Patterns of Global Terrorism. Editor: Anna Sabasteanski. Volume 1, Berkshire Publishing, 2005.
The worst international terrorist attack ever—involving four separate but coordinated aircraft hijackings—occurred in the United States on September 11, 2001. The 19 hijackers belonged to the al-Qaida terrorist network. According to investigators and records of cellular phone calls made by passengers aboard the planes, the hijackers used knives and boxcutters to kill or wound passengers and the pilots, and then commandeer the aircraft, which the hijackers used to destroy preselected targets.
- Five terrorists hijacked American Airlines flight 11, which departed Boston for Los Angeles at 7:45 a.m. An hour later it was deliberately piloted into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.
- Five terrorists hijacked United Airlines flight 175, which departed Boston for Los Angeles at 7:58 a.m. At 9:05 the plane crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Both towers collapsed shortly thereafter, killing approximately 3000 persons, including hundreds of firefighters and rescue personnel who were helping to evacuate the buildings.
- Four terrorists hijacked United Airlines flight 93, which departed Newark for San Francisco at 8:01 a.m. At 10:10 the plane crashed in Stony Creek Township, Pennsylvania killing all 45 persons on board. The intended target of this hijack[ed] plane is not known, but it is believed that passengers overpowered the terrorists, thus preventing the aircraft from being used as a missile.
- Five terrorists hijacked American Airlines flight 77, which departed Washington Dulles Airport for Los Angeles at 8:10 a.m. At 9:39 the plane was flown directly into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. A total of 189 persons were killed, including all who were onboard the plane.
More than 3000 persons were killed in these four attacks. Citizens of 78 countries perished at the World Trade Center site. “Freedom and democracy are under attack,” said President Bush the following day. Leaders from around the world called the events of September 11 an attack on civilization itself.
The coordinated attack was an act of war against the United States. President Bush said in a 20 September 2001 address to a joint session of Congress: “Our war on terror begins with al-Qaida, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.”
Virtually every nation condemned the attack and joined the US-led Coalition to fight terror on several fronts: diplomatic, economic, intelligence, law enforcement, and military. Operation Enduring Freedom, the military component of the Coalition, began on 7 October. The first targets were the al-Qaida training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Islamic extremists from around the world—including North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Central, South, and Southeast Asia—had used Afghanistan as a training ground and base of operations for worldwide terrorist activities.
Within months, the Taliban was driven from power, and nearly 1000 al-Qaida operatives were arrested in over 60 countries.
At year’s end, the war continued to be waged on all fronts and was certain to last well into the future.
Review of Terrorism in 2001
Despite the horrific events of September 11, the number of international terrorist attacks in 2001 declined to 346, down from 426 the previous year. One hundred seventy-eight of the attacks were bombings against a multinational oil pipeline in Colombia—constituting 51 percent of the year’s total number of attacks. In the year 2000, there were 152 pipeline bombings in Colombia, which accounted for 40 percent of the total.
A total of 3,547 persons were killed in international terrorist attacks in 2001, the highest annual death toll from terrorism ever recorded. Ninety percent of the fatalities occurred in the September 11 attacks. In 2000, 409 persons died in terrorist attacks. The number of persons wounded in terrorist attacks in 2001 was 1080, up from 796 wounded the previous year. Violence in the Middle East and South Asia also accounted for the increase in casualty totals for 2001.
In addition to the US citizens killed and injured on September 11, eight other US citizens were killed and 15 were wounded in acts of terrorism last year.
- Ronald Sander, one of the five American oil workers kidnapped in Ecuador in October 2000, was killed by his captors—an armed gang led by former members of a Colombian terrorist group.
- On 9 May, two teenagers were stoned to death in Wadi Haritun cave near Teqoa (Israeli settlement) in the West Bank. Yaakov Nathan Mandell was one of the youths killed. A claim of responsibility for this attack was made in the name of “Palestinian Hizballah.”
- Guillermo Sobero, one of three US citizens in a group of 20 persons kidnapped on 27 May from a resort on Palawan Island in the southern Philippines by the Abu Sayyaf Group, was subsequently murdered by his captors.
- On 29 May in the West Bank, militants fired on a passing vehicle, killing two persons, including US citizen Sara Blaustein. Two other US citizens were injured in the ambush. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility.
- On 9 August in Jerusalem, a suicide bomber walked into a busy downtown restaurant and detonated a 10-pound bomb that he was wearing, killing 15 persons and wounding 130 others. Among the fatalities were US citizens Judith Greenbaum and Malka Roth. Four other US citizens were injured in the explosion. HAMAS claimed responsibility for the attack.
- On 6 October in al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, a terrorist threw a parcel bomb into a busy shopping area, killing Michael Jerrald Martin, Jr., and wounding five other persons, among them two US citizens.
- On 4 November, Shoshana Ben Yashai was killed in a shooting attack in east Jerusalem near French Hill. The assailant was also killed in the attack, which was claimed by Palestine Islamic Jihad.
There was nearly universal condemnation of the September 11 attacks on the United States among Sub-Saharan African governments. These governments also pledged their support to the war against terrorism. In addition to bilateral cooperation with the United States and the global Coalition, multilateral organizations such as the Organization for African Unity and the Southern African Development Community have committed themselves to fighting terrorism. The shock produced by the September 11 attacks and renewed international cooperation to combat global terrorism is producing a new readiness on the part of African leaders to address the problems of international terrorism. Africa’s increased cooperation may help counter the persistent threat and use of terrorism as an instrument of violence and coercion against civilians. Most terrorist attacks in Africa stem from internal civil unrest and spillover from regional wars as African rebel movements and opposition groups employ terrorist tactics in pursuit of their political, social, or economic goals. Countries where insurgent groups have indiscriminately employed terrorist tactics and attacked civilians include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone. International terrorist organizations with Islamic ties, including al-Qaida and Lebanese Hizballah, have a presence in Africa and continue to exploit Africa’s permissive operating environment—porous borders, conflict, lax financial systems, and the wide availability of weapons—to expand and strengthen their networks. Further, these groups are able to flourish in “failed states” or those with weak governments that are unable to monitor the activities of terrorists and their supporters within their borders. Press reports also indicate that terrorists may be using the illicit trade in conflict diamonds both to launder money and to finance their operations.
Angola made strides in combating terrorism since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. In late November, the National Assembly passed a resolution calling for Angola to participate in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism, to include sharing intelligence, technical expertise, and financial information, and cooperating on legal issues. President dos Santos publicly backed US military actions and supports the Organization for African Unity resolutions against terrorism.
For more than two decades, Angola has been plagued by the protracted civil war between the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the Angolan Government. UNITA is believed to have been responsible for several brutal attacks on civilian targets in 2001. Unidentified militants—suspected of being UNITA rebels—ambushed a train killing 256 persons and injuring 161 others in August. Later that month, armed men fired a missile at a passing bus, killing approximately 55 and wounding 10. UNITA rebels are also suspected of attacking a farm in May, killing one person, wounding one, and kidnapping 50 others.
During 2001, violence from the Angolan civil war again spilled over into neighboring Namibia. The Angolan Government, operating on the invitation of the Namibian Government, pursued UNITA rebels into Namibia. Border clashes resulted in several attacks. In May, rebels attacked a village killing one person and wounding one other. Earlier in the year, armed men entered a village, abducting eight persons who were taken to Angola and held hostage.
(On 4 April, 2002, shortly after the death of Jonas Savimbi, UNITA leaders signed a cease-fire agreement with the Government of Angola.)
Djibouti pledged early, strong, and consistent support for the US-led Coalition in the global war on terrorism. Djibouti also hosts Coalition forces from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Djibouti closed financial networks suspected of funneling funds for terrorist operations that operated there and issued a Djiboutian executive order that commits the country to cooperate fully with US counterterrorist financial measures.
Ethiopia has been another strong supporter of the campaign against terror. The Ethiopian response was immediate and vocal following the September 11 attacks. Ethiopia also has shut down terrorist financial networks operating in its territory. Ethiopia continues to cooperate in examining potential terrorist activity in the region, including in Somalia.
Kenya already had suffered from an al-Qaida attack on the US Embassy in Nairobi in August 1998. Kenya remained a key ally in the region, implementing new measures to impose asset freezes and other financial controls, offering to cooperate with the United States to combat terrorism, and leading the current regional effort toward national reconciliation in Somalia. Kenya is a party to 10 of the 11 antiterrorism conventions and is a signatory to the newest, the 1999 UN Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
Nigeria has strongly supported US antiterrorism efforts around the world as well as the military action in Afghanistan. Nigeria led diplomatic efforts in the UN and the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) and in the battle against terrorism. The Nigerian Government has drafted legislation—the Anti-Terrorism, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act—that contains explicit criminal sanctions against terrorism and its financing. The Government of Nigeria is committed to preventing its territory—home to Africa’s largest Muslim population—from becoming a safehaven for Islamic extremists.
Senegal has been a leader in the African response to the attacks of September 11, with President Abdoulaye Wade’s proposed African Pact Against Terrorism. President Wade stressed this issue with many of the continent’s leaders during a two-day conference in Dakar in October 2001 and is energizing countries to join the fight via the Organization of African Unity/African Union. The Senegal Central Bank and regional banks based in Dakar have modified regulations to restrict terrorist funding. Senegal has also created a regional counterterrorism intelligence center, using assets of its security and intelligence services along with assistance from the United States. Senegal plans to ratify all remaining UN conventions against terrorism in the near future.
Somalia, a nation with no central government, represents a potential breeding ground as well as safehaven for terrorist networks. Civil war, clan conflict, and poverty have combined to turn Somalia into a “failed state,” with no one group currently able to govern the entire country, poor or nonexistent law enforcement, and an inability to monitor the financial sector. Some major factions within Somalia have pledged to fight terrorism. However one indigenous group, al-Ittihad al-Islami (AIAI), is dedicated to creating an Islamic state in Somalia, has carried out terrorist acts in Ethiopia, and may have some ties to al-Qaida. AIAI remains active in several parts of Somalia.
In July, gunmen in Mogadishu attacked a World Food Program convoy, killing six persons and wounding several others. In March, extremists attacked a Medecins Sans Frontieres medical charity facility, killing 11 persons, wounding 40, and taking nine hostages. The hostages were later released.
The need for cooperation among Somalia’s neighbors in the Horn of Africa is obvious, given the long borders shared with Somalia by Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya. These countries have—individually and, in cooperation with the United States—taken steps to close their ports of entry to potential terrorists, deny use of their banking systems to transfer terrorist-linked assets, and to bring about the peaceful reconciliation and long-term stability that will remove the “failed-state” conditions currently found in Somalia.
South Africa expressed its unreserved condemnation for the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States. The Government has offered its support for US-led diplomatic efforts to fight terrorism. South Africa also supports the Organization for African Unity’s counterterrorism resolution. South Africa continued to experience some incidents of urban terrorism in 2001.
President Yoweri Museveni publicly condemned the 11 September attacks and called upon the world to act together against terrorism. Two insurgent groups—the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Northern Uganda and the Allied Democratic Forces in Western Uganda—continued military operations aimed at undermining the Kampala government in 2001—resulting in several terrorist attacks that injured foreign nationals. In June, three bombs exploded simultaneously in public areas in Kampala killing one and wounding 19 persons. Suspected LRA rebels ambushed a Catholic Relief Services vehicle in September, killing five persons and wounding two others.
South Asia Overview
In 2001, South Asia remained a central point for terrorism directed against the United States and its friends and allies around the world. Throughout the region, Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) committed several significant acts of murder, kidnapping and destruction, including the vicious 13 December attack on India’s Parliament. The September 11 attacks focused global attention on terrorist activities emanating from Afghanistan, which became the first military battleground of the war on terrorism. Coalition military objectives in Afghanistan were clear: 1) destroy al-Qaida and its terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan; 2) remove the Taliban from power; and 3) restore a broadly representative government in Afghanistan. All countries in South Asia have strongly supported the Coalition effort against terrorism. The challenge from here is to turn that support into concrete action that will, over time, significantly weaken the threat posed by terrorists in and from the region.
Some clear and important signs of fresh thinking are already apparent. After September 11, Pakistan’s President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, made significant changes to Pakistan’s policy and has rendered unprecedented levels of cooperation to support the war on terrorism. Pakistan not only broke its previously close ties with the Taliban regime but also allowed the US military to use bases within the country for military operations in Afghanistan. Pakistan sealed its border with Afghanistan to help prevent the escape of fugitives and continues to work closely with the United States to identify and detain fugitives. Musharraf also has taken important steps against domestic extremists, detaining more than 2,000 including Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Maulana Masood Azhar.
In Sri Lanka, there are fragile indications of a possible peaceful settlement to the decades-old conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In 2001, the LTTE was responsible for the devastating attack on the colocated international and military airports north of Colombo. In December, however, the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka established a cease-fire brokered by Norway. The United States continues to support the Norwegian Government’s facilitation effort and its focus on helping to bring about a negotiated settlement of the conflict. Despite the possibility of positive change, the US will continue to maintain the LTTE on its Foreign Terrorist Organization List until the group no longer poses a terrorist threat.
After years of ignoring calls from the international community to put an end to terrorist activities within its borders, the Taliban, which controlled most Afghan territory, became the first military target of the US-led coalition against terrorism. During the first three quarters of 2001, Islamic extremists from around the world—including North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Central, South, and Southeast Asia—used Afghanistan as a training ground and base of operations for their worldwide terrorist activities. Senior al-Qaida leaders were based in Afghanistan, including Usama Bin Ladin, wanted for his role in the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania as well as for his role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The al-Qaida leadership took advantage of its safehaven in Afghanistan to recruit and train terrorists, to manage worldwide fundraising for its terrorist activity, to plan terrorist operations, and to conduct violent anti-American and antidemocratic agitation to provoke extremists in other countries to attack US interests and those of other countries. This was punctuated by the horrendous attacks on the United States in September. The attacks brought a forceful military response from the US and the international Coalition. Our war against the Taliban and al-Qaida has been very successful, and Afghans now serve side-by-side with US and other Coalition forces in military operations to eliminate the remnants of Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in the country.
In a UN-sponsored process in Bonn, Germany, Afghans representing various factions agreed to a framework that would help Afghanistan end its tragic conflict and promote national reconciliation, lasting peace, and stability. Included in the text of the Bonn agreement that established Afghanistan’s Interim Authority was a promise by the international community to help rebuild Afghanistan as part of the fight against terrorism.
In turn, in January 2002 the international community pledged $4.5 billion in assistance to the people of Afghanistan to help them recover from the ravages of Taliban rule.
India was itself a target of terrorism throughout the year but unstintingly endorsed the US military response to the September 11 attack and offered to provide the US with logistic support and staging areas. To address internal threats, the Indian cabinet approved in October an ordinance granting sweeping powers to security forces to suppress terrorism. Since then, at least 25 groups have been put on the Indian Government’s list of “terrorist organizations” and declared “unlawful.” The Union Home Ministry asked all other ministries to create a centralized point for sorting Government mail after a powder-laced letter was discovered in late October at the office of the Home Minister. The Ministry also deployed additional security forces to guard important installations following a suicide attack in October on an Indian Air Force base in the Kashmir Valley. The security posture was significantly upgraded, including large-scale mobilization of Indian Armed Forces, following the attack in December on India’s Parliament.
Security problems associated with various insurgencies, particularly in Kashmir, persisted through 2001 in India. On 1 October, 31 persons were killed and at least 60 others were injured when militants detonated a bomb at the main entrance of the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly building in Srinagar. The Kashmiri terrorist group Jaish e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attack. On 13 December an armed group attacked India’s Parliament in New Delhi. The incident resulted in the death of 13 terrorists and security personnel. India has blamed FTOs Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Jaish e-Mohammed for the attack and demanded that the Government of Pakistan deal immediately with terrorist groups operating from Pakistan or Pakistan-controlled territory. India also faced continued violence associated with several separatist movements based in the northeast. (On 22 January 2002, armed gunmen fired on a group of police outside the American Center in Kolkata, (Calcutta), killing four and wounding at least nine. The investigation of this attack is ongoing. Although no US citizens were injured, Indian police have indicated that the American Center was deliberately chosen. One US contract guard was injured in the assault.)
The Indian Government continued cooperative bilateral efforts with the United States against terrorism, including extensive cooperation between US and Indian law-enforcement agencies. The US-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group—founded in November 1999—met in June 2001 in Washington and January 2002 in New Delhi and included contacts between interagency partners from both governments. The group agreed to pursue even closer cooperation on shared counterterrorism goals and will reconvene in Washington in summer 2002.
Nepal was an early and strong supporter of the Coalition against global terrorism and of military operations at the onset of Operation Enduring Freedom, agreeing to allow access to their airports and airspace.
Like India, Nepal was more a target of terrorism—primarily from indigenous Maoist revolutionaries—than a base for terrorism against the United States. The indigenous Maoist insurgency now controls at least five districts, has a significant presence in at least 17 others, and at least some presence in nearly all the remaining 53 districts. Until recently, the Government used the police to address the increase in Maoist activity, but elements of the Nepalese Army were being deployed in July 2001.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba came to power in July pledging to resolve the conflict through a negotiated peace. The Government and the Maoists agreed to a cease-fire and held three rounds of talks, during which Deuba announced plans for significant social reform that addressed some of the Maoists’ economic and social concerns. The Maoists ultimately walked away from the talks and the cease-fire, and on 23 November launched simultaneous nationwide terrorist attacks. The Government declared a state of emergency. In mid-2001, the Maoists began expanding their operations with attacks on officials and commercial enterprises. Prospects for negotiations in the near future are very dim.
