRA paymaster Father Patrick Ryan—was unsuccessful. The Irish Director of Public Prosecutions decided subsequently that there was insufficient evidence to try Ryan in Ireland.
Terrorism remained an important item on the Italian national agenda in 1989. Despite a widespread perception in Italy that the level of politically motivated terrorist activity has declined, the authorities and the public are determined that there not be any resurgence. Consequently, the Italian police forces, with public support, have continued to take an active, aggressive approach to dealing with the problem of terrorism.
Italy experienced five minor international terrorist attacks in 1989—up from three in 1988. In March, arsonists partially destroyed a bookshop owned by Salman Rushdie’s Italian publisher. In April, the small leftwing Autonomia group claimed responsibility for two arson attacks against vehicles belonging to US servicemen.
Italian police scored considerable successes against factions of the Red Brigades. In September, the French police, in coordination with Italian authorities, arrested five members of a BR cell wanted for the 1988 murder of Italian Christian Democratic Senator Ruffilli and two earlier killings. Four more members linked to the Parisian cell were picked up in Italy. Along with the four Italian terrorists, police arrested a Jordanian reportedly connected to the Abu Nidal organization but later released him for lack of evidence. The arrests followed the previous month’s capture on the French-Swiss border of another fugitive BR member who was subsequently expelled to Italy. French police arrested three members of another faction in October.
In September, Italian authorities announced a series of operations aimed at disrupting the infrastructure of a suspected arms supply relationship between a Palestinian group, the Popular Struggle Front (PSF), and organized crime elements in Calabria. Raids in various Italian cities led to an ongoing investigation of possible arrangements to ship arms and explosives into Italy.
Italy continued to be very active in 1989 in cooperating with the United States and other countries in counterterrorism matters. Italy was an important participant in the counterterrorism efforts of the EC, the UN General Assembly, the IMO, the ICAO, and the Group of Seven.
Italy also joined with the United States and Spain in assisting countries in South America in dealing with narcoticsrelated terrorism. This assistance will include the provision of equipment to police forces in those countries and the training of police officials and magistrates.
On the judicial front, prosecutions and appeals dating from the late 1970s and 1980s continued to work their way through the court system. In February, a court in Florence sentenced five reported rightwing extremists to life in prison for the 1984 bombing of a Milan-Naples train; others involved received lesser sentences. In May, a court rejected the final appeals of the ANO members convicted for the 1985 attack on Fiumicino Airport and upheld the sentences imposed by lower courts. The sentences in absentia of Abu Nidal and another ANO official were thus confirmed, as was the 30-year sentence given to the one surviving terrorist in custody. Also in May, an Italian court sentenced, in absentia, ANO terrorist al-Zomar to life in prison for the 1982 synagogue attack in Rome.
At the close of the year, Italy adopted a new judicial code, similar in many respects to the adversarial trial system in the United States. It is expected that the new procedures, when fully implemented, will speed the course of justice.
There were no significant international incidents in Malta in 1989. During the year, a Maltese appeals court upheld the 25-year sentence of Abu Nidal terrorist Omar Mohammed Ali Rezak, convicted in 1988 for the 1985 hijacking of an Egyptair flight in which one American was killed. In 1988, Libyans became eligible to enter Malta with only an ID card, which may make it easier for any terrorists from Libya to visit or transit the country.
Incidents of international terrorism in the Netherlands increased from two in 1988 to seven in 1989. Among the most significant attacks: in June, two unidentified gunmen wounded two prominent members of the PKK. The attack may have been the result of a power struggle within the group. In October, unidentified persons attacked Spanish targets on three separate occasions: a car bomb destroyed the Spanish Consulate General’s private vehicle parked near his residence in The Hague; two bombs also exploded at the Spanish trade and labor offices in The Hague. In mid-November, the Spanish separatist group ETA claimed it carried out the attacks in retaliation for the deportation of four ETA members to Spain from the Netherlands in 1979, but this claim has not been confirmed. In December, ETA claimed responsibility for launching two rockets at the Spanish Ambassador’s residence; damage was minimal and no injuries resulted.
In April, an Amsterdam appeals court sentenced a member of the Dutch radical group Radical Anti-Racist Group (RARA) to 18 months imprisonment, with six months suspended, for attempted arson in connection with RARA’s terrorist campaign to force the Dutch owner of a chain of retail stores to give up business interests in South Africa.
Founder and current leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), Jose Maria Sison, resides in the Netherlands where he provides the CPP with support activities, including fundraising. Sison is reportedly seeking asylum status in the Netherlands. The CPP’s armed wing in the Philippines, the New People’s Army, is believe responsible for assassinating three Americans in 1989.
Portugal suffered no terrorist attacks in 1989. In October, a Portuguese court ruled that five alleged members of the Antiterrorist Groups of Liberation (GAL) were not guilty of death squad activities against Basque exiles in France in 1986. The four Portuguese and one French national had been accused of six counts of terrorism and attempted homicide and had been convicted in 1987 for membership in a terrorist organization in connection with the attacks. In May, Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho and 27 other convicted members of the Popular Front of the 25th of April group (FP-25) were released from prison on constitutional and procedural grounds. In September, however, an appeals court reaffirmed their convictions for membership in a terrorist organization. Otelo and the other defendants remain at liberty pending a ruling by the Supreme Court.
The number of international terrorist incidents in Spain declined significantly from 56 in 1988 to 22 in 1989. Although the highest number of international terrorist attacks in Western Europe occurred in Spain, all but two were low-level attacks conducted by the separatist group ETA against French targets—primarily automobile dealerships—in order to protest French arrest and extradition ETA members. Although the attacks were designed to avoid casualties, in May three policemen were killed while trying to dismantle a bomb at a Peugot dealership. In June, the smaller Basque terrorist group Iraultza, which is anti-NATO and is composed of elements from the Basque Communist movement, claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Citibank office in San Sebastian—that caused considerable damage but no casualties. In December, Iraultza bombed a Ford car dealership in Vitoria, causing minor damage and no injuries. It also claimed six other bombings against domestic targets that injured two people.
