Country Reports on Terrorism: 2006

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Country Reports on Terrorism: 2006

Editor’s note: The report below was edited from information released in April 2007 by the Office of the Coordinator of Counterterrorism of the U.S. State Department. This report is reproduced here to aid in increasing awareness of terrorism as a growing concern for citizens of all nations and to provide summary information on U.S. government programs to combat terrorism.

STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT

AFRICA

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

EUROPE AND EURASIA

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

STATE SPONSORS OF TERRORISM

THE GLOBAL CHALLENGE OF WMD TERRORISM

TERRORIST SAFE HAVENS

FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS

OTHER GROUPS OF CONCERN

LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENTS AND KEY TERMS

STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT

Introduction

This chapter highlights terrorism trends and ongoing issues, focusing on calendar year 2006 that will provide a framework for detailed discussion in later chapters. Since this issue of the Country Reports on Terrorism falls 5 years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the chapter commences with a review of progress against the terrorist threat to date.

Significant Achievements

Five years after 9/11, the international community’s conflict with transnational terrorists continues. Cooperative international efforts have produced genuine security improvements—particularly in securing borders and transportation, enhancing document security, disrupting terrorist financing, and restricting the movement of terrorists. The international community has also achieved significant success in dismantling terrorist organizations and disrupting their leadership. This has contributed to reduced terrorist operational capabilities and the detention or death of numerous key terrorist leaders.

Working with allies and partners across the world, through coordination and information sharing, we have created a less permissive operating environment for terrorists, keeping leaders on the move or in hiding, and degrading their ability to plan and mount attacks. Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and many other partners played major roles in this success, recognizing that international terrorism represents a threat to the whole international community.

Through the Regional Strategic Initiative, the State Department is working with ambassadors and interagency representatives in key terrorist theaters of operation to assess the threat and devise collaborative strategies, action plans, and policy recommendations. We have made progress in organizing regional responses to terrorists who operate in ungoverned spaces or across national borders. This initiative has produced better intra-governmental coordination among United States government agencies, greater cooperation with and between regional partners, and improved strategic planning and prioritization, allowing us to use all tools of statecraft to establish long-term measures to marginalize terrorists.

Continuing Challenges

Despite this undeniable progress, major challenges remain. Several states continue to sponsor terrorism. Iran remains the most significant state sponsor of terrorism and continues to threaten its neighbors and destabilize Iraq by providing weapons, training, advice, and funding to select Iraqi Shia militants. Syria, both directly and in coordination with Hizballah, has attempted to undermine the elected Government of Lebanon and roll back progress toward democratization in the Middle East. Syria also supports some Iraqi Ba’athist and militants and has continued to allow foreign fighters and terrorists to transit through its borders into Iraq.

International intervention in Iraq has brought measurable benefits. It has removed an abusive totalitarian regime with a history of sponsoring and supporting regional terrorism and has allowed a new democratic political process to emerge. It also, however, has been used by terrorists as a rallying cry for radicalization and extremist activity that has contributed to instability in neighboring countries.

Afghanistan remains threatened by Taliban insurgents and religious extremists, some of whom are linked to al-Qaida (AQ) and to sponsors outside the country. In Afghanistan public support for the government remains high, national institutions are getting stronger and the majority of Afghans believe they are better off than under the Taliban. But to defeat the resurgent threat, the international community must deliver promised assistance and work with Afghans to build counterinsurgency capabilities, ensure legitimate and effective governance, and counter the surge in narcotics cultivation.

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict remains a source of terrorist motivation. The holding of free elections in the Palestinian Territories was a welcome sign of democratization, but HAMAS’subsequent refusal to disavow terrorism or accept Israel’s internationally-accepted right to exist undermined the election’s impact. Terrorist activity emanating from the Palestinian Territories remains a key destabilizing factor and a cause for concern. The summer war in Lebanon between Israel and Hizballah was a prime example of how Hizballah’s continued efforts to manipulate persisting grievances along the Israeli/Lebanese border can quickly escalate into open warfare. The conflict did force the international community again to demand Hizballah’s complete disarmament, in UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1701, and generated a renewed international commitment to support a peaceful, stable, multi-sectarian democracy in Lebanon. Even so, Hizballah, a designated foreign terrorist organization, in combination with state sponsors of terrorism Iran and Syria, continues to undermine the elected Government of Lebanon and remains a serious security threat in the Middle East.

AQ and its affiliates have adapted to our success in disrupting their operational capability by focusing more attention and resources on their propaganda and misinformation efforts. They exploit and interpret the actions of numerous local, pseudo-independent actors, using them to mobilize supporters and sympathizers, intimidate opponents and influence international opinion. Terrorists consider information operations to be a principal part of their effort. The international community has yet to muster a coordinated and effectively resourced counter to extremist propaganda.

Overall, AQ and its loose confederation of affiliated movements remain the most immediate national security threat to the United States and a significant security challenge to the international community.

Key Al-Qaida Trends

Single terrorist events, like the Askariya mosque bombing in Samarra, Iraq on February 22, 2006, which provoked widespread sectarian violence and changed the character of the war in Iraq, can become triggers for broader conflict or templates for copycat attacks. Because terrorism is fundamentally political, the political significance of major events is vital in determining meaningful responses. Thus, the trends presented in this section are interpretive—they provide qualitative insight to complement the statistical detail covered in later chapters.

Transition from “Expeditionary” to “Guerrilla” Terrorism

Early AQ terrorist attacks were largely expeditionary. The organization selected and trained terrorists in one country, then clandestinely inserted a team into the target country to attack a pre-planned objective. The 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es-Salaam, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, and the 9/11 attacks were examples of this. Improved international border security, transportation security and document control have made this type of attack more difficult. Clandestine insertion across borders is harder, reconnaissance is more risky, and international movement of funds and equipment is more likely to be detected.

Thus we have seen a trend toward guerrilla terrorism, where the organization seeks to grow the team close to its target, using target country nationals. Through intermediaries, web-based propaganda, and subversion of immigrant expatriate populations, terrorists inspire local cells to carry out attacks which they then exploit for propaganda purposes. This circumvents the need to insert a team across borders or clandestinely transfer funds and materiel. The 2004 Madrid bombing, the London attacks of July 2005, and the thwarted August 2006 attempt to attack passenger jets operating from British airports include elements of this approach.

Both expeditionary and guerrilla approaches co-exist, alongside true “home-grown” terrorism involving local cells acting spontaneously rather than being than consciously inspired by trans-national terrorists. Rather than adopting a single modus operandi, AQ and its affiliated movements continue to be highly adaptive, quickly evolving new methods in response to countermeasures.

Terrorist Propaganda Warfare

As identified in the 2005 Country Reports, the international community’s success in disrupting terrorist leadership and operational capacity led AQ to focus greater efforts on misinformation and anti-Western propaganda. This trend accelerated this year, with AQ cynically exploiting the grievances of local groups and attempting to portray itself as the vanguard of a global movement. AQ still retains some operational capability and the intent to mount large-scale spectacular attacks, including on the United States and other high-profile Western targets. Overall, however, AQ’s current approach focuses on propaganda warfare—using a combination of terrorist attacks, insurgency, media broadcasts, Internet-based propaganda, and subversion to undermine confidence and unity in Western populations and generate the false perception of a powerful worldwide movement.

The Terrorist “Conveyor Belt”

Radicalization of immigrant populations, youth and alienated minorities in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa continued. It became increasingly clear, however, that such radicalization does not occur by accident, or because such populations are innately prone to extremism. Rather, there was increasing evidence of terrorists and extremists manipulating the grievances of alienated youth or immigrant populations and then cynically exploiting those grievances to subvert legitimate authority and create unrest.

Terrorists seek to manipulate grievances represent a “conveyor belt” through which terrorists seek to convert alienated or aggrieved populations, convert them to extremist viewpoints, and turn them, by stages, into sympathizers, supporters, and ultimately, members of terrorist networks. In some regions, this includes efforts by AQ and other terrorists to exploit insurgency and communal conflict as radicalization and recruitment tools, especially using the Internet to convey their message. Countering such efforts demands that we treat immigrant and youth populations not as a source of threat to be defended against, but as a target of enemy subversion to be protected and supported. It also requires community leaders to take responsibility for the actions of members within their communities and act to counteract extremist subversion.

A New Kind of Enemy

Al-Qaida as a Global Insurgency

The surface events mentioned above highlight a deeper trend: the transformation of international terrorism from the traditional forms that Congress intended to address when it established the annual Country Reports series into a broader, multifarious approach to transnational non-state warfare that now resembles a form of global insurgency. We have entered a new era of conflict that may demand new paradigms and different responses from those of previous eras.

AQ and its core leadership group represent a global action network that seeks to aggregate and exploit the effects of widely dispersed, semi-independent actors. It openly describes itself as a transnational guerrilla movement and applies classic insurgent strategies at the global level. AQ applies terrorism, but also subversion, propaganda, and open warfare, and it seeks weapons of mass destruction in order to inflict the maximum possible damage on its opponents. It links and exploits a wider, more nebulous community of regional, national, and local actors who share some of its objectives, but also pursue their own local agendas. Finally, it works through regional and cross-border safe havens that facilitate its actions while hampering government responses.