The Maoists often have used terrorist tactics in their campaign against the Government, including targeting unarmed civilians. Of particular concern is the increase in the number of attacks against international relief organizations and US targets. (For example, terrorists burned the CARE International building when they attacked the town of Mangalsen 16-17 February 2002.) Before that attack, on 15 December, a US Embassy local employee was murdered. Nepalese police and US officials are still investigating the December killing. So far, no motive for the attack has been established and no suspects have been identified.
(A small bomb exploded at the Coca-Cola factory in Bharatpur, southwest of Kathmandu, the evening of 29 January 2002. The bomb caused only slight damage, and there were no injuries.) A similar device was set off at the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Kathmandu in late November. No US citizens are employed at either Coca-Cola plant.
After September 11, Pakistan pledged and provided full support for the Coalition effort in the war on terrorism. Pakistan has afforded the United States unprecedented levels of cooperation by allowing the US military to use bases within the country. Pakistan also worked closely with the United States to identify and detain extremists and to seal the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. (In February 2002, the United States and Pakistan agreed to institutionalize counterterrorism exchanges as a component of a newly created, wide-ranging Law Enforcement Joint Working Group.)
As of November, Islamabad had frozen over $300,000 in terrorist-related assets in several banks. In December President Pervez Musharraf announced to the Government a proposal to bring Pakistan’s madrassas (religious schools)—some of which have served as breeding grounds for extremists—into the mainstream educational system. Pakistan also began sweeping police reforms, upgraded its immigration control system, and began work on new anti-terrorist finance laws.
In December, Musharraf cracked down on “anti-Pakistan” extremists and, by January 2002, Pakistani authorities had arrested more than 2,000 including leaders of the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT), and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM), both designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations—as well as the Jamiat Ulema-I-Islami (JUI), a religious party with ties to the Taliban and Kashmiri militant groups. Pakistani support for Kashmiri militant groups designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations waned after September 11. Questions remain, however, whether Musharraf’s “get tough” policy with local militants and his stated pledge to oppose terrorism anywhere will be fully implemented and sustained.
Sri Lanka declared support for US-led military action in Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks and welcomed US resolve to root out terrorism wherever it exists. On 1 October the Government of Sri Lanka issued a statement of support and ordered that all financial institutions notify the Central Bank of transactions by named terrorists. The Government has issued a freeze order on certain terrorist assets and has promulgated regulations to meet requirements under UNSCR 1373. Colombo has taken measures since September to strengthen domestic security such as posting extra security forces at sites that may be particularly vulnerable to attack and acceding to the Convention on Plastic Explosives—a weapon favored by domestic terrorists.
In early 2001 the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued its unilateral cease-fire, begun in late 2000. In April it broke the cease-fire and resumed a high level of violence against government, police, civilian, and military targets. On 24 July the LTTE carried out a large-scale attack at the colocated military and international airports north of Colombo, causing severe damage to aircraft and installations. An LTTE attack in November killed 14 policemen and wounded 18 others, including four civilians. Also in November, LTTE members were implicated in the assassination of an opposition politician who had planned to run in December’s parliamentary elections. There were no confirmed cases of LTTE or other terrorist groups targeting US citizens or businesses in Sri Lanka in 2001.
On 24 December, the LTTE began a one-month cease-fire. Shortly thereafter, the newly elected Sri Lankan Government reciprocated and announced its own unilateral cease-fire. (In 2002, both parties renewed the cease-fire monthly and continued to work with the Norwegian Government in moving the peace process forward. On 21 February 2002, both sides agreed to a formal cease-fire accord. There have been no significant incidents of violence attributed to the LTTE since the December 2001 cease-fire. On 21 January the LTTE repatriated 10 prisoners it had been holding—seven civilians it had captured in 1998 and three military officers held since 1993. It is unknown how many other captives the LTTE continues to hold hostage.)
The United States continues strongly to support Norway’s facilitation effort and is helping to bring about a negotiated settlement of the conflict. Agreement by both sides for direct discussions is a hopeful sign. Nonetheless, given the ruthless and violent history of the LTTE (including acts within the past year), and its failure to renounce terrorism as a political tool, the United States maintains the LTTE on its Foreign Terrorist Organization List.
East Asia Overview
In the wake of the September 11 events, East Asian nations were universal in their condemnation of the attacks, with most providing substantial direct support to the war on terrorism and making significant progress in building indigenous counterterrorism capabilities. Shutting down and apprehending al-Qaida-linked terrorists cells were achievements that drew headlines, but perhaps just as importantly, several states and independent law-enforcement jurisdictions (Hong Kong, for example) strengthened their financial regulatory and legal frameworks to cut off terrorist groups from their resource base and further restrict the activities of terrorists still at large.
The Government of Japan fully committed itself to the global Coalition against terrorism including providing support for the campaign in Afghanistan. Japan was also active in the G-8 Counterterrorism Experts’ Group, participating in developing an international counterterrorism strategy to address such concerns as terrorist financing, the drug trade, and mutual legal assistance.
For the first time in history, Australia invoked the ANZUS treaty to provide general military support to the United States. Australia was quick to sign the UN Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing, less than seven weeks after September 11. Australia prepared new counterterrorism legislation, implemented UN resolutions against terrorism, and took steps to freeze assets listed in US Executive Order 13224. It has contributed $11.5 million to Afghan relief and has committed troops and equipment to fight in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
New Zealand sent troops to Afghanistan in support of OEF and fully supports UN resolutions and the US executive order on terrorist financing. New Zealand has new regulations and legislation to implement those resolutions and deployed a C-130 aircraft to Afghanistan for humanitarian relief operations.
The Philippines, under President Macapagal-Arroyo’s leadership, has emerged as one of our staunchest Asian allies in the war on terrorism. Macapagal-Arroyo was the first ASEAN leader to voice support for the United States in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. She immediately offered the US broad overflight clearances; use of military bases, including Clark and Subic, for transit, staging, and maintenance of US assets used in Operation Enduring Freedom; enhanced intelligence cooperation; logistics support, including medical personnel, medical supplies, and medicines; and Philippine troops for an international operation, dependent on Philippine congressional approval. Macapagal-Arroyo also spearheaded efforts to forge an ASEAN regional counterterrorism approach.
South Korea has given unconditional support to the US war on terrorism and pledged “all necessary cooperation and assistance as a close US ally in the spirit of the Republic of Korea-United States Mutual Defense Treaty.” To that end, South Korea contributed air and sea transport craft and a medical unit in support of the military action in Afghanistan. It also has provided humanitarian relief and reconstruction funds to help rebuild that country. South Korea also has strengthened its domestic legislation and institutions to combat financial support for terrorism, including the creation of a financial intelligence unit. It also has made an important diplomatic contribution as President of the United Nations General Assembly during this critical period.
China, which also has been a victim of terrorism, provided valuable diplomatic support to our efforts against terrorism, both at the United Nations and in the South and Central Asian regions, including financial and material support for the Afghan Interim Authority. Beijing has agreed to all our requests for assistance, and we have established a counterterrorism dialogue at both senior and operational levels.
At year’s end, however, much remained to be done. Trafficking in drugs, persons, and weapons, as well as organized crime and official corruption, remain as serious problems and potential avenues of operation for terrorists to exploit.
Southeast Asian terrorist organizations with cells linked to al-Qaida were uncovered late in the year by Singapore and Malaysia. The groups’ activities, movements, and connections crossed the region, and plans to conduct major attacks were discovered. Singapore detained 13 Jemaah Islamiah members in December, disrupting a plot to bomb the US and other Embassies, and other targets in Singapore. Malaysia arrested dozens of terrorist suspects in 2001, and investigations, broadening across the region at the end of the year, revealed the outline of a large international terrorist network. The multinational nature of the Jemaah Islamiah network illustrated for most countries in East Asia the crucial need for effective regional counterterrorism mechanisms. In a move that bodes well for the region’s efforts, the ASEAN Regional Forum undertook an extensive counterterrorism agenda.
Several East Asian nations suffered terrorist violence in 2001, mostly related to domestic political disputes. The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the Philippines repeated the type of kidnappings endemic to the Philippines in 2000. On 27 May, the ASG kidnapped three US citizens and 17 others from a resort in the southern Philippines. Among many others, one US citizen was brutally murdered, and two US citizens and one Filipino remained hostages at year’s end. Indonesia, China, and Thailand also suffered a number of bombings throughout the year, many believed by authorities to be the work of Islamic extremists in those countries; few arrests have been made, however.
Burma issued a letter to the United Nations on 30 November outlining its commitment to counterterrorism. The Government stated its opposition to terrorism and declared government officials would not allow the country to be used as a safehaven or a location for the planning and execution of terrorist acts. The letter also indicated the country had signed the UN Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism on 12 November, and the Government provided banks and financial institutions with the names of all terrorists and terrorist organizations listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1333. The letter declared that the Government of Burma would cooperate in criminal investigations of terrorism and bring terrorists to justice “in accordance with the laws of the land.” Burma had signed six of the 12 counterterrorism conventions and was considering signing the other six. Drug trafficking and related organized crime are additional challenges in Burma that present terrorists with opportunities to exploit.
Chinese officials strongly condemned the September 11 attacks and announced China would strengthen cooperation with the international community in fighting terrorism on the basis of the UN Charter and international law. China voted in support of both UN Security Council resolutions after the attack. Its vote for Resolution 1368 marked the first time it has voted in favor of authorizing the international use of force. China also has taken a constructive approach to terrorism problems in South and Central Asia, publicly supporting the Coalition campaign in Afghanistan and using its influence with Pakistan to urge support for multinational efforts against the Taliban and al-Qaida. China and the United States began a counterterrorism dialogue in late-September, which was followed by further discussions during Ambassador Taylor’s trip in December to Beijing. The September 11 attacks added urgency to discussions held in Washington, DC, Beijing, and Hong Kong. The results have been encouraging and concrete; the Government of China has approved establishment of an FBI Legal Attache in Beijing and agreed to create US-China counterterrorism working groups on financing and law enforcement.
In the wake of the attacks, Chinese authorities undertook a number of measures to improve China’s counterterrorism posture and domestic security. These included increasing its vigilance in Xinjiang, western China, where Uighur separatist groups have conducted violent attacks in recent years, to include increasing the readiness levels of its military and police units in the region. China also bolstered Chinese regular army units near the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan to block terrorists fleeing from Afghanistan and strengthening overall domestic preparedness. At the request of the United States, China conducted a search within Chinese banks for evidence to attack terrorist financing mechanisms.
A number of bombing attacks—some of which were probably separatist-related—occurred in China in 2001. Bomb attacks are among the most common violent crimes in China due to the scarcity of firearms and the wide availability of explosives for construction projects.
China has expressed concern that Islamic extremists operating in and around the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region who are opposed to Chinese rule received training, equipment, and inspiration from al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other extremists in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Several press reports claimed that Uighurs trained and fought with Islamic groups in the former Soviet Union, including Chechnya.
Two groups in particular are cause for concern: the East Turkestan Islamic Party (ETIP) and the East Turkestan Liberation Organization (or Sharki Turkestan Azatlik Tashkilati, known by the acronym SHAT). ETIP was founded in the early 1980s with the goal of establishing an independent state of Eastern Turkestan and advocates armed struggle. SHAT’s members have reportedly been involved in various bomb plots and shootouts.
Uighurs were found fighting with al-Qaida in Afghanistan. We are aware of credible reports that some Uighurs who were trained by al-Qaida have returned to China.
Previous Chinese crackdowns on ethnic Uighurs and others in Xinjiang raised concerns about possible human-rights abuses. The United States has made clear that a counterterrorism campaign cannot serve as a substitute for addressing legitimate social and economic aspirations.
Immediately after the September 11th attacks, President Megawati expressed public support for a global war on terrorism and promised to implement UN counterterrorism resolutions. The Indonesian Government, however, said it opposed unilateral US military action in Afghanistan. The Government has since taken limited action in support of international antiterrorist efforts. It made some effort to bring its legal and regulatory counterterrorism regime up to international standards. Although often slow to acknowledge terrorism problems at home, Indonesia also has taken some steps against terrorist operations within its borders. Police interviewed Abu Bakar Baasyir, leader of the Majelis Mujahadeen Indonesia, about his possible connections to Jemaah Islamiah or Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM). Police arrested a Malaysian in August when he was wounded in an attempt to detonate a bomb at a Jakarta shopping mall. Two Malaysians were arrested in Indonesia thus far in conjunction with the bombing of the Atrium shopping mall. In addition, Indonesia has issued blocking orders on some of the terrorists as required under UN Security Council Resolution 1333, and bank compliance with freezing and reporting requirements is pending. At the end of the year the United States remained concerned that terrorists related to al-Qaida, Jemaah Islamiyah, and KMM were operating in Indonesia.
Radical Indonesian Islamic groups threatened to attack the US Embassy and violently expel US citizens and foreigners from the country in response to the US-led campaign in Afghanistan. A strong Indonesian police presence prevented militant demonstrators from attacking the compound in October. One of the most vocal of the Indonesian groups, Front Pembela Islam (Islamic Defenders Front), had previously threatened US citizens in the country.
Press accounts reported over 30 major bombing incidents throughout the archipelago, including blasts in June and December at the US-owned Exxon-Mobil facility in Aceh Region. Unidentified gunmen also kidnapped and assassinated several prominent Indonesians during the year, including a Papuan independence activist and a leading Acehnese academic. Officials made little progress in apprehending and prosecuting those responsible for the bombings in 2001, having arrested only five persons. Laskar Jihad, Indonesia’s largest radical group, remained a concern at year’s end as a continuing source of domestic instability.
Communal violence between Christians and Muslims in the Provinces of Maluku and Central Sulawesi continued in 2001. Several villages were razed in Sulawesi in November and December, leading to a major security response from the Indonesian military.
(Indonesia and Australia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on counterterrorism cooperation in early 2002, preparing the way for concrete actions against the spread of terrorism in Southeast Asia.)
Japan acted with unprecedented speed in responding to the September terrorist attacks in the United States. Prime Minister Koizumi led an aggressive campaign that resulted in new legislation allowing Japan’s Self Defense Forces to provide substantial rear area support for the campaign in Afghanistan. The Government has frozen suspected terrorist assets and maintains a watch list that contains nearly 300 groups and individuals. The Government has signed all 12 terrorism-related international conventions and is moving quickly with legislation to approve the sole treaty Japan has not ratified, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
The Laotian Government has stated it condemns all forms of terrorism and supports the global war on terrorism. The Bank of Laos has issued orders to freeze terrorist assets and instructed banks to locate and seize such assets. Laos, however, has been slow to ratify international conventions against terrorism. Public and Government commentary on the US–led war on terrorism has been overwhelmingly supportive.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir condemned the September 11 attacks as unjustified and made a first-ever visit to the US Embassy to sign the condolence book and express solidarity with the United States in the fight against international terrorism. The Malaysian Government cooperated with international law-enforcement and intelligence efforts, made strides in implementing financial counterterrorism measures, aggressively pursued domestic counterterrorism before and after September 11, and increased security surrounding the US Embassy and diplomatic residences. The Government in October expressed strong reservations about US military action in Afghanistan.
Malaysia suffered no incidents of international terrorism in 2001, although Malaysian police authorities made a series of arrests of persons associated with regional Islamic extremist groups with al-Qaida links. Between May and December close to 30 members of the domestic Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) group and an extremist wing of KMM were arrested for activities deemed threatening to Malaysia’s national security. KMM detainees were being held on a wide range of charges, to include planning to wage a jihad, possessing weaponry, carrying out bombings and robberies, murdering a former state assemblyman, and planning attacks on foreigners, including US citizens. Several of the arrested militants reportedly underwent military training in Afghanistan, and several key leaders of the KMM are also deeply involved in Jemaah Islamiah. Jemaah Islamiah is alleged to have ties not only to the KMM, but to Islamic extremist organizations in Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines; Malaysian police also have been investigating whether Jemaah Islamiah has connections to September 11 terrorist suspect Zacharias Moussaoui.
Nineteen members of the Malaysian Islamist sect al-Ma’unah, who were detained in July 2000 following the group’s raid on two military armories in northern Malaysia, were found guilty of treason in their bid to overthrow the Government and establish an Islamic state. Sixteen members received life sentences while the remaining three were sentenced to death. Ten other members had pleaded guilty earlier to a reduced charge of preparing to wage war against the king and were sentenced to 10 years in prison, although the sentences of two were reduced to seven years on appeal. An additional 15 al-Ma’unah members remained in detention under the Internal Security Act.