Several domestic terrorist groups maintained or returned to terrorist activity in Spain in 1989. After the collapse of talks with the Spanish Government in April, ETA abrogated its cease-fire with dozens of bombings, shooting, and rocket grenade attacks against the government, military, and judiciary targets, killing approximately 18 persons and injuring almost 3 dozen. The Catalan separatist group Terra Lliure is believed responsible for six bombings against government and civilian targets that injured two people. The First of October Anti-Fascist Group (GRAPO), which has occasionally attacked US targets in Spain and was seemingly dormant for a few years, resurfaced in 1989 as a terrorist threat. GRAPO attempted two bank robberies and launched three attacks in 1989, all directed against domestic targets, which resulted in five deaths and two injuries.
In a coordinated action in Madrid and Valencia in November, police arrested eight suspected members of the radical Shia group Hizballah and seized a large quantity of plastic explosives, electric detonators, and hand grenades. A Spanish judge released one of the suspects after he made a statement. According to Spanish police, the detainees intended to use Spain as a base from which to mount attacks against US, French, Israeli, Kuwaiti, and Saudi Arabian targets—principally airports and airlines—in Western Europe.
During 1989, Spanish courts continued to deal sternly with domestic terrorist cases. The Spanish Government regularly prosecutes members of ETA and other domestic terrorist groups for terrorist acts committed in Spain. Government prosecutors generally seek and often obtain stiff prison terms. For example, in October a Madrid court convicted two ETA members of the bombing of a Barcelona department store in June 1987 in which 21 people died and 41 were wounded. The court sentenced the two individuals to prison terms of 794 years each. Such stern penalties appear to be becoming the norm; however, the national constitution limits actual time in prison to a maximum of 30 years. This limitation makes the lengthy prison terms of only symbolic importance, but they are indicative of the general lack of sympathy of terrorism among the Spanish public and within the country’s judicial system.
In October, the Spanish Government initiated extradition procedures against two prominent ETA members to have them returned from the Dominican Republic. The ETA members were exiled to that country from Algeria following the breakdown of talks between ETA and representatives of the Spanish Government in Algiers earlier in 1989. Madrid is also requesting the extradition of an ETA leader currently being held in France.
Spain is an active participant in the EC’s Trevi Group and was Trevi president for the first six months of 1989. The Spanish Government also cooperates in antiterrorist operations on a bilateral basis—most notably, with France in cases involving members of ETA. France and Spain maintain a police liaison office to strengthen counterterrorist cooperation.
Sweden was spared from international terrorist attacks in 1989. Several radical Palestinian and Kurdish groups, however, are believed to have used Sweden as a base for terrorist acts abroad. In December 1989, a Stockholm court tried four Palestinians believed linked to the PSF who were charged with bombings in Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam in 1985 and 1986. Two of the Palestinians received life imprisonment, the remaining two received sentences of one and six years. Several Kurds who have served prison terms in Sweden for terrorist-related crimes were sentenced to deportation. Because the Kurds risk execution or persecution in their home countries, Swedish law prohibits their actual deportation. They have been allowed to remain in Sweden, but with limited freedom of movement, and they are required to report regularly to the police.
In 1989, the Swedish Government submitted to Parliament for ratification the 1988 Protocol to the 1971 Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation and the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigations, both of which Sweden had signed in 1988.
Swedish authorities are seeking ways to stop the flow of Middle Eastern and other refugees and asylum seekers into the country who arrive without proper identification.
Stockholm was the site in March of an antiterrorism conference with participation by experts from the United States, Great Britain, Belgium, France, and Israel.
Switzerland was the scene of one international terrorist incident in 1989. An unidentified person hurled a grenade at the home of an Albanian family in Geneva. The grenade rolled under a car where it exploded without causing casualties.
Two Swiss employees of the International Red Cross (ICRC) were kidnapped in Lebanon in October—perhaps in retaliation for the sentencing of a Lebanese national earlier in the year. After the ICRC failed to resolve the kidnapping through its own contacts, the Swiss Foreign Ministry announced it would approach governments that could be of help in locating and freeing the hostages. The Swiss Government also issued an international public appeal for the release of the two Swiss Citizens.
Swiss courts prosecuted several counterterrorist trials in 1989. In February, a Lebanese national linked to Hizballah, who had hijacked an Air Afrique airliner to Geneva in 1987, killing a French passenger in the process, received a life sentence on charges of murder, hostage taking and five lesser offenses. In November, a Swiss court sentenced a member of the Italian Red Brigades terrorist group to life imprisonment for participating in the assassination of an Italian judge in 1978. The Swiss Government had earlier declined to extradite the Red Brigades member to Italy because he had acquired Swiss citizenship and could not be extradited under Swiss law.
Switzerland continued in 1989 its function as protecting power for US interests in Iran. This role included passing communications to and from Iran regarding terrorism issues, notably the holding of American hostages in Lebanon in the summer of 1989. The Swiss provided legal assistance to US authorities helpful for the pending prosecution of suspected Palestinian terrorist Mohammed Rashid and two others for the 1982 bombing on board a Pan American airliner in which one person was killed.
Turkey experienced 12 international terrorist incidents in 1989, the same as 1988. The number of anti-US incidents, however, increased from two in 1988 to six in 1989. In September, a woman threw a pipe bomb over the wall of the Consulate General compound in Istanbul. The attacker was apprehended at the scene by Turkish police and is in custody awaiting legal proceedings. The US Air Force commissary in Izmir was bombed November, and in December, a Turkish group, the 16 June Organization, claimed responsibility for bombing a boat belonging to the US Consulate. British, Israeli, and Saudi interests were also the targets of attacks in Turkey during the year. In October, the automobile of a Saudi Arabian embassy administrative official in Ankara was blown up, severely injuring the driver, who lost both legs. In an anonymous call to a news agency, the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, saying the attack was in retaliation for the Saudi execution of Islamic Jihad members following the hajj bombings.