Disaggregating the Threat

To the extent that AQ succeeds in aggregating this broader constellation of extremist actors, it can begin to pursue more frequent and geographically extensive terror attacks. Therefore, we must act to disaggregate the threat, through international cooperation, counterpropaganda, counter subversion, counterinsurgency, and traditional counterterrorism.

Disaggregation breaks the links in the chain that exploit ordinary people’s grievances and manipulates them into becoming terrorists. It seeks to provide those who are already radicalized with a way out and to create pathways for alienated groups to redress their legitimate grievances without joining the terrorist network. Disaggregation denies AQ its primary objective of achieving leadership over extremist movements worldwide and unifying them into a single movement. It does not remove the threat but helps reduce it to less dangerous local components, which can be dealt with by individual governments and communities working together.

Trusted Networks

Such cooperation requires the creation of trusted networks to displace and marginalize extremist networks. While killing and capturing key terrorist actors is fundamental in combating terrorism, it can have detrimental effects.

These actions do not eliminate the threat and, if mishandled, can be actively counterproductive. Instead, we must seek to build trusted networks of governments, private citizens and organizations, multilateral institutions, and business organizations that work collaboratively to defeat the threat from violent extremism.

Such networks, over time, help wean at-risk populations away from subversive manipulation by terrorists and create mechanisms to address people’s needs and grievances, thus marginalizing terrorists. Youth organizations, educational networks, business partnerships, women’s empowerment, and local development initiatives can all play a role, with government as a supportive partner.

Leaders, Safe Havens, Underlying Conditions

To make such active measures effective, the three strategic components of the terrorist threat that must be neutralized are leaders, safe havens, and underlying conditions. Leaders provide a motivating, mobilizing, and organizing function and act as symbolic figureheads. Safe havens, which are often in ungoverned or under-governed spaces, provide a secure environment for training, planning, financial and operational support; and a base for mounting attacks. They may be physical or virtual in nature. In addition, underlying conditions provide the fuel, in the form of grievances and conflicts that power the processes of radicalization.

Treating this new era of conflict as a form of global insurgency implies that counterinsurgency methods are fundamental in combating the new form of transnational terrorism. These methods include firstly, a focus on protecting and securing the population; and secondly, politically and physically marginalizing the insurgents, winning the support and cooperation of at-risk populations by targeted political and development measures, and conducting precise intelligence-led special operations to eliminate critical enemy elements with minimal collateral damage.

Integrating All Elements of National Power

All elements of national power including diplomatic, military, economic, and intelligence, must be integrated and applied in a coordinated whole-of-government fashion. The intellectual and psychological dimensions of the threat are at least as important as its physical dimension, so countermeasures must be adequately coordinated and resourced. Thus, the military component of national power plays only a supporting role in this effort; the primary focus is on nonmilitary influence.

Because the enemy is a non-state actor who thrives among disaffected populations, private sector efforts are at least as important as government activity. Citizen diplomacy, cultural activity, person-to-person contact, economic cooperation and development, and the application of media and academic resources are key components of our response to the threat. Motivating, mobilizing, and supporting such privately led activities are key leadership tasks in the new environment.

Commitment—the Key to Success

Experience since 9/11 has shown that the key success factor in confronting violent extremism is the commitment by governments to work with each other, with the international community, with private sector organizations, and with their citizens and immigrant populations.

Where governments cooperate, build trusted networks, seek active informed support from their people, provide responsive, effective and legitimate governance, and engage closely with the international community, the threat from terrorism has been significantly reduced.

Where governments have lacked commitment in working with their neighbors and engaging the support of their people, terrorism and the instability and conflict that terrorists exploit remain key sources of threat.

Summary

This chapter sets the scene for the detailed analysis that follows. In reviewing events since 9/11, it is clear that progress has been mixed. Significant achievements in border security, information sharing, transportation security, financial controls, and the killing or capture of numerous terrorist leaders have reduced the threat. But the threat still remains, and state sponsorship, the terrorist response to intervention in Iraq, improved terrorist propaganda capabilities, the pursuit of nuclear weapons by state sponsors of terrorism, and terrorist exploitation of grievances represent ongoing challenges. Recent trends include the emergence of “guerrilla” terrorism in parallel with traditional “expeditionary” approaches, improved AQ propaganda warfare capacity, and emerging evidence of terrorist “conveyor belt” that seeks to deliberately manipulate and exploit grievances in at-risk populations.

A deeper trend is the shift in the nature of terrorism, from traditional international terrorism of the late 20 century into a new form of transnational non-state warfare that resembles a form of global insurgency. This represents a new era of warfare, and countering this threat demands the application of counterinsurgency techniques that focus on protecting, securing, and winning the support of at-risk populations, in addition to targeting violent extremist networks and individual terrorists.

Trusted networks of private and government organizations and individuals, and the application of integrated civil-military measures across all elements of national power are keys to this approach. Terrorist leaders, safe havens, and the underlying conditions that terrorists exploit are the principal strategic targets that we must address. The key success factor that has emerged so far is commitment by governments to work with the international community, their own populations, and at-risk immigrant or youth populations, to counter the threat collaboratively.

Within this framework, subsequent sections of this report will now present detailed analyses of each region and country.

AFRICA

Overview

A small number of al-Qaida (AQ) operatives in East Africa, particularly Somalia, continued to pose the most serious threat to American and allied interests in the region. Although elements were severely disrupted at year’s end, AQ continued to operate in Somalia and elsewhere in East Africa. Somalia remains a concern, as the country’s unsecured borders and continued political instability provide opportunities for terrorist transit and/or organization. AQ remains likely to keep making common cause with Somali extremists in an attempt to disrupt international peace-making efforts in Somalia.

There were few significant international terrorist incidents in Africa, but civil conflict and ethnic violence continued in a number of countries. AQ-affiliated terrorist groups were present and operated in Northwest Africa. These groups conducted small scale attacks on host governments and U.S. interests, raised funds, recruited, and conducted other support activities across the Trans-Sahara. The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) merged with al-Qaida in September and changed its name to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). AQIM/GSPC continued to operate in the Sahel region, crossing difficult-to-patrol borders between Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, and Chad to recruit extremists within the region for training and terrorist operations in the Trans-Sahara and, possibly, for operations outside the region. Its new alliance with al-Qaida potentially has given it access to more resources and training.

Hizballah continued to engage in fundraising activities in Africa, particularly in West Africa, but did not engage in any terrorist attacks within the region. Many African governments improved their cooperation and strengthened their efforts in the War on Terror. Both the African Union (AU) and African regional organizations continued initiatives to improve counterterrorism cooperation and information sharing.

Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP)

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership is a multi-faceted, multi-year strategy aimed at defeating terrorist organizations by strengthening regional counterterrorism capabilities, enhancing and institutionalizing cooperation among the region’s security forces, promoting democratic governance, discrediting terrorist ideology, and reinforcing bilateral military ties with the United States. The overall goals are to enhance the indigenous capacities of governments in the pan-Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Niger, as well as Nigeria and Senegal) to confront the challenge posed by terrorist organizations in the region and to facilitate cooperation between those countries and our Maghreb partners (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) in combating terrorism. The need for TSCTP stemmed from the potential for expansion of operations by Islamic terrorist organizations in the Sahel. TSCTP was developed as a follow-on to the very successful Pan-Sahel Initiative, which focused solely on the states of the Sahel. Ongoing concern that Islamist terrorists continue to seek to create safe havens and support networks in the remote expanses of the Sahel, as well as the public affiliation of some terrorist groups with AQ, led to its formal approval by the U.S. Government in early 2005.

TSCTP is a five-year program of counterterrorism, democratic governance, and military assistance and includes a public diplomacy component. Its main elements include:

  • Counterterrorism (CT) programs to create a new regional focus for trans-Saharan cooperation, including use of established regional organizations like the African Union and its new Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism in Algiers. These programs include training to improve border and aviation security and overall CT readiness;
  • Continued specialized Counterterrorism Assistance Training and Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP) activities in the trans-Sahara region and possible regional expansion of those programs;
  • Public diplomacy programs that expand outreach efforts in the Sahel and Maghreb regions, Nigeria, and Senegal and seek to develop regional programming embracing this vast and diverse region. Emphasis is on preserving the traditional tolerance and moderation displayed in most African Muslim communities and countering the development of extremism, particularly in youth and rural populations;
  • Democratic governance programs that strive, in particular, to provide adequate levels of U.S. Government support for democratic and economic development in the Sahel, strengthening those states’ ability to withstand internal threats; and
  • Military programs intended to expand military-to-military cooperation, to ensure adequate resources are available to train, advise, and assist regional forces, and to establish institutions promoting better regional cooperation, communication, and intelligence sharing.

