Patterns of Global Terrorism. Editor: Anna Sabasteanski. Volume 1, Berkshire Publishing, 2005.
The Year in Review
International terrorists conducted 199 attacks in 2002, a significant drop (44%) from the 355 attacks recorded during 2001. A total of 725 persons were killed in last year’s attacks, far fewer than the 3,295 persons killed the previous year, which included the thousands of fatalities resulting from the September 11 attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.
A total of 2,013 persons were wounded by terrorists in 2002, down from the 2,283 persons wounded the year before.
The number of anti-US attacks was 77, down 65% from the previous year’s total of 219. The main reason for the decrease was the sharp drop in oil pipeline bombings in Colombia (41 last year, compared to 178 in 2001).
Thirty US citizens were killed in terrorist attacks last year:
- On 15 January, terrorists in Bayt Sahur, West Bank, attacked a vehicle carrying two persons, killing one and wounding the other. The individual killed, Avi Boaz, held dual US-Israeli citizenship. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility.
- On 23 January, Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal’s South Asia bureau chief was kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan. On 21 February, it was learned that he had been murdered.
- On 31 January, two hikers on the slopes of the Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines were attacked by militants. One of the hikers, US citizen Brian Thomas Smith, was killed.
- On 16 February, a suicide bomber detonated a device at a pizzeria in Karnei Shomron in the West Bank, killing four persons and wounding 27 others. Two US citizens—Keren Shatsky, and Rachel Donna Thaler—were among the dead. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility.
- On 14 March, two US citizens—Jaime Raul and Jorge Alberto Orjuela—were murdered in Cali, Colombia, by motorcycle-riding gunmen.
- On 17 March, grenades were thrown into a Protestant church in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing five persons including two US citizens, Barbara Green and Kristen Wormsley.
- On 27 March, a HAMAS homicide bomber entered the crowded restaurant of a hotel in Netanya, Israel, and detonated a bomb, killing 22 persons, including one US citizen, Hannah Rogen.
- On 7 June, US citizen Martin Burnham, who along with his wife, Gracia, had been held hostage for more than a year in the Philippines by the Abu Sayyaf Group, was killed as Philippine military units on a rescue mission engaged the terrorists in a firefight. Gracia Burnham was wounded.
- On 31 July, a bomb planted by HAMAS terrorists exploded at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, killing nine persons and wounding 87 others. Among the dead were five US citizens—Benjamin Blutstein, Marla Bennett, Diane Leslie Carter, Janis Ruth Coulter, and David Gritz.
- On 8 October, in Failaka Island, Kuwait, gunmen attacked US soldiers conducting a live-fire exercise killing one Marine, Lance Cpl. Antonio J. Sledd.
- The worst terrorist attack since September 11 occurred on 12 October at a resort in Bali, Indonesia, when a car bomb exploded in a busy tourist area filled with nightclubs, cafes, and bars. The attack killed over 200 persons from two-dozen nations. Seven US citizens died—Deborah Lea Snodgrass, Karri Casner, Jacob Young, Steven Webster, George “Joe” Milligan, Megan Heffernan, and Robert McCormick.
- One US citizen—Sandy Alan Booker—died in the Moscow theater attack on 23 October as Russian commandos attempted to rescue 800 hostages held for three days by Chechen terrorists.
- On 28 October, a gunman in Amman, Jordan, shot and killed Laurence Foley, a senior administrator of the US Agency for International Development, as he was leaving his home for work.
- On 21 November in Sidon, Lebanon, an office manager/nurse at a church-run health facility, GUS citizen Bonnie Denise Witherall, was killed by a gunman.
- Three US citizens—Kathleen Gariety, William Koehn, and Martha Myers—were murdered on G30 December by a gunman who stormed a Baptist missionary hospital in Yemen and opened fire.
The simultaneous attacks against a commercial airliner and a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, in November that killed 12 Kenyans and three Israeli tourists provide dramatic and tragic evidence that sub-Saharan Africa continues to suffer from terrorism, from both indigenous, insurgent groups that use terrorist tactics and international terrorist groups.
The commitment and support of Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia have been vital in the successful pursuit of US counterterrorism efforts in the Horn of Africa and Arabian Peninsula. The desire to cooperate in this global effort against terrorism has extended from Sudan to South Africa and from The Gambia to a number of groups in Somalia.
In 2002, Sub-Saharan African governments almost universally maintained their commitment to fight global terrorism through both unilateral and multilateral efforts.
To this end, in September 2002 the African Union (AU) held a counterterrorism conference in Algiers. (Note: the Organization of African Unity (OAU) became the African Union in 2002.) The September meeting also produced a plan of action to implement the 1999 OAU Convention on Preventing and Combating Terrorism and agreed to establish an African Terrorism Study and Research Center to be based in Algeria. The AU strongly supports UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1373, which, among other stipulations, requires states to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts. The AU also strongly supports UN Security Council Resolution 1269, which reaffirms that the suppression of acts of international terrorism, including those in which states are involved, is an essential contribution to maintaining international peace and security. The 16 members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met in September to consider the establishment of a regional criminal investigation and intelligence bureau that would give special attention to terrorism, as well as to illicit drug trafficking, money laundering, illicit arms running, and counterfeiting.
The United States engaged African countries in a number of ways to enhance their counterterrorism capabilities. One, the Pan Sahel Initiative (PSI), is a US Department of State program designed to assist Mali, Niger, Chad, and Mauritania in protecting their borders, tracking movement of persons, combating terrorism, and enhancing regional stability. The PSI will assist these countries in countering known terrorist operations and border incursions as well as the trafficking of persons and illicit materials. Along with US training and material support will be a program to bring military and civilian officials from the four countries together to encourage greater cooperation on counterterrorism and border issues within and among the governments of the region. It also includes training and assistance to improve critical skills for police and security forces, strengthen airport security, and tighten immigration and customs procedures.
A number of African countries have moved to become parties to the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, as UNSCR 1373 calls on states to do. African countries that are parties to all 12 of the conventions and protocols include Botswana, Mali, and Ghana. Many African governments have taken positive steps to combat terrorist financing by freezing assets of individuals and entities designated by the United States pursuant to Executive Order 13224. Many African governments also have taken steps to freeze the assets of persons and entities included on the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list as having links to Usama Bin Ladin and members of al-Qaida and the Taliban, whose assets UN-member states are required to freeze pursuant to Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
Despite attempts to enhance counterterrorism efforts since 11 September 2001, conditions that make many countries in Africa desirable locations for terrorists still persist. These include a shortage of financial and technical resources, areas of instability and prolonged violence, corruption, weak judicial and financial regulatory systems, and porous borders and unregulated coastlines facilitating the movement of persons and illicit goods.
In April, following the death of Jonas Savimbi, Angola ended its 27-year civil conflict with the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), an organization responsible for numerous brutal attacks on civilians. Separatists in Cabinda Province continued their guerrilla campaigns against the Government. In May, there was a grenade attack on a convoy of US oil workers in Cabinda. Although no one claimed responsibility, the attackers were likely Cabindan separatists. The Government has cooperated in increasing security for private oil companies in Cabinda.
Angola is a party to three of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Djibouti, a critical frontline state in the global war on terrorism and a member of the Arab League, has taken a strong stand against international terrorist organizations and individuals. Djibouti hosts Coalition forces from five countries and the only US military base in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Government has closed down terrorist-linked financial institutions and shared security information on possible terrorist activity in the region. The counterterrorism committee under President Guelleh moved to enhance coordination and action on information concerning terrorist organizations.
In October, the United States established the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). Based in Djibouti, CJTF-HOA coordinates Coalition counterterrorism operations in six East African countries and Yemen.
Djibouti is a party to three of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Ethiopia has been consistently helpful in its cooperation in the global war on terrorism. Significant counterterrorism activities included political, financial, media, military, and law-enforcement actions. The Ethiopian Central Bank has been prompt in complying with US requests for name checks and asset freezes as part of the effort to curb terrorist financing. To counter the threat from the Somalia-based Al-Ittihad al-Islami (AIAI), Ethiopia has undertaken increased military efforts to control its lengthy border with Somalia. The Ethiopian Government believes the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), an indigenous group, was responsible for a June attack on a railway station in Dire Dawa and a September bombing of an Addis Ababa hotel. The OLF denied responsibility for the hotel bombing.
Ethiopia is a party to four of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Kenya was hit once again by terrorist attacks on 28 November 2002, when terrorists fired missiles at an Israeli airliner carrying over 200 passengers and drove a car bomb into a hotel popular with Israeli tourists in the coastal city of Mombasa. The missiles barely missed the plane, but 12 Kenyans and three Israelis were murdered by two suicide bombers in the hotel attack. Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the simultaneous attacks. If true, it represents the second al-Qaida attack on Kenyan soil since the car-bomb explosion at the US Embassy in Nairobi on 7 August 1998, which killed 291 and wounded over 5,000 persons. While Kenya continued to be a key partner and lend high-level support in the global war on terrorism, its counterterrorism capacity continued to be limited by inadequate training and resources. There has been ongoing law-enforcement cooperation and sharing of information between the United States and Kenya concerning suspected terrorists. Kenya also participates in the US Terrorist Interdiction Program and is a party to 11 of the 12 international counterterrorism conventions and protocols.
Mali has taken active steps to combat terrorism and has been responsive on terrorist financing issues. In May, the National Assembly ratified the remaining six international counterterrorism conventions, making Mali a party to all 12. The Malian Government has been receptive to the idea of strengthening its borders, and it held discussions in October 2002 with a US delegation concerning the Pan Sahel Initiative. Mali has a border-security agreement with Niger, Algeria, and Mauritania, although a lack of resources hampers its effectiveness.
Nigeria remained committed to the global war against terrorism and has continued diplomatic efforts in both global and regional fora concerning counterterrorism issues. At a White House ceremony in March, the Nigerian ambassador renewed Nigeria’s solidarity with the US-led antiterror Coalition. Nigeria has been helping to monitor threats to US citizens living in Nigeria and has cooperated with the United States on tracking and freezing terrorists’ assets. Nigeria’s relatively large and complex banking sector, combined with widespread corruption, makes combating terrorism financing more difficult, however. There are growing concerns about the rise of radical Islam in Nigeria, home of Africa’s largest Muslim population.
Nigeria is a party to four of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Rwanda is a party to eight of the 12 international counterterrorism conventions and protocols, and the government has continued to give full support to US-led efforts to combat terrorism. The Government has been responsive to US requests to eradicate terrorism financing; has begun to track radical Islamist groups; and has increased surveillance of airports, border controls, and hotel registrations in an effort to identify terrorists. Rwanda established an intergovernmental counterterrorism committee and has an antiterrorism section in its police intelligence unit. During 2002, the Government aggressively pursued the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR), an armed rebel force composed of former Rwandan Army soldiers and supporters of the previous government that orchestrated the 1994 genocide. The group, which operates in Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, employs terrorist tactics. In 1999, ALIR was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of nine persons, including two US tourists in Bwindi Park. The Rwandan National Police have several suspects in custody and have been very supportive of the ongoing FBI investigation into the murders of the US citizens. In March 2003, the Rwandan Government transferred custody of three of the suspected perpetrators of these murders to the United States. ALIR remained operational, although at a lower level than in 1999.
Somalia’s lack of a functioning central government; protracted state of instability and violence; and long coastline, porous borders, and proximity to the Arabian Peninsula makes it a potential location for international terrorists seeking a transit or launching point to conduct operations elsewhere. Regional efforts to bring about a national reconciliation and establish peace and stability in Somalia are ongoing. The US Government does not have official relations with any entity in Somalia. Although the ability of Somali entities to carry out counterterrorism activities is constrained, some have taken limited actions in this direction. The Somali-based al-Ittihad al-Islami (AIAI) has committed terrorist acts in the past, primarily in Ethiopia. AIAI was originally formed in the early 1990s with a goal of creating an Islamic state in Somalia. In recent years, AIAI has become factionalized, and its membership is difficult to define. Certain extremist factions may continue to pose a regional terrorist threat. Somalia is not a party to any of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
South Africa has taken a number of actions in 2002 in support of the global war on terrorism. President Mbeki has voiced his opinion several times that “no circumstances whatsoever can ever justify resorting to terrorism.” South Africa enacted legislation establishing a financial intelligence unit, which targets money laundering. A draft antiterrorism law was approved by the cabinet and informally submitted to the Parliament. South Africa provided support to the United States by extraditing a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army. There were two acts of domestic terrorism in South Africa in 2002. A series of bombings in Soweto in late October killed one and wounded another, and in mid-November, a pipe bomb exploded at the serious violent crimes police unit in Cape Town, but no injuries occurred. A previously unknown right-wing extremist group, “Warriors of the Boer Nation,” claimed responsibility for the Soweto attack. Police were searching for the culprits in the Cape Town case, although People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD) is suspected. The activities of PAGAD remained severely curtailed in 2002 by a broadly successful law-enforcement and prosecutorial effort against leading members of the organization. South Africa is a party to five of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Tanzania has been a supportive partner in the global Coalition against terrorism. The Tanzanian Government has cooperated with the United States to bring to justice those responsible for the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam. In 2001, for example, a Tanzanian national—extradited from South Africa to the United States to stand trial for his role in the Embassy bombing—was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. The US and Tanzanian Governments cooperated on a number of bilateral programs to combat terrorism in 2002, including civil aviation security, anti-money-laundering initiatives, border control, and police training. Tanzania also worked through multilateral organizations, such as the World Bank and the United Nations, to enhance its counterterrorism efforts. New legislation was approved by Tanzania’s Parliament in November that criminalizes support for terrorist groups operating in Tanzania or overseas. Tanzania is a party to seven of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Uganda continued its firm stance against local and international terrorism in 2002. Uganda is a party to four of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, and in 2002 it worked to complete the process required to become a party to all 12. In May, the government enacted the 2002 Suppression of Terrorism Act, which imposes a mandatory death penalty for terrorists and potential death penalty for their sponsors and supporters. The Act’s list of terrorist organizations includes al-Qaida, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and the Allied Democratic Front (ADF). There were many attacks against civilian targets in northern Uganda by the LRA during 2002, resulting in hundreds of deaths. In March, Uganda launched a major military offensive to destroy the LRA in southern Sudan and northern Uganda. The Ugandan military continued its successful operations against the ADF, resulting in a decrease in ADF activities in western Uganda.
South Asia Overview
In 2002, South Asia remained a central battle-ground in the global war on terrorism. The liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban regime eliminated al-Qaida’s principal base and sanctuary, but remnant cells continued to present a danger throughout Afghanistan. Fleeing terrorists also caused trouble in Pakistan and other states through which they transited. All countries in the South Asia region have strongly supported the Coalition effort against terrorism by al-Qaida and the remnants of the Taliban, and the establishment of the new Transitional Authority in Afghanistan has fostered significant improvements in regional security. Further efforts and continued long-term international assistance will be needed to sustain progress, however.
Pakistan remained a key ally in the antiterrorism effort, offering support to US operations in Afghanistan, implementing close law-enforcement cooperation, and cracking down on domestic extremists. Extremist violence in Kashmir, meanwhile, fueled by infiltration from Pakistan across the Line of Control, threatened to become a flashpoint for a wider India-Pakistan conflict during most of the year.
The cease-fire in Sri Lanka between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Sri Lankan Government held throughout 2002, and the two sides began direct talks, facilitated by Norway, aimed at ending the country’s long civil war and its attendant terrorism. At the same time, the Maoist insurgency in Nepal continued to be a bloody conflict characterized by the use of terrorist tactics. (The Government of Nepal and the Maoists adopted a cease-fire in January 2003.)
In 2002, the Afghan people, supported by a US-led international Coalition, decisively defeated the brutal Taliban regime, which had provided sanctuary to terrorists and extremists from around the world—including North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The extremists had used Afghanistan as a training ground and base of operations for worldwide terrorism. Senior al-Qaida leaders, including Usama Bin Ladin—wanted by the United States for his role in the September 11 attacks as well as the US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998—had been based in Afghanistan, protected by the illegitimate Taliban regime.
In July 2002, representatives from all Afghan regions, factions, and ethnic groups met in an emergency “Loya Jirga,” to elect Hamid Karzai as the President of the Traditional Islamic State of Afghanistan (TISA), which replaced the Afghan Interim Administration established by the December 2001 Bonn Agreement.
The new Afghan Government has pledged its support for the war on terrorism. Al-Qaida, which despite its setbacks still regards Afghanistan as a key battlefield in its war against the United States, will continue its armed opposition to the US presence, however. Al-Qaida has pockets of fighters throughout Afghanistan and probably several more in the neighboring tribal areas of Pakistan. To ensure that former Taliban and al-Qaida holdouts do not reemerge as a significant threat, the TISA must consolidate its support among the country’s rival ethnic and regional factions.
Afghans have already passed several milestones on the road toward building a government in accordance with the Bonn Agreement, and the most critical steps—such as demobilizing rival militias, building a stable Afghan army, drafting a constitution, holding democratic elections, and creating a legal system—were underway at the end of the year.
Afghanistan is a party to three of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
New Delhi continued to support the global Coalition against terrorism in 2002 while engaging in its own efforts to address internal and external threats. The Government of India enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Act to provide the central and state governments with additional law-enforcement tools in the war on terrorism. An anti-money-laundering bill was passed by Parliament in 2002 and signed into law in January 2003. Once implemented, it will establish a financial intelligence unit to monitor suspected terrorist transactions. In May, India and the United States launched the Indo-US Cyber Security Forum to safeguard critical infrastructures from cyber attack. The US-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group met twice during 2002.
Like the United States, India faces a significant terrorist threat. Its primary source is the activity of militants opposed to continued Indian rule over the disputed province of Kashmir. In December 2001, terrorists staged a dramatic attack on the Indian Parliament. In January 2003, armed gunmen opened fire on police outside the American Center in Calcutta, killing four Indian policemen assigned to protect the building. The Government of India asserts that Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT) was behind a series of high-profile attacks. Among them were the May assault on an army base in Jammu that killed 36, an attack in July in Kashmir that killed 27 civilians, and two attacks on the Ragunath temple in Jammu in which at least 19 were killed. India also accused the LT of masterminding the 26 September attack at the Akshardham temple in Gujarat, which killed 31 persons. The United States has designated Lashkar-e-Tayyiba a Foreign Terrorist Organization and has designated it pursuant to Executive Order 13224.
In 2002, India became a party to the 1979 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, making it a party to 11 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
The Nepalese Government in 2002 strongly supported US counterterrorism activities and was responsive to multilateral efforts to police international terrorism. Nepal is party to five of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. Nepal’s primary focus, however, remained the seven-year Maoist insurgency, which had claimed nearly 7,000 lives by the end of 2002.
The Maoist insurgency poses a continuing threat to US citizens and property in Nepal. Repeated anti-US rhetoric and actions suggest the Maoists view Western support for Kathmandu as a key obstacle to their goal of establishing a doctrinaire communist dictatorship. Furthermore, the Maoists have forged cooperative links with extremist groups across South Asia. In 2002, Maoists claimed responsibility for assassinating two US Embassy guards. In a press statement, they threatened foreign missions, including the US Embassy, to discourage foreign governments from supporting the Government of Nepal. Maoists, targeting US symbols, also bombed locally operated Coca-Cola bottling plants in November 2001 and in January and April 2002. In May, Maoists destroyed a Pepsi Cola truck and its contents.
Limited government finances, weak border controls, and poor security infrastructure have made Nepal a convenient logistics and transit point for some outside militants and international terrorists. The country also possesses a number of relatively soft targets that make it a potentially attractive site for terrorist operations. Security remains weak at many public facilities, including the Kathmandu International Airport, but the United States and others are actively working with the Government to improve security. The Nepalese Department of Immigration has made recent improvements in its watch list capability.
In 2002, Pakistan remained a vital partner in the global Coalition against terrorism, playing a key role in the diplomatic, law-enforcement, and military fight to eliminate al-Qaida. Pakistan granted logistic support and overflight rights to support Operation Enduring Freedom, consulted extensively with the United States and the United Nations on ways to combat terrorist financing, and drafted anti-money-laundering legislation. In January, the Government of Pakistan arrested and transferred to US custody nearly 500 suspected al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists, detained hundreds of extremists, and banned five extremist organizations: Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Tehrik-i-Jafria Pakistan (TJP), and Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i Mohammadi (TNSM). The United States has designated LT and JEM as Foreign Terrorist Organizations and also has designated them pursuant to Executive Order 13224.