Violence by PKK separatists continued through the year. Many Turks believe that the PKK receives direct support from Syria and Iran and indirect support from Iraq and the Soviet Union. Turkish security forces mounted numerous operations against the PKK in the summer and fall. The November murder of 28 villagers, mostly women and children, in Ikiyaka on the Iraqi border was the worst terrorist incident since 1987. The PKK terrorists reportedly fled to Iraq after the attack.
Other radical Turkish groups increased the level of their operations in 1989, despite several counterterrorist successes by Turkish authorities. Dev Sol, Dev Yol, the Turkish Workers and Peasants Liberation Army (TIKKO), and the Marxist-Leninist Armed Propaganda Unit (MLAPU) were the most active, bombing several private businesses, key government office buildings, courts, and police stations. Domestic groups also were responsible for all of the anti-US incidents in Turkey during the year. The groups maintained the pace of their attacks in the face of arrests. In March, for example, the police arrested at least 50 suspected members of Dev Sol and, in May, 39 Dev Yol members were arrested. The continuing high level of operations in spite of the arrests suggests the groups a large base of potential recruits—possibly among university students, according to Turkish press reports—but have not developed a high degree of internal security.
The press reported in February that the Ankara Appeals Court reversed on technical grounds the State Security Court conviction of eight individuals accused of the 1986 munitions factory bombing in Kirikkale. Seven persons died and 24 were wounded in that incident. About September, the two Libyans previously convicted of the 1986 bombing of a US officers club were released and deported. Apparently the two terrorists had completed two-thirds of their original five-year prison terms, after which reduction is automatic under Turkish law. In late November, the press reported that the two Iranian kidnappers, who attempted to smuggle an anti Khomeini dissident back to Iran in the trunk of their car in October 1988, were released and sent back to Iran. The two had served about one year in prison. (Two Iranian diplomats also involved in this kidnap attempt were not prosecuted because of diplomatic immunity, but they were expelled.)
International incidents increased in the United Kingdom to 10 in 1989 from four in 1988, with attacks against bookstores selling Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses accounting for most of the increase. Salman Rushdie was given round-the-clock protection by British police, and government officials made it clear that the United Kingdom held Iran directly responsible for any action taken against British nationals or others as a result of Iran’s threats against Rushdie.
Twenty-three Iranians were arrested and deported from the United Kingdom on national security grounds in 1989. In August, a man was killed in his London hotel room while apparently priming a bomb for use against a bookstore. Several attacks against British interests in Pakistan, Turkey, and Egypt may also have been protests of Salman Rushdie’s book. British interests also were attacked in Peru, Iraq, West Germany, and Lebanon
Northern Ireland terrorists continued a high level of operations in 1989, carrying out attacks that killed 62 people. PIRA remained the most active nationalist group, and the most significant single terrorist threat to the United Kingdom, but the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and its offshoot, the Irish Peoples Liberation Organization (IPLO), also carried out attacks.
British authorities discovered several PIRA weapons and explosives caches that the group had prepared to support operations outside Northern Ireland. Some of the munitions were provided by Libya, and the United Kingdom has demanded information from Libya on what support it has given to PIRA. PIRA intensified its campaign against British military forces in the United Kingdom and on the Continent, bombing barracks in the United Kingdom and West Germany. British soldiers and their dependents were also the victims of several car bombings and shooting in West Germany; the wife of a British soldier and the 6-month-old child of another were killed by PIRA in separate attacks. Bombs were also set off in British housing areas in Northern Ireland and West Germany, indicating the group is intentionally targeting dependents.
Throughout the year, Nationalist and Loyalist groups engaged in an escalating series of retaliatory murders. Also, several members of the Northern Ireland security services were arrested for allegedly providing police files on suspected Nationalist group members to Loyalist paramilitary groups. In April, members of the Protestant Ulster Defense Association were accused of offering to supply South Africa with Blowpipe missiles in return for weapons.
The judicial response to Northern Ireland terrorist organizations, under the auspices of the 1984 Prevention of Terrorism Act, continued to be strong in 1989. The Act enables special courts to carry out terrorist trials in Northern Ireland despite the persistent threat of PIRA terrorism against judges and juries. Cooperative international efforts to arrange the extradition of wanted PIRA members from several West European countries as well as the United States also continued in 1989.
The United Kingdom was a leader in international efforts to combat terrorism in 1989. It provided significant assistance to other countries seeking to improve their counterterrorist capability. As the international investigation into the bombing of Pan Am 103 progressed, the United Kingdom took a leading position in the movement toward new international agreements on aviation security, control of explosives, and the sharing of information and technology to combat terrorist threats to civil aviation. The British Government is also an active leader of efforts in the UN, EC, and other international forums to penalize countries that support terrorism.
International terrorists continued to use Yugoslavia as a transit route and safe haven. The number of terrorist attacks against Yugoslav targets increased during 1989, including bombings in Baghdad that injured several Yugoslavs, and the firebombing of a Yugoslav travel agency in Brussels. Inside the country there were several bomb explosions that were apparently terrorist related, including the bombing of a bookstore belonging to a firm that had announced its intention to publish The Satanic Verses in Serbo-Croatian.
The Yugoslav Government continued in 1989 to publicly oppose terrorism and to implement measures aimed at establishing greater controls over the entry and stay of foreigners to prevent misuse of its territory. It has also evidenced a willingness to cooperate more seriously with other countries in investigating terrorist incidents.