The African Union

The African Union (AU) has several counterterrorism legal instruments, including a Convention on Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (1999), a 2002 Protocol to the Convention, and a 2004 Plan of Action. The Addis Ababa-based AU Commission provided guidance to its 53 member states on ratification and implementation of continental and international counterterrorism commitments, and coordinated assistance to cover member states’ counterterrorism gaps. The AU maintained that Africa’s colonial legacy made it difficult to accept a definition of terrorism that excluded an exception for “freedom fighters.” Still, the AU is on record strongly condemning acts of terrorism, such as those that occurred in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, and London, England. Although AU Commission’s political will to act as an effective counterterrorism partner was strong, capacity remained relatively weak. The AU sought to create a counterterrorism unit at its headquarters to promote member state counterterrorism efforts more effectively. The AU welcomes technical and financial assistance from international partners/donors to bolster both AU headquarters and African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) activities approved by member states.

Botswana

Botswana established its National Counterterrorism Committee to address issues pertaining to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction and regularly participated in Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) Programs offered at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone. The Botswana Defense Forces designated a squadron as its counterterrorist unit and several of its officers had counterterrorism training. The Bank of Botswana listed suspected terrorist assets and informed all banking institutions in the country by circulating an updated list of suspicious accounts. Although Botswana had no Financial Intelligence Unit, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes had a dedicated unit investigating suspicious transactions. As a member of the Southern Africa Development Community’s (SADC) Organization on Politics, Defense, and Security, Botswana was responsible for the organization’s counterterrorism efforts. SADC capabilities and its efforts in fighting terrorism were limited, however.

Burundi

The Government of Burundi attempted to improve its domestic efforts in the fight against international terrorism. With assistance from the United States, Burundi endeavored to pass new legislation on terrorist financing and other statutes that would specifically outlaw terrorist acts. Although members of the security sector were responsive to requests to assist the United States, their training and meager resources severely limited their ability to prevent international terrorist acts. Burundi’s porous border, coupled with daily incoming flights from East Africa, could allow terrorists easy entry into the country. Through its participation in the Tripartite Plus One group, Burundi joined with Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to identify and prevent regional insurgent forces from operating in its territory.

Comoros

International terrorism concerns in Comoros focused on Comorian national Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (a.k.a. Harun Fazul), who is suspected of involvement in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. His whereabouts were unknown, but he was believed to have maintained contacts in Comoros. The Comorian government’s security forces had limited resources and training in counterterrorism and maritime security, so the country remained vulnerable to terrorist transit or safe haven. Comorian police and security forces continued to participate in U.S. antiterrorism assistance programs and cooperated with the Rewards for Justice Program.

President Sambi, a devout Muslim democratically elected in May, reconfirmed Comoros’ rejection of terrorism and, with Comoros’ religious leaders, publicly rejected Islamist extremism. President Sambi has sought close partnership with the United States to develop Comoros and to create opportunities for the country’s youth. In September, President Sambi and agreed to establish a joint committee to improve bilateral relations, including cooperation on counterterrorism.

Djibouti

Djibouti hosted the only U.S. military base in Sub-Saharan Africa for U.S. and Coalition Forces and remained a staunch supporter of U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Djibouti was one of the most forward-leaning Arab League members supporting ongoing efforts against terrorism. President Ismail Omar Guelleh and many top leaders in Djibouti repeatedly expressed their country’s full and unqualified support for the War on Terror. Djibouti was one of the very first Arab League nations to do so following September 11, 2001, even in the face of adversity and criticism from its neighbors.

U.S. security personnel continued to work closely with Djiboutian counterparts to monitor intelligence and follow up on prospective terrorism-related leads. Although the government’s capabilities were limited, Djiboutian counterparts were very proactive, and were highly receptive and responsive to U.S. requests for cooperation. The Djiboutian National Security Services took extraordinary measures with its limited resources to ensure the safety and security of American citizens, the U.S. embassy, and the U.S. military base at Camp Lemonier.

Ethiopia

Although a developing nation with constrained resources in a tough neighborhood, Ethiopia demonstrated political will and intent to tackle the problem of terrorism. Ethiopia’s counterterrorist capabilities were limited, but increasing. The government agreed to a number of new initiatives and cooperated in efforts to collect and share intelligence on terrorist groups.

In response to increasing threats against its security in December, the Government of Ethiopia conducted a counteroffensive in support of the internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia against the extremist dominated Council of Islamic Courts (CIC). Mid-year, the CIC gained control of Mogadishu and in a series of offensives in the second half of the year, extended its control over most of southern Somalia. The CIC made claims to large areas of Ethiopia and Kenya inhabited by ethnic Somalis. By the end of the year, Ethiopian and TFG advances routed the CIC out of Mogadishu, though there was concern that some CIC extremists would continue to reject peace overtures and could initiate an insurgency with AQ support.

The highest levels of the Ethiopian government recognized Ethiopia’s vulnerability to financial crimes including terrorist financing and counterfeiting. The Penal Code adopted in early 2005 criminalized money laundering and a number of other financial crimes. The Central Bank (National Bank of Ethiopia) drafted specific anti-money laundering legislation, which included the establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit.

Ethiopia’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), with broad authority for intelligence, border security, and criminal investigation, was responsible for overall counterterrorism management. Federal and local police counterterrorism capabilities were primarily focused on being able to respond to terrorist incidents. Draft counter-terrorism legislation was before Parliament at year’s end.

Ethiopia was an active participant in African Union (AU) counterterrorism efforts, was nominated as a focal point for the AU’s Center for Study and Research on Terrorism, and participated in meetings of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa.

Kenya

Kenya and the United States maintained generally good cooperation against terrorism throughout 2006, to the mutual benefit of both countries. Kenya was a capable and willing partner and took steps to interdict and apprehend terror suspects. Its cooperation, however, was uneven and constrained by domestic political pressures and considerations. Key among these were Kenyan Muslim and ethnic-Somali communities unsympathetic to cooperation with the United States, an inadequate legal and regulatory framework, and concerns about possible retribution from Somali Islamic extremists.

Kenya proved itself a solid and proactive partner during the Somali crisis that began in December, when Islamic extremists fleeing the Ethiopian advance threatened Kenya’s national security. Kenya’s borders remained porous and vulnerable to movement of potential terrorists as well as small arms and other contraband. In response to the crisis in Somalia, Kenya deployed its forces along its border with Somalia and at sea to apprehend fleeing CIC extremist fighters and prevent them from establishing safe haven in Kenya. Beginning in late 2006, the Kenyan government banned all flights to and from Somalia except for humanitarian aid flights and flights to the TFG’s center of Baidoa. The order remained in effect, despite objections from growers of miraa, or qat, who were deprived of their main market (Somalia) by the ban.

Important Kenyan officials spoke out publicly about the dangers of terrorism and key elements of the Kenyan security apparatus took concrete steps to increase counterterrorism efforts, including the formation of an interagency Coastal Security Steering Committee. At the same time, however, political and bureaucratic resistance remained to the formation of an interagency Kenyan Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

Kenya still lacked counterterrorism legislation. In April 2003, Kenya published a draft “Suppression of Terrorism Bill,” only to withdraw it after harsh criticism from human rights groups and Kenyan Muslim communities. The Kenyan government wrote another draft of the bill in May, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, but did not officially publish the document or submit it to Parliament. In the absence of such legislation, it is difficult to detain terror suspects and to prosecute them effectively. Nonetheless, ATA-trained police investigators and counterterrorism prosecutors were credited with the re-arrest and successful prosecution of Kikambala bombing suspect Omar Said Omar after his acquittal on the main terrorism charge. Omar was subsequently found guilty on April 4 and sentenced for illegal possession of a firearm, ammunition, and explosives.

The government made some progress on combating money laundering and terrorist financing. In November, the government published the text of the Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering Bill for public comment and it is expected to be submitted to Parliament in March 2007. The Central Bank of Kenya issued guidelines effective January 1, 2007, under Section 33K of the Central Bank of Kenya Act, to strengthen controls over foreign exchange bureaus to regulate their use of third party checks and telegraphic transfers, transactions that may have previously been used for money laundering or terrorist finance. Kenya took a major step to combat money laundering through the closure of Charterhouse Bank.

Senior Kenyan officials made clear their desire to achieve a Safe Skies agreement, but much work remained to be done to bring Kenya up to international standards. U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration training efforts in recent years improved aviation security, but consistent planning and enforcement of security procedures remained a challenge in 2006, particularly at Wilson Airport in Nairobi. Security improved, however, at Kenya’s main air entry point, Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Liberia

Despite limited resources, untrained personnel, and a weak judicial system, all products of 14 years of civil war, the Government of Liberia demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with the United States and the international community to combat terrorism. Through rule of law and security sector reform assistance programs, the United States supported a number of initiatives that addressed Liberia’s vulnerabilities, which included porous borders, rampant identification document fraud, lax immigration controls, wide-scale corruption, and underpaid law enforcement, security, and customs personnel. The Liberian government was eager to engage the United States on counterterrorism, international crime issues, and security sector reform.

There have never been any acts of transnational terrorism in Liberia. Of concern, however, were reports that hundreds of Middle Eastern businessmen purchased legitimately issued but fraudulently obtained Liberian diplomatic passports from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) officials. These documents would permit free movement between the Middle East and West Africa. The government took steps to stop this Charles Taylor-era practice by requiring that diplomatic passports be issued only by the MFA in Monrovia.