Philippine President Macapagal-Arroyo has been Southeast Asia’s staunchest supporter of the international counterterrorism effort, offering medical assistance for Coalition forces, blanket overflight clearance, and landing rights for US aircraft involved in Operation Enduring Freedom. After marathon sessions, the Philippine Congress passed the Anti-Money-laundering Act of 2001 on 29 September. This legislation overcame vocal opposition and passed quickly as the Philippine Congress took steps to support the international effort to freeze terrorist assets throughout the world. In addition, the Philippine military, with US training and assistance, in October intensified its offensive against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)—which has been involved in high-profile kidnappings for many years.
Small radical groups in the Philippines continued attacks against foreign and domestic targets in 2001. The ASG, designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US Government in 1997 and redesignated in 1999 and 2001, kidnapped three US citizens and 17 Filipinos in May from a resort on Palawan Island in the southern Philippines. Of the original 20 hostages kidnapped, 15 escaped or were ransomed; three hostages (including Guillermo Sobero, a US citizen) were murdered; and two US citizens remained captive at year’s end. The “Pentagon Gang” kidnap-for-ransom group, which is responsible for the kidnap and/or murder of Chinese, Italian, and Filipino nationals in 2001, was added to the US Terrorism Exclusion List (TEL) in December.
Peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) began in April but broke down in June after the NPA, the military wing of the CPP, claimed responsibility for the assassination on 12 June of a Philippine congressman from Cagayan. The Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB)—a breakaway CPP/NPA faction—engaged in intermittent fighting with Philippine security forces during the year.
Distinguishing between political and criminal motivation for many of the terrorist-related activities in the Philippines continued to be problematic, most notably in the numerous cases of kidnapping for ransom in the southern Philippines. Both Islamist separatists and Communist insurgents sought to extort funds from businesses in their operating areas, occasionally conducting reprisal operations if money was not paid.
Singapore Prime Minister Goh strongly condemned the September 11 attacks on New York City and Washington, unequivocally affirming support for US antiterrorism efforts. Singapore was supportive of war efforts in Afghanistan for humanitarian relief. More broadly, the Government quickly passed omnibus legislation intended to enable it to comply with mandatory UN Security Council Resolutions and was instrumental in uncovering and disrupting international terrorists operating in Southeast Asia.
Singapore did not experience any incidents of domestic or international terrorism in 2001, but police officials in December disrupted an al-Qaida-linked extremist organization called Jemaah Islamiyah whose members were plotting to attack US, British, Australian, and Israeli interests in Singapore. Thirteen individuals were detained, and investigations were continuing at the end of 2001.
As a regional transportation, shipping, and financial hub, Singapore plays a crucial role in international efforts against terrorism. Efforts were continuing at year’s end to make improvements to security in all of these areas, including, in particular, the collection of detailed data on all cargoes passing through Singapore’s port.
Taiwan President Chen committed publicly on several occasions, including soon after the September 11 attacks, that Taiwan would “fully support the spirit and determination of the antiterrorist campaign, as well as any effective, substantive measures that may be adopted.” Taiwan announced that it would fully abide by the 12 UN counterterrorism conventions, even though it is not a member of the United Nations. Taiwan strengthened laws on money laundering and criminal-case-procedure law in the aftermath of September 11.
Prime Minister Thaksin condemned the September 11 terrorist attacks and said his country would stand by the United States in the international Coalition to combat terrorism. The Government pledged cooperation on counterterrorism between US and Thai agencies, committed to signing all the UN counterterrorism conventions, and offered to participate in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Thailand took several concrete actions in support of the war on terrorism. Thai financial authorities began investigating financial transactions covered under UN resolutions to freeze al-Qaida and Taliban assets. In an effort to prevent terrorism and crime, immigration officials in December announced initiatives to expand the list of countries whose citizens are required to obtain visas before they arrive in Thailand. Thailand also offered to dispatch one construction battalion and five medical teams to serve in UN-mandated operations in Afghanistan. In Thailand, police stepped up security around US and Western-owned buildings immediately following the September 11 attacks.
Thai authorities suspect Muslim organized crime groups from the predominately Muslim provinces in southern Thailand were responsible for several small-scale attacks in 2001, including three bombings in early April that killed a child and wounded dozens of persons, an unexploded truck bomb that was found next to a hotel in southern Thailand in November, and, in December, a series of coordinated attacks on police checkpoints in southern Thailand that killed five police officers and a defense volunteer.
On 19 June, authorities averted an attempted bombing at the Vietnamese Embassy in Bangkok when they found and disarmed two explosive devices that had failed to detonate. Three ethnic Vietnamese males were taken into custody. One was charged with illegal possession of explosives and conspiracy to cause an explosion in connection with the incident. The others were released after police determined there was insufficient evidence to link them to the crime.
In central Bangkok in early December, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at a multistory building housing a ticketing office of the Israeli airline El Al, although police doubted the Israeli carrier was the intended target. There were no casualties.
No major terrorist attacks occurred in Eurasia in 2001. The region, however, which has suffered for years from Afghanistan-based extremism, provided integral support to the international Coalition against terrorism. States in the region provided overflight and temporary basing rights, shared law-enforcement and intelligence information, and moved aggressively to identify, monitor, and apprehend al-Qaida members and other terrorists. In the immediate aftermath of September 11, governments also took swift action to enhance security at US embassies and other key facilities against terrorist attacks. Countries in the region also took diplomatic and political steps to contribute to the international struggle against terrorism, such as becoming party to the 12 United Nations conventions against terrorism. The signatories to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Collective Security Treaty (CST) called for increased security along the borders of the member states, tighter passport and visa controls, increased involvement of law-enforcement agencies, and the reinforcement of military units. In addition, the CST Security Council planned to strengthen the year-old CIS antiterrorist center.
Enhancing regional counterterrorism cooperation has been a critical priority for the United States. Toward that end, the US Department of State Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism held the second annual Central Asia Counterterrorism Conference in Istanbul in June. Counterterrorism officials from four Central Asian countries, as well as Russia, Canada, Egypt, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, explored topics such as human rights, the rule of law, and combating terrorist financing. Throughout the conference, and in other bilateral and multilateral fora, the United States has consistently stressed that effective counterterrorism is impossible without respect for human rights and that the rule of law is a formidable and essential weapon in the fight against al-Qaida and other international terrorist organizations. A policy exercise held on the last day of the conference helped reinforce key tenets of effective counterterrorism policy and operations, including the need for sustained, high-level official attention, regional cooperation, and the importance of contingency planning for terrorist incident management and response. (The next Conference is planned for 24–26 June 2002, in Ankara.)
In December, Kyrgyzstan hosted the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Bishkek International Conference on Enhancing Security in Central Asia: Strengthening Efforts to Counter Terrorism. The Conference was attended by over 300 high-level participants from over 60 countries and organizations. The Conference concluded that the countries of Central Asia play a critical role in preventing terrorism; enhanced regional cooperation is needed; and terrorism cannot be combated through law enforcement only—social and economic roots of discord also must be addressed and rule of law strengthened. Delegations endorsed a program of action that emphasizes the need for increased coordination and interagency cooperation as well as the need to take steps to prevent illegal activities of persons, groups, or organizations that instigate terrorist acts.
Countries within the region have been taking steps to enhance their common efforts against international terrorism. Fears of an influx of Afghan fighters and refugees as a result of the fighting in Afghanistan spurred cooperative efforts to tighten border security and to combat extremist organizations. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a group on the US FTO list that seeks to overthrow the Uzbek Government and create an Islamic state, continued to be a concern. Unlike 1999 and 2000, an anticipated large-scale IMU offensive failed to materialize in 2001, most likely because of better host-government military preparedness and the IMU’s participation in the Taliban’s summer offensive against the Northern Alliance. There were, however, incidents against local security forces that never were definitively linked to the group. IMU members fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001. A large number of IMU fighters, reportedly including their military leader Namangani, were killed at the Kondoz battle in November 2001. The United States and regional governments also continued to monitor the Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical Islamic political movement that advocates the practice of pure Islamic doctrine and the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Central Asia. Despite regional governments’ claims, the United States has not found clear links between Hizb ut-Tahrir and terrorist activities. The Eurasian countries also recognized the growing links between terrorism and other criminal enterprises and have taken steps to break the nexus among terrorism, organized crime, trafficking in persons and drugs, and other illicit activities.
Five years after it began meeting as a body to discuss border disputes with China, the Shanghai Forum—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, and China—admitted Uzbekistan as a sixth member in June, renamed itself the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and continued its focus on regional security. Earlier in the year the group laid the groundwork for a counterterrorist center in the Kyrgyzstani capital of Bishkek. Members also signed an agreement at their June summit to cooperate against “terrorism, ethnic separatism, and religious extremism.”
Three Central Asian states—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan—along with Russia, Belarus, and Armenia, agreed at a CIS collective-security summit in May to create a rapid-reaction force to respond to regional threats, including terrorism and Islamic extremism. The headquarters of the force is to be based in Bishkek. Each of the three Central Asian states and Russia agreed to train a battalion that, if requested by a member state, would deploy to meet regional threats. The security chiefs of these states also met in Dushanbe in October to discuss strengthening border security.
Several Central Asian states concluded counterterrorism or border security agreements in 2001. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan agreed to speed up the exchange of information between their frontier forces, and Kazakhstan signed an agreement with Turkmenistan on border security in July. Continuing past cooperation, in December, Kyrgyzstan and Russia signed an agreement to exchange counterterrorism information. In the summer, the Kyrgyzstani parliament refused to ratify a border accord with Uzbekistan against international terrorism, citing, among other reasons, Uzbekistan’s decision unilaterally to mine its border with Kyrgyzstan in the fall of 2000. The Uzbek mines on the undemarcated Kyrgyzstani border have been blamed for at least two dozen civilian deaths. The Uzbeks also unilaterally have mined the undemarcated border with Tajikistan, resulting in deaths as well.
Azerbaijan and the United States have a good record of cooperation on counterterrorism issues that predates the September 11 attacks. Azerbaijan assisted in the investigation of the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings and has cooperated with the US Embassy in Baku against terrorist threats to the mission. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Government of Azerbaijan expressed unqualified support for the United States and offered “whatever means necessary” to the US-led antiterrorism coalition. To date, Azerbaijan has granted blanket overflight clearance, offered the use of bases, and engaged in information sharing and law-enforcement cooperation.
Azerbaijan also has provided strong political support to the United States. In a ceremony at the US Ambassador’s residence on 11 December, President Aliyev reiterated his intention to support all measures taken by the United States in the fight against international terrorism. In early October, the parliament voted to ratify the UN Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, bringing to eight the number of international counterterrorism conventions to which Azerbaijan is a party.
While Azerbaijan previously had been a route for international mujahidin with ties to terrorist organizations seeking to move men, money, and materiel throughout the Caucasus, Baku stepped up its efforts to curb the international logistics networks supporting the mujahidin in Chechnya, and has effectively reduced their presence and hampered their activities. Azerbaijan has taken steps to combat terrorist financing. It has made a concerted effort to identify possible terrorist-related funding by distributing lists of suspected terrorist groups and individuals to local banks. In August, Azerbaijani law enforcement arrested six members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir terrorist group who were put on trial in early 2002. Members of Jayshullah, an indigenous terrorist group, who were arrested in 1999 and tried in 2000, remain in prison. In December 2001, Azerbaijani authorities revoked the registration of the local branch of the Kuwait Society for the Revival of the Islamic Heritage, an Islamic nongovernmental organization (NGO) suspected of supporting terrorist groups. After the September 11 attacks, Azerbaijan increased patrols along its southern land and maritime borders with Iran and detained several persons crossing the border illegally. It has deported at least six persons with suspected ties to terrorists, including three to Saudi Arabia and three to Egypt. The Department of Aviation Security increased security at Baku’s Bina Airport and has implemented International Civil Aviation Organization recommendations on aviation security.
The Georgian Government condemned the September 11 terrorist attacks and supports the international Coalition’s fight against terrorism. Immediately following the attacks, the Georgian border guard troops along the border with Russia went on high alert to monitor the passage of potential terrorists in the area. In early October, Tbilisi offered the United States the use of its airfields and airspace.
Georgia continued to face spillover violence from the Chechen conflict, including a short period of fighting in the separatist region of Abkhazia and bombings by aircraft from Russian territory on Georgia under the guise of antiterrorist operations. Like Azerbaijan, Georgia also contended with international mujahidin using Georgia as a conduit for financial and logistic support for the mujahidin and Chechen fighters. The Georgian Government has not been able to establish effective control over the eastern part of the country. In early October, Georgian authorities extradited 13 Chechen guerrillas to Russia, moving closer to cooperation with Russia. President Shevardnadze in November promised to cooperate with Russia in apprehending Chechen separatist fighters and foreign mujahidin in the Pankisi Gorge—a region in northern Georgia that Russian authorities accuse Georgia of allowing Chechen terrorists to use as a safehaven—if Moscow furnishes Tblisi with concrete information on their whereabouts and alleged wrongdoing. The United States has provided training and other assistance to help Georgian authorities implement tighter counterterrorism controls in problem areas.
Kidnappings continued to be a problem in Georgia. Two Spanish businessmen who were kidnapped on 30 November 2000 and held near the Pankisi Gorge were released on 8 December 2001. A Japanese journalist was taken hostage in the Pankisi Gorge in August and released on 9 December.
President Nazarbayev allied Kazakhstan with the United States after September 11 and backed the US-led Coalition. Permission was given for overflights, increased intelligence sharing, and for Coalition aircraft to be based in the country. Nazarbayev said publicly that Kazakhstan is “ready to fulfill its obligations stemming from UN resolutions and agreements with the United States” in the Coalition against terrorism. Kazakhstan also declared its intent to ratify international conventions on terrorism, with priority given to the Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, and has taken steps to block the assets of terrorists.
Kazakhstan stepped up security on its southern borders during 2001 in response to Islamic extremist incursions into neighboring states. The Government set up a special military district to help cover the sparsely populated southern flank of the country. It continued efforts to prevent the spread of Islamic militant groups, including actions such as detaining individuals for distributing leaflets for the Islamic militant group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, calling for the violent overthrow of the Kazakhstan Government.
Kyrgyzstan offered a wide range of assistance in the fight against terrorism, including the use of Kyrgyzstani facilities for humanitarian support and combat operations. In December, the Kyrgyzstani parliament ratified a Status of Forces Agreement which allows basing US military forces at Manas International Airport in Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan also hosted in Bishkek in December an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference on enhancing security and stability in Central Asia that was attended by some 60 countries and organizations. Kyrgyzstan has also taken steps to block the assets of terrorists.
Kyrgyzstan experienced several Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) incursions in 1999 and 2000. As a result, it created the Southern Group of Forces comprising approximately six thousand troops from various components of the armed forces that deploy in the southern Batken Oblasty to defend against renewed IMU incursions. In May, a military court handed down death sentences against two foreign nationals for taking part in IMU activity in 2000. One defendant was convicted of kidnapping in connection with militants who took four US mountain climbers hostage in Kyrgyzstan.
Following the terrorist crimes of September 11, counterterrorism cooperation between the United States and Russia grew to unprecedented and invaluable levels in multiple areas—political, economic, law enforcement, intelligence, and military. Areas of common interest ranged from sharing financial intelligence to identifying and blocking terrorist assets to agreements on overflights by US military aircraft involved in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The Russians offered search-and-rescue assistance in support of the OEF efforts in Afghanistan. Both countries have underscored the value of their extensive exchange of counterterrorism information and their enhanced ability to collect and exploit threat information. A mutual interest in fighting criminal activities that support or facilitate terrorism resulted in better-coordinated approaches to border control, counternarcotics efforts, and immigration controls in Central Asia.
Much of the collaboration was through multilateral fora—such as the UN, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Group of Eight (G-8)—and international efforts as part of the Coalition against terrorism with global reach. The United States-Russia Working Group on Afghanistan was the central bilateral forum for addressing terrorism and terrorism-related issues, including terrorist financing, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism, and the nexus between terrorism, drug trafficking, and other criminal activity.
On 24 September, President Putin publicly laid out a broad program of cooperation with, and support for, US counterterrorism efforts. In early October, Russian Defense Minister Ivanov stated that Russia supports any efforts designed to end international terrorism. In mid-October, the Justice Ministry amended terrorism laws to include penalties for legal entities that finance terrorist activity.
Russia was the site of a number of terrorist events in 2001, many connected to the ongoing insurgency and instability in Chechnya. The current conflict, which began in late summer 1999, has been characterized by widespread destruction, displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians, and accusations of human-rights abuses by Russian servicemen and various rebel factions. One rebel faction, which consists of both Chechen and foreign—predominantly Arabic—mujahidin fighters, is connected to international Islamic terrorists and has used terrorist methods. Russian forces continue to conduct operations against Chechen fighters but also draw heavy criticism from human-rights groups over credible reports of human-rights violations. On 9 January, US aid worker Kenneth Gluck was kidnapped while traveling in Chechnya; he was released on 6 February. The kidnapping was attributed to an Arab mujahidin commander. Chechen guerrilla leader Shamil Basayev, however, accepted overall responsibility and apologized, saying it was a “misunderstanding.”