Yugoslavia’s geographic position, the large numbers of visiting foreign tourists, the nearly 15,000 students from Middle Eastern countries and financial stringencies, however, continue to limit the government’s ability to prevent the transit of potential terrorists across its territory, although it has taken measures making such transit more difficult.
In June, Yugoslavia hosted a meeting of experts from five Balkan nations intended to increase cooperation against terrorism, drug trafficking, and other criminal activity.
The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe Overview
In 1989, Moscow and the other East European governments provided military and economic support to several radical regimes involved in terrorism that indirectly fostered continued terrorist activities. In addition, Middle Eastern and Japanese terrorists maintained a variety of support operations in Eastern Europe. The United States maintained various levels of dialogue on counterterrorism with the previous regimes in Eastern Europe. The counterterrorist dialogue is expected to improve with the coming to power of more representative governments in the region.
At the same time, international terrorist increased their targeting of Soviet and East European interests in 1989. In February, the Soviet Embassy in Beirut was the target of a rocket attack. One South African national was convicted in the hijacking of a Soviet cargo plane carrying 174 members of the African National Congress after the aircraft took off from Luanda for Dar es Salaam. Security agents on board the aircraft subdued the hijackers. Peruvian terrorists dynamited a bus carrying Soviet seamen and their wives in July, injuring 33, and bombed the Soviet Embassy in Lima in October. Sendero Luminoso probably carried out both attacks. Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Polish interests were attacked in a series of shooting and bombings in Baghdad. In one of the most serious attacks, three Poles were killed and several wounded by a car bomb outside a camp for Polish workers in Iraq.
Incidents of domestic violence and terrorism were on the rise in the Soviet Union—particularly in the Caucasus between Armenians and Azeris—in 1989. According to Soviet press reports, violence between the two groups has resulted in several hundred casualties. In September, for example, a bomb exploded on a bus traveling from Soviet Georgia to Azerbaijan, killing five people and wounding 27. Authorities claim to have confiscated thousands of firearms—including automatic weapons, allegedly smuggled into the country and stolen from the police and Soviet armed forces—and explosives from both communities in the region. In addition, Soviet officials reported at least three aircraft hijackings during the year and discovery of two bombs in the Moscow subway. Authorities stated that the incident in the subway was reminiscent of bombing of the subway system in 1977 and 1985 that they believed were carried out by Armenians.
Although the Soviet Union continued to maintain cordial relations with several state sponsors of terrorism, it took a number of specific actions against terrorism domestically and internationally in 1989, including offering cooperation with the United States and others investigating the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing.
Counterterrorism issues have become a regular topic of discussion in the ongoing US-Soviet dialogue. The Soviets have also become more active in denouncing terrorist acts. The Soviet Union ratified the Montreal Protocol in April dealing with combating violence at international airports and had supported efforts within ICAO to further enhance the security of civil aviation.
While expanding a counterterrorism dialogue with the West, the Soviets continue their preference for broader, less concrete multilateral efforts against terrorism. This likely reflects reluctance to take concrete actions against state sponsors with whom they maintain advantageous diplomatic relations, such as Syria, North Korea, Libya, Cuba, and South Yemen. The Soviets apparently have also subordinated counterterrorism in their effort to improve relations with Iran. The Soviet foreign minister visited Tehran in February immediately after Iran issued the Salman Rushdie death threat.
The United States raised its concerns to the authorities of the German Democratic Republic about questionable activities of certain accredited diplomatic missions in East Berlin, such as the Libyan People’s Bureau. The previous Polish regime expressed in bilateral talks their desire to cooperate on counterterrorism matters, and the Solidarity government that replaced it is expected to demonstrate greater determination.
In Czechoslovakia, despite strong public counterterrorism stands, there were indications that the country was allowed to be used as a transit point by terrorist groups traveling between the Middle East and Europe and that terrorists may have visited Czech resorts for rest and recreation. Possibly in reaction to media charges that the Czech plastic explosive Semtex may have been used in the downing of Pan Am Flight 103, the government worked with the British to produce a UN resolution for the international control of plastic explosives.
The Bulgarian Government in August ratified the 1963 Tokyo Convention on air piracy and was accepted in November as a member of Interpol, the international police body, which should allow for greater cooperation on counterterrorism as well as other criminal matters. The controlled press under the previous Bulgarian regime never explicitly condemned the killing of Colonel Higgins in July, although it did express concern over the February Iranian death threats against Salman Rushdie.
The number of international incidents in Asia dropped in 1989, down from 194 incidents in 1988, to 55. The reduction stems largely from a decrease in bombing attacks in Pakistan carried out by the Afghan Ministry of State Security (WAD). In the Philippines, the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) launched several attacks against Americans, including the assassinations of US Army Colonel Rowe in April and two Department of Defense contractors in September. We believe the NPA will continue to pose a major threat to US personnel and facilities. In South Korea, students carried out several acts of arson against US facilities. Developments elsewhere in Asia that pose concern for 1990 include the insurgencies in India and Sri Lanka, the continued existence of the JRA, and North Korea’s support for terrorism.
The number of bombings in Pakistan sponsored by the WAD declined noticeably in 1989, following the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan. There were 16 terrorist bombings and two armed attacks attributable to WAD in 1989, reflecting a downward trend in WAD operations inside Pakistan since the second half of 1988. There were 128 bombings attributed to WAD in 1987—the peak of Afghan-sponsored terrorist operations against Pakistan—and 118 in 1988. The pullout of Soviet forces from Afghanistan probably has forced the Kabul regime to redirect WAD manpower away from external operations to counter the insurgency inside Afghanistan. The withdrawal of regime forces into heavily defended urban areas just before the Soviet pullout also allowed the insurgents to close down border infiltration routes into Pakistan used by Afghan agents. WAD also probably lost Soviet logistic support for its external operations, although it is unlikely the Soviets participated directly in WAD operations inside Pakistan.