The government’s failure to surrender fugitives for extra-dition was a source of frustration in bilateral relations. In January, a circuit court erroneously held that the bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and Liberia expired in 1944. The Government of Liberia appealed that decision, and it is pending in the Supreme Court.

Since 2003, there has been a resurgence in the number of visits by foreign Islamic proselytizing groups, overwhelmingly Sunni organizations from Pakistan, Egypt, and South Africa. Liberian security services reported that none of these groups publicly espoused militant or anti-U.S. messages. Liberia’s indigenous, war-weary, and predominantly Sunni Islamic community, which represented roughly 20 percent of the country’s population, has demonstrated no interest in militant strains of Islam to date. That said, outstanding land disputes negatively affecting large numbers of Muslim land owners in Nimba and other counties could fan ethnic and religious tensions with the predominantly Christian central government.

As in other West African states, reports of possible Hizballah connections within the Lebanese community in Liberia indicated that Lebanese businessmen provided financial support and engaged in fundraising activities for Hizballah. There were no other terrorist groups known to be operating within Liberia.

Madagascar

International terrorism was a concern in Madagascar because of the island nation’s inadequately monitored 3,000 mile coastline. Limited equipment, personnel, and training for border control increased the risks of penetration. The Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Embassy co-hosted an International Maritime Security Conference in July with military and civilian participants from ten countries in the Indian Ocean and along the east coast of Africa. Malagasy police, military, intelligence, and security forces have not had much training in counterterrorism and maritime surveillance, but despite limited resources, government officials were willing to cooperate with the United States; the international maritime conference and the Rewards for Justice Program were two examples of cooperative ventures. At the main port in Tamatave, which handled 80 percent of maritime traffic and more than 90 percent of container traffic, access control and overall security improved substantially. The U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Liaison removed Tamatave Port from its Port Security Advisory for Madagascar, with an acknowledgement that the Port met minimum standards under the International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) Code.

Mali

Inadequate resources continued to hamper the Malian government’s ability to control its long and porous borders, thus limiting the effectiveness of military patrols and border control measures. Mali cooperated with U.S. efforts, and remained one of the largest recipients in the sub-region of military training and assistance through the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership and other U.S. assistance programs. Northern Mali served as a potential safe haven for terrorists, traffickers, and smugglers due to the region’s remoteness, harsh desert climate, and size. The AQIM/GSPC maintained a regular, small-scale presence, moving essentially without hindrance in the northern part of Malian territory, although it did not maintain any permanent facilities and was constantly on the move. In September and October, a group of Malian Tuareg rebels, known as the Alliance for Democracy and Change (ADC), engaged in two firefights with the AQIM/GSPC in northern Mali. The Malian government did not announce an official position on the violence between the ADC and AQIM/GSPC, nor did it attempt to confront AQIM/GSPC elements in the North or prevent their use of Malian territory. There were no confrontations between the Malian military and the AQIM/GSPC in 2006.

Mauritania

Mauritanian leaders continued to cooperate with the United States in the War on Terror. The transitional government took several positive steps toward creating an inclusive political environment that allowed moderate Islamic groups to participate in the political process. While the government continued not to recognize Islamic political parties, it did allow these groups to submit legislative and municipal candidates on independent lists.

On April 26, three suspected terrorists escaped from the central prison and apparently fled the country. Between May and August, the government arrested approximately ten individuals it claimed had links to terrorist groups. This brought the number of suspected terrorists in custody to approximately 20. The government did not try any of the suspected terrorists it held. Mauritanian officials dismantled a AQIM/GSPC network in May and June. The government did not tolerate the presence of AQIM/GSPC members on its territory, and several AQIM/GSPC members who attempted to infiltrate the country were arrested. In contrast with the previous year, there were no terrorist attacks on Mauritanian soil. However, fighting between the AQIM/GSPC and Tuareg rebels in Northern Mali occasionally threatened the border region. The Mauritanian Group for Preaching and Jihad (GMPJ) was not active during the year because most of its members were arrested in May 2005. Although eight of its members were released this year, the group’s leaders remained in Mauritanian custody.

Nigeria

Although Nigeria wanted to be viewed as taking a leading counterterrorism role in West Africa, its security agencies remained reactive. Nigerian intelligence and security services worked hard, however, to improve intelligence sharing on counterterrorism issues, and the Nigerian military worked to establish units with counterterrorism capability. Nigerian security services were cooperative when asked to investigate potential terrorist threats to U.S. interests.

Nigeria took the lead in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the AU in sponsoring joint intelligence and security conferences on counterterrorism. The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), an organization founded by African heads of state, condemned terrorism and called for African nations to take concrete measures to combat it. Nigeria initiated legislative and regulatory steps to shore up its anti-money laundering regime to fight terrorism.

While Nigeria’s current criminal law did not contain specific counterterrorism provisions, the penal code proscribed acts of violence that included terrorism. In August, the Nigerian cabinet approved a draft counterterrorism bill and sent it to the National Assembly for consideration. Under the new legislation, anyone convicted of a terrorist offense could be sentenced to as much as 35 years in prison. The National Assembly had not acted on the bill by year’s end.

There was no special examining magistrate with specific powers in the counterterrorism area. In Nigeria, suspects by law must be charged within 48 hours, but in practice were held as long as deemed necessary. Most criminals were photographed and fingerprinted by security elements, but DNA samples were not taken due to resource constraints and a lack of scientific infrastructure.

While the Nigerian government did not support international terrorism or terrorists, there were some individuals and private groups in Nigeria with ties to probable terrorist elements in Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, and Libya. Members of terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and the AQIM/GSPC, have operated and recruited in Nigeria.

Rwanda

The Rwandan government made efforts to combat terrorism financing and continued to increase its border control measures to identify potential terrorists. Rwanda had an intergovernmental counterterrorism committee and a counterterrorism reaction team in the police intelligence unit. Central Bank and Ministry of Finance officials continued to provide outstanding cooperation on terrorist financing issues. While the Government of Rwanda had not yet fully developed its laws and regulations in accordance with international conventions and protocols concerning terrorism, it had the authority under local law to identify, freeze, and seize terrorist-related financial assets. Rwanda participated in regional initiatives on international counterterrorism cooperation, including active participation in the East African Stand-by Brigade. In September, it hosted the Third Regional Counter-Terrorism Conference for Chiefs of Security and Intelligence Services in Kigali, and it assumed the chairmanship of the organization. In October, Police Commissioner General Andrew Rwigamba was appointed the World Regional Chair for sub-Saharan Africa for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an armed rebel force that included former soldiers and supporters of the previous government that orchestrated the 1994 genocide, continued to operate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda pressed for international action to pursue the FDLR. A unit of this organization was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of nine persons, including two American tourists, in Bwindi Park in 1999. The Rwandan government assisted U.S. law enforcement officials in an attempt to prosecute three individuals, suspected in the 1999 attack, who were transferred to the United States in 2003.

Senegal

The Government of Senegal cooperated with the United States in identifying terrorist groups operating in Senegal. More work remained to be done, however, to develop first responder services, to facilitate the quick sharing of information between agencies, and to control porous borders where police and security services are undermanned and ill-equipped to prevent illicit cross-border trafficking. The Government of Senegal affirmed its commitment to United States government-assisted efforts to augment its border security.

Senegal continued to enhance its ability to combat terrorism, prosecute terror suspects, and respond to emergencies. Despite advances, however, Senegal lacked specific counterterrorism legislation and current laws made it difficult to prosecute terror suspects. As participants in the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Partnership, more than 180 Senegalese government officials took part in ATA programs. Senegalese military officials attended a counterterrorism seminar in Algiers and attended the Chiefs of Defense and Directors of Military Intelligence conferences. The Defense International Institute of Legal Studies, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Technical Assistance, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) gave separate seminars on the legal aspects of fighting terrorism.

During the year, President Wade met again with Imam Mamour Fall, a Senegalese deported from Italy in 2003 for praising Usama bin Laden, to counsel “moderation.” President Wade also criticized members of the Senegalese press for exaggerating the level of public support for extremism.

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s armed forces focused on border control because potential unrest in neighboring countries remained a threat. The government did not detect any radical Islamic activities.

There were no identified terrorist groups or organizations in Sierra Leone, however, there were allegations that members of the Lebanese business community in Sierra Leone, many of whom are diamond traders, were sympathetic to and made financial contributions to Hizballah. The Bank of Sierra Leone established a Financial Investigations Unit, but it lacked the capacity to effectively monitor financial transactions. Financial constraints, corruption, and insufficient capacity continued to hinder Sierra Leone’s counterterrorism and law enforcement capabilities.