Russia also has experienced numerous other kidnappings, bombings, and assassinations, which may be attributed to either terrorists or criminals. On 5 February a bomb exploded in Moscow’s Byelorusskaya metro station wounding nine persons. On 15 March three Chechen men armed with knives commandeered a Russian charter flight soon after it departed Istanbul for Moscow, demanding that the pilots divert the plane to an Islamic country. Saudi special forces stormed the plane upon its arrival in the country, arresting two of the hijackers, while the third hijacker, one crewmember, and one passenger were killed during the rescue. On 24 March three car bombs exploded in Stavropol, one in a busy market and two in front of police stations, killing at least 20 persons and wounding almost 100. In December, a Russian court sentenced five persons to prison terms ranging from nine to 15 years for involvement in two apartment bombings in 1999 in Moscow that killed more than 200 persons.
Tajikistan, which strongly opposed the Taliban since it took power, expressed its support without reservations for Coalition actions in Afghanistan and continues to offer tangible assistance to operations in the area. Security along the Afghan border was reinforced after September 11. President Rahmonov and all sides of his government, including the opposition, offered full support at all levels in the fight against terrorism and invited US forces to use Tajik airbases for offensive operations against Afghanistan. More broadly, Tajikistan has made a commitment to cooperate with the United States on a range of related issues, including the proliferation of CBRN, illicit trafficking in weapons and drugs, and preventing the funding of terrorist activities.
Incidents of domestic terrorism continued in 2001, including armed clashes, murders of government officials, and hostage taking. The United States issued a travel warning for Tajikistan in May. Three senior Tajik officials were murdered during the year, including the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and the Minister of Culture. In April, an armed group seized several policemen in eastern Tajikistan attempting to negotiate the release of their group members from prison; three policemen were found dead several days later. In June, armed men at a roadblock kidnapped 15 persons, including a US citizen and two German nationals belonging to a German nongovernmental organization for three days. The kidnappers were lower-level former combatants in the Tajik civil war who were not included in the 1997 Peace Accord. After the hostages were released, due to pressure by the former opposition now serving in government, Government troops launched a military operation, which killed at least sixty of the combatants and the group’s leader.
The Supreme Court in Tajikistan sentenced two Madesh students to death in May for bombing a Korean Protestant church in Dushanbe in October 2000; nine persons died, and more than 30 were injured in the attack. While the Church asked that these sentences be commuted, the students were executed in 2001. The Court also sentenced several members of the Islamic political group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, to prison terms. More than 100 members of the group were arrested in 2001.
Uzbekistan, which already worked closely with the United States on security and counterterrorism programs before September 11, has played an important role in supporting the Coalition against terrorism. In October, the United States and Uzbekistan signed an agreement to cooperate in the fight against international terrorism by allowing the United States to use Uzbek airspace and an air base for humanitarian purposes. In December, to facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid into northern Afghanistan, Uzbekistan reopened the Friendship Bridge, which had been closed for several years. Tashkent has issued blocking orders on terrorist assets, signed the UN Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, and says that it is a “full-fledged” party to all UN antiterrorism conventions.
Uzbekistan experienced no significant terrorist incidents in 2001 but continued actively to pursue and detain suspected Islamic extremists. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) participated in combat against US-allied Northern Alliance forces during the early stages of the war against terrorism, particularly in the area of Kunduz. Although the IMU suffered significant losses during this campaign, there is information that the IMU may still maintain a capability to infiltrate into Uzbekistan for possible attacks. Uzbekistan continued to confront increased Hizb ut-Tahrir activity. In October, the group distributed leaflets claiming that the United States and Britain have declared war on Islam and urged Muslims to resist Uzbekistan’s support for the US-led Coalition.
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, European nations responded in dramatic fashion, offering immediate assistance to manage the crisis and working overtime to help build and sustain the international Coalition against terrorism. Working together bilaterally and multilaterally, the United States and its friends and allies in Europe demonstrated the positive impact of coordinated action. Sustaining this close cooperation and unity of purpose will be a strong element of a successful campaign over the long haul.
Many European countries acted quickly to share law-enforcement and intelligence information, conduct investigations into the attacks, and strengthen laws to aid the fight against terrorism. The UK, France, Italy, and other European allies partnered with the US in military operations to root out the Taliban and al-Qaida from Afghanistan. Belgium, the holder of the six-month rotating EU presidency on September 11, immediately focused its agenda on the fight against terrorism. Spain not only continued to weaken the Basque terrorist group, Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA), but captured leaders and members of an al-Qaida cell in Spain, and has moved to make counterterrorism a central item on the agenda of its six-month presidency of the EU which began in January 2002. Al-Qaida-related arrests were similarly carried out in Belgium, Bosnia, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK.
During the year it held the rotating presidency of the Group of Eight (G-8), Italy’s guidance of joint activities of the Lyon Group law-enforcement experts and the Counterterrorism Experts Group (Roma Group) resulted in substantial progress on an Action Plan for combating terrorism. France provided outstanding political, diplomatic, and military support to the global counterterrorism campaign. The French have helped invigorate measures to bolster the UN’s ability to contribute to measures against terrorism and to enhance regional counterterrorism cooperation within Europe. Greece offered noteworthy support for the antiterrorism Coalition. However, it remains troubling that there have been no successful arrests and prosecutions of members of the 17 November terrorist group. Germany’s response to the September 11 attacks was superb, with important contributions to key diplomatic, law-enforcement, and military efforts. German police moved swiftly to investigate leads related to the attacks, identified al-Qaida members, made arrests, and issued warrants. Turkey provided invaluable logistic and basing support to the campaign in Afghanistan as well as its full diplomatic and political support. Although Turkey’s effective campaign against the PKK, DHKP/C, and Turkish Hizballah dealt setbacks to those groups, they still remain capable of lethal attacks.
The European multilateral response to the September 11 attacks through the European Union (EU) and NATO was immediate, forceful, and unprecedented. The EU showed itself to be a strong partner in sustaining the global Coalition and in fostering international political cooperation against terrorism. On the day of the attacks, the EU (under Belgium’s presidency) voiced its solidarity with the United States. EU member states provided strong support for our efforts at the UN to adopt strong counterterrorism resolutions and for our diplomatic efforts around the world to get third countries to stand up against terrorism. Thereafter, the Council of the European Union adopted an Action Plan to identify areas—such as police and judicial cooperation, humanitarian assistance, transportation security, and economic and finance policy—that could make a contribution to fighting terrorism. In addition, the Council adopted a “common position,” a framework regulation, and an implementing decision that significantly strengthened its legal and administrative ability and that of EU member states to take action against terrorists and their supporters—including freezing their assets. The EU strengthened its capacity to stanch the flow of terrorist financing by approving a regulation that enables it to freeze terrorist assets on an EU-wide basis without waiting for a UN resolution. The United States signed the US-Europol Agreement in December to facilitate cooperation between our law-enforcement authorities. The EU reached agreement on a European arrest warrant, which will greatly facilitate extradition within member states. Under the Belgian presidency, the EU also agreed on a regulation to freeze assets of persons and entities associated with terrorism; the measure was approved in December by the European Parliament. The EU also reached agreement on a common definition of terrorism and on a common list of terrorist groups and committed to coordinated initiatives to combat terrorism, including the intent to adopt quickly a directive preventing money laundering in the financial system and expanding procedures for freezing assets—to include proceeds from terrorism-related crimes. The EU is continuing to work internally and with the US and other countries to improve our ability to take common actions against terrorism.
For its part, NATO invoked Article V of the NATO charter for the first time, bringing the full weight of the organization to bear to provide for self defense against terrorism. NATO forces have played a key role in the effort to end Afghanistan’s role as a safehaven and in providing direct military support in securing the United States from additional terrorist attacks.
Two of the newest NATO members, the Czech Republic and Hungary, made immediate offers of humanitarian and military assistance after the September 11 attacks. Amidst offers to “backfill” American and British troops in the Balkans, the Czech Republic deployed the 9th NBC (nuclear/biological/chemical) company to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom in Kuwait and loaned NATO, for its use, a TU-154 transport plane. Hungary offered a military medical unit and is providing antiterrorism training to other countries in the region. Both countries pledged significant humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan at the Tokyo donors’ conference.
The 10 Vilnius Group countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia) collectively and individually joined in condemning the September 11 attacks. These countries have actively supported the international Coalition against terrorism, offering military and diplomatic assistance and, in some cases, providing logistic support. They have undertaken numerous antiterrorism measures, ranging from strengthening border security to investigating suspect financial transactions.
In Southeastern Europe, groups of ethnic Albanians have conducted armed attacks against government forces in southern Serbia and Macedonia since 1999. Ethnic Albanian extremists of the so-called National Liberation Army (NLA or UCK) launched an armed insurgency in Macedonia in February. The NLA, which announced its disbandment in July, received funding and weapons not only from Macedonian sources, but also from Kosovo and elsewhere. The NLA and a group that operated in southern Serbia called the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja, and Bujanovac (PMBLA or UCPMB) had strong ties with Kosovar political organizations, including the Popular Movement of Kosovo and the National Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo. Both NLA and UCPMB killed civilians and government security-force members and harassed and detained civilians in areas they controlled. Other ethnic Albanian extremist groups also espouse and threaten violence against state institutions in Macedonia and the region, including the so-called Albanian National Army (ANA or AKSH) and the National Committee for the Liberation and Protection of Albanian Lands (KKCMTSH).
Albania continued to be an active partner in the fight against international terrorism in the wake of September 11, pledging “any and all assistance” to US efforts. Government and political leaders quickly condemned the attacks. The Government also pledged NATO access to air and seaports for units participating in Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as commando troops. In addition, the parliamentary Assembly called upon all banks in Albania to locate the accounts of individuals suspected of possessing terrorist ties and to prevent fund withdrawal or transfer. The Albanian courts already have frozen the assets of one suspected al-Qaida supporter. The Ministry of Finance is working to strengthen its anti-money laundering legislation.
Various Middle Eastern-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that have been identified as supporting terrorist activities continued to maintain a presence in Albania. Some of the NGOs continued to provide assistance to Islamic extremists throughout the region, to include procuring false documents and facilitating terrorist travel. In early October, however, the Albanian Government simultaneously raided the Tirana headquarters of four Islamic-based NGOs believed to be involved in international Islamic extremism, detained and interrogated their principal officers, then deported them, together with their families, into the custody of police authorities from their home countries. From late October through December, Albanian authorities conducted three additional raids: two on Islamic-based NGOs suspected of supporting extremist activity, and the third on the Tirana headquarters of an Albanian business owned by a suspected al-Qaida supporter watchlisted by the US Department of the Treasury. The Albanian Government detained and interrogated those organizations’ principal officers.
Albania continues to cooperate closely with US counterterrorism efforts on a number of levels. Grossly insufficient border security, corruption, organized crime, and institutional weaknesses, however, combine to make Albanian territory an attractive target for exploitation by terrorist and Islamic extremist groups.
Belgian Government reaction to the tragedy of September 11 was swift and supportive. Prime Minister Verhofstadt publicly condemned the attacks on September 11 and again on 12 September before the European Parliament. During Belgium’s six-month term of the rotating EU presidency in the second half of 2001, the EU made significant progress in combating terrorism. Belgium immediately thrust counterterrorism to the top of its agenda for EU reform efforts in the wake of the attacks. Belgium helped to obtain key EU-wide agreement on a European arrest warrant, which will greatly facilitate extradition within member states. As a NATO ally, Belgium contributed a navy frigate in the Mediterranean and backfill for Operation Enduring Freedom and provided aircraft for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
The Belgians cooperated on many levels with US counterterrorism efforts, from information sharing to policymaking. Belgian authorities arrested on 13 September Tunisian national, Nizar Trabelsi and Moroccan Tabdelkrim El Hadouti, (brother of Said El Hadouti who was charged in Morocco with helping to provide false documents to the Massoud suicide bombers) for involvement in an alleged plot against the US Embassy in Paris. Police also seized from Trabelsi’s apartment a sub-machinegun, ammunition, and chemical formulas for making explosive devices.
Terrorists, however, have found it relatively easy to exploit Belgium’s liberal asylum laws, open land borders, and investigative, prosecutorial, or procedural weaknesses in order to use the country as an operational staging area for international terrorist attacks. The forgery of Belgian passports and theft of Belgian passports from Belgian Government offices have facilitated terrorists’ ability to travel. For example, the two suicide-assassins of Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud in Afghanistan on 9 September had traveled as journalists under false names on Belgian passports stolen from consulates in France and the Netherlands. The Belgian Government instituted a new passport with state-of-the-art anti-fraud features in March 2001.
In December, Belgian authorities arrested Tarek Maaroufi, a Tunisian-born Belgian national, on charges of involvement in trafficking of forged Belgian passports. Maaroufi was charged with forgery, criminal association, and recruiting for a foreign army or armed force. Belgian authorities suspect the forged passports are linked to those used by the two suicide-assassins of Northern Alliance leader Massoud. Italian authorities also sought Maaroufi for his ties to known al-Qaida cells. Belgian authorities also opened an investigation into the activities of Richard Reid, the accused “shoe bomber” who on 2 December was overpowered on board American Airlines Flight 63. Reid stayed at a hotel in Brussels from 5–16 December and frequented local cybercafes.
Belgium is beginning to add legislative and judicial tools that will increase its ability to respond to terrorist threats. The Belgian Government assisted in the investigation of several cases of international terrorism, both among European states and with the United States. Belgian cabinet ministers agreed in November on a draft bill aimed at facilitating wiretaps, the use of informants, and other expanded investigative techniques.
Belgium fully implemented all UNSC resolutions requiring freezing of Taliban-related assets.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
After September 11, Bosnian Government authorities pledged to put all possible resources toward the fight against international terrorism. As Bosnia has been a transit point for Islamic extremists, the State border service enacted a variety of measures to control the borders more effectively, including the introduction of a new landing-card document travelers are required to complete upon arrival at the airport.
Following the attacks on September 11, Ministry of the Interior authorities arrested several individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist activity, including an associate of Bin Ladin lieutenant Abu Zubaydah and five Algerian nationals suspected of being Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) operatives; Sabir Lahmar, one of the detained GIA operatives, had made threats against SFOR and US interests in the past.
Even before the September 11 attacks, the Bosnian Government was engaged actively in measures to combat terrorism. In April, authorities arrested Sa’id Atmani, a suspected GIA associate who roomed with Ahmed Ressam while he was in Canada, and extradited him to France in July, where he was wanted on an INTERPOL warrant. In July, Bosnian Government authorities arrested two members of the Egyptian group al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya—Imad al-Misri and al-Sharif Hassan Sa’ad. Both men were extradited to Egypt in October.
Various NGOs that have been identified as supporting terrorist activities, however, maintained a presence in Bosnia. The NGOs, which came to the region during the 1992–1995 Bosnian war, continued to provide assistance to Islamic extremists throughout Bosnia, to include procuring false documents and facilitating terrorist travel. The Government has taken some significant steps to freeze assets and monitor activities of some of the NGOs, but their ability to carry out efforts to combat these organizations has been weakened by some residual support for those in the Islamic world that supported Bosnia wartime efforts.
Following September 11, Bosnian banking authorities have worked diligently to identify and freeze suspected terrorist assets in the financial sector.
France has provided substantial diplomatic, political, and other support to the war against terrorism. French officials expressed their determination to eradicate the “perverse illness” of terrorism and offered military and logistics contributions. Following the attacks on the United States, France played an important role in crafting a UN response to terrorism and joined other NATO allies in invoking Article 5, the mutual-defense clause of the NATO treaty. Paris quickly granted three-month blanket overflight clearances for US aircraft and offered air, naval, and ground assets that were integrated into Operation Enduring Freedom. At year’s end, the French had also committed ground troops as part of the international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.
During 2001, French law-enforcement officers tracked, arrested, and prosecuted individuals who they suspected had ties to al-Qaida and other extremist groups. In April, a Paris court sentenced Fateh Kamel to eight years in prison for running an underground terrorist logistics network linked to al-Qaida. French authorities established clear links between Kamel and Ahmed Ressam, who had plotted to attack the Los Angeles Airport in December 1999. On 10 September, a French magistrate opened a formal investigation into an alleged plot by an al-Qaida-linked group to target US interests in France and placed its alleged ringleader, Djamel Beghal, who was extradited from the United Arab Emirates on 1 October, in investigative detention.
In November, the French Parliament passed the “everyday security” bill, which allows for expanded police searches and telephone and Internet monitoring, along with enhanced measures to disrupt terrorist finances. Finance Minister Fabius responded rapidly to US requests related to Executive Order 13224 to freeze Taliban and al-Qaida finances. As of December, France had frozen $4 million in Taliban assets. Fabius also established a new interagency unit, designated FINTER, to provide a focal point within the Ministry for efforts to block the financing of terrorism. On an international level, the French were among the principal advocates for creating the UN Security Council’s counterterrorism committee, and they cooperated with US officials in G-8 counterterrorism meetings.
Regionally, Paris continued working with Madrid to crack down on the terrorist group Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA). In late 2001, the number of confrontations between French officers and the Basque group increased notably, resulting in the wounding of several policemen. French authorities also discovered that major ETA training activities were taking place within France. In an unprecedented decision in September, French magistrates refused residency to 17 Spanish Basque residents who had links to ETA and gave them one month to leave French territory. Moreover, French officials arrested several ETA members in September, including Asier Oyarzabal, the suspected head of ETA’s logistics apparatus.