In 2002, Pakistan became a party to the 1997 International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, making it a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Anti-US and anti-Western attacks in Pakistan increased in 2002 over the previous year, primarily due to opposition to the US-led Coalition in the war against terrorism. Significant attacks included the kidnapping and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl; a grenade attack in March on an Islamabad church that killed five—among them two US citizens; a bus bombing in Karachi in May that killed 14, including 11 French naval engineers; and the bombing in June of the US Consulate in Karachi that killed 12 Pakistanis. In response, police have implemented enhanced security measures at diplomatic facilities, churches, and other sensitive sites. The Government of Pakistan has arrested, tried, and convicted those involved in the Daniel Pearl murder.
US-Pakistan joint counterterrorism efforts have been extensive. They include cooperative efforts in border security, criminal investigations, as well as several long-term training projects. In 2002, the United States and Pakistan established the Working Group on Counterterrorism and Law-Enforcement Cooperation. The meetings provide a forum for discussing ongoing US-Pakistani efforts, as well as a means for improving capabilities and cooperation. Islamabad has facilitated the transfer of over 400 captured alleged terrorists to US custody, and Pakistan remained ranked third in the world (behind the United States and Switzerland) in seizing terrorist assets. Abuse of the informal money-transfer system known as hawala remained a serious problem throughout the region, however.
The positive developments in Sri Lanka that began in 2001 continued in 2002. Historically, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been one of the world’s deadliest terror groups—it pioneered the use of suicide vests and has committed far more suicide-bomb attacks than any other terrorist organization. The cease-fire between the LTTE and the Government, established in December 2001, was formalized in February 2002. Formal peace negotiations began in September 2002 and were continuing into 2003.
The LTTE has publicly accepted the concept of internal autonomy within a federal Sri Lankan state, conceding its longstanding demand for a separate Tamil Eelam state. Its recent public statements give reason to hope that it intends to transform itself from a terrorist organization into a legitimate political entity.
The LTTE, however, has not renounced terrorism; it continues to smuggle in weaponry; and it continues forcible recruitment, including the recruitment of children into its ranks. It is too early to tell whether the Sri Lankan peace process will ultimately bear fruit or whether the LTTE will actually reform itself. Although guarded optimism surrounds the peace process, the United States will continue to designate the LTTE as a Foreign Terrorist Organization until it unequivocally renounces terrorism in both word and deed.
Sri Lanka is a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
East Asia Overview
In 2002, the deadliest terrorist attack since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States occurred in the East Asia region—the bombings in Bali, Indonesia. Although East Asian nations had lent substantial support to the war on terrorism, made progress in arresting and interdicting terrorists, and built and improved their counterterrorism capabilities, many nations redoubled such efforts after the 12 October Bali attack. High-profile arrests continued alongside less visible efforts to improve legal and regulatory regimes to restrict the flows of terrorist money, manpower, and materiel through banks, borders, and brokers in the region.
The Philippines continued its strong support for the war on terrorism in 2002. The Philippines and United States cooperated closely to resolve a hostage crisis involving US citizens in the Philippines and to step up efforts to bring to justice the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists responsible for the kidnapping. The United States brought indictments against and offered rewards for five ASG leaders and trained and assisted Philippine forces in going after the ASG. The United States also added the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and it added CPP/NPA and CPP leader Jose Maria Sison to the list of entities and individuals designated under Executive Order 13224. The Philippines sentenced terrorism suspect Agus Dwikarna to 10 years on explosives charges and continued to consult and cooperate with other regional nations on counterterrorism issues.
Indonesia made great strides in bringing perpetrators of the Bali bombings to justice and exposing the scale and deadliness of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiya (JI), believed to be responsible for the bombings. The Indonesian police cooperated closely with other regional partners in the Bali investigation and widened the investigation beyond the Bali attacks to look at JI in general, often through cooperation with other nations in the region. Indonesia arrested Abu Bakar Bashir, spiritual leader of JI, on several charges, including attempting to assassinate the President of Indonesia and charges related to a string of bombings in December 2000. The United States continued to work closely with Indonesia to improve its counterterrorism capabilities through training and assistance programs, and in supporting the country’s legal and regulatory regimes.
Japan was fully committed to the war on terrorism in 2002 and continued to provide robust assistance to Operation Enduring Freedom, major assistance to rebuild Afghanistan, and other aid to East Asian countries to enhance their counterterrorism capabilities. Japan was an active participant in G-8, EU, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and UN efforts to coordinate counterterrorism activities, and it was a regional leader in adhering to international standards for implementing an effective counterterrorism regime.
Australia was hit hard by the Bali bombings, losing 85 citizens. The tragedy strengthened Australia’s already firm resolve to lend robust support to the war on terrorism, including support for the Bali investigation. Australia provided combat forces to Operation Enduring Freedom and was very active in regional cooperation. Australia implemented broad reforms of its legal and regulatory counterterrorism mechanisms, and it undertook significant bureaucratic reorganization to enhance its counterterrorism capabilities at home and abroad.
Malaysia and Singapore continued to make arrests of JI suspects, disrupting their operations and ability to function. Malaysia approved the concept of a regional counterterrorism center and continued to develop it through the end of the year. The Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia signed an agreement on counterterrorism cooperation, which was later joined by Thailand and Cambodia. Several other nations in the region signed similar cooperative agreements, and cooperation between governments—in particular law-enforcement and intelligence agencies—increased in 2002, making possible additional successes in interdicting or arresting terrorists in the region.
Thailand was also a staunch ally in the war on terror and continued to cooperate closely with the United States and its neighbors on counterterrorism, intelligence, and law enforcement. In 2002, US access to Thai bases and airspace continued to be critical for rapid force projection into the Operation Enduring Freedom theater. Thailand contributed to the UN Afghanistan Reconstruction Fund and agreed to send military engineers to participate in Afghan reconstruction.
Terrorist organizations in the region, however, demonstrated their flexibility and resilience in the face of more effective antiterrorist efforts by East Asian nations. Terrorists shifted their targets and patterns of operation, and much work remains to be done so that the region’s counterterrorism regimes can deal effectively with the threat that terrorists continue to pose to East Asian nations—and their partners and allies. Trafficking in drugs, persons, and weapons, for example, as well as organized crime, official corruption, and some inadequacies in legal and regulatory regimes persist as weaknesses that can be exploited by terrorists.
While regional nations did much to expose, arrest, and disrupt JI in 2002, the organization continues to function, and many of its leaders remain at large. JI and other terrorist groups continue to pose significant threats to the region, and only through increasing collaboration and cooperation can those threats be met.
The hard-won lesson of recent years is that such cooperation and communication are perhaps the most important weapons in the counterterrorism arsenal. Through such cooperation, nations can strengthen the security, law-enforcement, intelligence, and financial institutions that constitute the frontline in the war against global terrorism.
Canberra strengthened its already close working relationship with its international counterparts in the global war on terrorism in 2002. The Australian Defence Force maintained its substantial contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom, including deploying a Special Air Services contingent in Afghanistan, aerial tankers in Kyrgyzstan, and P-3 patrol aircraft in the Persian Gulf region, while two Australian warships participated in the multinational interception force in the Arabian Gulf. The Australian Government strongly condemned all acts of international terrorism during the year, particularly the 12 October Bali bombings, in which 85 Australians died. Australia was instrumental in providing assistance to the Government of Indonesia in the aftermath of the attack.
Canberra signed bilateral counterterrorism memoranda of understanding with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand in 2002, and it is negotiating such a memorandum with the Philippines. Canberra is a party to 11 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. The Government also enacted laws that create new definitions for terrorism; provide stronger penalties for carrying out, abetting, or financing terrorist acts; and enhance Australian Customs’ powers to enforce border security. Federal and state leaders formalized a new intergovernmental agreement on Australia’s national counterterrorism arrangements in October. The agreement provides a new and strong framework for cooperation between jurisdictions and creates a national counterterrorism committee to recommend additional federal-state measures to upgrade security. Several states strengthened their own antiterrorism laws as well.
Australia sought to block assets of all individuals and entities included on the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list of persons and entities associated with Usama Bin Ladin, members of al-Qaida, and members of the Taliban. It also sought to block assets of individuals and entities designated by the United States pursuant to Executive Order 13224. The Government also proscribed six organizations, including al-Qaida and Jemaah Islamiya (JI), under antiterrorism legislation enacted in June 2002. The legislation allows prosecution of members of such organizations or persons who provide financial or logistic support to them.
Australian law-enforcement and intelligence organizations actively investigated possible links between foreign terrorist organizations and individuals and organizations in Australia. In the wake of the bombings in Bali, the Australian Federal Police conducted a joint investigation of the attack with the Indonesian National Police. The Australian Security Intelligence Organization and State Police conducted raids on several houses of persons in Perth and Sydney who were suspected of having links to JI.
In November, Australian authorities in Perth charged an Australian citizen with conspiracy in connection with an alleged plan to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Canberra and the Israeli Consulate in Sydney. The same month, the Parliament enacted a law creating a crime of extraterritorial murder, manslaughter, or intentional harm to Australians, retroactive to 1 October 2002. The law gives Australia jurisdiction to prosecute those responsible for attacks on Australians overseas, such as the perpetrators of the Bali bombings.
Rangoon has taken a solid stance against international terrorism. It is party to five of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism and has enacted an anti-money-laundering law that could help block terrorism assets. Burmese authorities frequently make public statements supportive of international counterterrorism efforts, and they also have expressed their willingness to cooperate in sharing information on counterterrorism issues.
There were no incidents of international terrorism in Burma during 2002. Several Burmese embassies abroad received letters containing blasting caps and electric batteries, although none exploded. The military government is currently involved in several low-intensity conflicts with ethnic insurgent groups. At least one group is alleged to have ties to South Asian extremist (possibly terrorist) elements.
The People’s Republic of China continued to cooperate with the United States in the war on terrorism. Chinese officials regularly denounced terrorism, both in public statements and in international fora, and China regularly participated in UN Security Council discussions on terrorism and served as a permanent member of the UN Counterterrorism Committee established under UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1373. In 2002, China was well represented at international meetings, including the Munich Conference on Security Policy and the Southeast Asia Counterterrorism Conference held in Honolulu. During the 2002 Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, Beijing again articulated its counterterrorism stance and joined in statements denouncing terrorism.
Beijing continued to undertake measures to improve its counterterrorism posture and domestic security, including careful monitoring of its borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan and some efforts toward disrupting the financial links of terrorist groups. China made some progress in 2002 in strengthening financial-monitoring mechanisms, including prompting China’s financial institutions to search for and freeze assets of designated terrorist entities.
Beijing regularly holds expert-level consultations with the United States on the financial aspects of terrorism, conducts semiannual counterterrorism consultations, and shares information through law-enforcement channels concerning persons possibly involved in terrorist activities. Beijing treats individuals and entities designated under US Executive Order 13224 on the same basis as it treats individuals and entities identified by the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee, whose assets UN member states are required to freeze pursuant to Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
In 2002, there were no acts of terrorism committed in China against US citizens or interests, but there were several reports of bombings in various parts of China. It is unclear whether the attacks were politically motivated acts, terrorism, or criminal attacks.
China continued to express concern that Islamic extremists operating in and around the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region received training, equipment, and inspiration from al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other extremists in Afghanistan. Several press reports claimed that Uighurs trained and fought with Islamic groups in the former Soviet Union, including Chechnya. Uighurs were found fighting with al-Qaida in Afghanistan, and 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. For example, while the United States designated the East Turkestan Islamic Movement as a terrorist organization under Executive Order 13224 in 2002, it continued to emphasize to the Chinese that the war on terrorism must not be used as a substitute for addressing legitimate social and economic aspirations.
China is a party to nine of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
In the wake of the Bali bombing on 12 October, the Indonesian Government stepped up internal investigations against international terrorist groups, although it had provided limited support for the global Coalition against terrorism before this event. Indonesia participated in a number of regional and international fora focused on terrorism and supported declarations on joint action against terrorism, including the declarations issued at the US-sponsored Southeast Asian Counter-Terrorism Conference, the ASEAN Summit, and a regional conference on combating terrorist financing. Internal administrative and legal weaknesses, however, hampered indigenous counterterrorism efforts.
Jakarta’s response to the 12 October terrorist attacks in Bali represented a major and multifaceted counterterrorism effort. Jakarta undertook a number of significant actions, including the quick adoption of antiterrorism decrees (PERPU), the introduction into the legislature of a counterterrorism bill, and an aggressive investigation into the Bali attacks in particular. Jakarta, with international assistance, has taken action against Jemaah Islamiya (JI), an organization now designated by the United States pursuant to Executive Order 13224 and included on the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list of organizations and individuals, whose assets UN member states are required to freeze. Indonesia supported this designation. Authorities detained JI spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir and arrested members of the JI cell believed responsible for the Bali bombings, including JI leaders Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron, a.k.a. Mukhlas.
The 12 October Bali terrorist bombings, which killed some 200 persons and maimed hundreds more, has been clearly attributed to the al-Qaida-linked terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiya. The attack in Bali’s crowded Kuta tourist district was initiated with a possible suicide bombing inside a tourist bar that funneled panicking victims into the street, exposing the crowd to the full blast of a large car bomb parked next to a neighboring club.
A smaller, nearly simultaneous bombing occurred about 300 yards from the US Consular office in Bali. Those arrested have indicated that the consular agency was the target. Hours before the Bali bombings, a small explosion had occurred at the Philippine Consulate in Sulawesi, which damaged the compound gates and blew out several windows. No casualties were reported in either bombing. Other bombings in 2002 in Indonesia included a botched grenade attack on a US diplomatic residence in Jakarta in September and the bombing on 4 December of a US-based/owned fast-food franchise and a car dealership in Makassar.
In 2002, Indonesia did not discover or freeze any terrorist assets. Indonesia’s weak rule of law and poorly regulated financial system have produced roadblocks in uncovering terrorist assets, notwithstanding its willingness to freeze terrorist assets, consistent with the requirements of UNSCR 1373, as well as UNSCRs 1267, 1390, and 1455.
Indonesia is a party to four of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Tokyo has stood firm with the United States in combating terrorism. Tokyo twice renewed its Basic Plan, authorizing Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to provide logistic support for Operation Enduring Freedom, including refueling US and UK vessels and deploying an Aegis antimissile-equipped destroyer in the Indian Ocean, as well as transporting heavy equipment into Afghanistan.
Japan is party to all 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. At the request of the United States, it has blocked the assets of individuals and entities designated by the United States under Executive Order 13224.
Japan continued to participate actively in international fora designed to strengthen counterterrorism measures and took a leadership role in rebuilding Afghanistan. While hosting the January Afghanistan Reconstruction Conference, Tokyo announced a $500-million aid package for Afghanistan. In March, Tokyo hosted the Asia Counterterrorism Conference. Tokyo is coordinating with the United States on efforts to build a homeland security capacity within Asia, and it has invited officials from Asia to receive training in areas of homeland defense, including immigration control, aviation security, customs cooperation, export control, police and law enforcement, and terrorist financing.
In 2002, Japan had no incidents of international terrorism and continued to prosecute the alleged perpetrators of earlier terrorism acts. The Tokyo District Court sentenced two Aum Shinrikyo (Aum) members to death for the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995. Trials were still underway for four other members, and a ruling in the trial of Aum leader Matsumoto was expected in early 2003.
The Government of Laos has continued to provide strong support for the global war on terrorism. The Government became a party to four international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism in July 2002, in addition to the three to which it was already a party.
Laos joined other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries in taking strong positions against terrorism and, with other ASEAN nations, became a participant in the United States-ASEAN Joint Declaration for Cooperation on Counterterrorism, which was signed in August 2002.
Responding to requests by the United States and its obligations pursuant to UNSCR 1373, as well as UNSCRs 1267, 1390, and 1455, Laos has continued efforts to identify assets of terrorists and sponsors of terrorism. The Bank of Laos has issued orders blocking assets of organizations and individuals named in lists provided by the United States. The Bank, however, had yet to take steps to report on Government compliance with UNSCR 1373 or to freeze the assets of individuals and entities associated with Usama Bin Ladin, members of al-Qaida, and members of the Taliban included on the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list. Pursuant to Chapter VII of the UN Charter, UN member states are required to block the assets of persons and individuals on that list.
Laos has no distinct counterterrorism laws; acts of terrorism fall under Laotian criminal law. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, and the National Assembly are currently discussing amendments to its criminal law to identify acts of terrorism as crimes and to strengthen the penalties for those crimes. The Laotian Government has increased security at all public events, and it has tightened airport and immigration security.
During 2002, the Malaysian Government continued to cooperate with international law-enforcement and intelligence efforts in the global war on terrorism and aggressively pursued domestic counterterrorism measures within its borders.
Malaysia suffered no incidents of international or domestic terrorism in 2002, although Malaysian police authorities continued their investigations of the regional terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiya (JI) and domestic Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia group, resulting in about 40 arrests of individuals suspected of involvement in either group. In late 2001, Malaysian authorities arrested Philippine national Nur Misuari, former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader and ex-governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, for illegal entry and transferred him to the Philippines in January 2002. On 19 November 2001, Misuari had declared war on the Arroyo government, and armed MNLF guerrillas loyal to him attacked an army headquarters in Jolo, Sulu, that left over 100 persons dead and scores wounded. At year’s end, Misuari’s trial on rebellion charges was ongoing.
Kuala Lumpur sought to freeze assets of entities on the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list, although it has not located terrorist assets to date. Kuala Lumpur requires financial institutions to file suspicious transaction reports on all names of individuals and entities designated under US Executive Order 13224, but it was not yet a party to the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Malaysia is a party to three of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
The Malaysian Government passed legislation in 2002 that will allow the negotiation of mutual legal-assistance treaties with other countries. In addition, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia signed a counterterrorism agreement on 7 May—later joined by Thailand and Cambodia—that establishes a framework for cooperation and interoperability of the three nations’ procedures for handling border and security incidents. Twenty specific projects are detailed in the agreement, to include such measures as setting up hotlines, sharing airline passenger lists, and conducting joint training.
In May, Malaysia signed a joint counterterrorism declaration of cooperation with the United States, and in November the Malaysian cabinet approved establishment of a Malaysian-based regional counterterrorism training center in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia joined several ASEAN members in October 2002 in successfully requesting that the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee include JI on its consolidated list of individuals and entities associated with Usama Bin Ladin, the members of al-Qaida, and the members of the Taliban.
New Zealand has contributed to Operation Enduring Freedom. It originally deployed one squadron of Special Forces to Afghanistan. New Zealand is reaffirming its commitment by deploying a frigate and a P-3 Orion to join the Coalition task force in the region. A C-130 Hercules transport aircraft will also become available from mid-2003.
New Zealand has supported regional efforts among other Pacific Island countries to adopt counterterrorism measures and coordinate their regional counterterrorism activities with the United States and Australia. It has a number of ongoing programs in the areas of police, customs, immigration, and judicial training/aid.
New Zealand is also a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to international terrorism. Most recently, the Government announced a US $12.5 million package of new intelligence, police, customs, and immigration measures to enhance its counterterrorism capability.
The Philippines in 2002 continued to work closely with international counterparts in the global war on terrorism and made significant progress in counterterrorism legislation, legal action against suspected terrorists, and hostage-rescue efforts. The Philippines has signed, but not ratified, the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism Financing. The Philippines is a party to six out of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. The Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia also signed a counterterrorism agreement on 7 May that establishes a framework for cooperation and interoperability of the three nations’ procedures for handling border and security incidents. The agreement, which Thailand and Cambodia have now joined, enumerates 20 different projects.
The Philippines passed anti-money-laundering legislation in September 2001 and adopted related regulations in March 2002. The law criminalized money laundering, called for the establishment of a system of covered-transaction reporting, and created the Anti-Money-Laundering Council (AMLC). The 2001 legislation was insufficient to get the Philippines removed from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF) list of Non-Cooperating Countries and Territories. Based on FATF recommendations, however, the AMLC prepared a new draft bill that seeks to eliminate weaknesses in the existing legislation by lowering the reporting threshold, eliminating the requirement of a court order to freeze accounts, and revising bank-secrecy provisions. The Philippine Congress had not approved it by the end of the year, however.
On 19 November, as a result of an investigation by the US Embassy’s Customs Attache Office, the Philippine Court of Appeals moved to block the assets in bank accounts suspected of being owned or controlled by key Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members or their family members.