Somalia

Somalia’s weak central government, protracted state of violent instability, long unguarded coastline, porous borders, and proximity to the Arabian Peninsula made it a potential location for international terrorists seeking a transit or launching point for conducting operations in Somalia or elsewhere. The rise of the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) and their expansion of control into southern and central Somalia created a more permissive operating environment and safe haven for foreign terrorists. In June, the CIC gained control of Mogadishu and were initially welcomed as bringing a modicum of peace and stability to the city. Over the course of the following months, the broader CIC organization was hijacked by al Shabaab (The Youth), a small, extremist group affiliated with AQ that consists of radicalized young men, between 20 and 30 years of age. Many of its senior leaders are believed to have trained and fought with AQ in Afghanistan. The CIC began to pursue an increasingly hostile strategy of military expansion and aggression designed to provoke a broader regional conflict. Al Shabaab militia participated in CIC military offensives and served as something akin to a “special forces” unit for the CIC. Although not formally a part of the CIC structure, members of al Shabaab held senior positions within the CIC, particularly in the security, finance, and education departments. The group was reputed to be extremely violent and brutal, and its members are suspected of murdering an Italian nun in Mogadishu in September, targeted assassinations of dozens of Somali nationals inside Somalia, including the murder of peace activist Abdulqadir Yahya Ali in July 2005 and the murder of foreign aid workers in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in late 2003 to early 2004. In late June, the CIC elected Hassan Dahir Aweys chairman of the CIC Shura Council. Aweys is designated as a terrorist by the United States and the United Nations because of his links to AQ, the Taliban, or Usama bin Laden. Among the foreign AQ operatives believed to have enjoyed protection by the CIC and al Shabaab leadership are individuals wanted for the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and a 2002 hotel bombing in Kenya, including Fazul Abdallah Mohammed (aka Harun Fazul), Abu Talha al-Sudani, and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan. At the end of the year, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), backed by Ethiopia, succeeded in ending CIC control of Mogadishu and southern and central Somalia. Regional efforts to bring about national reconciliation and establish peace and stability in Somalia are ongoing. Although the capability of the TFG and other Somali local and regional authorities to carry out counterterrorism activities was limited, some have taken actions.

South Africa

South Africa continued to publicly support global efforts to combat terrorism and shared financial, law enforcement, and limited intelligence information with the United States. President Mbeki reiterated his support for such cooperation during his December meeting with President Bush. On several occasions President Mbeki voiced his opinion that “no circumstances whatsoever can ever justify resorting to terrorism.” Members of Parliament from other parties, including Muslim legislators, have echoed Mbeki’s sentiments.

The Government of South Africa supported multilateral counterterrorism efforts and bolstered its enforcement agencies. Resource constraints, however, limited the extent to which South Africa could fund its security forces for counterterrorist initiatives. The South African government is sensitive to distinctions between “terrorist organizations” and “liberation movements,” since the ruling African National Congress was long branded a terrorist group during the struggle against apartheid.

Fraudulently obtained documents remained a significant problem for South African authorities. Although South African documents often include good security measures, but efforts to limit potential terrorists’ access to passports and South African identity documents were limited by low capacity in the Department of Home Affairs, which handled identity documentation.

It was unclear to what extent terrorist groups were present in South Africa. Many analysts believed that AQ and other extremist groups have a presence within South Africa’s generally moderate Muslim community. The South African government does not provide any type of material assistance to any group designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States.

Sudan

See State Sponsors of Terrorism.

Tanzania

Tanzania took significant steps to establish a National Counterterrorism Center. The purpose of this Center was to build Tanzania’s capacity to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks. Working closely with the United States, Tanzania continued to disrupt terrorist networks to prevent acts of terrorism. Tanzanian law enforcement cooperated with the United States to exchange evidence and testimony on cases related to the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Dar Es Salaam. Tanzania continued its participation in several multi-year programs to strengthen its law enforcement and military capacity, improve aviation and border security, and combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Tanzania showed ongoing willingness to combat terrorist financing. Tanzania cooperated with the United States and complied with its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions. In November, the Tanzanian Parliament passed the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Bill, ending a legislative process that began in 2002 with support from the United States. The AML Bill will lay the legal groundwork for Tanzania to create a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and bolster Tanzania’s ability to combat financial crime, including counterterrorist financing. With the Millennium Challenge Account Threshold Program, the United States will support Tanzania as it establishes a fully functional FIU. Tanzanian law enforcement and security forces attempted to identify and monitor terrorist activities and deny use of Tanzanian territory as a safe haven for terrorists. The government was aware that terrorists could use its territory for transit purposes and did not provide any kind of material assistance to terrorists or terrorist groups.

Uganda

The Ugandans have proved willing to locate, capture, and hold terror suspects. The Government of Uganda was actively involved in regional counterterrorism efforts, conferences, and workshops, and had a strong regional voice in opposing international terrorism and supporting U.S. counterterrorism initiatives. Although Uganda actively worked to root out possible terrorist threats, it was hampered by shortages in fuel, equipment, funding, and personnel.

Since 1987, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which is on the U.S. Terrorist Exclusion List, has waged an insurgency in northern Uganda using camps in southern Sudan as bases for attacks on government forces and civilians. The LRA’s tactics include murder, looting, burning houses, torture, mutilation, and abduction of children for the purposes of forced conscription, labor, and sexual servitude. The Government of Uganda deployed 45,000 troops in northern Uganda to protect civilians and combat the LRA. Uganda and Sudan also expanded an agreement that permitted the Ugandan military to attack LRA units operating in southern Sudan.

The Government of Uganda and the LRA began peace negotiations in July. The process yielded a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CHA) on August 26 that was poorly monitored and repeatedly violated. The CHA was renewed with strengthened monitoring provisions on November 1. The Government of Uganda remained committed to the ongoing peace process.

Zimbabwe

Despite the Government of Zimbabwe’s self-imposed isolation on most diplomatic issues, local intelligence and criminal investigative agencies were responsive to U.S. needs in the War on Terror. Government agencies routinely provided assistance by conducting investigative inquiries, traces, and border checks of individuals thought to be threats to U.S. government facilities or personnel. In May, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) released new guidelines on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism for financial institutions and non-financial businesses and professionals. In August, Zimbabwe assumed the Presidency for the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) for the 2006/2007 administrative year and, in this capacity, hosted the group’s Council of Ministers of Finance meeting in August. In August, Zimbabwe and the Republic of South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding for the exchange of information in combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

Overview

The Jemaah Islamiya regional terrorist network remained a serious threat to Western and regional interests, particularly in Indonesia and the Southern Philippines, although its capabilities were degraded due in large part to regional counterterrorism successes in 2005-2006. As 2007 began, DNA analysis conducted by the FBI confirmed the death of Abu Sayyaf Group’s (ASG) nominal leader, Khaddafy Janjalani, at the hands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Early in 2007, Philippine forces also eliminated ASG spokesperson, Abu Solaiman. In August, the AFP killed a significant ASG sub commander, Ismin Sahiron. These deaths represented a major blow to JI, but did not eliminate the overall threat to U.S. interests in the Philippines. JI bombers Dulmatin and Patek remained on the run, probably on Jolo Island. Other terrorists remained at large in Southeast Asia, such as key JI operative Noordin Mat Top, in Indonesia.

Geography makes effective border control problematic for archipelagic states like Indonesia and the Philippines. Monitoring remote locations among the thousands of islands in the Sulawesi Sea and Sulu Archipelago that span the boundaries between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines is extremely difficult, which makes this tri-border area well suited to terrorist activities, including movement of personnel, equipment, and funds. Therefore, regional capacity building has emerged as a priority goal, in addition to bilateral cooperation and national capacity building. Institutes like the U.S.-Thailand International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok and the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counterterrorism (SEARCCT) in Malaysia continued to expand their activities to provide effective counterterrorism training to law enforcement officers throughout the region. Likewise, the Australian-Indonesian Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) is a promising additional regional center for capacity building. Multilateral fora, including the United Nations Security Council’s Counterterrorism Committee (UNCTC), the G8’s Roma-Lyon Group and Counterterrorism Action Group (CTAG), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which adopted a new ASEAN Convention on Counterterrorism pending ratification, and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), continued their important roles as key organizations for regional counterterrorism cooperation.

Australia worked to strengthen the Asia-Pacific region’s counterterrorism capacity through a range of initiatives, both bilaterally and in regional fora such as APEC, the ASEAN ARF, and the Pacific Island Forum (PIF). Australia increased its four-year counterterrorism assistance to the region by about $70 million to boost the capacity to combat terrorism, bringing the total amount committed to offshore counterterrorism activities since 2004 to $350 million. In March, Australian police arrested three suspected terrorists in Melbourne as part of an ongoing counterterrorism operation, disrupting a significant threat to the city.

China supported several operational and logistical aspects of the War on Terror. China participates in the United States Megaports Initiative designed to improve the security of U.S.-bound cargo. Container Security initiative programs are operating in the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen. China increased its efforts to build its domestic counterterrorism capabilities with a focus on improving security for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Beijing continued to express concern that terrorists operate on Chinese territory and has asserted that some members of the Uighur minority in Xingjiang Province pose a threat to China’s domestic stability.

