Terrorism 2008

The US Department of State has issued its Country Reports on Terrorism 2008, a massive 351-page review of developments and the current state of international terrorism. Herewith two excerpts from the first chapter, “Strategic Assessment” from the section on “Trends in 2008”:

“Al-Qa‘ida (AQ) and associated networks continued to lose ground, both structurally and in the court of world public opinion, but remained the greatest terrorist threat to the United States and its partners in 2008. AQ has reconstituted some of its pre-9/11 operational capabilities through the exploitation of Pakistan‘s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the replacement of captured or killed operational lieutenants, and the restoration of some central control by its top leadership, in particular Ayman al-Zawahiri. Worldwide efforts to counter terrorist financing have resulted in AQ appealing for money in its last few messages. In the years since 9/11, AQ and its extremist allies have moved across the border to the remote areas of the Pakistani frontier, where they have used this terrain as a safe haven to hide, train terrorists, communicate with followers, plot attacks, and send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan. Therefore, Pakistan‘s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) provided AQ many of the benefits it once derived from its base across the border in Afghanistan. The threat from al-Qa‘ida in Iraq (AQI) continued to diminish. While still dangerous, AQI experienced significant defections, lost key mobilization areas, suffered disruption of support infrastructure and funding, and was forced to change targeting priorities. Indeed, the pace of suicide bombings countrywide, a key indicator of AQI’s operational capability, fell significantly during 2008. Initiatives to cooperate with tribal and local leaders in Iraq continued to encourage Sunni tribes and local citizens to reject AQI and its extremist ideology. The sustained growth and improved capabilities of the Iraqi forces increased their effectiveness in rooting out terrorist cells. In Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala Provinces, and elsewhere, local populations turned against AQI and cooperated with the Government of Iraq and Coalition Forces to defeat it.”

“State sponsorship of terrorism continued to undermine efforts to reduce terrorism. Iran remained the most significant state sponsor of terrorism. Iran has long employed terrorism to advance its key national security and foreign policy interests, which include regime survival, regional dominance, opposition to Arab-Israeli peace, and countering western influence, particularly in the Middle East. Iran continues to rely primarily on its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force to clandestinely cultivate and support terrorist and Islamic militant groups abroad, including: Lebanese Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups such as HAMAS and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, certain Iraqi Shia militant groups, and Islamic militants in Afghanistan, the Balkans, and elsewhere. Throughout 2008, the Qods force continued to provide weapons, training, and funding to Lebanese Hizballah to advance its anti-Israeli campaign and undermine the elected Government of Lebanon. Despite a dramatic decrease in attacks in Iraq since August 2008, security remains fragile, in part because the Qods Force continued to provide lethal support to select Iraqi militant groups that target U.S., Iraqi and Coalition forces. Iranian weapons transfers to select Taliban members in Afghanistan in 2008 continued to threaten Afghan and NATO troops operating under UN mandate and undermine stabilization efforts in that country. The Government of Iran also continued to pursue an expansion of its military ties during this period into the Western Hemisphere and parts of Africa, including through its IRGC-Qods Force.”

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Published in: on May 6, 2009 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

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