In January 2002, Nur Misuari, former Moro National Liberation Front leader and ex-governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, and an aide were transferred from Malaysia back to the Philippines where they have been detained. In late 2001, Malaysian authorities had arrested Misuari after he and his aides had fled the Philippines following an uprising in November 2001 that claimed the lives of 113 persons. The Philippine Government filed sedition and rebellion charges against Misuari, based on allegations that he instigated the attacks, and at year’s end his trial was ongoing.
The Philippines made a series of arrests of suspected extremists and terrorists in 2002. On 15 January, Philippine National Police and Bureau of Immigration agents arrested Indonesian citizen Fathur Rahman Al-Ghozi, a.k.a. Abu Saad or Sammi Sali Jamin, in Manila on charges of forging travel documents. Al-Ghozi is a member of the regional terrorist organization, Jemaah Islamiya (JI), which has a close connection to some elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest Islamic extremist group in the Philippines. Members of the JI used a MILF base for training in the past. The JI operated its own training facility at an MILF camp, although its current status is unclear. Based on information supplied by Al-Ghozi, police and military intelligence agents raided two houses in General Santos City. They arrested three brothers and seizedTNT, detonators, rolls of detonating cord, and M-16 rifles. Al-Ghozi pled guilty to possession of explosives and was sentenced to a 10-12 year jail term and fined. He still faces charges of illegal possession of assault rifles.
Philippine authorities in March arrested three other Indonesian citizens—Agus Dwikarna, Abdul Jamal Balfas, and Tamsil Linrung—in Manila and charged them with unlawful possession of explosive materials. Balfas and Linrung were later handed over to Indonesian authorities. On 12 July, Dwikarna was convicted by a Philippine regional trial court and sentenced to ten years imprisonment.
In 2002, the US Department of Justice issued several terrorist-related indictments against Philippine nationals, and other indictments are pending. On 23 July, the US Deputy Attorney General announced an indictment charging five ASG leaders with taking US citizens hostage, hostage taking resulting in death, and conspiracy resulting in death. This action mirrors an indictment in February 2002 that previously had been kept sealed for fear of endangering the lives of ASG-held hostages.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has undertaken other initiatives to rescue ASG-held hostages. During the first half of 2002, the AFP launched an operation to locate and rescue hostages held by the ASG, including US citizens Gracia and Martin Burnham. On 7 June, AFP forces rescued Mrs. Burnham, but tragically, Mr. Burnham and Philippine nurse Deborah Yap were killed during the operation. Two weeks later, Philippine special warfare troops fired at a vessel carrying ASG leader Aldam Tilao, a.k.a. Abu Sabaya, responsible for taking the hostages. Sabaya’s body was never found, but there is strong evidence that he is dead. Four other ASG members were captured during the incident.
In August 2002, the AFP launched Operation End Game, which is aimed at rescuing three Indonesians, four Filipino Jehovah’s Witness members, and one remaining hostage taken in 2000 and still held by the ASG. The operation is also geared to locating and destroying ASG subgroups operating in Jolo and Basilan.
In other activities targeting the ASG, beginning in January 2002, the US military provided a broad range of training to the AFP to improve its ability to fight the ASG. During the training program, 10 US servicemen were killed in an accident when an MH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed into the Sulu Sea. On 2 October, one US serviceman was killed and another wounded in a bombing that targeted US personnel. The ASG is believed to be responsible for the attack.
In May, the US Government launched a Rewards for Justice campaign targeting ASG leaders. Under the program, the US Government offered to pay up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of the following ASG terrorists: Amir Khadafi Abubakar Janjalani, a.k.a. Abu Mukhtar; Jainal Antel Sali, Jr., a.k.a. Abu Solaiman; Aldam Tilao, a.k.a. Abu Sabaya (presumed dead); Isnilon Totoni Hapilon, a.k.a. Abu Musab; and Hamsiraji Sali, a.k.a. Jose Ramirez.
The Philippine Government publicly welcomed the US Government’s designation in August 2002 of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA), as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The US Government also designated CPP/NPA and its founder Jose Maria Sison pursuant to Executive Order 13224. Authorities in The Netherlands, where Sison is living in self-exile, subsequently froze assets in his bank accounts there and cut off his social benefits. In October, Philippine Foreign Secretary Ople urged the European Union to place a similar designation on a faction of the CPP, the National Democratic Front (NDF). The Philippines continued to campaign for inclusion of all Communist factions, the CPP, NPA, and NDF, on the Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list of individuals and entities associated with Usama Bin Ladin, the members of al-Qaida, and those of the Taliban, whose assets UN member states are required to freeze pursuant to Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
Throughout 2002, the Communist People’s Party/New People’s Army/New Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) continued sporadic attacks against Government and commercial sites as well as against public officials and private citizens. In September, the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) claimed responsibility for assassinating a mayor, attacking a police station (and killing the police chief), and blowing up a mobile telecommunications-transmission station. The violence in September prompted the AFP to launch a new counterinsurgency drive against NPA fighters. A coordinated campaign by military forces, police units, and civilian volunteers—called Gordian Knot—was aimed at overrunning CPP/NPA/NDF strongholds and capturing terrorist suspects. Nevertheless, the Macapagal-Arroyo administration at the end of 2002 remained open to a negotiated peace settlement with the CPP/NPA/NDF.
In 2002, Singapore continued to work closely with international counterparts in the global war on terrorism. In addition to multilateral activities, Singapore continued its cooperation with the United States on import controls and also took domestic legislative and judicial initiatives.
In October, Singapore joined over 40 countries in requesting that the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee add the Jemaah Islamiya (JI) to its consolidated list of individuals and entities associated with Usama Bin Ladin, the members of al-Qaida, and the Taliban. The same month, Singapore joined the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit’s counterterrorism declaration. In July, the United States and the ASEAN signed a nonbinding joint declaration for cooperation on counterterrorism. As an ASEAN member, Singapore is a participant in the declaration. In addition, Singapore became a party to the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism Financing in December 2002 and passed legislation that would enable it to become a party to the Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives. (In January 2003, Singapore became a party to that Convention. Singapore is now a party to six of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.)
In September, Singapore signed a declaration outlining its participation as a pilot port in the US Container Security Initiative; implementation was continuing at the end of the year. The Singapore Parliament also passed legislation effective 1 January 2003 establishing a new strategic trade-controls framework. The framework establishes controls over items exported from or transshipped/transiting through Singapore that are related to weapons of mass destruction but places the burden of reporting on shippers.
There were no incidents of international or domestic terrorism in Singapore in 2002, but authorities continued their investigation of the local JI network, a regional terrorist organization that has ties to al-Qaida. Since December 2001, Singapore authorities have detained 36 individuals for suspected involvement in the JI. Thirty-one of those individuals were placed under renewable two-year detention orders. Singapore authorities have publicly provided details of the allegations against those arrested, including publishing in January 2003 a white paper on terrorism. The documents indicate that 11 of the detainees were reported to have received training at al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan. Those arrested reportedly were involved in plots to attack Singaporean official and civilian targets as well as citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Israel in Singapore.
Taiwan has supported the global war on terrorism and taken steps to improve its counterterrorism laws and regulations. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Taiwan was quick to implement fully all increased security requirements requested by the US-Transportation Security Administration and to increase security for the American Institute on Taiwan. In May 2002, Taiwan Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Yi-Fu said during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, that Taiwan fully supports the ongoing global war on terrorism. In October, President Chen Shui-Bian condemned the terrorist bombing in Bali and said that Taiwan would offer assistance to Indonesia.
Although Taiwan currently has no antiterrorism laws, the Taiwan Executive Yuan in October ordered the Ministry of Justice to draft a special antiterrorism law. The new law, if enacted, would simplify the process of freezing financial accounts and enhance the use of compulsory measures such as a prosecutor’s power to search, detain, and summon suspects and witnesses. At the end of the year, the draft of the antiterrorism law had undergone an extensive interagency review process coordinated by the Executive Yuan and awaited consideration by the Legislative Yuan.
(In January 2003, the Legislative Yuan passed an enhanced anti-money-laundering law, which lowers the threshold of amounts required to report, raises the penalties for noncompliance, and allows the Government to seize suspicious bank accounts.) Even before the passage of this legislation, the Ministries of Finance and Justice had followed up on requests by the United States to check suspicious bank accounts in Taiwan.
Thailand continued to cooperate closely with the United States on counterterrorism, intelligence, and law-enforcement matters, and the Government enhanced its counterterrorism cooperation with its neighbors. During the year, Thailand indicated its intent to join the Container Security Initiative and began active negotiations with US Customs. In 2002, Thailand began discussions with the United States on the possible introduction of a border-security system called the Terrorist Interdiction Program. Regionally, Thailand joined a counterterrorism agreement—initially signed by Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia—that establishes a framework for cooperation and inter-operability of procedures for handling border and security incidents. Thailand also signed a bilateral counterterrorism cooperation agreement with Australia. It signed an ASEAN-sponsored Declaration of Cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism and joined the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference counterterrorism declaration. It reaffirmed its commitment to accede to the remaining seven of 12 UN antiterrorism conventions.
On terrorism finance, Thailand established an interagency financial crimes group to coordinate CT finance policy. It submitted CT finance revisions to its Anti-Money-Laundering Act and the penal code to Parliament in the fall, where they were awaiting adoption at the end of the year. Thailand has been a strong supporter of US and other efforts to designate terrorists and terrorist entities at the UN Sanctions Committee. Thailand is a party to four of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Thailand served as host to four US-Thai bilateral military exercises with significant counterterrorism components, providing valuable training to US forces and reinforcing Thai capabilities to respond to potential terrorist incidents in Thailand. In 2002, there were no incidents of terrorism in Thailand.
Central Asia, which for years had suffered from Afghanistan-based extremism, saw no significant terrorist activity in 2002. The operations of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a group on the US Foreign Terrorist Organization list that seeks to overthrow the Uzbekistani Government and create an Islamic state, were seriously disrupted when some of its leaders and many of its members were killed in Afghanistan fighting with the Taliban against Coalition forces. Russia, however, continued to be the target of terrorist attacks in 2002, most of which were carried out by extremists fighting in Chechnya. The most significant was the 23 October takeover of the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow, where some 40 extremists held 800 theatergoers hostage and threatened to blow up the theater.
States in the region continued to provide overflight and temporary basing rights; share law-enforcement and intelligence information; and identify, monitor, and apprehend al-Qaida members and other terrorists. Countries in the region also took diplomatic and political steps to contribute to the international struggle against terrorism, such as becoming party to some or all of the 12 United Nations international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Enhancing regional counterterrorism cooperation has been a priority for the United States. Toward that end, the US Department of State’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism hosted the Fourth Annual Counterterrorism Conference for Central Asia and the Caucasus in Ankara in June 2002. Counterterrorism officials from Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as observers from Russia, Turkey, Afghanistan, China, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), discussed issues related to human rights, the rule of law, and combating terrorist financing. Throughout the conference, and in other bilateral and multilateral fora, the United States 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.
The United States continues to work with the OSCE and other regional organizations to strengthen policing capability, encourage improved regional cooperation, and combat terrorist financing. The OSCE held a meeting on terrorist financing issues in Prague in May, which addressed the 40 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations on money laundering and how to strengthen states’ capabilities to implement these standards. Following the conference, OSCE participating states adopted a US proposal committing each state to complete the FATF self-assessment exercise by 1 September 2002, and virtually all of them did so by that date. In cooperation with the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention, the OSCE is conducting training seminars in Central Asia on money-laundering and terrorist-financing issues to strengthen states’ abilities to prevent terrorist organizations from obtaining access to funds. The United States was the major contributor to this project.
The European Union (EU) has also been deeply involved with both Russia and the OSCE in an effort to enhance counterterrorism cooperation throughout the region. At the November 2002 Summit, the EU and Russia reached agreement on a far-reaching framework for the fight against terrorism through more intensified cooperation. The framework sets out the shared values and commitments in the fight against terrorism and identifies a series of specific areas for future EU-Russia cooperation. EU-OSCE cooperation also has advanced through close contact between the Personal Representative on Counter Terrorism of the OSCE and the Chairman of the OSCE. The objective is to maximize the abilities of both organizations to counter terrorism in the region, especially in Central Asia.
In August, the United States designated the terrorist group East Turkistan Islamic Movement under Executive Order 13224 on terrorist financing. The organization had been involved in several terrorist acts in eastern China, and some of its members had been caught trying to carry out an attack against US Embassies in Central Asia.
In 2002, Azerbaijan continued to be a staunch supporter of the United States in the war against terrorism. Since September 11, 2001, Azerbaijan has added to an already strong record of cooperation with the United States, rendering dozens of foreign citizens with suspected ties to terrorists. Azerbaijan’s border guards have increased their patrols of the southern border with Iran, and the aviation department has increased security at Baku’s Bina Airport as well as implemented recommendations of the international civil aviation organization on aviation security.
While Azerbaijan had previously 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 interdiction efforts in 2002 and has had some success in suppressing these activities. Azerbaijan has taken steps to combat terrorist-related funding by distributing lists of suspected terrorist groups and individuals to local banks. In November, a platoon of Azerbaijani soldiers joined the Turkish peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan.
On 25 January, President Bush waived section 907 of the Freedom Support Act for 2002, thereby lifting restrictions on US assistance to the Government of Azerbaijan. The waiver cleared the way for the United States to deepen its cooperation with Azerbaijan in fighting terrorism and in impeding the movement of terrorists into the South Caucasus. The waiver also provided a foundation to deepen security cooperation with Azerbaijan on a common antiterrorist agenda.
Azerbaijan has also provided strong political support to the United States and to the global Coalition against terrorism. In May, President Aliyev instructed his government to implement UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1368, 1373, and 1377. The Government also approved changes to the criminal code that increased the maximum penalty for acts of terrorism from 15 years to life imprisonment and added a provision making the financing of terrorist activities a crime. In October, Baku hosted a US-sponsored seminar on money laundering and financial crimes, including terrorist financing. The United States is working with the Government of Azerbaijan to develop a plan to combat financial crimes.
In April, the Justice Ministry revoked the registrations of two Islamic charities—the Kuwait Fund for the Sick and the Qatar Humanitarian Organization—for activities against Azerbaijan’s national interests. In November, Azerbaijan froze the bank accounts of locally registered Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) pursuant to UNSCR 1373. The Justice Ministry subsequently revoked BIF’s registration.
In April, the Government sentenced six members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist political movement that wants to establish a borderless, theocratic caliphate throughout the entire Muslim world, to up to seven years in prison for attempted terrorist activities. In May, Azerbaijan convicted seven Azerbaijani citizens who had received military and other training in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge and who had intended to fight in Chechnya. Four received suspended sentences, and the others were sentenced to four to five years in prison. Members of Jayshullah, an indigenous terrorist group, who were arrested in 2000 and tried in 2001 for planning an attack against the US Embassy, remained in prison.
Azerbaijan is a party to eight of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Georgian officials, including the President, issued repeated statements condemning terrorism throughout 2002 and supported the United States and global Coalition against terrorism in international fora, in word and deed.
The United States has encouraged Georgia and Russia to work together to promote border security within their respective territories and to find negotiated, political solutions to their many disagreements. The presence in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge of third-country international terrorists with links to al-Qaida and significant numbers of Chechen fighters, nevertheless, accounted for the most significant Georgian counterterrorism issue of 2002.
In 2002, the United States strongly urged Georgia to regain control of the Pankisi Gorge where third country terrorists with links to al-Qaida had established themselves. These extremists threatened Georgia’s security and stability, as well as Russia’s.
Georgia has deployed troops from the Ministries of State Security and Interior into the Pankisi Gorge to establish checkpoints and root out Chechen fighters and criminal and international terrorist elements. The efforts signal Georgia’s commitment to restoring Georgian authority in the Pankisi Gorge and dealing seriously with international terrorists linked to al-Qaida.
The United States assisted Georgia in addressing this internal-security problem through assistance and cooperative programs, including the four-phase Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP). The program is intended to help the Government of Georgia eliminate terrorists, secure its borders, reassert central control over its territory, and deny use of its territory to foreign militants and international terrorists. Headquarters and staff training began in late May 2002 with 120 students receiving classroom instruction. In early June, additional staff training for the Land Forces Command began and ended with a successful command-post exercise. By September, US trainers had begun conducting unit-level tactical military training of Georgia’s Ministry of Defense and other security forces to strengthen Georgia’s ability to fight terrorism, control its borders, and increase internal security. In December, the first Georgian battalion completed GTEP training.
In July, Georgia extradited Adam Dekkushev to Russia for his suspected involvement in the bombing of apartment buildings in Moscow and Volgodonsk in 1999, blasts that resulted in approximately 300 deaths and for which no one has yet been convicted. A second suspect in the same bombings, Russian citizen Yusef Krymshamkhalov, was extradited to Russia in December. In October, Georgia extradited five individuals accused of terrorism and/or terrorist-related activities to the Russian Federation. They were among 13 Chechen fighters captured by Georgian authorities along the Russian-Georgian border in August. Georgia determined that two of those captured were Georgian nationals whom it will not extradite to Russia. Of the remaining six, three have pending Georgian court appeals on their extradition to Russia. Before extraditing the other three, Georgia has requested further documentation from Russia.
In 2002, Georgia became a party to the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Georgia is now a party to six of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
The Government of Kazakhstan continued to be outspoken and supportive in the fight against terrorism. In 2002, President Nazarbayev and senior Government officials have consistently spoken out against terrorism and have taken concrete action to support the international Coalition against terrorism.
In July, the Government signed an agreement to use Almaty Airport as an alternative airfield for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Kazakhstan has allowed more than 800 US overflights in support of OEF since December 2001.
When the US Embassy has requested increased protection, the Government of Kazakhstan has repeatedly deployed rapid-reaction antiterrorist teams and elite police units to respond to changing security circumstances at US Government facilities. It has also continued to be responsive to requests to increase security at major oil facilities with US private investment.
In 2002, Kazakhstan became a party to the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism Bombings; Kazakhstan is now a party to 11 of the 12 international terrorism conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. The 1979 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material is in the process of being ratified, undergoing the second round of interagency review. On 27 February, after approval by the Parliament, President Nazarbayev signed into law the two remaining conventions—the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf.
Kazakhstan has also strengthened its antiterrorism legislation. In February, the Government adopted tougher penalties and more precise definitions of terrorist acts. In October, the National Bank issued orders to freeze the assets belonging to an individual identified on the Executive Order 13224 terrorist asset-freeze list who had held shares in a local bank.
Since September 11, 2001, President Akayev has repeatedly demonstrated his strong support for the war against terrorism. Following the September 11 events, the Kyrgyz Government immediately offered assistance and allowed US and Coalition combat and support aircraft to operate from Ganci airbase, located at Manas International Airport in Bishkek.
(On 3 January 2003, the Legislative Assembly [lower house of Parliament] ratified the International Convention Against Terrorist Financing and forwarded it to the People’s Representative Assembly [upper house of Parliament] for ratification. The International Relations Committee of the People’s Representative Assembly recommended the Convention for ratification. The next People’s Representative Assembly session was to begin on 1 March 2003, and ratification was to have been on its agenda.) The Kyrgyz Republic is a party to six of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
The Kyrgyz Republic is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, launched in June 2001 and grouping China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. President Akayev has also announced his country’s support for China’s stand against the terrorist forces of the East Turkestan Independence Movement (ETIM), which the United States has designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224. The ETIM was responsible for planning and executing a series of terrorist acts within and outside China.
The Kyrgyz Government has been working toward creating a new Drug Control Agency that is designed to stifle cross-border shipments of drugs and arms related to terrorism.
Several thousand members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist political movement that wants to establish a borderless, theocratic caliphate throughout the entire Muslim world, are present in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Hizb ut-Tahrir pamphlets, filled with anti-US propaganda, have been distributed throughout the southern region of the country and even appeared in Bishkek. There is no evidence to date that Hizb ut-Tahrir has committed any terrorist acts, but the group is clearly sympathetic to Islamist extremist objectives.
The past year saw a continuation of the US-Russian counterterrorism cooperation that emerged following the attacks of September 11, 2001.