Japan strengthened its own security by contributing to counterterrorism capacity-building among Asian countries and by participating in a second trilateral counterterrorism dialogue with the United States and Australia in October. Japan is using Official Development Assistance (ODA) grants to expand counterterrorism capacity building in Southeast Asia. This $60 million dollar annual program, initiated in FY-2006, includes projects aimed at increasing maritime and port security. The Republic of Korea is shifting its attention to possible acts of terror beyond the Korean Peninsula. Reflecting this shift, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) appointed its first Director for International Counterterrorism Cooperation in February.

Thailand’s military staged a coup in September. An interim government has been attempting to address the ongoing violence connected to a separatist movement in the ethnic Malay, Muslim south. Although the roots of the problem are ethnic and not religious, there is concern that southern unrest has the potential to attract international terrorist groups such as JI and al-Qaida that may attempt to capitalize on the increasingly violent situation for their own purposes.

Australia

In addition to its substantial ongoing efforts to combat domestic and international terrorism, Australia launched new initiatives working with its regional neighbors to assist in building their resolve and capacity to confront terrorism. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) Joint Counterterrorism Teams’ (JCTT) multi-agency effort to address domestic and international terrorism concerns in Australia’s six largest cities became fully operational this year. In March, Australian police arrested three suspected terrorists in Melbourne as part of an ongoing counterterrorism operation, disrupting a significant threat to the community. In August, an Australian court sentenced Faheem Khalid Lodhi to 20 years in prison for plotting to bomb Australia’s national electricity grid. Regional cooperation between Australian and Southeast Asian government agencies continued to disrupt terrorist operations. Active cooperation with immigration agencies in the region strengthened border controls and impeded terrorists’ ability to travel, recruit, train, and operate.

In December, Australia enacted new anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing (AML/CTF) legislation that would make the Australian Transaction Reports Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), which monitors financial transactions, the national AML/CTF regulator with supervisory, monitoring, and enforcement functions over a diverse range of industry sectors. Australia strengthened its intelligence capabilities by funding additional staff and technical capabilities, and established identity security strike teams to investigate and prosecute people and syndicates involved in manufacturing false identities.

As part of measures Australia undertook in response to the 2005 Wheeler Report on Aviation Security and Policing at Australian Airports, airport police commanders began their new role overseeing crime and security-related matters at eleven counterterrorism first response airports in the country. Australia announced in its budget that it would enhance closed circuit television monitoring and analysis capability at its international airports. This will expand the deployment of explosives trace-detection equipment for the examination of domestic air cargo at each of Australia’s major airports and will improve the quality of security training for cargo handlers. Australia committed to enhancing its capability to identify, inspect, and respond to high-risk export air cargo through the deployment of additional explosives detector-dog teams; the provision of additional mobile X-ray vans; and the trial of communications technology to achieve real-time air cargo reporting. The Australian government provided additional funding to enhance its ability to detect, deter, and respond to illegal activity near its borders, including illegal fishing and trafficking in persons, through increased surveillance and patrolling.

Australia used its position as Chair of the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies (WA) to increase awareness of the Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) threat and the need for more effective export controls, and to solicit greater cooperation, particularly from states that produce, export, or stockpile MANPADS. Australia also led outreach missions to non-Wassenaar states China, India, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Singapore. In June, Australia hosted an international seminar in Geneva to promote the need for practical action to counter the global MANPADS threat. In the same month, Australia, the United States, and the Philippines hosted a workshop in Manila on the methodology of conducting airport MANPADS vulnerability assessments. In August, Australia advocated for increased efforts to counter the proliferation of MANPADS at the UN Conference on Disarmament. In October, Australia co-chaired with Thailand an ASEAN Regional Forum workshop on stockpile security of MAN-PADS and small arms and light weapons to help regional countries strengthen their domestic inventory controls.

The Australian ambassador for counterterrorism chaired the International Counterterrorism Coordination Group, Australia’s interagency counterterrorism working group. Australia increased its four-year regional counterterrorism assistance package by about $70 million to boost the capacity of neighbor countries to combat terrorism, bringing the total amount committed to offshore counterterrorism activities since 2004 to $350 million. Building on successful regional cooperation among law enforcement, intelligence, and border control authorities, the package included new measures and a new emphasis on expanding regional cooperation. Cooperation will focus on countering the threat of terrorists acquiring or using weapons of mass destruction, building regional capability for responding to terrorist attacks, and commencing activities to promote tolerance and counteract terrorist propaganda. Key programs included funding for enhancing law enforcement counterterrorism capacity and liaison networks, expanding intelligence cooperation capabilities, improving border control capability and coordination in Southeast Asia, further developing the APEC Regional Movement Alert System, enhancing Indonesia’s border alert system at major ports, building regional awareness of the terrorist WMD threat and strengthening regional controls on chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials, and improving regional emergency response capacity and coordination. In July, Australia became an initial partner nation in the U.S. Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and, in October, it participated in a second Trilateral Counterterrorism Dialogue with the United States and Japan.

Australia continued to provide legal drafting assistance to regional states, including the South Pacific islands, seeking to adopt international conventions and protocols against terrorism and to bring their domestic laws into conformity with these conventions. In February, Australia opened the upgraded Transnational Crime Centre in Jakarta which was first established as a joint initiative between Australia and Indonesia in the aftermath of the 2002 Bali bombings. The center housed Indonesia’s first national intelligence database, linking 30 locations throughout the country. The joint Australian-Indonesian Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) located in Semarang, Indonesia has offered more than 50 courses and trained more than 1,200 officers to date. The AFP committed additional agents to Jakarta and Manila to work closely with those governments and the FBI to apprehend JI fugitives.

The AFP received funding to expand its investigative and specialist training, currently delivered to regional law enforcement partners through facilities like JCLEC. Funding was also targeted toward conducting offshore exercises and training with regional partners, increasing the number of counterterrorism advisers working in the AFP’s international liaison officer network, introducing to high priority locations a custom-built Case Management and Information System developed for use in overseas jurisdictions, and enhancing specialist forensic and technical training for law enforcement agencies in the region. The Australian government substantially increased the AFP’s International Deployment Group by over 400 personnel and created an Operational Response Group ready to respond on short notice to emerging law and order issues and to conduct stabilization operations.

Australia contributed an additional 500 troops to Afghanistan as part of a Dutch-led provincial reconstruction team. By year’s end, there were 1,000 Australian troops in Iraq and 800 in Afghanistan. Australia designated a total of 19 terrorist organizations under its domestic criminal code.

The Government of Australia and its Muslim advisory body, the Muslim Community Reference Group, continued efforts begun in 2005 to develop and implement a National Action Plan to promote social cohesion, harmony, and security. The plan committed almost $30 million for a range of activities to address extremism and intolerance in the Australian community. Activities will include integration enhancement and crisis management training for Muslim communities, and education and employment programs that work to bring law enforcement agencies and Muslim communities together to resolve issues of conflict and discrimination.

Burma

Bilateral relations between Burma and the United States remained strained. The Burmese regime’s willingness to cooperate and coordinate on counterterrorist activities within the country and throughout the region remains limited. However, Burma has cooperated with the United States on both transnational terrorist threats and law enforcement efforts to stem narcotrafficking and money laundering. Burmese Special Branch police created a new counterterrorism unit headquartered in Rangoon.

The Burmese judicial system lacked independence and transparency and suffered from corruption. The government defined almost all anti-regime activities “acts of terrorism” and made little distinction between peaceful political dissent and violent attacks by insurgents or criminals. Suspected perpetrators of any acts that opposed the regime were subject to lengthy detention without trial or due process. The government was quick to characterize dissident groups as aligned with terrorist organizations and used this as justification to scrutinize and disrupt their activities. The regime regularly labeled exile leaders and political activists as “terrorists.” No reliable evidence existed that any terrorists, terrorist organizations, or affiliations, were using Burma as a safe haven.

No known anti-American terrorist groups were operating in Burma. However, some observers posited possible links between known terrorist organizations and two local insurgent groups: the Rohingya Solidarity Organization, and the Arakan Rohingya National Organization. There were few signs that either group remained active inside of Burma, although the Burmese regime’s severe repression of the Rohingya Muslim population inside Burma could foster sympathy with extremist methods and objectives.

Indigenous violence in Burma generally was targeted against the ruling regime. Various insurgent groups in ethnic minority areas near borders with China, India, Bangladesh, Laos, and Thailand conducted small-scale actions against the Burmese authorities. The Government of Burma attributed several recent bombings in the capital and elsewhere to anti-regime elements, but did not publicly file charges against specific individuals.

On January 3, two small-scale bombings occurred in Bago. No deaths or injuries were reported. Police conducted an initial investigation and blamed ethnic Karen groups for attempting to disrupt the National Convention and Burmese Independence Day, which is January 4. On April 20, five small improvised explosive devices went off in downtown Rangoon; police reported minimal damage and no injuries. On September 21, Embassy contacts in the Burmese Special Branch Police reported that a small bomb exploded inside a women’s bathroom at the Teachers Training College in Rangoon, but that no one was injured and the explosion caused very little damage. The Burmese police politely refused the Embassy’s request to view either the scene or any remaining fragments. As in most such incidents, the Government of Burma claimed the incident was a subversive act, “committed by a group of insurgent destructive elements who wanted to disturb and destroy stability of the state.” Authorities did not make public any evidence of a genuine investigation or identify the specific perpetrator(s).