Pro-independence Corsican groups continued to attack Government offices on the island. The murder of nationalist leader Francois Santoni in August and the ongoing debate with the mainland over the island’s autonomy heightened tensions and increased the threat of continued violence. French officers arrested Rene Agonstini in September for complicity in murder and kidnapping.
Immediately following the September 11 attacks, Chancellor Schroeder pledged “unreserved solidarity” with the United States, initiated a sweeping criminal investigation in close cooperation with US law enforcement, and moved to prepare the German public and his Government to adopt antiterrorism legislation that included closing legal loopholes and increasing the monitoring of suspected terrorist groups.
On 16 November the Bundestag approved German military participation in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). German soldiers are currently serving in OEF and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and Germany has taken a leading role in efforts to train and equip a new Afghan police force.
Soon after the attack, German police conducted raids on several apartments in Hamburg where the September 11 hijackers and associates once resided. Numerous law-enforcement actions followed.
On 10 October, German police arrested a Libyan, Lased Ben Henin, near his Munich home in coordinated raids that also included the arrest of two Tunisians in Italy. Ben Henin is suspected of links to al-Qaida’s terrorist network and was extradited to Italy on 23 November.
On 18 October, German authorities issued an international arrest warrant for Zakariya Essabar, Said Bahaji, and Ramzi Omar who allegedly belonged to a Hamburg terrorist cell that included three of the September 11 hijackers.
On 28 November, German police arrested Mounir El Motassadeq, a 27-year old Moroccan, at his Hamburg apartment on charges he controlled an account used to bankroll several of the September 11 hijackers and had “intensive contacts” with the terrorist cell. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office stated that El Motassadeq had close contact over a period of years with several members of the Hamburg cell, including the suspected ringleader, Mohamed Atta. He had power of attorney over hijacker Marwan al-Shehhi’s bank account, according to the statement.
On 12 December, Germany banned a network of radical Islamic groups centered on the Cologne-based Kaplan organization. Police conducted 200 house searches in seven different German states in connection with the ban and seized the headquarters of the Kaplan group, which authorities had previously characterized as antidemocratic and anti-Semitic. The ban also covers the Kaplan-associated foundation, “Servants of Islam” and 19 other subsidiary groups with a total of approximately 1,100 members. The leader of the group, Metin Kaplan, who is serving a jail term for calling for the murder of a rival religious leader, is widely known in Germany as the “Caliph of Cologne.”
Germany increased funding for the security services by some $1.5 billion and announced the creation of 2,320 new positions in various agencies to combat terrorism. Government authorities are using advanced technology to uncover potential terrorists, including so-called “sleepers” and terrorist-support personnel in Germany.
After four years of testimony and deliberations, a German court convicted four of five suspects in the 1986 bombing of the Labelle Discotheque in Berlin, in which two US servicemen died. One defendant was convicted of murder while three others were convicted as accessories to murder and sentenced to prison terms of 12–14 years each. A fifth suspect was acquitted for lack of evidence. The court’s verdict also made clear Libyan Government involvement in planning and facilitating the attack. The prosecution has appealed the verdict to seek longer sentences, while the defense has appealed as well; the appeal process could take up to two years.
The Greek Government, after September 11, joined its EU partners in setting up interdiction mechanisms in support of the war on terrorism, to include greater security at points of entry, information sharing with the United States and its Coalition allies, and the monitoring of suspected terrorist financial assets. The Greek Parliament took meaningful steps toward demonstrating its commitment to combating terrorism by passing a comprehensive anti-organized-crime-and terrorism bill. Among its key provisions, the legislation mandates magistrate trials (eliminating citizen jurors, who have in the past been vulnerable to personal threats), sanctions police undercover operations, authorizes the use of DNA as court evidence, and permits electronic surveillance beyond traditional wiretaps.
Greek and US authorities maintained good cooperation investigating past terrorist attacks on US citizens. Nevertheless, the Greek Government has not yet arrested or convicted those terrorists responsible for attacks conducted by Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N) or Revolutionary Nuclei (RN) over the past two decades.
A series of court rulings that effectively reduced the sentences of suspected Greek terrorists or overturned guilty verdicts in high-profile terrorist-related cases represented a setback on one counterterrorism front.
Anti-State Struggle terrorist and longtime criminal fugitive Avraam Lesperoglou had been found guilty of several charges, including involvement in the attempted murder of a Greek police officer, for which he received a 17-year sentence. In April, the verdict was overturned on appeal. By October, charges regarding Lesperoglou’s association with Anti-State Struggle similarly were dropped after prosecution witnesses failed to appear in court or recanted previous testimony identifying him at the scene of the crime. Following these developments, there were allegations of witness intimidation. In November, Lesperoglou was cleared of all charges and set free.
In another prominent case, self-confessed Urban Anarchist guerrilla Nikos Maziotis had his 15-year sentence reduced to fewer than 5 years. Afterwards, the trial judge ruled that he agreed with the unrepentant Maziotis’ contention that “the placement of an explosive device at a Greek Government ministry was a political statement and not an act of terrorism.”
The courts imposed only token penalties on a young woman caught in the act of placing a gas-canister bomb in front of the US Consulate General in Thessaloniki in 1999 and delayed until 2003 a prosecutor’s request to retry the case.
Anti-US terrorist attacks in Greece declined significantly from a high of 20 in 1999 to only three in 2001. Greece’s most lethal terrorist group, Revolutionary Organization 17 November did not claim any attacks in 2001, nor did Greece’s other prominent terrorist group, Revolutionary Nuclei. Anarchist groups appeared more active in employing terrorist tactics, however, seizing upon antiglobalization and antiwar themes. The three low-level incendiary attacks on US interests in Greece in 2001 consisted of one unclaimed attack against a US fast-food chain and two others against US-plated vehicles by the group Black Star. Other lesser-known groups attacked numerous domestic targets while the “Revolutionary Violence Group” attacked Thai and Israeli official interests.
Greek officials began planning for security for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens and continued to work with key countries having extensive security and/or Olympics experience through a series of consultative conferences and symposiums, to include several meetings of the seven-nation Olympic Security Advisory Group—Australia, France, Germany, Israel, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.
Italy stepped up its counterterrorism efforts following the September 11 attacks and has vigorously supported the United States diplomatically and politically. Taking a prominent role in the international Coalition against al-Qaida, Italy declared its support for the US-led war and offered to contribute military forces, including naval, air and ground units. Italy also enhanced its law-enforcement capabilities, recently passing a series of antiterrorism laws enumerating new criminal offenses for terrorist acts and providing new and expanded police powers.
In the weeks following the attacks, Italian law-enforcement officials intensified their efforts to track and arrest individuals they suspect have ties to al-Qaida and other extremist groups. On 10 October they arrested several extremists connected to Essid Sami Ben Khemais—the Tunisian Combatant Group leader arrested by the Italians in April for plotting to bomb the US Embassy in Rome. In mid and late November, Italian officials raided the Islamic Cultural Institute in Milan and arrested Islamic extremists having possible ties to al-Qaida. Italy also cooperated in stemming the flow of finances linked to terrorism. The Financial Security Committee, comprising senior officials of various ministries, including Finance, Foreign Affairs, and Justice, and representatives from law-enforcement agencies, was created in October to identify and block the funding of terrorist activity.
During the year Italy also concentrated on dismantling not only indigenous terrorist groups that in the past attacked Italian and US interests, but also groups suspected of international terrorist affiliations operating within and outside Italy’s borders. In April, the Revolutionary Proletarian Initiative Nuclei (NIPR) bombed the Institute of International Affairs in Rome. The Anti-Imperialist Territorial Nuclei (NTA) claimed to have attacked the tribunal courthouse building in Venice in August and the Central European Initiative (INCE) office in Trieste in September 2000. Both groups are leftistanarchist entities that promote anti-US/anti-NATO rhetoric and espouse the ideals of the Red Brigades of the 1970s and 1980s.
Italy’s vigorous leadership of the Group of Eight (G-8) Counterterrorism Expert’s Group resulted in significant progress on a 25-point plan to guide the G-8’s contribution to the global counterterrorism campaign. The Action Plan has fostered greater counterterrorism coordination among the foreign affairs and law-enforcement agencies of G-8 members. Italy’s work with other European countries to combat terrorism as well as extensive cooperation among Italy, the United States, and several European countries—including Spain, France, Germany, Britain, and Belgium—led to the arrests on 10 October. Moreover, Rome worked with Madrid to improve bilateral efforts against terrorism, agreeing in early November at a summit in Granada to create a joint investigative team to fight terrorism and conduct joint patrols on long-distance trains to prevent illegal immigration.
Stressing solidarity as a NATO ally, Poland has taken a leadership role in expanding counterterrorism cooperation with key regional and international partners. In November, President Kwasniewski hosted the Warsaw Conference on Combating Terrorism. The Conference resulted in an action plan and a declaration that identified areas for regional cooperation and called for nations in the region to enhance their abilities to contribute to the global war on terrorism. Poland strongly supported the campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan, and the US Central Command has accepted Poland’s offer of specialized units. The Government of Poland has also taken significant steps to bolster its own internal capabilities to combat terrorist activities and the movement of terrorist funds. Poland’s excellent border controls, high level of airport security, and its close cooperation on law-enforcement issues have discouraged potential terrorist movements through Poland.
The September 11 attacks in the United States triggered unqualified support from Madrid in the global fight against terrorism. Spain, which has waged a 30-year battle against the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist group, champions mutual assistance as a strategy to deny safehaven to terrorists and welcomes the global focus to help defeat all forms of terrorism. Immediately after the attacks, President Aznar announced that his Government will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the United States in fighting terrorism; he has directed all relevant agencies to work closely with US law-enforcement counterparts. Spanish police broke up two al-Qaida-affiliated cells, arresting six members in late September and eight in November. Spain also offered military aid to Coalition efforts in Afghanistan. Madrid plans to use its leadership of the European Union—in the first half of 2002—to promote continued EU support for counterterrorism cooperation.
During his trip to Spain in June, President Bush declared that the United States stands “side by side with the government of Spain and will not yield in the face of terrorism.”
Madrid’s top counterterrorism priority beyond supporting the global Coalition against terrorism remained combating ETA, which maintained its violent strategy throughout 2001, despite a Basque regional election that demonstrated diminishing popular support for the group’s political wing. The group made good on its threats to target Spain’s tourist areas during its summer campaign with a series of attacks that caused mainly property damage: a car bomb at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport damaged scores of cars, while a bomb attack at a popular tourist resort near Barcelona slightly injured about 10 persons. It also continued to attack traditional targets—politicians, military personnel, journalists, and police. A bomb in Catalonia in March killed one police officer, while another bomb in Madrid in June fatally injured a Spanish general. An ETA commando headquartered in the Basque region is suspected of killing a Basque police officer in July. According to official Spanish Government data, ETA terrorists killed 15 persons in 2001, most of whom were members of either the military or security services.
Madrid scored a variety of successes against ETA during the year, dismantling a dozen important terrorist cells and disrupting some of the group’s logistics bases. In October, the Spanish National Police dismantled an ETA cell in the Basque region that, in addition to organizing smaller commando cells, was planning to launch attacks. Two of those arrested were linked to the assassination of a senior Basque Socialist politician in February 2000. Spanish police in early December arrested several members of a cell suspected in several car bombings during the year, including the attack at Madrid’s airport. They confiscated more than 100 pounds of explosives and a variety of false documentation.
Spain continued to forge bilateral agreements with states that can help it defeat ETA terrorism. In January, Madrid signed a joint political declaration with the United States, which included an explicit commitment to work jointly against ETA. Spain also concluded important agreements with France and Mexico, two key partners in the effort to deny potential sanctuaries to ETA members. During his visit to Mexico in July, President Aznar signed an agreement with Mexico that boosted intelligence sharing, security, and judicial cooperation on terrorism. In early October, Paris and Madrid signed a new bilateral agreement that eases extraditions of ETA suspects and improves antiterrorism cooperation. Under the agreement, a former ETA leader—charged in an attempted assassination of King Juan Carlos in 1995—was temporarily extradited to Spain to stand trial. Following his trial, he will be returned to France to complete a 10-year sentence there before being sent back to Spain to serve any additional time meted out by the Spanish court.
The Turkish Government, long a staunch counterterrorism ally, fully supported the campaign against terrorism. Turkey provided basing and overflight rights and has sent troops to Afghanistan to train the local military and participate in the International Security Assistance Force. At home, Turkish security authorities dealt heavy blows to the country’s two most active terrorist organizations, the DHKP/C and Turkish Hizballah—a Kurdish Islamic (Sunni) extremist organization unrelated to Lebanese Hizballah. Police arrested more than 100 members and supporters of the DHKP/C and several hundred members and supporters of Turkish Hizballah and raided numerous safe houses, recovering large caches of weapons, computers and other technical equipment, and miscellaneous documents.
Despite these setbacks, the DHKP/C retained a lethal capability and, for the first time in its history, conducted suicide bombings. On 3 January, a DHKP/C operative walked into a police regional headquarters in Istanbul and detonated a bomb strapped to his body, killing himself and a policeman, and injuring seven others. A second DHKP/C suicide bomber attacked a police booth in a public square in Istanbul on 10 September, killing two policemen, mortally wounding an Australian tourist, and injuring more than 20.
Turkish Hizballah conducted its first attack against official Turkish interests with the assassination on 24 January of Diyarbakir Police Chief Gaffar Okkan and five policemen—revealing a greater sophistication than the group had shown in previous attacks. According to press reports, four teams consisting of as many as 20 operatives ambushed Okkan’s motorcade as he departed the Diyarbakir Governor’s office. Authorities recovered approximately 460 bullet casings at the scene. Hizballah operatives also ambushed three police officers in Istanbul on 14 October, killing two and wounding the other.
Chechen separatists and sympathizers also used Turkey as a staging ground for terrorist attacks. On 22 April, 13 pro-Chechen gunmen—led by Muhammed Tokcan, an ethnic-Chechen Turkish national who served fewer than four years in prison for hijacking a Russian ferry from Turkey in 1996—took over a prominent Istanbul hotel, holding hostage for 12 hours approximately 150 guests, including 37 US citizens. The gunmen, who eventually surrendered peacefully, claimed that they wanted to focus world attention on Russia’s activities in Chechnya. Turkey’s court system has been relatively lenient with pro-Chechen terrorists. The state court addressing the hotel incident did not indict Tokcan’s group under the country’s stringent antiterrorism laws but instead charged the militants with less serious crimes, including weapons possession and deprivation of liberty.
Separately, three Chechens hijacked a Russian charter jet carrying 175 passengers, mostly Russian nationals, from Istanbul to Moscow on 15 March. Fuel limitations forced the plane to land in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Saudi authorities negotiated with the hijackers overnight before special forces stormed the plane and captured two of the separatists. The third hijacker, one crewmember, and one passenger were killed during the rescue.
The PKK continued to pursue its “peace initiative”—launched by imprisoned PKK Chairman Abdullah Ocalan in August 1999—concentrating largely on its public relations efforts in Western Europe. The leadership announced early in the year the inauguration of a second phase of its peace initiative, called serhildan (uprising)—the term usually connotes violent activity, but the PKK uses it to refer to civil disobedience—in which PKK members in Europe openly declare their identity as Kurds and their involvement in the group, sign petitions, and hold demonstrations in an effort to push for improved rights for the Kurdish minority in Turkey. The PKK began conducting serhildan activities in Turkey toward the end of the year; authorities arrested some PKK members who participated.
The United Kingdom has been Washington’s closest partner in the post-September 11 international Coalition against terrorism. The UK stepped forward to share the military burden of the battle against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. More than 4,000 British personnel were assigned to Operation Veritas, the UK contribution to the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom, which began on 7 October. Significant UK naval, air, ground, and special forces participated in operations against the Taliban and al-Qaida. London is leading the International Security Assistance Force to help the new Afghan Interim Authority provide security and stability in Kabul.
At home, the British detained 10 individuals with suspected foreign terrorist links and intensified surveillance of other individuals based on information indicating links to terrorist activities. At year’s end, the UK had detained and was assisting in extraditing to the US four individuals charged with terrorist acts in the United States or against US citizens. Consistent with the UK’s Terrorism Act of 2000, which widened the definition of terrorism to include international as well as domestic activities, the Government in February 2001 added 21 international terrorist organizations—including al-Qaida—to its list of proscribed organizations. Parliament in mid-December passed the Anti-Terrorism, Security, and Crime Act, providing authorities with additional tools in the battle against terrorism. The new legislation gives the Government legal authority to detain for six-month renewable terms foreign terrorist suspects who cannot be deported under UK law. It also provides for tightened airport security, allows security services full access to lists of air and ferry passengers, tightens asylum rules, and criminalizes the act of assisting foreign groups to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
The United Kingdom has been working with the United States and the UN to disrupt the cash supply of suspected terrorist groups. As of late 2001, UK authorities had frozen more than 70 million pounds ($100,000,000) of suspected terrorist assets. A proposed antiterrorism bill would require financial institutions to report suspicious transactions or face legal penalties.