WAD nevertheless retains the capability to conduct terrorist operations against Afghan targets inside Pakistan. WAD agents probably contributed to an upsurge of terrorist activity in Pakistan during the second half of 1989. At least four of more than a dozen bombings that took place in northwestern Pakistan between July and November were directed against Afghan refugees. In at least two incidents, including the 10 October bombing of a Rawalpindi bus terminal, the perpetrator used a Soviet-made detonator, a trademark of past WAD bombing attacks. A large number of bombings in northwestern Pakistan probably are a result of internal domestic unrest rather than external state sponsorship, but WAD may have been able to enlist the support of Pakistani dissidents to plant bombs.
There were no international terrorist incidents in Australia although the wife of the former Pan Africanist Congress representative is awaiting trial for the 1988 fire bombings of several vehicles owned by US Embassy personnel. Canberra has continued to take a strong stand against international terrorist acts:
- In February, at an ICAO conference, Australia strongly endorsed measures to make plastic explosives susceptible to detection.
- Throughout the year, it dispatched experts on airport safety to other nations in the Pacific and South Asia. It also has shared expertise and information on terrorism with other Pacific countries.
- In May, the Australian Parliament passed the Hostages Act, implementing legislation related to the International Convention against the taking of hostages.
- The Australian Government continued to implement a 1988 Pacific Forum initiative to combat terrorism through the sharing of expertise and information on the subject.
Although no international attacks took place in India during 1989, the level of violence remained high. Sikh extremists continued their campaign of assassination against moderate Sikh leaders and Hindus. Major incidents included the killing of 26 members of a rightwing Hindu group, the National Volunteer Group, by Sikh militants in June. Sikh extremists were thought to be responsible for two major bombings. In June, a powerful explosion ripped through a New Delhi railway station during the morning rush hour, killing seven persons and injuring 50. In August, a bomb exploded on a bus en route from Punjab to New Delhi, killing 17 persons and injuring 30. No one has been charged in either case.
Prior to the November parliamentary elections, the Indian Government’s response to domestic incidents of terror focused on maintaining law and order. In January, the two Sikh extremists convicted of the 1984 assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi were executed after all appeals were exhausted. The November elections resulted in Sikh radicals winning 10 of Punjab’s 13 seats. Within days of being sworn in, the new national government began a campaign to establish rapport with the alienated Sikh community. The Prime Minister replaced the Punjab governor with a person more acceptable to the Sikhs. The new Sikh parliamentarians supported him during the first critical vote of confidence. At the end of the year, the parliament voted in favor of a government proposal to repeal a constitutional amendment that was offensive to the Sikhs. This action prevents the government from continuing central rule of Punjab beyond May 1990 without another constitutional amendment.
The government’s gestures, however, did not have a noticeable effect in deterring extremist Sikh violence, which continued unabated during December. Nevertheless, the new government showed a willingness to negotiate the return of state government to locally elected officials and a political solution to the Punjab crisis.
The Indian Government continued to seek the extradition from the United States of two Sikhs alleged to have been involved in the 1986 assassination of a retired Indian Army Chief of Staff. Sikh militants in North America and the United Kingdom concentrated on wresting political control of Sikh temples to raise money for their compatriots in India.
Kashmiri terrorists opposed to the central government’s influences increased their campaign of violence in 1989. Police suspect that they were responsible for the May bombing of a bus in Kashmir that killed one person and injured six and for a July attack on a police station in Srinigar, the region’s summer capital. In December, Kashmiri separatists bombed an Indian Airlines office in Kashmir Valley. The same month, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), the most prominent of the militant Muslim groups, kidnapped and held for five days the daughter of the new union home minister, himself a Kashmiri Muslim. In exchange for her release, the Jammu and Kashmir government freed five jailed JKLF members. By the end of the year, popular support for independence from India, a goal of the militants, had grown to the point that the central government began deploying Army forces to the Valley to restore order.
Although denied by Pakistan authorities, the Indian Government continued to claim that both Sikh and Kashmiri extremists were receiving training, arms, and sanctuary from Pakistan.
Two minor international terrorist incidents took place in Japan in 1989. A low-level bombing took place near Yokosuka for which no group claimed responsibility, and a bomb was found on the Burmese Embassy compound in December. Although not classified as terrorist because of the personal motivation involved, a CAAC aircraft on a domestic flight in China was hijacked to Fukuoka in mid-December. The aircraft with all passengers and crew was returned to China, and the hijacker is in a Japanese jail awaiting extradition. JRA terrorists did not carry out any attacks in 1989, but they remain a serious terrorist threat and can conduct worldwide operations. JRA members continued to travel in or through Western and Eastern Europe and Southeast and Northeast Asia to maintain links to other terrorist groups as well as North Korea and possibly with Libya. The cases of JRA members Osamu Maruoka and Hiroshi Sensui, arrested in 1987 and 1988 respectively, are still under adjudication.
The Chukaku-ha (Middle Core Faction) and other radical leftist groups within Japan committed a number of small-scale, politically motivated attacks of arson and sabotage. On several occasions, timed incendiary devices set by the Chukaku-ha destroyed the property of construction companies and government officials involved in the second-phase construction of the new Tokyo International Airport. In late February, a bomb exploded along the route of the motorcade of the Emperor’s funeral but caused no injuries. The Kakurokyo, or Revolutionary Workers Association, claimed responsibility. The Kakurokyo is thought to be responsible for the February time bomb attack on the shrine of Togo Heihachiro, an admiral in the Japanese Imperial Navy.
In May 1989, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established a Division for the Prevention of Terrorism. This office will analyze counterterrorism information, formulate policies, and coordinate cooperation in international fora. Also in May, the National Police established the Second Foreign Affairs Division, responsible for strengthening counterterrorism measures with special reference to the Japanese Red Army.