Cambodia

Cambodia’s ability to investigate potential terrorist activities was limited by a lack of training and resources. An absence of comprehensive domestic legislation to combat terrorism also hindered the government’s ability to arrest and prosecute terrorists. Cambodia’s political leadership, however, demonstrated a strong commitment to take aggressive legal action against terrorists.

There were no indications that specific terrorist groups operated in Cambodia, but porous borders and endemic corruption could make the country vulnerable to a terrorist presence. The Cambodian government believed that the Cambodian Freedom Fighters (CFF), which carried out an armed attack in November 2000 that killed eight people, are still capable of carrying out attacks in Cambodia. The leader of this group was arrested in California in 2005. The Cambodian government was working with the FBI to bring the leader of the CFF to trial in the United States.

Various officials were identified to take positions in Cambodia’s National Counterterrorism Committee (NCTC), a policy level decision-making body established by the government in 2005 and chaired by the prime minister. The Australian military conducted a conference with the NCTC in August and expressed its intention to follow-up with a tabletop exercise with the Center.

In addition to providing assistance for the NCTC, the Australian government was helping Cambodia draft a new counterterrorism law. The draft law was being reviewed by the relevant legislative committee and the national legislature was expected to adopt it. The Australian and U.K. governments jointly sponsored a National Seminar on Counterterrorism in April to help train the Cambodian military and police. The Malaysian government cooperated with the Cambodian government on Malaysia-specific cases.

In December, following the visit of the Sri Lankan prime minister, the Cambodian government announced that a Sri Lankan military intelligence official would work with police and defense officials on intelligence matters. His announcement followed Prime Minister Hun Sen’s assurance to his Sri Lankan counterpart that the Tamil Tiger rebels would not receive arms smuggled from Cambodia, although the government acknowledged it was likely this has occurred in the past. Cambodia has destroyed 200,000 small arms over the last several years with EU assistance, and, with U.S. assistance, has destroyed its stockpile of MANPADS.

With U.S. assistance, the Government of Cambodia installed computerized border control systems at Phnom Penh and Siem Riep airports and at the land border crossing of Poipet and Koh Kong. The Cambodian government also cooperated fully with U.S. requests to monitor terrorists and terrorist entities listed as supporters of terrorist financing.

China

As Beijing prepares to host the 2008 Olympics, China increasingly reached out to the United States and other nations on counterterrorism cooperation. No acts of terrorism were committed in China this year, but Chinese citizens were victims of terrorist acts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan.

China participated in the United States Megaports Initiative designed to improve security for United States-bound cargo. The U.S. Department of Energy and its Chinese counterparts made progress toward implementation of the November 2005 agreement allowing the installation of equipment at China’s ports to detect hidden shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials. China became an initial partner nation in the U.S. Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, attending the first meeting of the Global Initiative in Rabat, Morocco in October. China also continued its participation in the Container Security Initiative.

Chinese officials signed statements with counterterrorism counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). In April, China co-hosted the Fourth ARF Meeting on Counterterrorism and Transnational Crime in Beijing. China is a founding member of the SCO and has made counterterrorism one of the group’s main objectives. In June, China hosted an SCO summit in Shanghai that included India, Iran, Pakistan, and Mongolia as observers. At the summit, the member states agreed to hold joint counterterrorism military exercises in Russia in 2007, with troops from all six SCO member states participating. In August, China and Kazakhstan held their first-ever joint counterterrorism exercises in Kazakhstan. In August, China signed agreements with Pakistan on border control, terrorism, and crime and, in December, held joint counterterrorism exercises in Pakistan.

China ratified the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism in February and worked to expand its international cooperation on terrorist finance through mutual legal assistance agreements with foreign jurisdictions. In October, China passed a new Anti-Money Laundering Law, which took effect January 1, 2007, broadening the scope of existing anti-money laundering regulations to hold a greater range of financial institutions liable and to expand the powers of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). With the PBOC as the lead agency for all anti-money laundering activities in China, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) is responsible for criminal investigations, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) is the primary agency for countering illicit foreign exchange transactions.

Institutional obstacles and rivalries between domestic financial and law enforcement authorities hampered Chinese anti-money laundering work and other financial law enforcement aimed at countering terrorists. Still, China’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), established in 2004 to track suspicious transactions, worked closely with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) in the United States to develop its capabilities. China began requiring banks and financial institutions to establish anti-money laundering systems, record customer identities, and report suspicious transactions. In January, China launched a national credit information system to more efficiently monitor transactions, information collection, and dissemination. Nonetheless, anti-money laundering efforts were hampered by the prevalence of counterfeit identity documents and cash transactions conducted by underground banks, which, in some regions, reportedly accounted for over one-third of lending activities.

China refused to recognize the Egmont Group, an umbrella body coordinating the activities of over 100 FIUs worldwide, because the Group includes an FIU from Taiwan. Joining the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) remained an important priority for China. In 2004, China joined the Eurasia FATF-style regional group, and, in 2005, China was granted FATF observer status. In November 2006, an FATF Mutual Evaluation Team comprehensively reviewed China’s anti-money laundering and counterterrorism finance regime. The results of the review and China’s bid to join FATF will be discussed at the June 2007 FATF Plenary Meeting.

Human rights organizations have accused China of using counterterrorism as a pretext to continue efforts to suppress Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group that comprises the majority of the population of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. In August, Chinese police officials announced that since 1990 they have seized 41 tons of explosives from separatists in Xinjiang, including grenades and materials to make bombs. Also in August, China convicted a Canadian citizen of Uighur ethnicity of involvement in East Turkistan terrorist activities. In November, China gave Canada assurances that he would not be executed for his alleged crimes; he remains in prison.

In May, the United States released five ethnic Uighur Chinese national detainees found not to be Enemy Combatants from Guantanamo (GTMO) to Albania. The Chinese government denounced the move as a violation of international law and demanded the return of the men to China. Some of the remaining Uighur detainees at GTMO were designated for transfer or release and others will have their status reviewed annually.

Formally established in 2004, the FBI Legal Attaché Office in Beijing bolstered U.S.-China cooperation on counterterrorism investigations. China provided substantive intelligence in some counterterrorism cases, but more work remained to be done in terms of its overall responsiveness to U.S. requests. In July, the first meeting between a standing Chinese Minister of Public Security and the Director of the FBI was held in Washington, D.C., where FBI Director Robert Mueller hosted Minister Zhou Yongkang, principally to discuss terrorism matters.

Following Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff’s visit to Beijing in April, the United States and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to allow United States Federal Air Marshals (FAMS) to fly to China and Chinese air marshals to fly into the United States. In addition, the MOU provided for training and information exchanges. The first FAMS mission was completed in August, and the Chinese air marshals completed training at the FAMS Training Facility in September.

In February, the United States Coast Guard Liaison Office was established in Beijing as a focal point for United States-China exchanges to enhance the safety and security of ports around the world in compliance with the Maritime Transportation Safety Act. Activities included a visit by the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, three expert-level delegations to conduct training and exchanges, two port visits in China by U.S. Coast Guard cutters, and one international exercise.

Although not publicly attributing any particular incident to terrorism, Chinese authorities asserted that terrorists, primarily based in Xinjiang, continued to operate clandestinely on Chinese territory. The Chinese government attempted to restrict foreign support for perceived terrorism and increased the number of deployed security personnel in response to perceived terrorist activities in Xinjiang. The United States has sanctioned Chinese entities for missile and chemical weapons proliferation activities, including transfers to Iran, North Korea, and Libya.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s role as a major transit point for cargo, finances, and people makes it an important counterterrorism partner, and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG) continued to cooperate with the United States on counterterrorism efforts.

The high level of cooperation and the successful implementation of the Container Security Initiative (CSI) by Hong Kong Customs officials received continued praise from visiting U.S. government delegations, which described it as a model for CSI implementation. The U.S. government continued to work with one of Hong Kong’s port terminal operators to develop and refine integrated container security architecture.

Hong Kong law enforcement agencies provided full support and cooperation to their overseas counterparts in tracing financial transactions suspected of being linked to terrorist activities. Hong Kong actively participated in various anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing initiatives, including the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering. Hong Kong’s Joint Financial Intelligence Unit (JFIU), operated by Hong Kong Police and the Customs and Excises Department, is a member of the Egmont Group.

The UN International Convention for the Suppression of Financing Terrorism became applicable to Hong Kong when ratified by the People’s Republic of China on April 19. The Hong Kong regional government published the list of individuals and entities designated as terrorists or terrorist associates under UNSCR 1267 and the financial regulators circulated the lists to financial institutions, advising them to check the lists and report any suspicious transactions to law enforcement agencies.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority recently coordinated the establishment of an Industry Working Group on Anti-Money Laundering that included representatives from some 20 authorized institutions. The group established three sub-groups to address terrorist financing, transaction monitoring systems, and private banking issues.