At the Presidential Summit in Moscow in May 2002, Presidents Bush and Putin agreed to expand the scope of the United States-Russia Working Group on Afghanistan, cochaired by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov. It is now known as the US-Russia Working Group on Counterterrorism. This interagency working group met for the first time under its expanded mandate on 26 July 2002 in Annapolis, Maryland, and again in Moscow on 22-23 January 2003.
But even as the United States and Russia cooperated in the global war on terrorism on all fronts in 2002, Russia faced terrorist acts that struck at the heart of its national security.
Russia continued to be subject to a number of terrorist events in 2002, many connected to the ongoing insurgency and instability in Chechnya. The continuing conflict, which began in late summer 1999, has been characterized by widespread destruction, displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians, and human rights abuses by Russian servicemen and various rebel factions. At least three rebel factions, which consist of both Chechen and foreign—predominantly Arabic—mujahidin fighters, are connected to international Islamic terrorists and have used terrorist methods. (They have been designated, in 2003, as terrorist organizations for asset freeze under Executive Order 13224.) Russian forces have continued to conduct operations against Chechen fighters but also draw heavy criticism over credible reports of human rights violations.
Extremist groups and individuals seeking to create an independent Islamic state in the north Caucasus were responsible for dozens of terrorist attacks in 2002. Russian citizens were the victims of frequent attacks with command-detonated mines, including one that killed 36 persons, 12 of them children, and wounded over 100 others attending a Memorial Day parade in Kaspiisk, Dagestan.
But Russia’s most serious terrorist event of 2002 occurred on 23 October when more than 40 armed militants took hostage 800 Moscow theatergoers to demand an immediate end to all Russian security operations in Chechnya. More than 120 of the hostages—including one US citizen (and a US Legal Permanent Resident)—died from a narcotic gas used during the rescue operation.
The terrorists, who included several female suicide bombers wearing explosive “suicide” vests, placed several mines throughout the theater and threatened to begin killing the hostages unless their demands were met. The leader of the attack was identified by the Chechen mujahidin news agency Kavkaz Tsentr, and later by Russian news agencies, as Movsar Barayev, commander of the Special Purpose Islamic Regiment (SPIR) of the Chechen State Defense Committee (Majlis al-Shura). On 24 October, the Arabic news agency Al-Jazirah identified the group as the previously unknown “Sabotage and Military Surveillance Group of the ‘Riyadh al-Salikhin’ Martyrs” (a.k.a. the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs). A group member said in a recorded statement, “Our demands are stopping the war and withdrawal of Russian forces. We are implementing the operation by order of the military commander of the Chechen Republic.” These two groups—Special Purpose Islamic Regiment and Sabotage and Military Surveillance Group of the ‘Riyadh al-Salikhin’ Martyrs—were among the three that the US Government designated as terrorist groups for asset freeze.
On 24 October, the Government of Russia immediately drafted and introduced UNSCR 1440 condemning the Moscow hostage taking as a terrorist act and urging all states, in accordance with their obligations under UNSCR 1373 (2001), to cooperate with Russian authorities in finding and bringing to justice the perpetrators, organizers, and sponsors of this terrorist attack. The resolution was unanimously adopted the same day.
On 1 November, Chechen rebel commander Shamil Basayev, in a letter to Kavkaz-Tsentr, publicly claimed full responsibility for organizing the attack. Basayev said that the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSMB) had been under his direct command and that Chechen President Maskhadov had no prior knowledge of the event. Basayev then publicly resigned his positions as Amir of the Council (Majlis) of Muslims of Chechnya and Dagestan and as the Military Commander of the Islamist International Brigade, saying he would henceforth devote himself completely to the RSMB.
Less than one month later, however, Basayev was once again commanding mujahidin units in Chechnya, according to President Maskhadov’s official news agency, and warned that all “military, industrial, and strategic facilities on Russian territory, to whomever they belong” were legitimate targets for attack. Usama Bin Ladin also acknowledged the Moscow hostage takers in a November 2002 audiotape message, saying to the Russians, “If you were distressed by the killing of your nationals in Moscow, remember ours in Chechnya.”
Throughout 2002, Russia continued to take important steps toward strengthening its participation in the global war on terrorism, particularly by ratifying the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. By the end of the year, Russia was a party to 11 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. Before 2002, Russia had signed but not ratified the Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection. Russian officials were optimistic that official ratification of the 1991 Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection would soon occur.
The Government of Russia enacted domestic legislation and executive orders to enable its fight against terrorism in 2002. On 11 January, President Putin signed a decree entitled “On Measures to Implement the UN Security Council Resolution No. 1373 of September 28, 2001” that introduced criminal liability for anyone intentionally providing or collecting assets for terrorist use as well as instructions to relevant agencies on how to seize terrorist assets.
On 11 October, Russia was removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) list of Non-Cooperating Countries and Territories, in part due to the establishment of a Russian financial intelligence unit, the Financial Monitoring Committee. A functioning financial intelligence unit is central to Russia’s ability to cooperate internationally to combat money laundering, to its participation in the Egmont Group and FATF, and to track and freeze terrorist assets.
Although the Russia Federation maintains diplomatic relations with the seven states presently on the US Government’s State Sponsors of Terrorism list, the Russian Government firmly opposes state-sponsored terrorism and supports international initiatives to combat it. The Government of Russia maintains that its relationships with such states serve as a positive influence that has—or may have—moderated or diminished the support these governments provide for terrorism.
In February, the Federal Security Service hosted an antiterrorism conference in St. Petersburg. They invited representatives from the law-enforcement and intelligence agencies of approximately 40 countries, including the United States.
At the United Nations, Russia circulated a draft General Assembly resolution calling for enhanced cooperation among all components of the UN system in the fight against terrorism. The resolution also noted the interconnection between terrorism, transnational organized crime, and drug trafficking. Russia is using its seat at the new NATO-Russia Council to emphasize counterterrorism cooperation. In December, Russia hosted a NATO-Russia conference on the Role of the Military in Combating Terrorism. At the most recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, held at the same time of the Moscow hostage crisis in October, President Putin’s representative, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, said that the Moscow crisis compelled “the countries that were to some extent reluctant to join in this coalition to more actively participate in combating all signs of terrorism.” The APEC summit generated a very strong statement against terrorism, including a decision to monitor the misuse of the Islamic alternative remittance hawala system.
In a much publicized statement on 11 September, President Putin asserted what he claimed was Russia’s international right to take unilateral military action against Chechen fighters and other terrorists in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge (near the border with Russia) if Georgia did not carry out more active measures against the fighters. He followed his statement with a letter to President Bush, which he copied to the United Nations and world leaders. From 29 July to the end of 2002 there were at least five instances of Russian cross-border aerial bombardment of Georgian territory. During an attack on 23 August—witnessed by OSCE border monitors and confirmed through independent means—Russian bombs claimed the life of a Georgian civilian and wounded seven others.
The US Government has stated its unequivocal opposition to any unilateral military action by Russia inside Georgia and repeated its strong support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It has urged Georgia to address the security problems arising from the presence of Chechen and third-country extremists with connections to al-Qaida in the Pankisi Gorge. The United States has encouraged Georgia and Russia to work together to promote regional security within their respective territories and to find negotiated, political solutions to their many disagreements.
The Government of Tajikistan continued to cooperate fully with US antiterrorism efforts throughout 2002.
In March, the Government submitted its report on counterterrorism efforts to the UN Security Council Committee created under UNSCR 1373.
Throughout the year, moreover, the government consistently supported antiterrorist efforts in the United Nations and the OSCE. It was also a signatory to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s June statement and its antiterrorism clauses.
Tajikistan continues to be extremely supportive of and cooperative in the global effort to end terrorism. During 2002, Dushanbe became a party to two international antiterrorist conventions—the 1979 International Convention against the Taking of Hostages (6 May 2002) and the 1997 Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (29 July 2002). The Government of Tajikistan is now party to eight of the 12 international conventions and protocols against terrorism. Dushanbe has indicated its willingness to become a party to the Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives. (It should be noted that Tajikistan is a landlocked country, and the remaining two conventions relate to maritime navigation and offshore platforms.)
Tajikistan conducted several significant antiterrorist operations during 2002, including the arrests of a number of suspected terrorists. Additionally, in October and November, Government security forces conducted a large counterterrorist operation in the central portion of the country. The Government had announced in November 2001 its agreement to the basing of US and Coalition troops and aircraft in Tajikistan, and throughout 2002, US and Coalition aircraft were permitted to carry out refueling operations at Dushanbe International Airport. The Ministry of Defense detailed four liaison officers to US Central Command Headquarters in connection with Operation Enduring Freedom.
Tajikistani security authorities, moreover, have stepped up border security and pledged to prevent escape attempts into Tajikistan by Taliban and al-Qaida members. The Government has been open to participating in US Government supplied antiterrorism training and assistance. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance have also cooperated with Washington’s attempts to trace and freeze terrorist assets and have worked to tighten their financial controls.
Throughout 2002, Dushanbe continued its investigations into a number of incidents of domestic and international terrorism that had occurred in Tajikistan in 2001. In August, the Government announced the formation of a special investigation and prosecution unit to look into the assassinations of a number of high-ranking officials in 2001 and previous years. The effort included the killings of the First Deputy Minister of the Interior, the State Advisor to the President on International Affairs, and the Minister of Culture—as well as the Independence Day suicide bombing (which injured one other person) in September 2001 and the murder of two members of the Baha’i faith in Dushanbe in late 2001. According to public statements by the Deputy State Procurator-General (head of the special unit), arrests were made in several of the cases. The investigations continued. Convictions were obtained in some of the cases, including the murders of the First Deputy Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Culture; in both cases, those convicted received the death penalty.
On 3 November 2002, the Government announced the extradition of 12 members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which the United States has designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization and also has designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224, to Uzbekistan for prosecution. The Tajikistani Ministry of Security captured the suspects during a security sweep, according to a public statement. While the United States currently does not have an extradition treaty with Tajikistan, Dushanbe has officially declared that multilateral instruments such as international conventions against terrorism or the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, when it enters into force internationally, could form a basis for extradition under Tajikistani law. In particular, the Government announced in September that those arrested in the investigation of the murders of two adherents of the Baha’i faith were found to have links to Iranian-backed terrorist groups.
There were no prosecutions during the year of cases relating directly to terrorism, although several participants in the 1998 coup attempt led by Col. Mahmud Khudoberdiev were convicted on charges that included terrorism. The charges stemmed from their association with Khudoberdiev rather than from involvement in terrorist acts.
The Government of Ukraine supported US antiterrorism efforts throughout 2002. Since the beginning of operations in Afghanistan, Ukraine has allowed more than 5,000 overflights for aircraft participating in Operation Enduring Freedom and provided airlift assets for some Coalition forces participating in the operation. The Government also provided, at Washington’s request, light weapons and kits to equip the equivalent of a brigade’s worth of Afghan National Army troops. Ukraine has become party to all 12 of the United Nations conventions against terrorism, and it also has adopted legislation bringing it into legal conformity with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards. The Government of Ukraine has agreed to install US Government-funded nuclear portal monitors at 20 border crossings, airports, and ports to detect the transit of nuclear material and is working with us to implement technical upgrades for nuclear plant security. We are also working closely with the Ukrainians to implement a program to upgrade security at institutes whose biological agents could be used to produce weapons. The Ukrainian Rada (parliament) recently passed legislation tightening Ukraine’s export-control laws to protect against the proliferation of weapons to rogue states.
President Kuchma has repeatedly made public statements supporting US Government efforts against terrorism. Ukrainian citizens were among the victims of the seizure of the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow on 23 October by 40 armed Chechen extremists. Three Ukrainian citizens were killed in the incident.
The Government of Uzbekistan continued its unprecedented support of Coalition efforts in the war on terrorism during 2002. It has continued to make public statements condemning terrorist acts, and it has allowed basing of Coalition forces at Karshi-Khanabad and Termez and overflight by Coalition forces. The Ministry of Defense detailed five liaison officers to US Central Command Headquarters in connection with Operation Enduring Freedom. Tashkent agreed to all US requests to freeze assets of groups linked to terrorism financing.
Uzbekistan has continued to be extremely supportive of and cooperative in the global effort to end terrorism. The Government has continued to participate in US-led initiatives such as the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program, border-security and law-enforcement projects funded by the Department’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, US Customs export-control and border-security programs, and the Defense Department’s programs on threat reduction and weapons of mass destruction.
Several thousand members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist political movement that wants to establish a borderless, theocratic caliphate throughout the entire Muslim world, are present in Uzbekistan. Hizb ut-Tahrir pamphlets, full of anti-US propaganda, have been distributed throughout the country. There is no evidence to date that Hizb ut-Tahrir has committed any terrorist acts, but the group is clearly sympathetic to Islamist extremist objectives.
The Government of Uzbekistan continues to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure security, especially during significant national holidays, against terrorist acts. Uzbekistan maintains relatively tight security on its borders and is working with the US Government to upgrade its capabilities to detect items of concern related to the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Although no incidents were reported in 2002, Uzbek border guards have detected radioactive shipments on the border in previous years.
Tashkent remains vigilant against potential actions by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, despite the loss of its charismatic leader Juma Namangani and their former sanctuary with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan also plays an active role in the counterterrorism agenda of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, and the United Nations.
Uzbekistan is a party to all 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
European nations continued to work in close partnership with the United States in the global counterterrorism campaign. In addition to sharing intelligence information and working with the United States on investigations of terrorist groups, European countries forged closer cooperative links with their neighbors. As a result, European authorities arrested a significant number of terrorists, disrupted planning for terrorist attacks, and intercepted funds destined for terrorist organizations.
The United Kingdom continued its close partnership with the United States, redoubling its counterterrorism efforts around the world. UK authorities detained several extremists in the United Kingdom on terrorism-related charges. The United Kingdom aggressively moved to freeze the assets of organizations and persons with terrorist links and to proscribe terrorist groups. The United Kingdom provided significant counterterrorism assistance and training to a number of countries and worked with other countries to investigate the Bali bombings in October 2002.
Italy continued its exemplary work against terrorism, disrupting suspected terrorist cells and capturing al-Qaida suspects in Milan and elsewhere who were providing support to terrorist operations and planning attacks. An Italian court sentenced members of the Tunisian Combatant Group to prison terms, marking the first conviction of al-Qaida associates in Europe since 11 September 2001. Members of the New Red Brigades, an offshoot of the once-powerful entity that disrupted Italian life in the 1970s, are suspected of the murder of an adviser to the Italian Government. Other terrorist groups also carried out several small-scale attacks.
Spain’s vigorous investigation of extremist groups resulted in the detention of a significant number of terrorist suspects, including two individuals believed to be financiers for the al-Qaida network. Spanish police, working with French counterparts, also continued to score substantial successes against the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization, arresting two of the group’s senior leaders. Spanish and French authorities dealt a strong blow against the First of October Antifascist Resistance Group (GRAPO) when they conducted a joint investigation that resulted in the arrest of over 20 GRAPO suspects. French investigators probed terrorist attacks that killed at least 20 French citizens in Tunisia, Pakistan, and Indonesia.
Cooperation among European law-enforcement authorities was a feature of many successes during the past year. For example, in addition to joint efforts between France and Spain against ETA and GRAPO, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and others were involved in investigations of “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.
Officials in Germany continued their extensive investigation of extremists associated with the al-Qaida Hamburg cell that supported the September 11 hijackers. Germany also placed several high-profile terrorists on trial, including a member of the Hamburg cell and four North Africans accused of plotting to attack the Strasbourg Christmas market in 2000. Twenty German citizens fell victim to terrorist attacks in Djerba, Tunisia, and in Bali, Indonesia.
Turkey arrested a number of individuals with ties to al-Qaida and continued to fight dangerous domestic terrorist groups. For the first time, Greece arrested members of Revolutionary Organization 17 November, marking significant progress against a domestic terrorism problem. The arrests appeared to have begun the unraveling and dismantling of one of Europe’s oldest terrorist groups.
The countries of southeast Europe have actively supported the international Coalition against terrorism. Albania and Bulgaria have extended blanket landing and overflight clearances. Along with Croatia, they have also contributed troops to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and weapons and ammunition to the Afghan National Army. Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina have shut down nongovernmental organizations with links to terrorist networks and frozen terrorist assets, and the Bosnian Government arrested and transferred to US control several terrorist suspects accused of planning an attack against the US Embassy in Sarajevo.
Denmark also made noteworthy contributions to the war on terrorism. On the economic front under its European Union (EU) Presidency leadership, in forging a workable EU Clearinghouse they froze assets of terrorist groups, even those not taken to the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1267 Sanctions Committee. On the military front, they continued their commitment to Operation Enduring Freedom through the Danish-Norwegian-Dutch F-16 contingent at Manas Airbase.
Heads of State and government met at the Prague Summit in November to endorse NATO’s commitment to develop capabilities to meet new challenges such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
Despite its limited resources, Albania has provided considerable support on counterterrorism. Albania supported US and international counterterrorist initiatives by extending blanket landing and overflight clearances for Operation Enduring Freedom; providing commando troops to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and weapons to the Afghan National Army; and adopting legislation to coordinate the counterterrorism efforts of its police, military, intelligence service, and Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs. Albania also joined international efforts to fight terrorism by signing agreements with Germany to repatriate illegal immigrants and with Romania to combat terrorism, drug trafficking, and organized crime. Albania had some success in implementing measures at its major ports to combat illegal trafficking.
Tirana took measures to freeze terrorist assets and shut down nongovernmental organizations suspected of international extremist activity and detained or expelled individuals suspected of having links to terrorism. Albania also provided ongoing close cooperation to the United States in sharing information and investigating terrorist-related groups and activities. Institutional weaknesses, corruption, organized crime, and difficult terrain continued to hamper Albania’s ability to carry out counterterrorism initiatives, however. Efforts to strengthen Albania’s money-laundering legislation in May did not clarify or increase the scope of the laws in 2002, but Parliament expects to pass improved legislation, including specific terrorist-financing provisions, in 2003.
The aftershocks of the Chechen hostage crisis at the Moscow Theater in Russia reached Albania. At the Russian Government’s request, Albania denied entry to Chechen delegates who tried to attend the Transnational Radical Party Congress, which supports Chechen independence. Although a previously unknown Islamic terrorist group, “Allah’s Martyrs,” threatened to disrupt the Congress, the Government stepped up security measures, and the Congress concluded peacefully.
Albania is a party to 11 of the 12 UN international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
The Belgian Government has cooperated with US counterterrorism efforts on several levels. Brussels was timely and proactive in sharing information with the United States regarding terrorist threats to US citizens or facilities. Belgium’s Financial Intelligence Unit provided the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit with information on individuals and entities with suspected ties to terrorist groups. The Belgian General Intelligence and Security Service also cooperated closely with US authorities.
Belgian authorities are continuing their investigations of several individuals arrested in 2001 who are of interest to the United States. Authorities are examining Richard Reid’s activities and associates in Belgium, particularly in light of Reid’s stay at a Brussels hotel shortly before he attempted to ignite his shoe bomb while on American Airlines Flight 63 in December 2001. Nizar Trabelsi, a Tunisian national arrested by Belgian authorities in September 2001 for his involvement with a plot to bomb the US Embassy in Paris, claimed in June 2002 that his plan was to attack Kleine Brogel airbase in Belgium. Authorities have nearly completed the investigation of Tarek Maaroufi—a Tunisian-born Belgian national arrested in December 2001 for allegedly providing forged passports to the two assassins of Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Belgian authorities have been working on several initiatives to improve the country’s counterterrorism capabilities. In May 2002, the Government created the Office of the Federal Prosecutor, which has the potential of becoming a centralized point of contact for counterterrorism cooperation with other countries. Before the September 11 attacks, Belgium had established an Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) within the federal police to centralize domestic investigations of terrorism-related activity. While the ATU was not given formal jurisdiction over terrorism-related cases, it works closely with local police.
Parliament passed legislation expanding the range of investigative measures available to police and was to consider a draft bill that would enhance the Government’s ability to combat terrorism. The bill defines and outlaws membership in, or support for, a terrorist organization. Additional pieces of legislation aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the intelligence service to track terrorist suspects and increasing the access of counterterrorism officials to information gathered by independent investigative magistrates were also being drafted.
Belgium is a party to six of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. Belgium has frozen the assets of individuals and entities included on the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list of individuals as being associated with Usama Bin Ladin, members of al-Qaida, and members of the Taliban. Nonetheless, because the Government lacks the legal authority to do so, Belgium has not fulfilled the broader obligations of UNSCR 1373, which requires nations to freeze the financial assets of terrorists.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has taken a strong stance against terrorism and condemned acts of international terrorism. Bosnia is a party to seven of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism and has initiated procedures to ratify four additional ones.