In ongoing efforts to end domestic terrorism, the UK and other parties to the Northern Ireland peace process made progress toward fulfilling terms of the Good Friday Agreement. In October, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) put an undisclosed amount of weapons and ammunition “beyond use.” Dissident Republican splinter groups—the Real IRA (RIRA) and the Continuity IRA (CIRA)—denounced the move, and called on disgruntled IRA members to join RIRA and CIRA. Statistics indicated that the number of terrorist killings in the North remained consistent, with 18 deaths in 2000 and 17 in 2001. UK authorities believe that RIRA is responsible for an intensified bombing campaign during the year on the mainland, with bombs exploding outside the BBC’s London headquarters (March); in North London (April); in West London (August); and in Birmingham (November). Moreover, the year saw an upswing in Loyalist paramilitary violence, primarily in the form of pipe-bomb attacks on Catholic homes in North Belfast. In addition, for 12 weeks during the autumn, Protestants residing near a Catholic school in North Belfast held highly publicized protests that were sometimes marred by violence.
The United States continued to lend support to the Northern Ireland peace process, with President Bush stating in March that Washington stands ready to help London and Dublin “… in any way the governments would find useful.” In March, the USG designated the RIRA as a Foreign Terrorist Organizations; and following September 11, the US Government included CIRA, the Orange Volunteers and the Red Hand Defenders on the Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL)—a move that means their members are barred from entering the United States. Later in the year, the Government of Colombia detained three individuals with IRA links based on suspicion they had been training rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist guerrilla group involved in drugs and on the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. US officials made clear Washington’s displeasure about possible IRA/FARC connections, stating that the United States will have no tolerance for any ongoing or future cooperation between these organizations.
The Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia announced its support for international efforts to combat terrorism immediately after the September 11 attacks. Belgrade, already a party to six of the UN antiterrorism conventions, by year’s end signed the convention on funding of terrorism and reportedly intended to sign four more in the near future. In addition, the Government of Yugoslavia planned to take steps to implement financial sanctions against groups involved in terrorist-related activity. Yugoslav officials arrested and detained several suspect Arabs in November and December, including 32 Afghanis transiting Serbia in late October.
The UN and NATO, the international civil and security presence exercising authority in Kosovo, have firmly supported international efforts to combat terrorism. The UN promulgated new regulations that will make it easier to identify and apprehend suspected terrorists and has worked to improve Kosovo’s border security. NATO has increased its own border-interdiction efforts and its monitoring of organizations with potential links to terrorism. Kosovar political leaders expressed their strong support for the fight against global terrorism.
Various NGOs identified as supporting terrorist activities maintained a presence in Kosovo. The NGOs, largely staffed by a small number of foreign Islamic extremists and a few dozen local radicals, do not enjoy wide support among Kosovo’s moderate Muslim population. In December, NATO Troops conducted raids against the Global Relief Foundation, an NGO in Kosovo with alleged links to terrorist organizations.
Latin America Overview
The countries of Latin America (with the exception of Cuba) joined as one in condemning the attacks of September 11 when the Organization of American States became the first international organization to express outrage at the “attack on all the democratic and free states of the world” and to voice solidarity with the United States. Ten days later, the OAS Foreign Ministers called for a series of strong measures to combat terrorism, and those members that are party to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance took the unprecedented step of invoking the principle of mutual assistance—an agreement by which an attack on any state party to the treaty is considered an attack on them all.
Kidnapping remained one of the most pernicious problems in the region. Nineteen US citizens were kidnapped in Latin America in 2001, including five each in Colombia and Haiti, and four in Mexico. Elite counterterrorism units in Colombia arrested 50 persons in connection with the abduction in October 2000 of five US oil workers in Ecuador and the subsequent murder in January 2001 of US hostage Ron Sander.
September 11 brought renewed attention to the activities of the Lebanese-based terrorist organization Hizballah, as well as other terrorist groups, in the triborder area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, where terrorists raise millions of dollars annually via criminal enterprises. There is evidence of the presence of Hizballah members or sympathizers in other areas of Latin America as well: in northern Chile, especially around Iquique; in Maicao, Colombia near the border with Venezuela; on Margarita Island in Venezuela; and in Panama’s Colon Free Trade Zone. Allegations of Usama Bin Ladin or al-Qaida support cells in Latin America were investigated by US and local intelligence and law-enforcement organizations, but at year’s end they remained uncorroborated.
On 10 September, Secretary of State Powell officially designated the Colombian paramilitary organization United Self-Defense Forces (AUC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) due in part to their explosive growth—the AUC swelled to an estimated 9,000 fighters in 2001—and reliance on terrorist tactics. Colombia’s largest terrorist organization, the 16,000-member Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), unleashed such a wave of violence and terror in 2001 and early 2002 that Colombian President Andres Pastrana decided, in February 2002, to terminate the peace talks that had been a cornerstone of his presidency and to reassert government control over the FARC’s demilitarized zone, or despeje.
Three members of the Irish Republican Army—alleged explosives experts helping the FARC prepare for an urban terror campaign—were arrested as they departed the despeje in August. Allegations of similar support by the terrorist group Basque Fatherland and Liberty, or ETA, to the FARC were reported by Colombian media. Ecuador is viewed by many analysts as a strategic point in the international weapons transshipment routes for arms, ammunition, and explosives destined for Colombian terrorist groups.
In Peru, the Shining Path showed signs of making a comeback as a terrorist organization, albeit with a greater focus on narcotics than on ideological insurgency. The MRTA, largely wiped out in the late 1990s, did not take any terrorist actions in 2001.
Although no acts of international terrorism took place in Bolivia in 2001, there were numerous incidents of domestic terrorism, capped by the car-bomb explosion on 21 December near the entrance to the Bolivian National Police Department district office in Santa Cruz. The attack killed one and caused numerous injuries; nearby buildings, including one that houses US Drug Enforcement Agency offices, also sustained collateral damage. Bolivian officials suspect the bombing may have been related to recent police successes against a captured group of robbery suspects, including some Peruvians, apparently led by a former Bolivian police official.
Most other incidents were thought to be perpetrated by illegal coca growers (“cocaleros”), including using snipers against security forces and boobytrapping areas where eradication efforts take place principally in the Chapare area of Cochabamba Department.
In the months following September 11, Bolivia became a party to all 12 UN and the one OAS counterterrorism conventions. In addition, Bolivia issued blocking orders on terrorist assets.
Two apparently terrorist-related incidents occurred in Chile during 2001. In late September, the US Embassy received a functional letter bomb that local police successfully destroyed in a controlled demolition. The second incident involved an anthrax-tainted letter received at a Santiago doctor’s office; the anthrax strain, however, did not match that found in US cases, and it was possible that this incident was perpetrated locally.
In the letter-bomb case, two Chilean suspects, Lenin Guardia and Humbero Lopez Candia, were taken into custody, charged with obstruction of justice and possession of illegal weapons, and manufacturing and sending the bomb, respectively. Although they both face 20-year prison sentences upon conviction under Chile’s antiterrorism law, it appeared that the US Embassy was a high-profile target of opportunity for persons acting out of personal and selfish motivations.
The Chilean Government also opened an investigation into the activities in the northern port city of Iquique of Lebanese businessman Assad Ahmed Mohamed Barakat—the same Barakat wanted by Paraguayan authorities and who, at year’s end, continued to reside in Brazil. In Iquique, authorities suspect Barakat, along with his Lebanese partner, established two businesses as cover operations to transfer potentially millions of dollars to Hizballah.
Chile also began taking concrete steps to improve its own counterterrorism capabilities and to comply with its international treaty obligations. Aside from becoming party to all 12 UN counterterrorism conventions, the steps include proposals for new money-laundering laws to target terrorist financing, special counterterrorism investigative units, and a new national intelligence agency.
Chile—working with Brazil and Argentina—has led efforts to coordinate hemispheric support for the United States in the aftermath of September 11 in its capacity as the 2001 head (Secretary pro Tempore) of the Rio Group. The efforts included convening the OAS Permanent Council and OAS foreign ministers in the week following the attacks, the historic invocation of the Rio Treaty, and taking part in a special session of the OAS Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism.
An increased international awareness of terrorism did nothing to stop or even slow the pace of terrorist actions by Colombia’s three terrorist organizations—the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), National Liberation Army (ELN), and United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)—in 2001. Some 3,500 murders were attributed to these groups.
On 10 September, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced the designation of the AUC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, citing the AUC’s explosive growth—to an estimated 9,000 fighters by year’s end—and their increasing reliance on terrorist methods such as the use of massacres to purposefully displace segments of the population, as primary reasons for the designation. With this addition, all three of Colombia’s major illegal armed groups have now been designated by the United States as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (the FARC and ELN were designated in 1997). Colombian estimates for 2001 suggested that the AUC was accountable for some 43 percent of Colombia’s internally displaced persons, mostly rural peasants, while the FARC and ELN were responsible for some 35 percent.
In 2001, as in years past, there were more kidnappings in Colombia than in any other country in the world, and the financial transfer from victims to terrorists by way of ransom payments and extortion fees continued to cripple the Colombian economy. The FARC and ELN were purportedly responsible in 2001 for approximately 80 percent of the more than 2,800 kidnappings of Colombian and foreign nationals—including some whose governments or agencies (the UN, for example) were helping mediate the ongoing civil conflict. Since 1980, the FARC has murdered at least ten US citizens, and three New Tribes Missionaries abducted by the FARC in 1993 remain unaccounted for.
The FARC and the AUC continued their deadly practice of massacring one another’s alleged supporters, especially in areas where they were competing for narcotics-trafficking corridors or prime coca-growing terrain. The FARC and ELN struggled with one another for dominance in the bombing of the Cano-Limon-Covenas oil pipe-line—combining for an unprecedented 178 attacks which had a devastating ecological and economic impact—with the larger FARC (an estimated 16,000 fighters vs. under 5,000 for the ELN) beginning to gain the upper hand by year’s end.
As in past years, the on-again, off-again peace talks between Bogotá and the FARC or the ELN did not lead to substantive breakthroughs with either group. (As of press time, President Pastrana had broken off talks with the FARC following the group’s 2 February 2002 hijacking of Aires Flight 1891, the abduction of Colombian Senator Jorge Gechen, as well as the separate abduction of presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt; the Colombian military also had reasserted control over the FARC’s demilitarized zone, or despeje.) Talks with the ELN were ongoing. For its part, the AUC continued to press, without success, for political recognition by the Government of Colombia.
Throughout 2001, Colombia’s government acted against all three terrorist groups through direct military action as well as through legal and judicial means. The Prosecutor General successfully prosecuted many FARC, ELN, and AUC members on domestic terrorism charges. Bogotá also pursued insurgent and paramilitary sources of financing with some success, capturing in a short period in late 2001, for example, four FARC finance chiefs. In May, raids on high-ranking AUC residences in Monteria netted key evidence regarding that group’s financial backers. On a more disturbing note, the Government alleged links between these groups and other terrorist organizations outside Colombia. The capture in August of three Irish Republican Army members who have been charged with sharing their expertise and providing training on explosives in the FARC’s demilitarized zone is perhaps the most notable example.
The Colombian Government has been very supportive of US antiterrorist efforts in international fora, particularly the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS). Colombia was one of the region’s leaders in the effort to impose sanctions against the Taliban in the United Nations before the events of September 11, and it continues to cooperate in enforcing UNSC and UNGA antiterrorist resolutions, including Resolutions 1267, 1333, and 1368. Colombia also signed the UN Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. In the OAS, Colombia continued to be an active member of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism and was selected to chair the subcommittee that deals with monitoring and interdicting terrorist financial flows. Colombia also planned to broaden its capability to combat terrorism within its borders by means of a three-part strategy unveiled in late October. The main components include strengthening the public security forces, modernizing the penitentiary system, and expanding and improving civil and criminal investigation mechanisms. Also included are provisions for the seizure and forfeiture of terrorist assets, reduction of bank secrecy rights, and measures to insulate municipal and departmental finances from corruption. At year’s end, the implementation of this strategy was awaiting passage of additional legislation.
The kidnapping on 12 October 2000 of a group of eight oil workers (including five US citizens) by an armed band played out well into 2001. On 31 January, the hostage takers executed US hostage Ron Sander. The remaining seven hostages, including the four surviving US citizens, were released in March, following payment of a multi-million-dollar ransom. In June, Colombian police arrested more than 50 Colombian and Ecuadorian criminal and ex-guerrilla suspects, including the group’s leaders, connected to the case. At year’s end, five of the suspects were awaiting extradition to the United States.
Beyond the murder of Ron Sander, there were no significant acts of terrorism in Ecuador in 2001, although unidentified individuals or groups perpetrated some low-level bombings. Two McDonald’s restaurants were firebombed in April. Over a four-day period in mid-November, four pamphlet bombs containing anti-US propaganda were detonated in downtown Quito.
As did most Latin American nations in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the United States, Ecuador voiced its strong support for US, OAS, and UN antiterrorism declarations and initiatives put forth in various international fora, including UNSCR 1373, as well as for Coalition actions in Afghanistan. Ecuador, however, neither improved control over its porous borders nor cracked down on illegal emigration/immigration. Quito’s weak financial controls and widespread document fraud remained issues of concern, as did Ecuador’s reputation as a strategic corridor for arms, ammunition, and explosives destined for Colombian terrorist groups.
Although there were no international acts of terrorism in Peru in 2001, the number of domestic terrorist acts (130 by year’s end) increased markedly and eclipsed the number perpetrated in the previous three years. Most incidents occurred in remote areas of Peru associated with narcotics trafficking. Sendero Luminoso (SL) was the most active terrorist group—in fact, the level of SL-related activity and its aggressive posture appeared to be on the rise through 2001. The Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, although active politically, was not known to have committed any terrorist acts in 2001. US citizen Lori Berenson received a civilian re-trial and was once again convicted for terrorism based on her involvement with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Front, or MRTA. (The conviction and sentence were upheld by the Peruvian Supreme Court 18 February 2002.) Peruvian police also were investigating a series of attacks against Lima’s electric power companies’ infrastructure throughout the fall.
In a notable case in late November, Peruvian police thwarted a possible SL terrorist attack against a likely US target—possibly the US Embassy—when it arrested two Lima SL cell members. At the time of his arrest, one cell member possessed paper scraps with route diagrams and addresses of several US-affiliated facilities in Lima. Although they were still investigating the incident at year’s end, Peruvian officials suspected that the SL had planned a car-bomb attack against US interests to coincide with the 3 December birthday of jailed SL founder Abimael Guzman. (Car bombings were a regular component of SL’s modus operandi during the 1980s and early 1990s.)
Peru continued to pursue a number of individuals accused of committing terrorist acts in 2001, and notable captures included several key SL members. Among these were the arrests in October of Ruller Mazoombite (a.k.a. Camarada Cayo), chief of the protection team for SL leader Macario Ala (a.k.a. Artemio), and Evoricio Ascencios (a.k.a. Camarada Canale), the logistics chief of the Huallaga Regional Committee. By the end of November, some 259 suspected terrorists had been arrested.
Since September 11, Lima has been a regional leader in strongly supporting antiterrorism initiatives through the drafting and passage of key legislation (some still pending at year’s end) against money laundering as well as adopting an even more active stance against terrorism in general. In late September, Peru introduced a draft Inter-American Convention against Terrorism at the OAS and, in October, assumed the chair of the Border Controls Working Group of the OAS Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism. Peru has remained very receptive to antiterrorism training opportunities and has participated in the US State Department Antiterrorism Training Assistance program since 1986. Peru has yet to issue blocking orders on terrorist assets, however.
Triborder (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay)
South America’s triborder area (TBA)—where the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay converge and which hosts a large Arab population—took on a new prominence in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the United States. Although arms and drug trafficking, contraband smuggling, document and currency fraud, money laundering, and pirated goods have long been associated with this region, it also has been characterized as a hub for Hizballah and HAMAS activities, particularly for logistic and financial purposes. At year’s end, press reports of al-Qaida operatives in the TBA had been disproved or remained uncorroborated by intelligence and law-enforcement officials.
All three governments, especially Paraguay, took steps to rein in the individuals most strongly suspected of materially aiding terrorist groups—most prominently Hizballah—and continued to monitor the area as well as hold outstanding arrest warrants for those not yet captured. Security officials from each country, as well as a contingent from Uruguay, continued to coordinate closely on sharing information. The four nations also were trying to improve very limited joint operations in the fight against terrorism. The governments also condemned the September 11 attacks and generally stood in strong support of US counterterrorism efforts.
Argentina suffered no acts of terrorism in 2001. The oral trial for alleged Argentine accomplices to the terrorist attack in 1994 on the Argentine-Israeli Community Center (AMIA) began in late September. Twenty suspects are being tried—of whom 15 are former police officers, and include a one-time Buenos Aires police captain—and are accused of supplying the stolen vehicle that carried the car bomb. The trial is expected to last through much of 2002.
Argentine authorities also continued to investigate the bombing in 1992 of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and to seek those directly responsible for the AMIA attack. A team of FBI investigators—at Argentina’s request—visited the country in June to work jointly with the legal and judicial officials involved in the AMIA bombing to review the investigation. Despite the elapsed time since the attacks, the public trial of the accessories now underway has led some to expect that new information relating to one or both of these terrorist acts will come to light.
In Brazil, one incident occurred during 2001 that could be characterized as a terrorist incident—an after-hours bombing of a McDonald’s restaurant in Rio de Janeiro in October. The incident resulted in property damage but no injuries, and while Brazilian police suspect antiglobalization extremists perpetrated the attack, no arrests were made.