Japan continued to endorse international efforts to combat terrorism, supporting resolutions in the United Nations and the ICAO. Tokyo also cooperates with US authorities in investigations of criminal matters. Reflecting the high-level attention accorded to such matters, the Japanese Prime Minister joined the US President in a communiqué in September following their Washington summit that included agreement to cooperate in counterterrorism matters.
The number of international terrorist incidents reported in Pakistan dropped from 127 in 1988 to 25 in 1989, resulting from a decrease in the number of bombings against Pakistani-based Afghan resistance fighters and refugees by WAD. The bombings typically occurred in places frequented by large crowds—bus depots and train stations—in order to inflict high casualties. The 4 July bombing of a minibus in Peshawar killed 10 people. Pakistani authorities blame WAD for more than a dozen bombings in Rawalpindi, Peshawar, and Lahore, but in some cases the bombings probably were the work of Pakistani dissident groups. WAD retains the capability to stage terrorist operations inside Pakistan and probably was behind the 10 October bombing of a Rawalpindi bus terminal. WAD-sponsored terrorist acts are likely to continue inside Pakistan as long as Islamabad continues to support the Afghan mujahidin.
Iran recently stepped up attacks against Saudi interests in Pakistan, reflecting Tehran’s displeasure with Riyadh’s decision to execute 16 Kuwaiti Shia implicated in the 1989 Mecca bombings. Iranian agents or Shia sympathizers inside Pakistan probably were behind the 14 October bombing of a Saudia ticket office in Lahore. Iranian agents also may have assassinated Abdullah Azzam on 24 November. Azzam was considered the focal point of Saudi aid to the Afghan resistance movement. Terrorist attacks against Saudi targets inside Pakistan may increase as a result of intensifying Saudi-Iranian competition for influence with the Afghan resistance movement.
Iranian agents or Shia sympathizers probably were behind three bombings in 1989 directed against British targets in Pakistan to protest publication of The Satanic Verses. In February and March 1989, bombs damaged the British Council libraries in Islamabad, Peshawar, and Karachi. The bombings took place after business hours; in one incident a Pakistani security guard was killed.
None of the terrorist incidents in 1989 appear to have been directed against the United States, but the limited capabilities of Pakistan’s counterterrorist forces leave US personnel vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Cooperation among government security agencies is often ineffective, and their performance has been hindered by rivalries between central and local law enforcement agencies. The Pakistani Government has attempted on a continuing basis to enhance its antiterrorist and law enforcement capabilities. Pakistan participates in the State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program.
The ANO terrorists convicted of the 1986 Pan Am hijacking in Karachi remain in jail while their appeals are pending before the courts.
In the Philippines, although total incidents of terrorism against foreign targets decreased from 12 in 1988 to nine in 1989, the nature of these cases was far more serious than in previous years. In contrast to 1988, when no American casualties were incurred, attacks against US targets resulted in three fatalities. The threat to US citizens increased as CPP New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas and “sparrow” urban assassination units began to monitor the activities of a broadening range of US citizens.
The willingness of terrorist teams to attack Americans over the past year is probably the result of high-level CPP/NPA directives based on a decision to open an active anti-American front. In particular, the Communists may wish to send a strong message during preliminary US-Philippine base agreement renegotiations. Increased security at US military facilities and the protective measures taken by high-profile US officials who are priority targets, however, appear to be motivating CPP/NPA terrorists toward less selective targeting.
NPA terrorist operations in April ended a hiatus in anti-US attacks since 1987, when one retiree and two off-duty US enlisted servicemen were killed outside Clark Airbase. The recent operations against US interests have been:
- An aborted mission on 6 April to mine a road outside Clark used by US personnel to gain access to a firing range.
- The bombing on 9 April of a joint US-Philippines communications site on Mt. Cabuyao guarded by Philippine forces.
- The assassination on 21 April of US Army Col. James Rowe en route to his office in Manila.
- The killing of two US civilian Department of Defense contractors in their vehicle north of Clark on 26 September, apparently timed to coincide with the arrival of Vice President Quayle in Manila.
- A probable NPA attack on 14 December against the US Embassy’s Seafront compound in Manila; two antipersonnel rifle grenades evidently intended to inflict indiscriminate casualties were launched, fortuitously resulting only in minor damage.
- The after-hours machinegun strafing on 24 December of a USIS building in Davao City in the southern Philippines.
These attacks and continuing threats against American official and military personnel indicate an active international terrorist campaign with possible links to Libya and other terrorist organizations. The CPP/NPA is also believed to obtain financial and material support from Communist and leftist sources abroad. The founder of the CPP now lives and maintains an office in the Netherlands from which he conducts public relations, fundraising, and other support activities.
During 1989, nearly 100 Philippine Government and security officials have been assassinated, the vast majority by the NPA. Besides the threat from the CPP/NPA, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a Muslim secessionist group, also seeks to attain its objectives through violent means. In addition, disgruntled participants in the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) December coup attempt have threatened to perpetrate terrorist attacks against both the Aquino government and US forces seen to have supported the government.
The Government of the Philippines has issued public statements condemning domestic terrorism and has urged security forces and the public to take measures to combat it. The government has launched a reward program for information leading to the arrest of major Communist figures in the Philippines and abroad. Despite limitations on available resources and the pressures of active Communist and Muslim insurgencies, Manila has devoted manpower and attention to the protection of US interests and the investigation of the killings of Americans. To date, these efforts have resulted in the arrest and arraignment of two suspects in the Rowe murder case. Their trial, originally expected to begin in late 1989, has been delayed until April 1990. The investigation continues into the killing of the two Defense Department civilian employees. Complaints have been filed against several suspects who remain at large. The two suspected terrorists charged in the 1987 killings of US military personnel escaped from police custody while en route to trial. Despite their escape, the trial has continued and a verdict is expected sometime in 1990.