In early 2002, BiH authorities arrested and transferred to US control several individuals suspected of planning an attack on the US Embassy in Sarajevo. In October, Stabilization Force (SFOR) detained an individual linked to al-Qaida for conducting surveillance of SFOR personnel and facilities and for possessing a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. (The suspect was turned over to Bosnian Federation authorities in late January 2003, who released him on bail. The Federation Government filed charges against him for illegal weapons possession in February 2003.)
In accordance with UNSCRs 1267 and 1373, the Government also froze the assets and prohibited future transactions of several Islamic nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, and the Global Relief Fund, which have direct links to al-Qaida and Usama Bin Ladin. Documents seized from the offices of the BIF link its leader directly to Usama Bin Ladin. Bosnian cooperation with US law enforcement, including the testimony of BiH officials, supported successful prosecution of the BIF leader in US Federal Court.
The Government has continued to investigate the role of six former Bosnian Federation officials suspected of operating a terrorist-training camp in BiH with Iran in the mid-1990s. Criticism by nationalist Bosnian Muslim politicians, particularly in the run up to October’s general elections, appears to have made some officials hesitant to pursue this case and other high-profile counterterrorism actions, however. The formation of nationalist governments at the state, entity, and cantonal levels may adversely affect future cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
The Bosnian Government introduced measures to address some of the administrative and legal challenges it faces in combating terrorism. The Government strengthened its border and financial controls, created a unified Federation intelligence service, and created Bosnia’s first national identity card. (The High Representative’s imposition of a new state-level criminal code and criminal procedure code in January 2003 reinforced the criminal justice system, including specific provisions aimed at terrorism.) Several additional pieces of antiterrorism legislation remain pending before parliament, however. As of October 2002, the State Border System had assumed coverage over 100 percent of Bosnia’s borders and all operating international airports. Since introducing tighter immigration controls, authorities have reduced illegal immigration via Sarajevo Airport by an estimated 90 percent. The State Information and Protection Agency, whose mission includes combating terrorism, illegal trafficking, organized crime, and smuggling of weapons of mass destruction, thus far has been ineffective because it lacks authority and resources.
France has provided outstanding military, judicial, and lawenforcement support to the war against terrorism. France made a significant military contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom, including some 4,200 military personnel supporting operations in Afghanistan. The Charles de Gaulle carrier battle group flew more than 2,000 air reconnaissance, strike, and electronic warfare missions over Afghanistan. France provided close air support to US and Coalition forces during Operation Anaconda.
French investigators cooperated in a joint investigation with the FBI of Richard Reid, the would-be “shoe bomber.” In the 30-day period after Reid’s arrest in December 2001, the FBI and the Paris Criminal Brigade maintained often twice-daily contact with US authorities and provided information that proved critical to building the criminal case against Reid. French authorities have continued aggressively to pursue leads related to the Reid case.
The French Government reached a compromise agreement with the United States to provide evidence gathered in the Zacarias Moussaoui case, despite domestic criticism.
The French judiciary continued to pursue domestic terrorism cases vigorously. A French court in October convicted and sentenced two Islamist terrorists to life in prison for their roles in a series of bombings of the Paris subway in 1995 that killed eight persons and wounded more than 200. In October, the Justice Ministry decided to add a fifth investigative magistrate to its specialized team of antiterrorist judges.
In November, French authorities arrested Slimane Khalfaoui, who is likely associated with the Meliani cell, a group of five individuals arrested in December 2000 and April 2001 for allegedly planning to attack the cathedral square in Strasbourg, France. Khalfaoui also is suspected of ties to Ahmad Ressam—the Algerian arrested in December 1999 at the US-Canadian border in an alleged plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport—and Rabah Kadri, an Islamic radical arrested in the United Kingdom for a plot to attack the London subway.
France continued to cooperate with Spain in dismantling Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA), the Basque terrorist organization. In November, both countries signed a protocol granting Spanish counterterrorism officials enhanced access to French information obtained from arrested ETA members. In September, two principal ETA leaders, Juan Antonio Olarra and Ainhoa Mugica Goni, were arrested in a joint operation in Bordeaux. Olarra was linked to at least nine murders.
In October, France requested that the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee add two North African terrorist groups operating in France—the Tunisian Combatant Group and the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group—to its consolidated list of individuals and entities associated with Usama Bin Ladin, al-Qaida, and the Taliban. The United States subsequently blocked the groups’ assets under Executive Order 13224. Despite its generally cooperative stance against terrorism, France opposes listing Hizballah as a terrorist organization. France designates terrorist groups in concert with the EU. The EU has designated the “terrorist wing” of HAMAS but not the group as a whole, citing its political and social role in Lebanon.
France has become a party to 11 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Terrorists attacked French interests or citizens several times in 2002. In April, two French citizens were killed in a suicide attack against a synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba. In May, a suicide bomber exploded a vehicle alongside a bus in Karachi, killing 14 persons, including 11 French engineers. Terrorists also attacked the Limburg, a French supertanker, off the coast of Yemen in October. The attack resulted in one casualty and caused an oil spill of 90,000 barrels into the Gulf of Aden. Four French nationals were killed and seven wounded in the bombing of a Bali nightclub in October. The Corsican National Liberation Front claimed responsibility for a string of nonlethal bombings in Paris and Marseilles in early May. There were multiple, nonlethal, unclaimed bombings on Corsica in November.
Germany is an active and critically important participant in the global Coalition against terrorism. The country’s efforts have made a valuable contribution to fighting terrorists inside and outside of German territory.
Several German citizens were killed in terrorist attacks in 2002. In April, 14 German tourists died in a suicide attack against a synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba. Six German citizens were killed in the bombing of a Bali nightclub in October.
During 2002, Germany played an important role in both Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and the UN’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Germany’s contribution to OEF included 100 special-forces soldiers; 50 troops manning nuclear, biological, and chemical detection units in Kuwait; and approximately 1,800 personnel in a naval task force off the Horn of Africa. Germany reinforced ISAF’s capabilities with approximately 1,300 troops, and German troop levels will increase to approximately 2,500 in connection with the undertaking by Germany and the Netherlands in December to assume leadership of ISAF in February 2003.
Germany has taken a lead role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction through humanitarian and development assistance. German personnel helped train and equip a new Afghan police force, and Germany contributed 10 million Euros to the force.
German law-enforcement officials arrested several suspected terrorists. In October, authorities arrested Abdelghani Mzoudi for allegedly supporting the al-Qaida cell in Hamburg involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Mounir el Motassadeq, a Moroccan national who was arrested in November 2001 for his alleged membership in the Hamburg cell, went on trial, and it was continuing at year’s end. (El Motassadeq was convicted early in 2003.) Five reported members of the al-Qaida-linked al-Tawhid organization were arrested in April and were awaiting indictment. German police thwarted a possible terrorist attack when they arrested a Turkish male and an American female suspected of attempting to bomb the US military base in Heidelberg.
In April, a trial opened in Frankfurt against four Algerians and a Moroccan accused of planning an attack on the Strasbourg Christmas market in December 2000. Some of the defendants claim that their intention was to bomb an empty Jewish synagogue but not kill anyone.
After lengthy negotiations, Germany agreed in November to provide the US Government with evidence in the US trial of French national Zacarias Moussaoui, who was arrested in August 2001 and is suspected of involvement with the September 11 hijackings.
Germany continued to take action against Caliphate State—a radical Turkish Islamic group based in Cologne—which was outlawed in December 2001. In September 2002, German authorities banned another 16 groups linked to Caliphate State and raided the homes and offices of suspected affiliates.
Germany has adopted antiterrorism reforms that should further its ability to fight terrorism. The reforms include bolstering the ability of intelligence officials and police to identify and pursue suspected terrorists, screening visa applicants for terrorists, improving border security, and allowing armed air marshals on German aircraft. Germany broadened its legal code to permit prosecutions of terrorists based outside of the country. Germany also modified its law on associations to remove the “religious privilege” clause, which had allowed extremist organizations to operate freely as religious organizations. The Government has used its new legislation, particularly the strengthened law on associations, to ban violence-prone extremist organizations.
Strong data-privacy protections and high evidentiary standards mean that terrorist investigations may take several months before arrests can be made, although administrative measures under the law of associations can be used to hamper the activities of extremist groups. Strong German opposition to the US death penalty has complicated efforts to forge a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the United States, but negotiations are continuing.
Germany is a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Germany has frozen 30 bank accounts associated with terrorist groups valued at about $95,000.
In 2002, Germany was chosen to chair the international Financial Action Task Force, which coordinates multilateral efforts on countering terrorist financing and money laundering.
Greece made significant progress in 2002 combating domestic terrorism. For the first time, Greek authorities arrested suspected members of Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17 November), a group regarded as one of Europe’s deadliest and most enduring in its nearly three decades of operations. Eighteen suspects were put on trial. The Government seized assets belonging to suspected 17 November members and blocked accounts belonging to other indigenous European terrorist organizations. Police also have been seeking evidence that will allow them to arrest members of Greece’s other domestic terrorist groups, including Revolutionary Nuclei, its predecessor Revolutionary Peoples’ Struggle, and 1 May. Despite the high-profile arrests, other leftist groups and anarchists conducted low-level attacks and demonstrations in Athens and Thessaloniki. The number of anti-US terrorist attacks—all nonlethal—rose from 2001’s low of three to seven.
The Greek Government’s record against transnational terrorist groups is mixed. It provided engineering troops to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, stationed a frigate in the Arabian Sea, and deployed two cargo aircraft to Pakistan to support the global Coalition against terrorism. The Government also ordered all banks and credit institutions to search for and block accounts belonging to Usama Bin Ladin, the al-Qaida network, and officials of the former Taliban regime.
Greece is a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
The Government continued its security preparations for the 2004 Olympics and views the Games as an opportunity to increase international counterterrorism cooperation. To comply with EU counterterrorism regulations, Greece was expected to pass counterterrorism legislation mandating minimum sentences for terrorists and extending the statute of limitations for terrorist-related homicides from 20 to 30 years, in early 2003. Greece also pledged counterterrorism cooperation with its neighbors Romania and Bulgaria.
Hungary has been fully supportive of the war against terrorism and US initiatives against al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations both within its borders and abroad. Throughout 2002, Hungary maintained consistent political support for the war on terror, actively promoting the US position in NATO and the UN, and giving high-level endorsement to our policies.
In support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Hungary developed a package of excess weapons, ammunition, and equipment to be donated to help with our Georgia Train and Equip Program and the Afghan National Army training project. The total amount for Afghanistan was 437 tons, valued at $3.7 million. The Georgia program was 8 tons, valued at $25,000. Also in 2002, Hungary offered a military medical unit as part of the International Security Assistance Force peacekeeping force, which was to deploy in early March to Afghanistan.
The Government has affirmed the previous government’s commitment to contribute $1 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, $300,000 of which was sent in December 2001 and the remainder of which will be delivered in 2003. Also in 2002, Hungary ratified the last of the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism; it is now a party to all 12. In addition to a December 2001 law on money laundering and terrorist financing which brought it into full compliance with EU and Financial Action Task Force norms, Hungary has developed additional legislation which would go well beyond that of most countries in reporting requirements for financial transactions. This legislation is currently before the Hungarian Parliament.
Cooperation with US and regional officials on export and border controls also continues to be outstanding. In several cases, Hungarian officials have proactively pursued and developed leads and provided extensive cooperation to US officers that have stopped the transshipment of hazardous goods. Hungary is actively improving its technical ability to track and control dangerous materials, and its imminent accession into the EU is accelerating this process. Finally, Hungary has been active in mentoring its neighbors to the south and east and in 2002 offered four training courses or programs on counterterrorism and export controls for Balkan neighbors.
Italy has been an active partner in the war against terror, providing its only carrier battle group—more than 13 percent of its naval forces—to support combat operations in the North Arabian Sea for use in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The “De La Penne” group (a destroyer and a frigate) relieved the carrier battle group on 15 March 2002. In addition to the 350 Italian troops serving as part of the International Security and Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the Italian Parliament agreed in October to send some 1,000 soldiers to support OEF and deployed troops shortly thereafter. The Italian Air Force has been flying sorties out of Manas Airbase, and Italian engineers helped repair a runway at Bagram Airfield.
Italian police arrested several suspected terrorists and disrupted potential attacks against the United States and its allies. In May, Italian police in Milan arrested five individuals who were suspected of providing funds to al-Qaida. In October, Italian authorities arrested four Tunisians for document forgery; they may have also been planning to conduct a terrorist attack in Europe, possibly in France.
Italy prosecuted several al-Qaida-affiliated individuals, putting on trial three North Africans suspected of providing logistics support to the group. In February, a judge in Milan sentenced four members of the Tunisian Combatant Group to up to five years in jail for providing false documentation and planning to acquire and transport arms and other illegal goods. Italian authorities also suspect the group was planning a terrorist attack against the US Embassy in Rome. This was the first time al-Qaida associates were convicted in Europe since September 11, 2001.
In August, working with the US Treasury Department, Italian authorities froze the assets of 25 individuals and organizations designated by the United States under Executive Order 13224. Eleven were individuals connected to the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, while 14 were organizations linked to two known al-Qaida-linked financiers, Ahmed Idris Nasreddin and Youssef Nada.
A variety of leftwing terrorist groups carried out attacks in Italy. In March, the recently resurgent Red Brigades-Communist Combatant Party (BR-PCC) was accused of assassinating Marco Biagi, an advisor to the Italian Labor Ministry. Several other groups, including the Anti-Imperialist Territorial Nuclei, the 20 July Brigades, and the Proletarian Nuclei for Communism, claimed responsibility for numerous small-scale attacks throughout Italy.
Italy is a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Lithuania took several steps to combat terrorism. Although there are no known al-Qaida operatives in Lithuania, the Government has worked effectively to arrest and deport a small number of individuals associated with HAMAS and Hizballah. The Government also monitored and reported to the United States on the transfer of $100,000 to a suspected terrorist via a Lithuanian bank. Lithuania has deployed limited personnel in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
To improve its overall counterterrorist efforts, the Government adopted the National Counter-Terrorism Program, which identified deficiencies, goals, and deadlines and established the Interagency Coordination Commission Against Terrorism. It also increased security along its border with Belarus, at the Vilnius airport, and at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. As a result of increased scrutiny at the country’s border-control points, Lithuanian Border Guards apprehended more than 1,000 persons—mostly Lithuanians—sought by police, none with established terrorist connections.
The Lithuanian Government has emphasized working with European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners, as well as other countries. In April, Lithuania cosponsored with the United States an international conference on terrorist challenges, and in October the Ministry of Defense signed an agreement with the US Defense Department on the prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Vilnius has bilateral agreements with Belarus, Germany, Hungary, and Kazakhstan to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. During visits to Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia in April, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister and his counterparts discussed joint antiterrorism efforts.
Lithuania is a party to 10 of the 12 major UN antiterrorism conventions and protocols.
The Netherlands supported the global Coalition against terrorism with leadership, personnel, and materiel, including the deployment of more than 200 ground troops to Afghanistan. (In 2003, it took over joint command of the International Security Assistance Force with Germany.)
The Dutch implemented two agreements with the United States to increase border security. The Netherlands became the first country to agree to host a US Customs team; it will deploy under the Global Container Security Initiative at Rotterdam, one of Europe’s busiest ports. The Government also agreed to allow US immigration officers at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to work on joint anticrime and counterterrorism operations. The Netherlands’ Prime Minister stated that the United States and his country stand “shoulder to shoulder” in the struggle for global security.
In April and August, Dutch authorities arrested approximately two-dozen extremists—10 of whom remain in custody—who are accused of supporting terrorists and recruiting combatants for jihad. Authorities are also investigating their possible links with the assassins of Afghan opposition leader Ahmad Shad Massoud, who was killed in 2001 by al-Qaida members. In September, police arrested Ansar al-Islam’s leader, Mullah Krekar. (In January 2003, the Dutch Justice Minister unexpectedly released and deported Krekar to Norway despite a pending Jordanian request for extradition.) In February 2002, a Dutch court, citing insufficient evidence, ordered the release of a man suspected of involvement in an al-Qaida plot to blow up the US Embassy in Paris.
The Dutch have taken a leading role, particularly in the European Union, to establish financial protocols to combat terrorism. They also donated $400,000 to the International Monetary Fund to provide assistance to countries that lack the wherewithal to implement some of these measures immediately.
The Government has proposed changes to Dutch law that will make it easier to prosecute supporters of terrorist groups. Under Dutch law, terrorist organizations are not illegal entities. The new legislation will criminalize the provision of information, money, and material assistance to terrorist organizations. The Netherlands is a party to all 12 UN antiterrorism conventions and protocols.
The Dutch have taken steps to freeze the assets of individuals and groups included on the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list, most notably the New People’s Army and the leader of its political wing, Jose Maria Sison. Nevertheless, the political wings of other terrorist groups, such as KADEK (formerly the PKK) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), are allowed to operate as long as they do not commit terrorist acts or other crimes in The Netherlands.
Spain has offered strong, multifaceted support in the global war against terrorism. In May, the Spanish Government approved a contribution of 1,200 troops to the International Security and Assistance Force. As part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Spain participated in several humanitarian transport missions and contributed three C-130 Hercules planes and 70 soldiers to an airborne detachment. From January to October, a Spanish medical detachment served at the Bagram Air Base near Kabul. Spain also is heading a naval task force off the Horn of Africa to disrupt terrorist movements in the region.
In 2002, Spain arrested several individuals with possible links to al-Qaida. In July, Spanish authorities arrested three individuals of Syrian origin because of their alleged al-Qaida links. One of the detainees made suspicious video recordings while on a trip to the United States in 1997, including a videotape of the World Trade Center. The three individuals were released on bail because of weak evidence in the case. In April, Spanish police arrested two suspected al-Qaida financiers—Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi, a naturalized Spanish citizen of Syrian descent, and Ahmed Brahim, an Algerian. In January, police arrested Najib Chaib Mohamed, a Moroccan national, for his alleged involvement in a suspected al-Qaida recruiting and logistics cell headed by Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, whom Spanish authorities had apprehended in November 2001.
Spain made progress in its decades-old campaign to eliminate domestic terrorist groups, including the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) organization—a radical Basque terrorist group. In November, Spain and France signed a protocol granting Spanish counterterrorism officials enhanced access to French information obtained from arrested ETA members. In September, Spanish and French police arrested two principal ETA leaders, Juan Antonio Olarra and Ainhoa Mugica Goni, in a joint operation with French authorities in Bordeaux. Olarra is linked to at least nine murders. The Spanish Parliament passed a law that provides a strong mechanism for the possible de-legalization of Batasuna, ETA’s political wing. A case against Batasuna was before the Spanish Supreme Court at year’s end. In a separate case in August, a judge ordered a provisional ban on Batasuna’s activities, froze the group’s financial assets, and closed their offices. ETA’s attacks, nonetheless, had killed five Spanish citizens by year’s end, down from 15 in 2001 and 23 in 2000.
Thirty-two ETA members and ETA-related organizations, such as Askatasuna [a.k.a. Batasuna], were included in Executive Order 13224, which blocks the assets of terrorists.
Spanish and French authorities made joint advances against the domestic terrorist group First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Group (GRAPO). A series of arrests in July and November resulted in the capture of 22 suspected GRAPO members.
Spain is a party to all 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
The Turkish Government, long a staunch counterterrorism ally, continued to provide strong support in the campaign against terrorism. Turkey was quick to provide military assistance to Operation Enduring Freedom. Former Prime Minister Ecevit backed a parliamentary resolution permitting the Government to send Turkish troops abroad and to allow foreign troops to be stationed on Turkish soil. Turkey offered to provide a 90-man special-operations unit in Afghanistan. In June, Turkey took the leadership of the United Nation’s International Security Assistance Force and contributed 1,400 soldiers to the peacekeeping force.
Turkish authorities have arrested several suspected terrorists who may be linked to al-Qaida. In August, authorities arrested Mevlut Kar, a Turkish citizen suspected of being an Islamic terrorist, at the Ankara airport. In April, Turkish authorities arrested four individuals associated with al-Qaida in Bursa.