Following the September 11 attacks, Brasilia initiated and led a successful campaign to invoke the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (the Rio Treaty) in support of the United States. Brazil also played host to a conference in November on regional counterterrorism initiatives and participated in several other regional meetings on counterterrorist cooperation. Brazil raided several clandestine telephone centers from which calls to numerous Middle Eastern countries had been traced. Brazilian officials were still investigating possible links to terrorist activities.
Since September 11, Paraguay has been an active and prominent partner in the war on terror. It has, inter alia, arrested some 23 individuals suspected of Hizballah/HAMAS fundraising, initiated a ministerial-level dialogue with regional governments, cracked down on visa and passport fraud, and hosted, in late December, a successful regional counterterrorism seminar that included a keynote speech by the United States Coordinator for Counterterrorism.
Paraguayan officials raided a variety of businesses and detained numerous suspects believed to have materially aided either Hizballah or HAMAS, primarily in the triborder city of Ciudad del Este or in Encarnación. Prominent among the raids were the arrests on 3 October of Mazen Ali Saleh and Saleh Mahmoud Fayad (on criminal association/tax evasion charges) and the arrest on 8 November of Sobhi Mahmoud Fayad (on criminal association and related charges); all three are linked to Hizballah. In addition, the businesses that were raided revealed extensive ties to Hizballah—in particular, records showed the transfers of millions of dollars to Hizballah operatives, “charities,” and entities worldwide. Several other TBA personalities, including Assad Barakat and Ali Hassan Abdallah, are considered fugitives. Barakat, who is considered Hizballah’s principal TBA leader, lives in Foz do Iguazu, but owns a business (“Casa Apollo”) in Ciudad del Este; Paraguay has sought an INTERPOL warrant for his arrest.
Among the others arrested were some 17 ethnic Arabs (mostly Lebanese) on charges of possessing false documents; Paraguayan officials suspect some have links to HAMAS. Three Paraguayans—an attorney, a consular officer, and an Interior Ministry employee—also were arrested in connection with fraudulently issuing immigration documents to the 17 individuals.
Asunción, through its money-laundering unit, also identified 46 individuals who transferred funds in a suspicious manner from accounts held by Middle Eastern customers or to Middle East organizations.
Despite the apparent successes, Paraguayan counterterrorist enforcement continued to be impeded by a lack of specific criminal legislation against terrorist activities, although such a bill was introduced before the legislature. Until its passage, Paraguay must rely on charges such as criminal association, tax evasion, money laundering, or possession of false documents to hold suspects. Pervasive corruption also continued to be a problem for Paraguay, and some suspected terrorists were able to co-opt law-enforcement or judicial officials.
Uruguay suffered no acts of international terrorism in 2001. Before September 11, Montevideo had been involved in an effort to create a permanent working group on terrorism with neighboring countries. Since September 11, Uruguay has actively supported various regional counterterrorism conventions and initiatives, paying particular attention to the triborder area as well as to its shared border with Brazil.
Egypt has asked Uruguay to extradite a suspected terrorist in a case that came before Uruguay’s courts in 2001. The defendant, al-Said Hassan Mokhles, is a member of the Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG)—a group with ties to al-Qa’ida. Although the Court of Appeals granted his extradition, Mokhles has appealed his case to the Uruguayan Supreme Court. Mokhles was imprisoned, charged with document fraud, as his suspected IG activities took place before he arrived in Uruguay; there is no reported IG cell presence in Uruguay.
Following the events of September 11, Venezuela joined the rest of the OAS in condemning the attacks, and Venezuelan officials worked closely with US officials to track down terrorist assets in Venezuela’s financial system. Venezuela condemned terrorism but opposed using force to combat it.
It was widely reported in the press that Venezuela maintained contact with the FARC and ELN and may have helped them obtain arms and ammunition; the press reports also included turning a blind eye to occasional cross-border insurgency and extortion by FARC and ELN operatives of Venezuelan ranchers.
In December 2001, Venezuela extradited Colombian national (and accused ELN member) Jose Maria Ballestas, wanted as a suspect for his role in the hijacking of an Avianca aircraft in Colombia in April 1999.
Middle East Overview
Middle East terrorism witnessed two major developments this year. On the one hand, terrorist groups and their state sponsors continued their terrorist activities and planning throughout 2001. Most notable among these groups was Usama Bin Ladin’s al-Qaida, which perpetrated in the United States the most significant act of anti-US terrorism. On the other, however, most Middle Eastern countries—including some with which the United States has political difficulties—showed an unprecedented degree of cooperation with the Coalition’s campaign against terrorism in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Some of our Middle Eastern allies thwarted terrorist incidents targeted against US interests and citizens, disrupted terrorist cells, and enhanced their counterterrorism relations with the United States. A number provided tangible support for Operation Enduring Freedom, including personnel, basing, and overflight privileges. Most Middle East governments froze al-Qaida financial assets pursuant to UNSCR 1373. Notably, all Middle Eastern countries with an American diplomatic presence were responsive to US requests for enhanced security for personnel and facilities during periods of heightened alert.
The Government of Yemen, for example, launched a military campaign against al-Qaida and suspected al-Qaida members within its territory. Jordan maintained extreme vigilance in monitoring suspected terrorists and put a number on trial. Qatar, as head of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), coordinated an official OIC communiqué supportive of action by the international Coalition. Egypt used its regional clout to build consensus for the Coalition. The United Arab Emirates broke off diplomatic relations with the Taliban 11 days after the attack and took significant antiterrorism financing measures. And Algeria continued its aggressive campaign against domestic terrorism and bolstered its security cooperation with the US Government.
Middle Eastern governments that still lack peace agreements with Israel, most notably Syria and Lebanon, cooperated with the US Government and its partners in investigating al-Qaida and some other organizations, but they refused to recognize Hizballah, HAMAS, the Palestine Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian rejectionist groups for what they are—terrorists. They and other Arab/Muslim countries held the view that violent activities by these groups constitute legitimate resistance. They sometimes even condone Palestinian suicide bombings and other attacks against civilian targets within Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip.
The Gulf countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates played strong roles in the international Coalition against terrorism. In addition to condemning the September 11 attacks publicly, these governments took positive steps to halt the flow of terrorism financing and, in some cases, authorized basing and/or overflight provisions. In several cases, they did so despite popular disquiet over their governments’ military support for Operation Enduring Freedom. As in other Arab countries, US interests were often subject to terrorist threats. The Gulf governments as a whole were extremely responsive in providing appropriate and effective security measures.
President Bouteflika, who met twice in 2001 with President Bush, publicly pledged his Government’s full cooperation with the Coalition’s campaign. As part of this cooperation, the Government of Algeria strengthened its information sharing with the United States and worked actively with European and other governments to eliminate terrorist support networks linked to Algerian groups, most of which are located in Europe.
Algeria itself has been ravaged by terrorism since the early 1990s. Since 1999, Algerian extremists operating abroad also have stepped-up their anti-US activities, a development that has contributed to a closer, mutually beneficial counterterrorism relationship between our two countries. For example, in April, Algerian authorities announced the arrest of international fugitive Abdelmajid Dahoumane, as he tried to re-enter the country. Dahoumane is an accomplice of Ahmed Ressam, who is awaiting sentencing for planning a thwarted attack on the Los Angeles International Airport in December 1999.
Terrorism within Algeria remained a serious problem in 2001, although its magnitude decreased as Government forces continued to improve their ability to combat it. There were fewer massacres and false roadside checkpoints set up by militants. Most violence occurred in areas outside the capital. The worst single incident of terrorist violence occurred on 1 February when Islamic extremists massacred 26 persons near Berrouaghia in Medea Province.
Militants continued their attacks in the Algiers area on occasion, despite improved measures by the Government to secure the capital. Also, for the first time since 1997, Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) forces in early 2001 killed foreign nationals—four Russian scientists and one French/Algerian woman—although press reports suggest that the victims were not targeted based upon their nationalities.
The GSPC—the largest, most active terrorist organization operating inside Algeria—maintained the capability to conduct operations. It collaborated with smugglers and Islamists in the south who supplied insurgents with weapons and communications equipment in northern strongholds.
(In a shootout in early 2002, Algerian Government security forces killed Antar Zouabri, head of the Algerian terrorist organization Armed Islamic Group, which has been responsible for most of the civilian massacres over the past decade.)
There were no terrorist incidents in Bahrain in 2001. Amir Shaykh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa used his country’s 2001 presidency of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to advocate, consistently, a proactive GCC position against terrorism. In addition, the Bahrain Monetary Authority implemented UNSCR 1373 and quickly took action to freeze terrorist assets.
The Egyptian and US Governments continued to work closely together on a broad range of counterterrorism issues in 2001. The relationship was further strengthened in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Key Egyptian Government and religious officials condemned the attacks; President Mubarak was the first Arab leader to support the US military campaign in Afghanistan publicly. Egypt also supported efforts to cut off the flow of terrorism financing by strengthening banking regulations, including preparing a money-laundering bill for this purpose. The Government of Egypt renewed its appeals to foreign governments to extradite or return Egyptian fugitives.
Other actions taken by the Government of Egypt to support US counterterrorism efforts following the September 11 attacks included continuing to place a high priority on protecting US citizens and facilities in Egypt from attack; strengthening security for US forces transiting the Suez Canal; implementing aviation security directives; agreeing to participate in the voluntary Advanced Passenger Information System; and granting extensive overflight and Canal transit clearances.
Egypt itself has been for many years a victim of terrorism, although it has abated. No terrorism-related deaths were reported in Egypt in 2001, but the Egyptian Government continued to regard terrorism and extremist activity as an urgent challenge. The Egyptian Government indicted nearly 300 Egyptians and foreigners on terrorism-related charges. They will be tried by a military tribunal. Other terrorists’ detentions were extended. Of those arrested, 87 were members of a group Egyptian authorities dubbed “al-Wa’ad” (The Promise). They were accused of planning to assassinate key Egyptian figures and blow up strategic targets; at the time of the arrests, authorities reportedly discovered arms caches and bomb-making materials. Those arrested included 170 al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG) members, accused of killing police and civilians. They also were accused of targeting tourists and robbing banks between 1994 and 1998. Egypt’s principal terrorist organizations, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and the IG, suffered setbacks following September 11. International members of both groups and some suspects were returned to Egypt from abroad for trial. The Government renewed its appeals to foreign governments to extradite or return other Egyptian fugitives. In early 2001, IG leader Rifa’i Ahmad Taha Musa published a book in which he attempted to justify terrorist attacks that result in mass civilian casualties. He disappeared several months thereafter, and his whereabouts at the time of this report’s publication remained unknown.
Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip
Traditionally, Israel has been one of the United States’ staunchest supporters in fighting terrorism. September 11 reinforced US-Israeli security cooperation in this area. There is no known al-Qaida presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Arafat forcefully denounced the September 11 attacks. Even HAMAS publicly distanced itself from Usama Bin Ladin.
Israeli-Palestinian violence escalated in 2001, and terrorist activity increased in scale and lethality. Israel responded to terrorist attacks with military strikes against PA facilities, targeted killings of suspected terrorists, and tightened security measures, including roadblocks and closures of Palestinian towns and villages.
HAMAS conducted several suicide bombings inside Israeli cities from March to June, culminating in the attack outside a Tel Aviv nightclub on 1 June that killed 22 Israeli teenagers and injured at least 65 others. On 9 August, HAMAS mounted a suicide attack in a Jerusalem pizzeria, killing 15 persons and wounding more than 60 others.
Attacks by the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) against Israel were similar to those of HAMAS. They included car bombings, shooting attacks, and suicide bombings. In general, PIJ operations were significantly less lethal than those of HAMAS. The PIJ claimed several shootings during the year, including an attack on 4 November in which a PIJ member ambushed an Israeli bus carrying schoolchildren in the French Hill section of East Jerusalem. The attack killed two children, including one dual US-Israeli national, and wounded at least 35 other persons.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) raised its profile in 2001. It carried out car bombings in Jerusalem, few of which caused serious injury. The PFLP, however, assassinated Israeli cabinet minister Rehav’am Ze’evi in an East Jerusalem hotel on 17 October, purportedly in retaliation for Israel’s killing of its leader, Abu Ali Mustafa.
Members of the Tanzim, which is made up of small and loosely organized cells of militants drawn from the street-level membership of Fatah, conducted attacks against Israeli targets in the West Bank over the course of the year. In mid-March, Israel arrested several Tanzim members who confessed to participating in at least 25 shootings over a five-month period. Some Tanzim militants also were active in al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in the West Bank—mainly shootings and roadside bombings against settlers and Israeli soldiers. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade also claimed credit for at least one mortar attack.
Other secular Palestinian entities carried out terrorist attacks in 2001. Israel announced in the fall that it had detained 15 members of a terrorist squad linked to the Iraq-based Palestine Liberation Front. In early May, the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) tried to smuggle weapons into Gaza aboard the Santorini. Apparently unaffiliated Palestinians also committed acts of political violence. For example, on 14 February, a Palestinian from Gaza, employed by Israel’s Egged civilian bus company and with no known links to any terrorist organization, drove his bus into a group of Israeli soldiers at a bus stop killing eight and wounding 21 persons.
Israeli Arabs, constituting nearly one-fifth of Israel’s population, appeared to have played a limited role in the violence in 2001. On 9 September, Israeli Arab Muhammad Hubayshi conducted a suicide attack at a train station in Nahariyah. HAMAS claimed credit for the attack. Israeli Arabs generally refrained from aiding and abetting terrorists from the West Bank and Gaza, however. At year’s end, Israel indicted four Israeli Arabs linked to rejectionist groups, although they were uninvolved in terrorist operations or planning.
Jewish extremists attacked Palestinian civilians and their properties in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2001. The attacks claimed the lives of Palestinian civilians and destroyed Palestinian farmlands, homes, businesses, and automobiles. In April, six Israeli policemen were wounded when settlers blew up a Palestinian shop. In late November, Israel’s Shin Bet security service assessed that five Palestinians were killed and fourteen wounded in attacks that were likely staged by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. Investigations into many of these attacks produced inconclusive results, leading to several arrests but no formal charges.
During 2001, Israeli military forces killed more than two dozen suspected terrorists affiliated with HAMAS, the PIJ, Fatah, or the PFLP. An unspecified number of Palestinian civilians also were killed in the strikes.
Unlike the pre-intifadah era, when Israeli-PA security cooperation was generally effective, PA counterterrorism activities remained sporadic throughout the year. Israel’s destruction of the PA’s security infrastructure contributed to the ineffectiveness of the PA. Significantly reduced Israeli-PA security cooperation and a lax security environment allowed HAMAS and other groups to rebuild terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian territories.
PA security services did thwart some attacks aimed at Israelis. They also discovered and confiscated some caches of weapons and explosives. But violence continued throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, resulting in almost 200 Israelis and over 500 Palestinians killed in 2001.
Early in December, the White House called upon Arafat to take “meaningful, long-term and enduring action against terrorists operating out of Palestinian territory.” On 16 December, Arafat issued a public statement urging adherence to his call for a cease-fire. This was followed by PA arrests of dozens of HAMAS and PIJ activists, although the conditions of their arrest and the military role that some of them may have played remain unclear. The PA also closed some social services centers run by HAMAS and the PIJ. In December, and under pressure from the PA, HAMAS announced that it would halt suicide attacks within Israel. It retained the option of continuing operations against Israel inside the West Bank and Gaza Strip, however. The top PIJ leadership inside and outside the West Bank and Gaza Strip did not endorse Arafat’s call for a cease-fire agreement.
(In January 2002, Israeli forces boarded the vessel Karine-A in the Red Sea and uncovered nearly 50 tons of Iranian arms, including Katyusha missiles, apparently bound for militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.)
Jordanian officials strongly condemned the September 11 attacks and responded favorably to US requests for assistance. King Abdullah served as an influential and moderating force in the region and stressed in multilateral venues the need to combat terrorism cooperatively. Jordan strengthened its counterterrorism laws, defining terrorism more broadly, specifying punishment for terrorist offenses, and facilitating the seizure of terrorist finances. Moreover, the Government of Jordan continued its vigilant counterterrorism posture in 2001, facing threats that included possible retribution for the late-1999 interdiction of an al-Qaida-linked terrorist plot and efforts to exploit Jordanian territory for attacks against Israel.
In late April, Jordanian authorities publicly released details of the arrest on 29 January of 13 militants who allegedly had planned to attack unspecified Israeli and Western targets in the country. The 13 were referred to a state security court for trial on four counts: membership in an illegal organization, conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts, possession of explosives without a license and for illegal purposes, and preparing an explosive device without a license. Some cell members possessed homemade explosives at the time they were detained.
On 3 December, a state security court sentenced Sabri al-Banna, head of the Abu Nidal terrorist organization (ANO), to death in absentia. Al-Banna, also known as Abu Nidal, was charged with the assassination in 1994 of a Jordanian diplomat in Lebanon. Four ANO members were also sentenced to death. (One was arrested in Jordan upon his arrival from Libya in early January 2002 and three still remain at large.)