The Government of the Philippines continues to be a willing participant in programs of bilateral cooperation with and training in the United States on counterterrorism issues.
In 1989, there were 14 relatively minor attacks against US interests—down from 21 in 1988—by radical students and other Korean dissidents. A US military truck at Camp Henry was slightly damaged in January by student-thrown molotov cocktails. On two occasions students attacked the American Cultural Center in Kwangju with molotov cocktails, rocks, steel pipes, and sledge hammers, causing minor damage but no injuries. In March, in two separate incidents, student demonstrators hurled molotov cocktails at a US military housing area in Seoul causing slight damage but no injuries. In late July, a handful of university students unsuccessfully attempted to break into the US Cultural Center in Seoul.
In April, a South Korean court sentenced ex-North Korean agent Kim Hyon-Hui to death for planting a bomb on the November 1987 KAL Flight 858, which resulted in the death of 115 people. Kim is appealing her sentence, and it is expected that the government eventually will commute it.
Throughout the year, the Republic of Korea demonstrated a strong concern about international terrorism, maintained a close liaison relationship with the United States, and worked to improve its counterterrorist capability.
In 1989, political violence in Sri Lanka reached post independence highs, with over 8,500 persons killed, the majority civilians. There were, however, no reported acts of international terrorism.
Tamil militant factions, including the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and the Maoist Janatha Vimukhti Perumana (JVP), a Sinhalese extremist group, were reportedly responsible for acts of domestic terrorism during 1989. In addition, vigilante groups, in some cases credibly linked to Sri Lankan security forces, were responsible for the deaths of many JVP suspects. By the end of the year, a government crackdown on the JVP had led to the capture and death of much of the JVP leadership.
The government dropped all charges in January 1990 against a group of LTTE suspects accused of bombing an Air Lanka plane on the ground on Colombo in May 1986. Twenty-eight persons, including foreigners (but no Americans), were killed in the attack. The LTTE’s relations with the government improved dramatically in 1989 and, by the end of the year, the LTTE had formed a political party to contest elections in Tamil-majority areas likely to occur in 1990.
Sub-Saharan Africa Overview
In 1989, Africa ranked fifth in incidents of international terrorism. The number of incidents classified as international terrorist acts decreased slightly from 52 to 48. The most significant terrorist act occurred on 19 September when a bomb destroyed a French UTA airliner that crashed in Niger, killing 171 people—including seven US citizens. The case remains unsolved. Armed attacks and kidnappings carried out by local insurgent groups in South and Central Africa account for the majority of international incidents. Cross-border raids into Zimbabwe by the Mozambican National Resistance Movement (RENAMO) account for more than a third of insurgent related violence. When involved, Europeans—missionaries and foreign workers—tended to be random targets caught up in insurgent operations. Americans apparently were not the primary targets of terrorist incidents.
South Africa continued to be suspected of sponsoring bombing attacks against African National Congress dissidents in neighboring African states. The South African police also have been linked publicly to “death squad” killings of two prominent antiregime activists in 1989. Libya continued to cultivate ties to subversive groups in Sub-Saharan Africa, while trying to improve Libyan relations with moderate African leaders. In April 1989, Burundi expelled the Libyan diplomatic mission, claiming the Libyan People’s Bureau there was involved in an attempt to overthrow the government. Libyan diplomats were expelled from Benin in 1988 for the same reason.
There were no state-sponsored acts of terrorism against US interests in Africa during 1989, but Americans living or traveling in this region are highly vulnerable to terrorist operations. Africa provides an ideal operating environment for terrorist groups because of the limited counterterrorist capabilities of most regional states and inadequate security procedures at most African airports.
There were no international terrorist incidents in Chad during 1989, although security at N’Djamena airport has been tightened in the wake of the UTA Flight 772 bombing. That flight, originating from the Congo, had stopped in Chad before exploding over Niger.
People’s Republic of the Congo
The September 1989 destruction of the UTA flight originating in Brazzaville provoked renewed interest in the government’s antiterrorism measures. Forty-nine Congolese citizens were on board. Airport security procedures in Brazzaville have been increased, although new measures are limited by the country’s economic crisis.
Of the six countries on the US terrorism list, four—Cuba, Iran, Libya, and North Korea—maintain diplomatic missions in Brazzaville. The Congo has long maintained a policy of offering refuge to citizens of other countries.
The Tunisian national charged in connection with the 1987 bombing of the Cafe [L’]Historil in which 11 persons were killed remains in jail awaiting trial. In a unique development, the entire Djiboutian bar was appointed joint defense council. Since the authorities plan to interview every available witness before bringing the case to trial, it is unlikely the case will come before the courts in the foreseeable future.
RENAMO violence has been directed against nationals in neighboring Zimbabwe and Zambia, but in March 1989, RENAMO guerrillas killed three Italian priests and captured a fourth during an attack surrounding a mission in the central province of Zambezia. Although there have been no attacks so far against foreign aid workers in Mozambique, according to press reports, RENAMO said in November that it would no longer guarantee the safety of aid workers.
Throughout its 15-year insurgency, RENAMO has continued to direct terrorist attacks against the local population. The insurgents frequently attack soft targets such as villages, schools, factories, and relief convoys, with civilians killed daily, while others are deliberately mutilated or pressed into service as porters. There were several massacres of civilians in 1989. One in a communal village in Gaza Province took 54 lives; another 80 died in the border town of Ressano Garcia.
The government has adopted a two-pronged strategy against the insurgents: the 1987 amnesty law intended to weaken RENAMO by encouraging its members to lay down their arms and reenter civilian life; and the government’s attempt to reach a negotiated settlement through the peace process mediated by Kenya and Zimbabwe. The authorities claim that several thousand RENAMO members have sought amnesty, although these figures may also include unarmed civilians living in RENAMO-controlled areas. In August, the authorities released 100 prisoners, most suspected guerrillas, who had been held on national security charges.