Three members of the Union of Imams, a Jordanian group with links to al-Qaida, were arrested in February in Van. The individuals were suspected of planning a bombing attack in Israel. Subsequently, Turkish police arrested Ahmet Abdullah, a courier from northern Iraq, for providing assistance to the Union of Imams.
The Government of Turkey continued to take steps against domestic terrorist groups. Turkish authorities arrested several members from the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)—a virulently anti-US group that killed two US defense contractors and wounded a US Air Force officer during the Gulf war. Although the group did not conduct any attacks in 2002, Turkish officials have expressed displeasure that the group’s leadership is ensconced in Western Europe. The European Union included the DHKP/C on its terrorism list in May.
Turkish arrests also weakened Turkish Hizballah, a Kurdish Islamic (Sunni) extremist group that is unrelated to Lebanese Hizballah. In December, authorities arrested Ali Aslan Isik, reportedly one of the group’s top leaders. The group’s last attack in October 2001 killed two Turkish police officers in Istanbul.
In April, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) changed its name to the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK) and declared its commitment to political versus armed tactics to advance Kurdish rights in Turkey. In October, a Turkish court commuted Abdullah Ocalan’s, the group’s imprisoned leader, death sentence to a life term. KADEK maintains that it has continued to abide by its self-declared peace initiative throughout 2002, but it continues to arm an estimated 8,000 trained fighters in and around Turkey.
Turkey is a party to all 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
The United Kingdom, which has taken important political, financial, and law-enforcement steps to advance international counterterrorist efforts, remains one of the United States’ staunchest allies. At its peak, the British contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom included more than 4,500 personnel as well as aircraft, ships, and submarines. In March, it deployed a 1,700-strong force to Afghanistan to combat al-Qaida and initially led the International Security Assistance Force. It also participated in Coalition counterterrorism operations outside Afghanistan, including maritime patrols in the Arabian Sea. London has unfrozen assets linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban totaling $100 million and made them available to the legitimate Afghan Government.
The United Kingdom is a party to all 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism and chairs the UN’s Counter Terrorism Committee. The United Kingdom actively campaigned in the European Union, G-8, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and United Nations for coordinated counterterrorism efforts and routinely lobbied UN members to become parties to the 12 antiterrorism conventions and protocols.
The United Kingdom launched aggressive efforts to disrupt and prosecute terrorists. Since December 2001, the Government has detained 15 foreign nationals under its Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act, which allows extended detention of non-British nationals suspected of being international terrorists but who cannot be removed from the country immediately. The Government defeated a legal challenge to the antiterrorism law on appeal after the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled the law discriminatory and unlawful. Several other terror suspects also have been arrested and charged with terrorism-related offenses. In February authorities arrested Shaykh Abdullah Ibrahim el-Faisal on charges of inciting racial hatred for remarks he made calling for the murder of nonbelievers, Jews, Americans, and Hindus. He was charged with crimes under the Public Order Act and the Offences Against the Person Act.
The United Kingdom froze the assets of more than 100 organizations and 200 individuals with links to terrorism. In October, the Government proscribed four terrorist groups associated with al-Qaida—Jemaah Islamiya, the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and Asbat al-Ansar—bringing to 25 the total number of groups banned under the Terrorism Act of 2000. The United Kingdom has not frozen the assets belonging to political or humanitarian wings of terrorist groups HAMAS and Hizballah, owing to Britain’s definition of terrorist organizations.
The United Kingdom was assisting in extraditing four individuals charged with terrorist acts in the United States or against US citizens, including an Algerian suspected of involvement in the 2000 “Millennium Conspiracy.” The US request to extradite three men for their involvement in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in East Africa is pending an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. British courts denied one US extradition request—an Algerian pilot suspected of training the September 11 hijackers, citing insufficient evidence. In November, the Government introduced legislation to streamline the lengthy extradition process. The United States and United Kingdom are also in the process of negotiating a new extradition treaty.
Training and financial assistance have been in the forefront of the UK’s bilateral counterterrorism relationships. The United Kingdom trained security personnel in bomb disposal and hostage-negotiating techniques, assisted law-enforcement and regulatory authorities in terrorist-finance investigations, and, through its capacity-building programs, helped countries draft counterterrorism legislation.
The United Kingdom’s intelligence and security agencies significantly deepened their bilateral counterterrorist relationships. It established major counterterrorism-assistance programs in South and Southeast Asia and worked with Indonesia, Australia, and the United States to investigate the October bombings in Bali. The British Government in November introduced a new bill on international crime cooperation that would allow police from EU member states to operate independently in Britain under specific circumstances and permit British police to track suspicious individuals across most UK borders, except its border with Ireland. The British police have worked closely with the Greek police to investigate the assassination in June 2000 of the British military attache in Athens and in the wider hunt for members of the 17 November terrorist group.
The Government took steps against domestic terrorism as well. Security officials disrupted numerous planned terrorist attacks, although in August the Real IRA (RIRA) killed a construction worker at a British Army base. In October, RIRA threatened additional violence. The investigation into the 1998 Omagh bombing linked to the RIRA continues, and British authorities also prepared for the trial of two suspected RIRA members connected with a series of car bombings in England in 2001. Sectarian violence—in large part fueled by loyalist paramilitaries—continued throughout the year and served as the backdrop to the decision by the British Government to suspend the Northern Ireland Assembly in October.
Middle East Overview
Terrorism remained a fundamental feature of the Middle East political landscape in 2002. Terrorist groups and their state sponsors continued terrorist activities and planning throughout 2002. Usama Bin Ladin’s al-Qaida continued to be active in the region. Additionally, HAMAS, the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Hizballah, and other groups opposed to a comprehensive Middle East peace maintained their attacks on civilians. Most Middle Eastern countries—including some that sponsor terrorist groups and with which the United States has differences—showed significant cooperation with the US-led campaign against terrorism, however.
In many nations, Middle Eastern allies of the United States thwarted terrorist incidents targeted against US interests and citizens, disrupted terrorist planning and operations, and enhanced their counterterrorism relations with the United States. Many have continued to provide tangible support for Operation Enduring Freedom, including personnel, basing, and overflight privileges. Most Middle East governments froze al-Qaida financial assets pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions 1373, 1267, 1390 and 1455. Notably, all Middle Eastern countries with an American diplomatic and/or military presence were responsive to US requests for enhanced security for personnel and facilities during periods of heightened alert. The Government of Saudi Arabia, for example, has begun enhanced direct cooperation and coordination with the United States to counter terrorist financing and operations.
The Government of Yemen has continued a broad counterterrorism campaign against al-Qaida and suspected al-Qaida members within its territory with several notable successes and provided excellent cooperation with the United States. Jordan and Kuwait continued to counter suspected terrorists and provided superb security support to US facilities in the wake of the assassination of US diplomat Laurence Foley in Amman and the fatal shootings of US servicemen in Kuwait. The United Arab Emirates continued to buttress ongoing counterterrorism efforts in the Gulf.
Egypt’s solid record of counterterrorism cooperation included efforts at brokering a cease-fire among Palestinian rejectionist groups that would halt terrorist violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories. The Governments of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco all actively supported the global campaign against terrorism.
Syria cooperated with the US Government and its partners in investigating al-Qaida and some other organizations. Damascus has continued, however, to support Hizballah, HAMAS, the PIJ, and other Palestinian rejectionist groups that conduct terrorist operations in the region. The Syrians have continued to assert that the activities of 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. These governments have continued to implement positive steps to halt the flow of terrorism financing and provide other assistance in the war on terrorism. In many instances, they did so despite popular disquiet over their governments’ military support for Operation Enduring Freedom and other counterterrorism activities. As in many other 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.
Maghreb governments likewise gave strong support by searching for terrorist financing, providing increased security to US interests, and thwarting actual terrorist plots. For example, Morocco arrested and prosecuted Saudis and Moroccans who allegedly were planning to attack NATO ships in the Straits of Gibraltar and also developed comprehensive antiterrorism legislation.
President Bouteflika has publicly pledged his Government’s full cooperation in the war against terror. As part of its effort, the Government of Algeria strengthened its information sharing with the United States and worked with European and other governments to eliminate terrorist-support networks linked to Algerian groups, most of which are in Europe. In 2002, Algeria hosted an international conference on crime and counterterrorism that was attended by almost 20 international delegations. The Government also hosted the Africa Union Summit on terrorism.
The Algerian Government enacted new laws combating violent extremism, most significantly a presidential decree allowing Government institutions to monitor accounts in private banks and creating a unit in the Ministry of Finance to fight money laundering. On the security front, Algerian authorities in late November announced that they had eliminated an al-Qaida operative who had been working with the country’s domestic extremist groups.
Algeria is a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Algeria itself has been ravaged by terrorism since the early 1990s. Terrorism within the country remained a serious problem in 2002, although the level of violence has declined markedly over the past decade as Government forces have steadily reduced the areas in which militants operate. Most violence occurred in areas outside the capital, although militants on occasion still attempt attacks in the Algiers region.
The Salafist Group for Call and Combat—the largest, most active terrorist organization operating in the country—maintained the capability to conduct operations. It collaborated with smugglers and Islamists in the south who supplied insurgents with weapons and communications equipment for attacks in the north.
Bahrain, which hosts the US Naval Forces Central/Fifth Fleet Headquarters and provides basing and extensive overflight clearances for a multitude of US military aircraft, has been essential to the continued success of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Bahraini military assets have participated in OEF Coalition naval operations including terrorist interdiction efforts, and Bahrain offered a medical unit for OEF duty. The King, Crown Prince, and other senior Bahrani ministers have been outspoken public proponents of the war on terrorism. The Government of Bahrain cooperated closely and effectively on criminal investigations related to the campaign against terrorism. In September, for instance, Bahraini authorities were essential in the transfer to US custody of Mukhtar al-Bakri, a US citizen suspected of terrorist activity.
Equally important, the Bahrain Monetary Authority quickly implemented UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1267, 1390, and 1455, as well as 1373, ordering financial institutions to identify and freeze accounts of organizations associated with members of al-Qaida, Usama Bin Ladin, and members of the Taliban that the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee has included on its consolidated list. To date, seven accounts have been identified and frozen. Bahrain has developed financial regulations to ensure that charitable contributions are not channeled to financing terrorists. The Government of Bahrain has been extraordinarily responsive to US Government requests for additional security measures in recent years and continued to give the highest priority to the protection of US lives and property in Bahrain.
Bahrain is a party to five of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
The Egyptian and US Governments continued their close cooperation on a broad range of counterterrorism issues in 2002. The relationship deepened in 2002 as the countries coordinated closely on law enforcement issues and the freezing of assets, consistent with the requirements of UNSCRs 1373, 1267, 1390 and 1455. Egypt also cooperated with the United States in freezing the assets of individuals and organizations designated by the United States pursuant to Executive Order 13224. In law enforcement, the Egyptian Government deepened its information-sharing relationship in terrorist-related investigations. The Government provided immediate information, for example, in the investigation of the shootings on 4 July at Los Angeles airport, which involved an Egyptian national. Its response was critical in determining that the shooting was an individual act, not part of a terrorist conspiracy. The Egyptian Government also provided the name and full identification (numerical identifiers and photo) of a terrorist believed to be in the United States.
The Government of Egypt has continued to be committed to searching and freezing terrorist funds in Egyptian banks. In 2002, the Egyptian parliament passed an anti-money laundering law that strengthens banking regulations and permits the Government more latitude in its campaign to staunch the flow of terrorist funds. The Egyptian Government, both secular and clerical, continued to make public statements supportive of US efforts and indicative of its commitment to the worldwide campaign against terrorism.
In addition to combating global terrorism, Cairo continued to place a high priority on the protection of US citizens and facilities in Egypt. It increased security for US citizens and facilities and for US forces, both stationed in Egypt and transiting the country to the Gulf, by air or through the Suez Canal. Egypt has strengthened its airport security, agreed to stricter aviation-security measures, and granted extensive overflight and canal transit clearances.
Egypt was for many years itself a victim of terrorism. President Mubarak first called for an international conference to combat terrorism in 1986. With US assistance and training, Egypt has effectively combated the internal terrorist/extremist threat. There were no acts of terrorism in Egypt in 2002, either against US citizens, Egyptians, or other nationals. The Government continued a “zero tolerance” policy toward suspected terrorists and extremists.
During 2002, the Government prosecuted 94 members (seven of whom were tried in absentia) of a group dubbed “al-Wa’ad” (the Promise), accused of having supplied arms and financial support to Chechen rebels and HAMAS. On 9 September, the military tribunal sentenced 51 defendants to terms ranging from two to 15 years while acquitting 43. On 20 October, the Government brought 26 members of the Islamic Liberation Party to trial in the supreme state security court. The defendants, who include three Britons, stand accused of joining a banned group, attempting to recruit members for that group, and spreading extremist ideology. The group was banned in Egypt in 1974, following an attempt to overthrow the Government and establish an Islamic caliphate.
The United States deported a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad in 2002 for trial in connection with the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. Several other members of Egyptian terrorist organizations were returned to Egypt from abroad. During the summer, the Egyptian Government announced plans to release from prison a large group of al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG) leaders and members, sentenced in the early 1980s. In 1997, the group’s leadership in prison declared a cease-fire and halt to all armed operations and acts of violence. In 1999, IG leadership abroad declared their support for the initiative. This year, the IG leadership in prison in Egypt published four pamphlets on the religious basis and legitimacy for ending all violence and armed operations. In the fall, the Government began releasing IG members and leaders who they believe have transformed their ideology and religious beliefs while in prison.
Egypt is a party to nine of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip
Israel maintained staunch support for US-led counterterrorist operations as terrorist activity in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip continued at a heightened level in 2002. HAMAS, the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, all of which the United States has designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations and has designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224, were responsible for most of the attacks, which included suicide bombings, shootings, and mortar firings against civilian and military targets. Terrorists killed more than 370 persons—including at least 10 US citizens—compared to fewer than 200 persons killed in 2001.
Israel is a party to eight of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Israeli authorities arrested individuals claiming allegiance to al-Qaida, although the group does not appear to have an operational presence in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Palestinian terrorist groups in these areas publicly distanced themselves from Usama Bin Ladin and appear focused on attacking Israel, versus joining in a fight against the West.
Israel responded to Palestinian terrorism with large-scale military operations. Israeli forces launched incursions into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, conducted targeted killings of suspected Palestinian terrorists, destroyed the homes of families of suicide bombers, and imposed closures and curfews in Palestinian areas. Israel expelled two family members of Palestinian terrorists from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip in September. Two of Israeli’s most extensive operations—Defensive Shield, launched in March, and Determined Path, launched in June—reduced the frequency of Palestinian attacks; continuing attacks, however, show the groups remained potent.
HAMAS was particularly active, carrying out over 50 attacks, including shootings, suicide bombings, and standoff mortar-and-rocket attacks against civilian and military targets. The group was responsible for the most deadly Palestinian terrorist attack of the year—the suicide bombing of a Passover gathering at a Netanya hotel that killed 29 Israelis, including one dual US-Israeli citizen. HAMAS’s bombing of a cafeteria on the Hebrew University campus, which killed nine, including five US citizens, demonstrated its willingness to stage operations in areas frequented by Westerners, including US citizens.
The PIJ increased its number of lethal attacks in 2002, staging a car bombing in June that killed 17 Israelis near Megiddo. It carried out similar attacks in or near Afula, Haifa, and Hadera. PIJ terrorists conducted deadly shooting attacks in 2002 as well, including a two-stage ambush in Hebron in late November that killed at least 12 persons, including several security personnel who responded to the initial attack. Syrian officials declined to act on a US request in November to close the PIJ’s offices in Damascus.
In March, the US Department of State officially designated the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (al-Aqsa), which emerged in 2000, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and designated it pursuant to Executive Order 13224. Al-Aqsa-linked attacks have killed at least five US citizens. The group conducted numerous shooting attacks and suicide bombings in 2002, some of which employed new techniques. On 27 January, an al-Aqsa suicide bombing that killed one person and injured 50 used a female suicide bomber for the first time. The group claimed responsibility for a shooting attack that killed six Israelis waiting to vote in the Israeli Likud party elections in November. Documents seized by the Israelis and information gleaned from the interrogation of arrested al-Aqsa members indicate that Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah members, including Chairman Yasir Arafat, made payments to al-Aqsa members known to have been involved in violence against Israelis.
Payments by Iraq to the families of Palestinian “martyrs” in 2002 were intended to encourage attacks against Israeli targets and garner more support for Iraq among Palestinians. In October, the West Bank leader of the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front admitted under Israeli interrogation to having overseen the transfer and distribution of up to $15 million in Iraqi money to martyrs’ families, confirming Palestinian and other press accounts of such transfers.
Jewish extremists raised their profile in 2002. Several Jewish extremists, some with ties to Kach, a designated FTO, were arrested in April and May for plotting to blow up a Palestinian school for girls or a Palestinian hospital in Jerusalem. Jewish extremists were also arrested for inciting a violent clash between Israeli settlers and Israeli security forces in October; extremists also attacked and injured Palestinian agricultural workers, and some US citizens were also the victims in these attacks.
The Palestinian Authority’s efforts to thwart terrorist operations were minimal in 2002. Israeli military operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip degraded a PA security apparatus that was already hobbled by corruption, infighting, and poor leadership. Some personnel in the security services, including several senior officers, have continued to assist terrorist operations. Incidents such as the seizure in January of the Karine-A, a ship carrying weapons that Iran planned to deliver to the PA, further called into question the PA’s ability and desire to help prevent terrorist operations. President Bush expressed “disappointment” in Arafat, indicating the intercepted shipment would encourage terrorism. In June, President Bush called for a new Palestinian leadership “not compromised by terror.”
The Jordanian Government continued to strongly support global counterterrorist efforts while remaining vigilant against the threat of terrorism at home. Jordan was highly responsive to the security needs of US citizens in country and played a critical role in thwarting attempts to exploit Jordanian territory for attacks in Israel.
Jordan aggressively pursued suspected terrorists and successfully prosecuted and convicted many involved in plots against US or Israeli interests. Jordanian authorities, in mid-January 2003, convicted 10 Jordanians of weapons charges but acquitted them of participating in a plot to target US interests in Jordan. Jordan is working closely with US officials to investigate the murder in late October of USAID officer Laurence Foley. In December, Jordanian authorities arrested two men, a Libyan and a Jordanian, who later admitted to carrying out the assassination after receiving money from al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The two have been charged with the murder and remain in Jordanian custody awaiting trial.
Suspected terrorists continued attempts to exploit Jordanian territory to transit weapons to and from groups in neighboring states, or to use Jordanian territory to facilitate terrorist attacks. Jordanian authorities have successfully intercepted such transiting weapons and personnel on virtually all of its borders. In June, Jordan rendered to Lebanese security authorities three Lebanese Hizballah members arrested after allegedly trying to smuggle weapons destined for the West Bank into Jordan. Jordanian authorities in June also reportedly arrested three Jordanian youths suspected of planning to infiltrate into Israel to conduct terrorist attacks. In July, four Syrians were sentenced to prison terms for illegally possessing explosives they intended to transport to the West Bank. In October, Jordan’s State Security Court sentenced four individuals to prison terms ranging from five to eight years after convicting them of possessing and attempting to transport machineguns and missiles into the West Bank.
In May, Jordan’s State Security Court indicted six unnamed suspects in connection with a bombing in late February of a Jordanian counterterrorism official’s vehicle, killing two passersby.
Jordan is a party to seven of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Kuwait has continued to support and cooperate with all actions and requests for assistance in the war on terrorism, particularly in the aftermath of the 8 October attack on Failaka Island in which one US Marine was killed and another wounded, and the attack on 21 November that took place on a Kuwaiti highway in which two US soldiers were wounded. These were the only confirmed terrorist incidents among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations in 2002. The attacks strengthened the Government’s concerns about the activities of extremists within Kuwait. In the immediate aftermath of the October incident, the Government of Kuwait rapidly located and arrested individuals involved (the two shooters were killed during the attack) and continued to respond favorably to all US Government requests in connection with the ongoing investigation and other security threats. Kuwaiti authorities completed their investigations of the 26 persons suspected of involvement in the attack. Twenty-one were released, and five were referred to the public prosecutor. Trials had begun by year’s end. A policeman suspected of carrying out the November shooting was arrested immediately after the attack and remains in Kuwaiti custody.