Jordanian prosecutors requested the death penalty in the trial of dual US-Jordanian national Ra’ed Hijazi, who had been implicated in the Bin Ladin-linked Millennium plot in late 1999. Hijazi allegedly confessed to planning terrorist attacks in Jordan and to undergoing military training in al-Qaida camps inside Afghanistan. (In 2000, Hijazi had been convicted in absentia and sentenced to death along with five others. Hijazi’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on 11 February 2002 by the State Security Court.)
The Jordanian authorities foiled numerous attempts by militants to infiltrate Israel from Jordan during the year. In June, Jordanian security officials arrested four Jordanians and charged them with planning to transfer a cache of arms into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Jordanian authorities also retrieved various types of weapons—including explosives—allegedly concealed along the Jordanian-Iraqi border after having been smuggled from Lebanon. By the end of 2001, at least two suspected terrorists associated with this plot were still at large in Lebanon and the West Bank.
Jordan retained its tight restrictions and close monitoring of HAMAS and other Palestinian rejectionist groups in its territory. For example, the Jordanian Government settled a two-week long standoff involving Ibrahim Ghawsha, a deported HAMAS leader, who flew back to Amman without warning. Jordan permitted his return only after he had agreed not to be a spokesman or conduct political work on behalf of HAMAS.
On 7 August, an Israeli businessman was shot dead outside his Amman apartment. The motive for the attack remained unclear, although two groups—Nobles of Jordan and Holy Warriors for Ahmad Daqamseh—claimed responsibility. (Ahmad Daqamseh is a Jordanian soldier currently serving a life sentence for killing six Israeli schoolgirls in 1997.)
As of early December, a Jordanian court was investigating the activities of an Iraqi truck driver who allegedly smuggled weapons into Jordan the previous month. The suspect insisted he was paid by an unidentified Iraqi to transport the weapons to Jordan only. Upon further questioning, however, the driver admitted that at least 13 machineguns were destined for the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Kuwait supported the Coalition against terrorism through public statements and a variety of practical measures. Crown Prince Saad, in an October speech opening the National Assembly, identified counterterrorism as the Government’s top priority. Kuwait has ratified or signed all 12 UN counterterrorism conventions. On the financial front, it ordered all international monetary transfers to be sent through its Central Bank, instructed all financial institutions to freeze and seize assets of those designated in Executive Order 13224, and ordered the shutdown of all unlicensed charities by 2002. In December, the Government pledged to cooperate with US experts in investigating suspected cases of terrorism financing. The Government created a higher council to oversee Islamic charities and directed clerics not to use their positions to incite political conflict. Kuwait responded positively and quickly to all Coalition requests for support of Operation Enduring Freedom. It also took the initiative to deliver multiple shipments of humanitarian aid to Afghan refugees during Operation Enduring Freedom. It raised over $8 million in direct donations for the refugees and granted over $250 million in aid to Pakistan during 2001. There were no terrorist incidents in Kuwait in 2001.
The president of Lebanon as well as other senior Lebanese officials consistently condemned the September 11 attacks and offered to help the US Government in its efforts to arrest individuals with ties to al-Qaida and freeze the assets of suspected Sunni extremists. In October, Lebanese security forces arrested two ‘Asbat al-Ansar members who allegedly had been planning to attack the Embassies of the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as other unspecified Arab targets in Beirut. ‘Asbat al-Ansar, which operates mainly from ‘Ayn al Hilwah camp, has been outlawed and its leader, Abu Muhjin, sentenced to death in absentia by Lebanese courts.
The Lebanese Government, however, condones Hizballah’s actions against Israel, arguing that they are “resistance activities.” Several terrorist organizations continued to operate or maintain a presence in Lebanon, including Hizballah, the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), the Palestine Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, ‘Asbat al-Ansar, and several local Sunni extremist organizations.
The Lebanese Government failed to hand over to US authorities three senior Hizballah operatives, including Imad Mugniyah, after the men were placed on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists in 2001 for their role in the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847. Lebanese law prohibits the extradition of Lebanese nationals, but the Government has not taken adequate steps to pursue the cases in Lebanese courts, claims the individuals are not in Lebanon, and that it does not know their whereabouts.
Since the Lebanese Government deems organizations that target Israel to be legitimate, Hizballah, HAMAS, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terrorist organizations were recognized as legal organizations and were allowed to maintain offices in Beirut. The Government refused to freeze the assets of Hizballah or close down the offices of rejectionist Palestinian organizations. It also continued to reject the US Government’s position that Hizballah has a global reach, asserting it to be a local, indigenous organization integral to Lebanese society and politics. The Government of Lebanon informed the United States and the UN that it opposed terrorism and was working to control it. The United States and Lebanon did not agree on a definition of terrorism, however. The Lebanese Government, like other Arab countries, has called for a UN-sponsored conference to define and address the underlying causes of terrorism.
Security conditions in most of Lebanon remained stable in 2001, despite inadequate government control over several areas of the country, including Beirut’s southern suburbs, the Beka’a Valley, the southern border area, and Palestinian refugee camps. The continuing inability of Lebanon to exert such control created a permissive environment for the smuggling of small arms and explosives as well as training activities by terrorist organizations. Hizballah has not attacked US interests in Lebanon since 1991, but it continued to maintain the capability to target US personnel and facilities there and abroad. During 2001, Hizballah provided training to HAMAS and the Palestine Islamic Jihad at training facilities in the Beka’a Valley. In addition, Hizballah reportedly increased the export of weaponry into the West Bank and Gaza Strip for use by these groups against Israeli targets.
There were no attacks on US interests in Lebanon in 2001, but there were random acts of political violence/hate crimes. In May, unknown gunmen assassinated a senior commander of Yasir Arafat’s Fatah organization in the ‘Ayn al Hulwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon, an area outside Lebanese Government control. In September, another Fatah official escaped an assassination attempt near his home in Sidon. In September and October, two churches were attacked, resulting in property damage but no loss of life. In October, a mosque in the predominantly Christian town of Batroun was slightly damaged by arson.
King Mohammed VI unambiguously condemned the September 11 attacks and offered the international Coalition his country’s full cooperation in the war against terrorism. On 24 September the Government of Morocco signed the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and is complying fully with UNSCR resolutions that seek to eliminate terrorist financing.
Domestically, the Moroccan Government’s record of vigilance against terrorist activity and intolerance for the perpetrators of terrorism remained uninterrupted in 2001. While no reported terrorist activity took place inside Morocco, King Mohammed reiterated his outright condemnation of those who conduct or espouse terrorism.
The Government of Oman was very responsive to requests from the Coalition. It proactively responded to US requests related to terrorism financing Executive Order 13224 to ensure that there were no accounts available to any listed terrorist entity or individual. The Government of Oman has signed nine of the 12 UN counterterrorism conventions. There were no terrorist incidents in Oman in 2001.
Qatar provided important and substantial support for the Coalition. As Chair of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Qatar immediately issued public statements condemning the September 11 attacks and disassociating them from Islam. As host of an emergency OIC Ministerial on 16 October, the Government of Qatar helped draft a final communiqué supportive of action by the international Coalition against terror. Qatari law-enforcement authorities worked closely with US counterparts to detain and investigate terrorist suspects. The Qatar Central Bank instructed all financial institutions to freeze and seize the terrorist assets of those designated in Executive Order 13224.
After September 11 and the realization that 15 of 19 of the attackers were Saudi citizens, the Saudi Government reaffirmed its commitment to combat terrorism and responded positively to requests for concrete action in support of Coalition efforts against al-Qaida and the Taliban. The King, Crown Prince, Government-appointed religious leaders, and official news media publicly and consistently condemned terrorism and refuted the few ideological and religious justifications made by some clerics.
In October, the Saudi Government announced it would implement UNSCR 1373, which called for, among other things, the freezing of terrorist related funds. The Saudi Government has ratified six of 12 UN conventions relating to terrorism and signed an additional three, including the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. The remaining three conventions are under consideration. The Saudi Government also pressed nongovernmental organizations and private agencies to implement existing Saudi laws that govern the soliciting of contributions for domestic or international humanitarian causes.
These laws were not scrupulously enforced in the past, and some representatives of international terrorist organizations solicited and collected funds from private citizens and businesses in Saudi Arabia. In December, Saudi authorities agreed to cooperate with US investigators in suspected cases of terrorism financing.
Several threats against US civilian and military personnel and facilities in Saudi Arabia were reported in 2001, but none materialized. By year’s end, Saudi authorities had finished an investigation into a series of bombings in Riyadh and the Eastern Province (Ash-Sharqiyah) and determined that the bombings were criminal rather than political in motivation. In October an apparent suicide bombing in al-Khubar killed one US citizen and injured another. The Saudi investigation since revealed that the bomber was a Palestinian, acting alone, for unverified motives relating to the Palestinian intifadah.
There was only one significant act of international terrorism in Saudi Arabia in 2001—the hijacking of a Turkish plane en route to Russia in March, perpetrated to protest Russian actions in Chechnya. Saudi forces stormed the plane, rescuing most of the passengers. The Saudi Government denied requests from Russia and Turkey to extradite the hijackers.
The Government of Saudi Arabia continued to investigate the June 1996 bombing of the Khubar Towers housing facility near Dhahran that killed 19 US military personnel and wounded some 500 US and Saudi personnel. The Saudi Government continued to hold in detention a number of Saudi citizens linked to the attack, including Hani al-Sayegh, extradited by the United States in 1999.
The September 11 attacks strengthened the Tunisian Government’s active posture against terrorism in 2001. The only Arab nation represented on the United Nations Security Council in 2001, Tunisia supported Security Council Resolutions 1368 and 1373. These cooperative international measures matched the Tunisian Government’s concrete stand against terrorism within its borders. Most Tunisians oppose Islamist movements because they do not want the violence of neighboring Algeria repeated in Tunisia.
There were no reported acts of terrorism in Tunisia in 2001, yet the Government continued to bring judicial, law-enforcement, and military resources to bear against terrorist suspects. On 29 November a military court convicted a Tunisian, extradited from Italy, on charges of training members of a terrorist cell in Italy. On the military front, the Government of Tunisia, in concert with the Government of Algeria, took steps to protect its borders from what it considered a potentially destabilizing influx of extremists. The efforts culminated in the signing in November of a military cooperation agreement with Algeria aimed at strengthening border guard units to better control terrorist movements and the illegal trafficking of arms, drugs, and contraband materials.
United Arab Emirates
Formerly one of three countries to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the UAE cut diplomatic relations 11 days after the attacks on the United States. During his December National Day address, President Zayid promised to “fight and uproot terrorism.” This posture was underscored by significant actions taken on the law-enforcement, diplomatic, and humanitarian fronts. The UAE took major steps to curb terrorist funding: the country’s Central Bank ordered all financial institutions—from banks and investment firms to moneychangers—to freeze and seize the accounts of almost 150 groups and individuals linked to terrorism, including the Al-Barakat group based in Dubai. The UAE also adopted the Gulf Coordination Council’s most comprehensive criminal law prohibiting money laundering. The UAE continued to investigate Marwan Al-Shihi and Fayiz Bani-Hamed, UAE nationals linked to the September 11 attacks. In July, the UAE arrested Djamel Beghal in Dubai and extradited him to France where he was placed under formal investigation after being linked to a planned attack on the US Embassy and American cultural center in Paris. Finally, the UAE contributed $265 million in aid to Pakistan and the UAE Red Crescent Society joined with Dubai Crown Prince Muhammad bin Rashid Al-Maktums’s Foundation and Sharjah Charity International in contributing over $20 million for the establishment of five refugee camps/humanitarian centers along the Afghan-Pakistan border and supplied medicine, clothing, and blankets for needy Afghans.
Yemen immediately condemned the terrorist attacks of September 11. The Yemeni Government also publicly condemned terrorism “in all its forms and sources,” expressing support for the international fight against terror. Moreover, the Yemeni Government took practical steps to enhance its intelligence and military cooperation with the United States. During his official visit to Washington in November, President Salih underscored Yemen’s determination to function as an active partner in counterterrorism with the United States. Senior US officials welcomed President Salih’s commitment but made clear that any counterterrorism cooperation will be judged by its results.
The United States and Yemen continued their joint investigation of the attack in October 2000 on the USS Cole. Cooperation was productive, particularly in the aftermath of September 11, and established important linkages between the East Africa US Embassy bombings, the USS Cole bombing, and the September 11 attacks. The Yemeni Government’s assistance in providing investigators with key documents, allowing evidence to be processed in the United States, and facilitating access to suspects made the discoveries possible.
In 2001, the Yemeni Government arrested suspected terrorists and pledged to neutralize key al-Qaida nodes in Yemen. Increased pressure from security services forced some terrorists to relocate. Yemen has enhanced previously lax security at its borders, tightened its visa procedures, and prevented the travel to Afghanistan of potential terrorists. Authorities carefully monitored travelers returning from abroad and cracked down on foreigners who were residing in the country illegally or were suspected of engaging in terrorist activities. On the education front, the Government began integrating formerly autonomous private religious schools—some of which were propagating extremism—into the national educational system, and has tightened requirements for visiting foreign students. The Yemeni Government asked a large number of foreign students from Arab or Islamic backgrounds to leave the country.
Several terrorist organizations maintained a presence in Yemen. HAMAS and the Palestine Islamic Jihad continued to maintain offices in Yemen legally. Other international terrorist groups with members operating illegally in Yemen included the al-Qaida, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Libyan opposition groups, and the Algerian Armed Islamic Group. An indigenous terrorist group, the Islamic Army of Aden, remained active in the country.
North American Overview
In the immediate wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Canada played an immensely helpful role by accepting the bulk of civil aviation traffic bound for the United States that was diverted when US airspace was ordered closed. Canada provided support for all stranded passengers. Media in the United States and elsewhere erroneously reported that some of the 19 hijackers responsible for crashing the four US commercial airliners had come to the United States via Canada; these allegations were proven false by subsequent investigation.
Overall anti-terrorism cooperation with Canada is excellent, and stands as a model of how the US and another nation can work together on terrorism issues. The relationship is exemplified by the US-Canadian Bilateral Consultative Group on Counterterrorism Cooperation, or BCG, which meets annually to review international terrorist trends and to plan ways to intensify joint counterterrorist efforts. BCG subgroups meet continually to carry out specific projects and exercises. Established in 1988, the BCG builds on a long history of mutual cooperation and complements numerous other bilateral fora that address law enforcement and immigration issues. All of these bilateral mechanisms have continued to grow and improve, especially in the wake of two significant arrests: the December 1999 arrest in Washington State of Usama Bin Ladin associate Ahmed Res-sam, and the March 1998 arrest in Canada of Saudi national Hani Al-Sayegh in connection with the Khubar Towers bombing. Under the US-Canada Terrorist Interdiction Program, or TIP, Canada records about one “hit” of known or suspected terrorists per week from the State Department’s Visa Lookout List.
Excellent law enforcement cooperation between the US and Canada is essential to protecting our citizens from crime and maintaining the massive flow of legitimate cross-border traffic. Day-to-day cooperation between law enforcement agencies is close and continuous. Seven US law enforcement agencies have officers posted to Ottawa and other Canadian cities. The Attorney General and Canadian Solicitor General conduct policy coordination at the US-Canada Cross-Border Crime Forum, established during the Prime Minister’s 1997 visit to Washington. (The Forum met most recently March 6, 2002 in Washington.) Other cooperative mechanisms include groups led by the immigration and customs services known as Border Vision and the Shared Border Accord, extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties, and an information-sharing agreement between the US Drug Enforcement Administration and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Mexican President Fox immediately expressed his support and condolence to President Bush after the 9/11 attacks and sent a team of earthquake response specialists to New York City to assist in the search for victims. Mexico also has expressed firm support for US military action and joined the consensus agreement behind Organization of American States resolutions voicing solidarity with the United States, invoking collective security, and invoking the Rio Treaty. Mexico also played a leading and successful role within the Organization of American States in negotiations for a new Convention on Terrorism.
On the security front, Mexico has taken many steps to enhance border security cooperation. Mexico implemented additional screening requirements for visa applicants from more than 50 countries. In addition, Mexico is implementing a photo-digitized passport-security system to tighten border controls and reduce fraud. The Mexican Secretary of Defense and Energy Secretary tightened security for petroleum and gas facilities and assigned a Navy task force to protect the offshore gas and oil infrastructure. Additionally, there are several points in the US-Mexico Border Partnership Action Plan related to homeland security issues, including those on Infrastructure protection, harmonization of entry port operations, precleared travelers, advanced passenger information, deterrence of alien smuggling, visa policy consultations, compatible databases and electronic exchange of information, screening third-country nationals, public/private-sector cooperation, secure in-transit shipments Mexico also has taken steps on the financial front. The Government of Mexico is working to ensure that domestic legislation and regulation are compliant with United Nations Security Council Resolutions. On several occasions, the National Bank Commission identified and reported suspicious financial transactions. In addition, the Treasury Secretary secured a bank account and several cash transactions linked to an identified terrorist. Furthermore, the Government of Mexico adopted new measures to counter terrorist financing, including increased monitoring of financial movements, exchange of information on unusual movements of capital, and more effective measures to combat money laundering.
As with Canada, there were erroneous media allegations that the September 11 hijackers used Mexico to enter the United States.