The South African Government states that it no longer supports the RENAMO insurgency, but some private entities within the country may be providing some assistance. Mozambique has asked that Pretoria do more to halt this aid.
Niger was the site of the deadliest terrorist incident in 1989—the in-flight destruction of UTA flight 772 by a bomb on 19 September, which killed 171, including seven Americans. The French airliner was destroyed during the second leg of a Brazzaville, Congo-N’Djamena, Chad-Paris flight. The plane’s wreckage was recovered in the remote Niger desert. Two claims of responsibility for the bombing have been made so far—an anonymous caller allegedly speaking in the name of Hizballah and a previously unheard of Chadian group opposed to French support for Chadian President Habre’s government. French authorities have been unable to find conclusive evidence to implicate any particular terrorist group in the bombing.
The government expended a significant portion of its limited military resources to assist in the investigation. Niger allowed France to take the lead in a comprehensive investigation and extended appropriate courtesies to US experts who were assisting the French in the initial phases of the investigation. Although the UTA flight never stopped over at Niamey airport, the government authorities have made attempts to upgrade security there following the tragedy.
The cycle of violent repression by the South African Government and violent resistance by the black opposition abated during 1989. The political climate improved after newly installed President de Klerk began allowing peaceful political protest and initiated feelers to the ANC that may lead to formal negotiations. Senior ANC leader Walter Sisulu and others were released and allowed to function publicly as ANC leaders. The South African Government formally unbanned the organization in early 1990. The efforts to reach political accommodation, however, do no completely eliminate the possibility of further violence by ANC militants, South African extremists, or vigilante groups.
The military wings of the ANC, or its local supporters, probably were responsible for setting off limpet mine explosions in South African townships in 1989. South Africa was linked to an increased number of attacks, climbing from eight in 1988 to 11 in 1989. Its agents were allegedly responsible for bombings against ANC targets neighboring Botswana, Swaziland, and Zambia.
South African agents also are alleged to be responsible for the murder of three ANC members in Swaziland in February 1989. At least seven current or former South African policemen have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a death squad that was responsible for the murder of antiapartheid activist David Webster on 1 May in Johannesburg. The death squad also has been linked to the 10 September assassination of white SWAPO official Anton Lubowski in Namibia. Upon assuming office, the new de Klerk government stated it would not support the use of such tactics. In early 1990, Pretoria launched an independent judicial investigation into the death squad allegations.
The ANC leadership disavows a strategy that deliberately targets civilians and may be debating the wisdom of continuing the “armed struggle,” as evidenced by the reduced number of attacks in 1989. Although some armed attacks may have been perpetrated by the ANC, others were possibly carried out by supporters without the approval of the ANC leadership or were unconnected at all to the ANC.
South African courts continue to pass sentences on people charged with terrorism, and nearly 71 were convicted during the first 10 months of the year. These convictions do no accurately reflect the country’s counterterrorism commitment, however, as the definition of “terrorism” used by the courts includes a wide variety of antigovernment activities. In December, the Supreme Court overturned on a technicality the treason and terrorism convictions of all eight defendants in the widely publicized 1988 Delmas treason trial, where some defendants had been convicted of “terrorism.”
Although South Africa in the past has provided support to RENAMO insurgents in Mozambique who target civilians, the new de Klerk government has emphatically claimed to have cut off all support.
There were no confirmed international terrorist incidents in Sudan in 1989. Five ANO terrorists sentenced to death last year for the 1988 bombings at the Acropole Hotel and the Sudan Club have appealed their sentences. The Sudanese courts have ruled that relatives of the victims, who included five British nationals, have the option to select from several punishments, including financial compensation from the defendants in exchange for reduced sentences. This last option would allow the convicted terrorists to escape execution.
There was only one instance of international terrorism in 1989, the unsuccessful attempt on 18 May to hijack an unscheduled Aeroflot flight that was ferrying ANC soldiers from Luanda to Dar es Salaam. Tanzanian courts imposed a 15-year sentence on the hijacker, Bradley Richard Stacey, a white South African. Tanzania has not improved its counterterrorist capability since a Tanzanian airliner was hijacked in February 1988.
South African agents probably were behind a series of bombings directed against facilities operated by the ANC, which has its external political headquarters in Zambia. In one instance, however, Zambian security officials concluded ANC factionalism was the motive. In mid-June, bombs destroyed or damaged at least three ANC facilities in Lusaka. Mozambican based RENAMO insurgents conducted at least three violent cross-border raids into eastern Zambia in search of food and supplies, similar to RENAMO forays into Zimbabwe. Zambian security forces have a policy of hot pursuit in response to these incursions.
RENAMO guerrillas continued to conduct a large number of cross-border raids into Zimbabwe. Typically, small bands of RENAMO personnel would raid a village for food and supplies and kidnap the local villagers to carry the booty back to RENAMO bases in Mozambique. RENAMO attacks are characterized by ruthless and indiscriminate violence. At least 71 Zimbabweans were killed in RENAMO attacks this year as compared with 55 last year. The Zimbabwean Government has deployed troops along the eastern border and into Mozambique to combat RENAMO. Because of RENAMO atrocities, the authorities have resettled local residents into protectd villages away from the affected border areas.
There were three noteworthy court cases involving terrorism in 1989. South African agent Charles Beahan was convicted of infiltrating Zimbabwe from Botswana as part of the abortive June 1988 attempt to free six suspected South African agents who were in prison awaiting trial. Three alleged South African agents sentenced to death for their participation in the 1986 bombing of ANC targets in Harare are appealing their sentences. A Zimbabwean national who was involved in a plot to murder ANC members received an 18-year prison sentence.