Cooperation has been strong in the area of terrorist financing as well. Following a review of Kuwaiti laws by the Financial Services Assessment Team, the United States is preparing a technical-assistance program for Kuwait. The Government remains eager to receive formal proposals for training and has indicated a willingness to support such efforts. The Government of Kuwait also established a new entity within the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor to monitor Islamic charities.
Kuwait is a party to seven of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Despite its counterterrorism efforts in 2002, Lebanon experienced an increase in terrorist attacks by Sunni extremist and terrorist groups. Explosions at several US-franchise restaurants and a spike of cross-border attacks into Israel in March and April indicated worsening security conditions. Large demonstrations at the US Embassy during April against US policy in the Middle East highlighted rising public anger. The murder of a US missionary in Sidon on 21 November may not have been entirely politically motivated, but it clearly demonstrated the danger US citizens face in Lebanon. Prime Minister Hariri condemned the murder, and Lebanese law-enforcement officials launched a full investigation of the crime.
In 2002, the Lebanese Government demonstrated greater efforts against Sunni terrorist groups such as Asbat al-Ansar, which was outlawed. The United States has designated Asbat al-Ansar a Foreign Terrorist Organization and has designated it pursuant to Executive Order 13224. A July confrontation at the Ayn al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp—the center of Asbat’s activities—resulted in the surrender of a Sunni extremist who had fled into the camp after killing three Lebanese military personnel in Sidon. The Lebanese Armed Forces, however, did not itself enter the camp, and Palestinian refugee camps, much of the Beka’a Valley, southern Beirut, and the southern border area remain effectively outside the Government’s control. In October, the judiciary arrested three men (two Lebanese and one Saudi) and indicted 18 others in absentia on charges of preparing to carry out terrorist attacks and forging documents and passports. The detainees, because of their al-Qaida connections, will be tried in a military tribunal.
Lebanese efforts against Sunni extremists, including al-Qaida, stand in contrast to its continuing unwillingness to condemn as terrorists several organizations that maintain a presence in Lebanon: Hizballah, the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), the Abu Nidal organization (ANO), and the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS). The Lebanese Government has long considered these organizations that target Israel to be legitimate resistance groups and has permitted them to establish 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, instead concentrating on its political wing and asserting it to be a local, indigenous organization integral to Lebanese society and politics. Syrian and Iranian support for Hizballah activities in the south, as well as training and assistance to Palestinian rejectionist groups in Lebanon, help permit terrorist elements to flourish. On 12 March, infiltrators from Lebanon killed six Israelis in Shelomi, Israel, and Hizballah-Palestinian rejectionist groups carried out several cross-border attacks—including firing Katyusha rockets—into Israel.
The Lebanese Government acknowledges the UN list of terrorist groups designated pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions 1267 and 1390. It does not, however, acknowledge the terrorist groups designated only by the US Government and will take no action against these groups. Constitutional provisions prohibit the extradition of any Lebanese national to a third country. Lebanese authorities maintain that the Government’s provision of amnesty to Lebanese involved in acts of violence during the civil war prevents them from prosecuting many cases of interest to the United States, including the 1985 hijacking of TWA 847 and the murder associated with it, and the abduction, torture, and murder of US hostages from 1984 to 1991. US courts have brought indictments against Hizballah operatives responsible for a number of those crimes, and some of these defendants remain prominent in the organization.
The Lebanese Government has insisted that Imad Mugniyah—wanted in connection with the TWA hijacking and other terrorist acts, and placed on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists in 2001—is no longer present in Lebanon. The Government’s legal system has also failed to hold a hearing on the prosecutor’s appeal in the case of Tawfiz Muhammad Farroukh, who, despite the evidence against him, had been found not guilty of murder for his role in the killings of US Ambassador Francis Meloy and two others in 1976.
The Financial Action Task Force recognized Lebanon’s amendments to its penal code and administrative efforts against money laundering in June when it dropped Lebanon from the list of countries deemed uncooperative. The Government of Lebanon also offered cooperation with the US Government on the investigation of September 11 hijacker Ziad Jarah, a Lebanese national.
Lebanon is a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
The Moroccan Government has been quite helpful in the war on terror. King Muhammad VI has unambiguously condemned those who espouse or conduct terrorism and has worked to keep Rabat firmly on the side of the United States against extremists. Morocco is a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Domestically, the Moroccan Government’s solid record of vigilance against terrorist activity and intolerance for the perpetrators of terrorism remained uninterrupted in 2002. In order to fight terrorism better, the Government began to draft new, stronger laws in the financial and law-enforcement sectors. In addition, Moroccan authorities in 2002 detained several individuals suspected of belonging to an al-Qaida cell. Moroccan authorities say the individuals—some Saudi, some Moroccan—were involved in a plot to attack Western shipping interests in the Straits of Gibraltar. The Moroccan Government put the suspected terrorists on trial.
Oman continued to provide public and private statements of support for the war on terrorism in 2002 and has been responsive to all Coalition requests for military and/or civilian support. Omani financial authorities have worked closely with the Coalition to prevent financing of terrorism and have shown keen interest in pursuing cases of particular interest to US law enforcement. In 2002, Oman became a party to the 1991 Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection, making it a party to nine of 12 antiterrorism treaties. It is reviewing the three remaining conventions. There were no incidents of terrorist activity in Oman in 2002.
Qatar’s support for the United States after the attacks of September 11, 2001 continued throughout 2002. Qatar provides substantial ongoing support for Operation Enduring Freedom. It publicly and repeatedly condemned terrorism, most recently on the occasion of the attack in Bali. The Government took steps to improve border security and has supported US and international efforts to combat terrorist financing. It independently strengthened laws and regulations to prevent money laundering. Both in coordination with the United States and at its own initiative, Qatari law-enforcement authorities detained and investigated individuals suspected of supporting terrorist networks. The Government of Qatar also provided additional security for US installations in response to threat warnings, as requested.
Qatar is a party to five of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Saudi Arabia over the past year has continued to provide support for the war on terror. Riyadh has supported Operation Enduring Freedom, has contributed to the stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan through significant donations and has worked as one of the co-chairs of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Steering Committee, and has worked to enhance security at US installations to match the heightened threat level throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Many within the Government of Saudi Arabia view the events of September 11 as a direct attack against the Kingdom and US-Saudi relations.
Riyadh has expanded its cooperation in the war on terror in some areas, such as sharing threat information and details of ongoing investigations. As a first step in dealing with terrorism financing, the Saudi Government has undertaken a review of its charitable organizations and measures to regulate their operations better, including the adoption of new financial-control mechanisms. In September, the Saudi Interior Minister announced the establishment of the Saudi Higher Authority for Religion and Charity Work to ensure that humanitarian assistance was channeled to appropriate persons and purposes. In October, the Crown Prince brought together the heads of Saudi Arabia’s major charities and called for greater responsibility and transparency in their work. The Government is currently in the process of implementing these reforms. It is too soon to tell whether these reforms are preventing terrorists from exploiting these funds.
There were no major successful terrorist attacks in the Kingdom in 2002. Saudi authorities arrested a Sudanese and five Saudis for firing a missile at a US military aircraft taking off from a Saudi airbase, and they continued to investigate the incident. Riyadh was investigating a string of recent car bombings in the Kingdom but maintained that no firm ties to terrorism had been established. In late June, a British national died in a car-bomb explosion in Riyadh. Nine days later, Saudi police removed an explosive device from the car of a US resident in Riyadh. In September, a German national died in another similar car explosion in Riyadh. In addition to investigations of recent incidents, Saudi authorities continued to investigate past terrorist attacks, including the 1996 bombing of the Khubar Towers in which 19 US servicemen died.
Saudi Arabia is a party to six of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
The Tunisian Government has supported the international Coalition against terrorism and has responded to requests from the US Government for assistance in blocking financial assets and providing information on extremists. In October, the United States blocked the assets of the Tunisian Combatant Group under Executive Order 13224, at the same time France proposed adding the group to the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list. Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has forcefully condemned terrorist activities and reiterated his country’s determination to combat violence and extremism. Tunisia is now a full party to 11 of the 12 existing UN antiterrorism conventions; it has yet to accede to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material agreed to in October 1979.
The Tunisian Government’s active stance against terrorism was reinforced by the bombing attack against the El-Ghriba synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba on 11 April, which claimed more than 20 lives. In the wake of this attack, the Tunisian Government continued to bring judicial, lawenforcement, and military resources to bear against terrorist suspects. Tunisian authorities have detained an individual in connection with the attack; the suspect is awaiting trial. Earlier in 2002, Tunisian authorities convicted 34 persons—31 in absentia—of belonging to Al-Jamaa wal Sunnah, a terrorist organization linked to al-Qaida. The Government says the accused were involved in recruiting European-based Tunisians to fight in Chechnya, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. The Tunisian Government also continued to play a role in countering threats in the region. After signing a 2001 agreement with the Algerian Government to strengthen border security, Tunisia continued to respond quickly to counter possible border incursions from Islamic militants in Algeria.
Tunisia is a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
United Arab Emirates
In 2002, the United Arab Emirates continued to provide considerable assistance and cooperation in the war on terrorism. In November, UAE authorities arrested and subsequently turned over to US authorities Abdul Raheem Al-Nashiri, the head of al-Qaida operations in the Arabian Gulf and the mastermind of the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen. UAE authorities, in the course of their investigation into Al-Nashiri’s activities, discovered that he had been planning terrorist operations against major economic targets in the UAE that would have resulted in massive civilian casualties.
In suppressing terrorist financing, the UAE played a critical role in the continuing investigation into the September 11 attacks and provided literally thousands of pages of financial documents pertaining to the movement of terrorist funds. The UAE has created a stronger legal and regulatory framework to deter abuse of UAE financial markets through the passage in January of a comprehensive law criminalizing money laundering, including terrorist money laundering and tightened reporting requirements and oversight. Cooperation across the board—from the financial realm through to security and intelligence—has been strong and sustained.
The UAE in 2002 indicated its commitment to ratifying the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism to which it is not yet a party and is working toward that goal. (In early 2003, the UAE became a party to the 1973 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents.) The UAE is now a party to six of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. The Government is in the process of drafting domestic legislation to bring the UAE’s counterterrorism legislation fully into compliance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. In June 2002, the United States sponsored the UAE’s financial-intelligence unit (FIU) for membership in the prestigious Egmont Group, an informal association founded in 1995 to provide support for the FIUs of different nations. The UAE thus became the first Middle Eastern country to join this organization.
The UAE in May hosted a groundbreaking international conference to draw attention to the need for concerted action on the hawala informal money-transfer system—a remittance system handling billions of dollars annually but whose informal nature and lack of reporting requirements renders it vulnerable to abuse by terrorists. In November, the UAE began implementing over-sight regulations for the local hawala market.
The Government of Yemen has continued a broad counterterrorism campaign against al-Qaida and cooperated with the United States in eliminating Abu Ali al-Harithi, al-Qaida’s senior leader in Yemen, as cited by President Bush in his State of the Union Address. The Yemeni Government continued to express public support for the international fight against terror throughout 2002. During the year, Yemen enhanced intelligence, military, and law-enforcement cooperation with the United States and, during Vice President Cheney’s visit to Sanaa in March, President Salih underscored Yemen’s determination to be an active counterterrorism partner. Senior US officials acknowledged that their Yemeni counterparts face challenges in the counterterrorism arena and welcomed President Salih’s commitment but made clear that any counterterrorism cooperation will be judged on its continuing results.
There was very close and productive law-enforcement cooperation between Yemeni and US law-enforcement authorities throughout the year. In cooperation with the US Government, Yemen has been actively preparing trials for the majority of those accused of the 12 October 2000 attack on the USS Cole. In addition, Yemeni counterparts cooperated with US law-enforcement elements in several investigations, including that of an explosion in an al-Qaida safehouse in Sanaa on 9 August, analysis of evidence after a raid on 21 September by Yemeni security forces of another al-Qaida location in a northern suburb of Sanaa, joint investigation with Yemeni and French law-enforcement agents of the terrorist attack on 6 October against the French oil tanker Limburg near the Yemeni port of Mukalla, and investigation of suspected al-Qaida involvement in a shooting on 3 November at a Yemen Hunt helicopter shortly after takeoff from Sanaa airport.
As in 2001, the Yemeni Government arrested suspected terrorists and pledged to neutralize key al-Qaida nodes in the country. Political will against terrorism has also been augmented by President Salih’s public campaign against terrorism that includes speeches, meetings with local political leaders, and articles in national newspapers. Since September 11, 2001, Yemen has enhanced previously lax security at its borders, tightened its visa procedures, installed the Terrorist Interdiction Program at most border crossings, and prevented potential terrorists from traveling to Afghanistan. Authorities have continued to carefully monitor travelers returning from abroad and have cracked down on foreigners who were residing in the country illegally or were suspected of engaging in terrorist activities. The Government integrated formerly autonomous private religious schools—many of which were propagating extremism—into the national educational system and tightened requirements for visiting foreign students.
Numerous threats against US personnel and facilities in Yemen were reported in 2002. Yemeni security services, however, provided extensive security protection for official US diplomatic and business interests in the country. The Yemeni Government’s attitude has been that an attack against US interests would also be an attack against Yemen’s interests.
Several terrorist organizations maintained a presence in Yemen throughout 2002. HAMAS and the Palestine Islamic Jihad continued to be recognized as legal organizations and maintained offices in Yemen but did not engage in terrorist activities there. Other international terrorist groups that had an illegal presence in Yemen included the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, and al-Qaida. Similarly, members of indigenous terrorist groups such as the Aden Abuyan Islamic Army may continue to be active in Yemen.
Yemen is a party to eight of the 12 international terrorist conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Western Hemisphere Overview
When compared to other regions of the world, the Western Hemisphere generally does not attract attention as a “hot zone” in the war on terror. Terrorism in the region was not born on 11 September 2001, however; Latin American countries have struggled with domestic sources of terrorism for decades. International terrorist groups, moreover, have not hesitated to make Latin America a battleground to advance their causes elsewhere. The bombings of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the Argentine-Jewish Cultural Center in 1994 are two well-known examples. More recent international terrorist attacks in Bali, Indonesia, and Mombasa, Kenya, in 2002 demonstrate that no region of the world—and no type of target—is beyond the reach or strategic interest of international terrorist organizations.
Recognizing this threat and the impact of terrorism on their economic and social development, the vast majority of countries across the Americas and the Caribbean have given strong support to the international Coalition against terrorism. In June, at the OAS General Assembly in Barbados, member states adopted and opened for signature the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism—a direct response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and the first international treaty against terrorism adopted since the attacks. The Convention, a binding legal instrument which is consistent with, and builds upon, previous UN conventions and protocols relating to terrorism and UN Security Council Resolution 1373, will improve regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism through exchanges of information, experience and training, technical cooperation, and mutual legal assistance. The Convention will enter into force when six states have deposited their instruments of ratification. All OAS member states but one have signed (Dominica is the exception); Canada became the first state to ratify in late 2002. President Bush transmitted the Convention to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification in November.
Spurred by the Convention and the September 11 attacks, many countries in the Hemisphere have sought to shore up legislative tools to outlaw terrorism, discourage terrorist financing, and make their territory as unattractive as possible to terrorists fleeing from other regions who might seek safe-haven in the hemisphere. A number of countries, however, remain engaged in deep internal debate over the scope of new antiterrorism bills that would grant governments broader powers necessary to prosecute the war on terror. An ongoing OAS Legislative Action Against Terrorism project with Central American parliaments, for example, is aimed specifically at helping legislatures draft antiterrorism legislation and ratify the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism.
The Western Hemisphere has created a model regional counterterrorism institution in its Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (known by its Spanish acronym CICTE). CICTE is a body of the OAS that was created in 1998. Since 11 September 2001, it has been reinvigorated as an effective coordinating body for OAS member states on all counterterrorism issues—but with a primary focus on information sharing, training, and strengthening of financial and border controls. Under US chairmanship and Argentine vice-chairmanship, CICTE established a full-time Secretariat in 2002 that is funded by voluntary donations from OAS member states.
(At its Third Regular Session in El Salvador in early 2003, CICTE member states adopted a strong “Declaration of San Salvador Against Terrorism” and made recommendations on counterterrorism initiatives for adoption by the Special Conference on Hemispheric Security, to be held May 2003. The declaration and recommendations both call for increased cooperation to prevent and combat terrorism and recognize the emerging threats posed to the Hemisphere by international terrorist groups and attacks on cyber security.)
The OAS in 2002 also played an important role in the investigation of an illicit diversion in late 2001 of more than 3,000 AK-47 rifles and ammunition from Nicaraguan police and army stocks to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), which the United States has designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and has designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224 on terrorist financing. (The OAS-commissioned report, released in January 2003, contained a detailed analysis of the case along with a series of recommendations for improving the existing inter-American, arms-control regime. The Government of Nicaragua quickly expressed its intention to follow up on the report and to strengthen its arms-controls and export procedures.)
Domestic terrorist groups have continued to ravage Colombia and, to a lesser extent, Peru. The Colombian Government in February under former President Pastrana cut off long-running peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which the United States has designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization, after a series of provocative actions, including kidnapping of a Colombian senator. The FARC intensified its campaign throughout the year and steadily moved its attacks from the countryside to the cities. On 7 August, new Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was inaugurated amid an errant FARC mortar attack that killed 21 residents of a poor Bogota neighborhood. Some elements of the AUC disbanded and reconstituted themselves in an effort to seek political legitimacy, but their ties to narcotrafficking and human rights abuses persist. In December, the AUC declared a unilateral cease-fire and sought peace negotiations with the Government. The National Liberation Army—like the FARC—continued to pursue its favorite terrorist methods of kidnapping and infrastructure bombing. All three organizations are linked to narcotrafficking.
In Peru, a resilient Shining Path is suspected of carrying out the 20 March car bombing at a shopping center across from the US Embassy, two days before a state visit by President Bush. Ten Peruvians died in the attack, including security personnel protecting the Embassy.
At year’s end, there was no confirmed, credible information of an established al-Qaida presence in Latin America. Terrorist fundraising continued to be a concern throughout the region, however. Activities of suspected Hizballah and HAMAS financiers in the Triborder area (Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay) led those three countries to take determined and cooperative action during 2002 to investigate and disrupt illicit financial activities. Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay also invited the United States to join a new “Three Plus One” counterterrorism consultative and cooperation mechanism to analyze and combat any terrorist-related threats in the Triborder. The mechanism is an excellent example of terrorism prevention and regional foresight.
Canada and Mexico worked closely with the United States to secure their common borders and to implement the comprehensive bilateral border accords (signed in December 2001 and March 2002, respectively). The accords aim to ensure national border security while facilitating the free and rapid flow of legitimate travel and commerce.
The Bolivian Government demonstrated its commitment to combating terrorism in 2002. Since the September 11 attacks, Bolivia has become a party to nine international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, making it a party to all 12. On 3 June, Bolivia signed the new Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism, although it has not yet ratified the treaty. Throughout the year, Bolivia’s financial investigations unit cooperated with the US Embassy in sharing information about possible terrorist-linked financial transactions and preventing the abuse of Bolivian financial institutions by terrorists.
Bolivia’s new government—inaugurated on 6 August 2002—has maintained its predecessor’s policy of forcibly eradicating illegal coca plants. This policy ensures that Bolivia does not revert to its former status as a key source of coca for cocaine and, through this connection, bolster the terrorist organizations that thrive on the drug trade.
There were no significant acts of terrorism in Bolivia in 2002. Illegal coca growers (cocaleros) are thought to be responsible for the deaths of five military and police in 2002, although no individuals have been charged with the crimes. Legal proceedings continued against the alleged perpetrators of a car-bomb explosion near the regional headquarters of the Bolivian National Police in Santa Cruz in December 2001. Some of the alleged perpetrators in custody are former members of the Bolivian national police, and the bombing itself appeared to have been related to local criminal activity.
The Chilean Government is a consistent and active supporter of US counterterrorism efforts and has taken an active interest in the activities of Islamic extremists connected to the Triborder area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. In addition, the Chilean Government is working to enact new counterterrorism legislation and strengthen current laws. Chile is a party to 11 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. The Chilean Senate is considering a bill to create a new Financial Intelligence Unit and criminalize money laundering for arms trafficking and terrorist financing. Chilean officials have sought advice from the US Embassy on how to improve the money-laundering bill and have participated in training courses to improve financial investigations.
The Chilean Government also has contracted an independent consulting firm to author a study on how US law-enforcement agencies have implemented new counterterrorism legislation. Although the Chilean Government has cooperated in efforts to eliminate terrorist financing, it is limited in its ability to investigate and prosecute suspect individuals. Currently, Chilean money-laundering legislation does not cover terrorist activity, so efforts to freeze terrorist funds are hindered by a lack of legal authority.
There were no acts of international terrorism in Chile in 2002, but there were significant developments in three counterterrorism investigations begun in 2001. In late September 2001, the US Embassy had received a letter bomb that local police successfully destroyed in a controlled demolition, and a Santiago doctor’s office received an anthrax-tainted letter. The Chilean Government also opened an investigation into the activities in the northern port city of Iquique of Brazil-based Lebanese businessman Assad Ahmad Barakat—suspected of opening two businesses as cover to move money clandestinely to Lebanese Hizballah.
In September 2002, a Chilean judge sentenced two individuals—Lenin Guardia and Humberto Lopez—to 10 years and 300 days in prison for sending the letter bomb to the US Embassy and another to a prominent Chilean attorney. The motivation of Guardia, the professed ringleader, was to create fear in order to generate business for his security consulting firm.
Another Chilean judge, with the assistance of the FBI, determined the anthrax letter sent in November 2001 to Dr. Antonio Bafi Pacheco was not related to the anthrax cases in the United States and was contaminated locally. This investigation continues.
The investigation into Assad Ahmad Barakat’s business in Chile has not led to new information. Barakat was arrested in Brazil in June 2002, and the Brazilian Supreme Court ordered his extradition to Paraguay in December. His lawyers have applied for refugee status in Brazil, and Barakat will remain in detention in Brazil while his refugee case is considered. Barakat no longer has significant holdings in Chile, and his partners in Saleh Trading Limited, located in the northern duty-free port of Iquique, severed ties with him in 2002. Assad and his brother still own an import-export business in Iquique, but according to the Chilean Government, it has not been active.
In August and September, Chilean authorities discovered several small arms caches throughout Santiago and other cities as well as the remnants of explosive material at two communications transmission towers outside Santiago. The weapons and explosives are believed to belong to the largely defunct terrorist group Manual Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR). Law-enforcement agents believe the weapons were smuggled into Chile in the 1980s, at the height of FPMR’s activity, but some view the caches as evidence of an FPMR comeback.
Chile continues to lead other South American nations in its implementation of aviation security. The Government has implemented FAA security regulations ahead of schedule, including the installation of reinforced cockpit doors and the transfer of responsibility for inspecting unaccompanied baggage to the Government.
Colombia’s three terrorist organizations—the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), National Liberation Army (ELN), and United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)—were responsible for some 3,500 murders in 2002. By February, President Pastrana had broken off three-year-old peace talks—a cornerstone of his presidency—with Colombia’s largest terrorist organization, the 16,000-member FARC. That month, the group’s abduction of a Colombian Senator during an airliner hijacking proved to be the incident that led to the collapse of the discussions. In addition to ending the dialogue, Pastrana also terminated the group’s despeje, or demilitarized zone, where the FARC had been allowed to exist without government interference during the deliberations.
The inauguration of President Alvaro Uribe on 7 August 2002 set the stage for an intensified war on domestic terrorism. The FARC carried out errant mortar attacks on a military facility and the Presidential Palace—with heads of state and high-level representatives from many nations in attendance—resulting in the deaths of 21 residents of a poor Bogota neighborhood near the Palace. President Uribe has proposed pension and labor reforms and has imposed a government austerity program, as well as a one-time “wealth tax,” to improve Bogota’s fiscal ability to prosecute its war on terrorism. Bogota’s goal is to increase government defense spending from 3.2 percent of gross domestic product to more than five percent. Colombia is party to four of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
In 2002, as in years past, Colombia endured more kidnappings (roughly 3,000) than any other country in the world. Ransom payments and extortion fees demanded by the primary perpetrators of kidnapping—the FARC and ELN—continued to hobble the Colombian economy and limit investor confidence. Since 1980, the FARC has murdered at least 10 US citizens, and three New Tribes Missionaries abducted by the FARC in 1993 remain unaccounted for.
Throughout 2002, Colombia was highly cooperative in blocking terrorist assets. Bogota created the Financial Information and Analysis Unit, similar in function to the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit. Bogota also has been very responsive to US requests for extradition. As of 6 December, Colombia had extradited 29 Colombian citizens to the United States during 2002, with 26 additional cases pending. Of the six FARC members indicted for the capture and killing in 1999 of three US peace activists, one has been apprehended. Three other FARC members not included in the original indictment were arrested in November 2002 in connection with the murders. The FARC and the AUC continued their practice of massacring one another’s alleged supporters, especially in areas where they were competing for narcotics-trafficking corridors and prime coca-growing terrain. FARC and ELN attacks on oil pipelines and other infrastructure vital to the Colombian economy continued as well, although at a reduced level.
As in past years, the on-again, off-again peace talks between Bogota and the ELN did not lead to substantive breakthroughs. The AUC disbanded itself and subsequently reorganized during 2002. It continued to press for political recognition by the Colombian Government and, as of 1 December, began a unilateral cease-fire that included most of the elements that fall under the AUC’s umbrella.
Although Ecuador has generally supported US counterterrorism initiatives, the Government’s weak financial controls, inadequately trained security personnel, and widespread document fraud limit its counterterrorism efforts. Quito signed the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism but has not yet ratified it. Ecuador is party to seven of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Ecuadorian security forces worked to reduce the smuggling of arms destined for Colombian terrorist groups and limited travel at a key border crossing to daytime hours. Nevertheless, armed violence on the Colombian side of the border contributed to increased lawlessness in Ecuador’s northern provinces.
In the autumn there were two bombings in Guayaquil, possibly related to Ecuador’s presidential elections, while thousands of protesters traveled to Quito for the Free Trade Area of the Americas Ministerial in October. Several police and demonstrators were shot in the protests and the police dispersed tear gas.
Major actions taken by the Peruvian Government during 2002 against terrorism included attempts to strengthen its counterterrorism laws. In June, Lima passed a law that facilitates prosecution for money laundering related to terrorism and mandates the establishment of a financial intelligence unit (FIU). Implementing regulations for the FIU were issued on 31 October, but Lima has provided only token funding for 2003. The Congressional Defense Committee has been reviewing a draft antiterrorism law designed to strengthen law-enforcement agencies, simplify judicial procedures in terrorism cases, increase prison sentences for terrorists, and ensure that Peruvian antiterrorism legislation conforms to international norms. The executive branch also has proposed a draft law that would change the formula for reducing sentences of terrorists from one day off for two days of good behavior to one day off for five days of good behavior.
Peru has aggressively prosecuted terrorist suspects. The Peruvian National Police reported that 199 suspected terrorists were arrested between January and mid-November. These cases and those involving common crimes, however, can remain in the judicial system for years before being resolved. Some 67 percent of inmates held in prisons have not been sentenced. In January, President Toledo directly addressed the issue of long imprisonment for individuals wrongfully held by publicly apologizing to them. A total of 760 persons have been pardoned and released since 1996 after it was determined that they had been accused unjustly of terrorism. Another 1,664 cases are pending review.
In the most significant terrorist act in Peru in 2002, Sendero Luminoso (SL), or Shining Path, is suspected of being responsible for the bombing on 20 March across the street from the US Embassy that killed 10 persons. Peruvian authorities have so far arrested eight suspected SL members for alleged complicity in the bombing. They were being held pending charges, which could take up to one year. SL’s involvement in the illegal narcotics business in Peru is noticeably growing, providing the terrorists with a greater source of funding with which to conduct operations. SL is believed to have conducted 119 terrorist acts in 2002 including roadblocks, harassment of security forces, and raids of towns and villages.
Peru is a party to all 12 of the conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Triborder Area (Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay)
The Triborder area (TBA)—where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay converge—has long been characterized as a regional hub for Hizballah and HAMAS fundraising activities, but it is also used for arms and drug trafficking, contraband smuggling, document and currency fraud, money laundering, and the manufacture and movement of pirated goods. Although there were numerous media reports in 2002 of an al-Qaida presence in the TBA, these reports remained uncorroborated by intelligence and law-enforcement officials.
In December, a high-level interagency delegation from the United States attended a special meeting in Buenos Aires of the Tripartite Commission of the Triple Frontier, a security mechanism established by the three TBA countries in 1998. This “Three Plus One” meeting (the three TBA countries plus the United States) is intended to serve as a continuing forum of counterterrorism cooperation and prevention among all four countries. At the conclusion of the December talks, the four countries agreed to establish a permanent working group to examine specific counterterrorism issues affecting the four countries. The first issue the working group will tackle in 2003 is that of terrorist fundraising on behalf of Hizballah and HAMAS. Experts from the “Three Plus One” countries will share available information on the problem, draw conclusions, and cooperate to reinforce existing countermeasures.
Host of the December meeting on the Triborder area and a past target of international terrorism, the Government of Argentina demonstrated its continuing strong support for the global war on terrorism throughout 2002. Argentina cooperated closely in all significant international counterterrorism efforts within the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS), where it was vice-chair of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism; the United States was chair. The Argentine Government was instrumental in promoting improved coordination with its neighbors (Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Chile) in strengthening security and countering terrorist-support networks in the Triborder area. The Government of Argentina has been particularly cooperative in responding to requests related to blocking the financial assets of terrorists. Argentina is a party to eight of the 12 conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
In 2002, Argentina reiterated its offer—initially made shortly after the September 11 attacks—of material support for UN-mandated Coalition peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan or elsewhere, if needed.
Although there were no acts of international terrorism in Argentina in 2002, investigations into the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy and the 1994 bombing of the Argentina-Israeli Community Center (AMIA) continued. The trials of 20 suspects in the AMIA bombing—of whom 15 are former police officers—were expected to continue well into 2003.
Since 11 September 2001, Argentina has made no significant progress in enacting new antiterrorism laws that would facilitate the investigation and prosecution of terrorists—largely because past abuses by military regimes have limited the degree to which the public will accept an enhancement of the Government’s police powers. In January, the Government created a new office within the Foreign Ministry to coordinate action and policy on international counterterrorism issues, however. In October, Argentina also established a new Financial Intelligence Unit to investigate money laundering and terrorist finance-related crimes.
The Government of Brazil extended practical, effective support to US counterterrorism efforts in 2002. Authorities have been cooperative, following up on leads provided by the US Government on terrorist suspects.
A Sao Paulo judge sentenced three Chileans, two Colombians, and one Argentine to 16 years in prison for kidnapping a Brazilian advertising executive. A well-known terrorist and former high-ranking member of the largely defunct Manuel Rodriquez Patriotic Front (Chile), Mauricio Hernandez Norambuena, was among those sentenced.
The Brazilian Federal Police in 2002 arrested individuals with alleged ties to terrorist groups. In April, police arrested Egyptian Mohammed Ali Aboul-Ezz al-Mahdi Ibrahim Soliman (a.k.a. Suleiman), in the Triborder city of Foz do Iguazu. Soliman was arrested on the basis of an Egyptian Government extradition request for his alleged involvement in the 1997 al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG) attack on tourists in Luxor, Egypt, but the Brazilian Supreme Court released him on 11 September due to insufficient evidence to extradite. On 14 September, another IG suspect, Hesham al-Tarabili was arrested in Brazil at Egypt’s request in connection with the Luxor attack.
In another case, authorities in June arrested Assad Ahmad Barakat as a result of an extradition request from Paraguay on charges of tax evasion and criminal association. Barakat is a naturalized Paraguayan of Lebanese origin who had lived in the Triborder area for approximately seven years and had become notorious for allegedly moving millions of dollars to Lebanese Hizballah. The Brazilian Supreme Court on 19 December approved the extradition request. At year’s end, Barakat was still in Brazilian custody and applying for refugee status in Brazil.
In January, former President Fernando Cardoso proposed a revision of Brazil’s antiterrorism laws that would define terrorism more precisely and impose stricter punishment for those involved in terrorist acts. Brazil became a party to the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings in 2002, making it party to nine of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. Legislation also was pending to allow wiretaps for court-approved investigations and to become a party to the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. At year’s end, neither piece of legislation had yet been submitted for Congressional approval. The Brazilian Government is willing and able to monitor financial operations domestically.
Paraguay continued to be an active partner in the war on terror in 2002. Paraguayan authorities have taken numerous steps to disrupt illicit networks that supply substantial funds to Middle East terrorist groups. Authorities carried out two raids on suspected financial terror cells and pursued the extradition from Brazil of local Lebanese Hizballah leader Assad Ahmad Barakat.
Paraguay became a party to the Montreal Protocol in 2002, making it now a party to six of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. Paraguay has diligently responded to requests to block the assets of individuals or organizations designated by the United States, included on the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list, or designated by the European Union as terrorists or affiliates.
During 2002, the United States provided technical assistance to help the Government of Paraguay assess vulnerabilities in its financial system and to plan appropriate policy remedies.
Paraguayan authorities arrested Hizballah fundraiser Sobhi Fayad—an associate of Barakat—after he violated the terms of his conditional release from detention while awaiting trial. Because Paraguay’s antiterrorism legislation still has not been passed—due to concerns of possible abuses of the law by authorities—Fayad had been imprisoned for nearly 10 months on charges of tax evasion and criminal association. He subsequently was convicted and sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.
During the year, authorities took legal action against persons and organizations in the Triborder area involved in illicit activities in an attempt to disrupt the ability of sympathizers to raise funds for terrorists. For example, Paraguay’s counterterrorism Secretariat (SEPRINTE) on 27 June arrested suspected Sunni extremist Ali Nizar Dahroug, nephew of former Triborder shopkeeper and suspected al-Qaida associate Muhammad Dahroug Dahroug. Police seized counterfeit goods and receipts documenting wire transfers of large sums of money to persons in the United States and the Middle East, some payable to Muhammad Dahroug Dahroug in Lebanon.
On 25 July, SEPRINTE raided the Ciudad del Este office and apartment of alleged money launderer Fajkumar Naraindas Sabnani, who is allegedly connected to Hizballah. Police found letters detailing the sale of military assault rifles and other military weapons, receipts for large wire transfers, and what appeared to be bomb-making materials. Although police arrested three employees of Sabnani, he remained in Hong Kong.
Officials also have increased security at Asuncion airport. In November, immigration officials detained a self-proclaimed supporter of Usama Bin Ladin en route to the United States, and airline agents prevented three persons claiming to be from Taiwan bearing false passports and US visas from boarding an aircraft bound for the United States.
The Paraguayan Congress rejected antiterrorism legislation that would have defined terrorism and established criminal penalties for activities related to terrorism. Many legislators fear that a corrupt government could use the new law to target political opposition.
Uruguay did not experience any acts of international terrorism in 2002. The Uruguayan Government has been supportive of the global Coalition’s war against terrorism and routinely condemns acts of international terrorism. Uruguay is a party to eight of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. Although Uruguay does not have the financial or military resources to play a direct role in the war on terrorism, it provides troops to international peacekeeping missions in Africa and the Middle East. Uruguay has seconded staff to the secretariat of the OAS Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE) and, following its offer to host CICTE in 2004, was elected Vice Chair in early 2003.
Uruguayan authorities routinely share information and cooperate on counterterrorism efforts with their counterparts—Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Since the Islamic extremist activity is centered on Uruguay’s northern border with Brazil, the two countries have worked together closely.
In 2002, Uruguayan law-enforcement authorities assisted with international investigations to monitor the movements and activities of suspected terrorists, and the Parliament is currently drafting new terrorism laws that will further facilitate domestic and international counterterrorism efforts. The Uruguayan Government readily cooperates with US Government requests to investigate individuals or financial transactions linked to terrorism.
Egypt has asked Uruguay to extradite suspected al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG) terrorist al-Said Hassan Mokhles, wanted in connection with the 1997 attack on tourists in Luxor, Egypt. He has been held in Uruguay since early 1999 on charges of document fraud, but Uruguay and Egypt have been unable to agree on the terms for extradition, in part, because Egypt has not guaranteed in writing that Mokhles will not be subject to the death penalty.
While the Venezuelan Government expressed sympathy in the months following the 11 September 2001 attacks, Caracas made it clear that it opposed the use of force in Afghanistan and has sent mixed signals during the war on terrorism. Venezuela signed the OAS Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism in June 2002, but has not yet ratified the treaty. Venezuela is a party to four of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Nevertheless, Venezuelan laws do not support the efficient investigation of terrorist organization financing or activities; the United States during 2002 provided technical assistance to help the Government of Venezuela assess vulnerabilities in its financial system and to plan appropriate policy remedies. The political crisis at the end of the year, however, had pushed all unrelated issues to the backburner. While Venezuela did extradite two members of the terrorist organization Basque Fatherland and Liberty to Spain, reports abounded that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian National Liberation Army were using the border area between Venezuela and Colombia for cross-border incursions and as an unchallenged safehaven for the guerrillas. Additionally, unconfirmed reports persist that elements of the Venezuelan Government may have provided material support to the FARC, particularly weapons.
At the end of 2001, the Canadian Parliament passed into law an antiterrorism act that toughens penalties for terrorists and terrorist supporters and provides new investigative tools for Canadian law-enforcement and national-security agencies. It also makes terrorist fundraising illegal and allows officials to freeze the assets of suspected terrorists, but it cannot be applied retroactively to activities before the law was passed. In July 2002, Canadian officials published a list of banned terrorist organizations pursuant to the antiterrorism act, which consisted of al-Qaida and six of its known affiliate groups. Addendums to the list in late November and mid-December added nine more groups, including HAMAS and Hizballah, and Canadian officials expect the list to grow further as they examine and evaluate more organizations.
The Government of Canada has been a helpful and strong supporter of the United States in the fight against international terrorism. Despite some differences in approach, overall antiterrorism cooperation with Canada remains excellent and is a model for bilateral cooperation on counterterrorism issues. Seven US law-enforcement agencies have officers posted to Ottawa and other Canadian cities. Canadian law-enforcement personnel, in turn, are assigned to the United States.
Some US law-enforcement officers have expressed concern that Canadian privacy laws, as well as funding levels for law enforcement, inhibit a fuller and more timely exchange of information and response to requests for assistance. Also, Canadian laws and regulations intended to protect Canadian citizens and landed immigrants from Government intrusion sometimes limit the depth of investigations.
The US 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 in Calgary in July 2002.) 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.
Additionally, Canada and the United States will hold a new round of talks under the auspices of the Bilateral Consultative Group on Counterterrorism Cooperation, or BCG. This bilateral group is tasked with reviewing international terrorist trends and planning ways to intensify joint counterterrorist efforts. It last met in June 2001 and was expected to meet in mid-2003. 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. In 2002, Canada cooperated with the United States in implementing most provisions of the Smart Border Action Plan. This plan and its bilateral implementation have become a model for securing national frontiers while ensuring the free and rapid flow of legitimate travel and commerce.
Canada has continued to be a strong supporter of international efforts to combat terrorism. Besides signing and ratifying the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing and implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1373, Canada is active in the G-7, G-8, and G-20 and promotes the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering’s Special Recommendations on Terrorist Financing and other international efforts to counter terrorist financing.
In the autumn, Canada also became the first country to ratify the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism, which was opened for signature in June. Canadian armed forces participated in Operation Enduring Freedom with the largest deployment of Canadian troops overseas since the Korean War. Canada also maintained a naval task force group engaged in interdiction operations in the Arabian Sea. On 5 December 2002, the United States and Canada established a binational planning group at North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to prepare contingency plans to respond to threats and attacks and other major emergencies in Canada or the United States.
Mexico remained a strong supporter of the global war on terrorism during 2002. The Mexican Senate ratified three international conventions on counterterrorism. The UN International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing and the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism were ratified on 29 October, and the Inter-American Counterterrorism Convention was signed in June and ratified in November. Mexico’s military has been on high alert since the September 11 attacks, with increased military checkpoints throughout the country. Mexico has cooperated fully with the United States in implementing a 22-point border-action plan signed in March that aims to improve border infrastructure, expedite the secure flow of people, and facilitate the secure flow of goods across the United States-Mexico border.
There were no international acts of terrorism in Mexico within the past five years, but during times of demonstrations outside the US Embassy, the Mexican Government routinely cooperated by providing extra security to the Embassy. Notably, Mexico closed the offices of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in Mexico City in April 2002, after a presence of 10 years.