Macau

The Macau Special Administrative Region Government (MSARG) passed both anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance legislation. Still, Macau’s lack of judicial and law enforcement experience in combating financial crimes, combined with its expanding casino industry and history as a base for organized crime, provided a potential site for money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

On March 23, the Macau government passed new counter-terrorism legislation aimed at strengthening counterterrorist financing measures. The law made it illegal to conceal or handle finances on behalf of terrorist organizations. Individuals were liable even if they were not members of designated terrorist organizations themselves. The legislation also allowed, in certain cases, prosecution of persons who committed terrorist acts outside of Macau and mandated stiffer penalties. On the same day, the government also passed a money laundering bill that strengthened its oversight of financial institutions. The new law imposed requirements for the mandatory identification and registration of financial institution shareholders, customer identification, and external audits that includes reviews of compliance with anti-money laundering statutes.

The Macau government has the authority to freeze terrorist assets, although a judicial order is required. Macau financial authorities directed the institutions they supervise to conduct searches for terrorist assets using the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee consolidated list and the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists designated by the United States pursuant to E.O. 13224. Bank examiners reviewed customer profiles, large cash transaction records, and suspicious bank reports. They also interviewed front-line staff, senior management and money laundering compliance officers.

The Government of Macau continued to exchange information with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and counterparts in mainland China. Additionally, Macau continued to cooperate internationally in counterterrorism efforts, through INTERPOL and other security-focused organizations within the Asia Pacific Region.

Indonesia

Since late 2004, the Indonesian government increased counterterrorism efforts and counterterrorism cooperation with both the United States and the international community. The Indonesian National Police (INP) had several successes in breaking-up terrorist cells and arresting terrorists with links to Jemaah Islamiya (JI). INP investigations into the October 2005 suicide attacks on Bali led to numerous successes for Indonesia’s counterterrorism investigators. Links among violent Islamic radicals and extremist organizations, including JI and its associates, remained a serious security threat to both Western and domestic targets in Indonesia, although no major anti-Western terrorist incident occurred. Physical security at major hotels and tourist venues in Jakarta and Bali was upgraded significantly. At year’s end, the main target of Indonesian CT units remained Malaysian JI operative and recruiter Noordin Mohammed Top, suspected in nearly every major terrorist attack in Indonesia since 2002.

The security situation in the previously strife-torn Maluku region improved, absent major incidents of interfaith violence. In central Sulawesi, where terrorist attacks in 2005 claimed several lives, a special taskforce led by the INP’s top CT investigators identified and arrested several JI-linked terrorists responsible for the October 2005 Poso schoolgirl beheadings and other previously unresolved cases. The three main suspects arrested in April were brought to trial in Jakarta. In September, several days of street violence in Indonesia’s eastern provinces followed the executions in Palu of three Christian men for their role in inciting deadly attacks against Muslims in 2000. However, the perpetrators behind the October shooting death of a Christian priest in Palu remained at large. Also at large were more than two dozen terrorist suspects in central Sulawesi who continued to evade INP investigators. The INP feared aggressive police operations would provoke the militants, and, in November, the INP unsuccessfully sought cooperation from the suspects’ families to encourage the suspects to surrender.

The Indonesian attorney general’s office continued to seek convictions in more than two dozen terrorism cases tried this year. Among those convicted were terrorist recruiter and trainer Subur Sugiyarto, terrorist financier Abdullah Sunata, and trained bomb maker Mohammad Cholily. In July, Indonesia’s attorney general staffed the long awaited Terrorism and Transnational Crime Task Force, designed to oversee counterterrorism trials nationwide through a cadre of special terrorism prosecutors. Task Force members immediately began to take on over a dozen counterterrorism cases, including the three central Sulawesi cases.

Indonesia’s policy of routinely granting sentence remissions to nearly all prisoners continued to benefit convicted terrorists, resulting in several early releases. JI figure Emir Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, sentenced in 2005 to 30 months in prison for his involvement in a “sinister conspiracy” to carry out the 2002 Bali attacks, was released in June after several routine sentence reductions. In December, the Indonesian Supreme Court overturned Ba’sayir’s conviction based on a judicial review in which Ba’sayir’s defense presented new evidence. Also released were several lesser known JI-linked figures and Rusman “Gun-gun” Gunawan, the younger brother of Indonesian-born Riduan bin Isomuddin, also known as Hambali, who was an operational leader in JI and served as the middleman between JI and al-Qaida from 2000 until his capture in 2003. Ham-bali, a high value detainee, was transferred to Guantanamo Bay in September.

The Indonesian government continued its efforts to develop an effective anti-money laundering regime, but investigations and prosecutions in these cases continued to fall short. Indonesian police froze terrorist financial assets uncovered during investigations, but the govern-ment’s implementation of the sanctions regime established pursuant to UNSCR 1267 was hampered by poor inter-agency coordination and by human and technical capacity deficits in both government and financial institutions. The USAID is promoting capacity building through its Financial Crimes Prevention Project, a multi-year program to provide technical advisors and support to Indonesia’s effort to develop an effective and credible regime against money laundering and terrorism finance.

Indonesian counterterrorism efforts remained hindered by weak laws and enforcement, serious internal coordination problems, and systemic corruption that further limited already strained government resources. Lawmakers and other senior elected officials continued their slow pace toward needed legal reforms. A widely discussed plan to establish an official counterterrorism coordinating agency appeared to have been shelved after awaiting final presidential approval. Prospective members of the independent police commission designed to help guide police reform were identified this year, but they still need a formal presidential appointment before assuming their responsibilities. The government has not yet submitted a revision of the 2003 Counterterrorism Law to the House of Representatives. Indonesian authorities recognized that more effective prosecution of terrorism cases would require a revision of the law to include updated standards for introducing evidence in terror cases and comprehensive articles on conspiracy.

Japan

Domestically, Japan continued to bolster its defenses against terrorism. In March, the Cabinet approved emergency contingency plans for 47 prefectures to better protect the public from terrorist attacks. In May, Japan revised the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act to enable immigration officials to collect and electronically store fingerprint and facial imagery from foreigners. The Ministry of Justice Immigration Bureau continued testing began in 2004 on a biometric fingerprint and facial recognition system at Narita and Kansai airports with the aim of identifying people trying to enter Japan on fake passports. In June, the government developed legislation designed to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and plans to submit the bill to the Diet. In a bid to clamp down on money laundering, the Ministry of Finance announced in August that Japanese financial institutions would be required to confirm the identity of customers sending 100,000 yen or more overseas. The Financial Services Agency announced a similar change for domestic remittances. On December 1, the Diet passed the Infectious Disease Law to prohibit possession and production of 12 pathogens, including Anthrax and the Ebola Virus to help prevent bioterrorism.

Japan used USAID’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) grants to expand counterterrorism capacity in Southeast Asia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Economic Cooperation Bureau initiated the grant for Cooperation on Counterterrorism and Security Enhancement. This nearly US$ 60.86 million annual program included projects aimed at bolstering piracy prevention, increasing maritime and port security, and preventing weapons proliferation.

Japan made valuable contributions to building counterterrorism capacity among Asian countries. In January, Japan hosted a two-day ministerial conference on international transport security to promote cooperation on ground transportation security; representatives from 14 countries attended. In June, Foreign Minister Aso signed a counter-terrorism capacity building plan with Uzbekistan, Tajiki-stan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan offering equipment and support for border control. In June, Japan hosted the ASEAN-Japan Counterterrorism Dialogue.

In July, the Japanese government held a seminar on the prevention and crisis management of bioterrorism to strengthen mechanisms to combat CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) terrorism in the Asia Pacific. In attendance were officials from 14 countries and representatives from the World Health Organization, the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, and the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counterterrorism (SEARCCT). Japan was an active partner in the Proliferation Security Initiative, participating in exercises, attending all meetings for intelligence experts and operational experts, and leading regional outreach efforts. In October, Japan became an initial partner nation in the U.S. Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and attended its first Global Initiative meeting in Rabat, Morocco. Also in October, Japan hosted a counterterrorism trilateral meeting with the United States and Australia; the following month, these three countries participated in a trilateral strategic dialogue to better synchronize regional activities. Participants from 19 countries discussed measures to tighten nuclear and radiological security at the November International Atomic Energy Agence (IAEA)-Government of Japan Seminar on Strengthening Nuclear Security in Asia.

Japan continued to reach beyond the region in its fight against terrorism. In December, the Abe Cabinet approved the extension of Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JSDF) airlift operations until July 2007, enabling Japan to continue its support for Iraq. In October, the Diet extended for one year the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law that allows for JSDF support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) provided approximately 124 million gallons of fuel to U.S. and allied naval vessels engaged in OEF.

Bilaterally, Japan was a responsive partner in the fight against terrorism. In February, Japanese air marshals trained at the United States Federal Air Marshal Training Facility. Japan remained an advocate and active participant in the International Port Security Program (IPSP). Widely considered a regional leader in maritime security collaboration, the Government of Japan hosted a number of bilateral and multilateral maritime security events. Japan continued its participation in the Port State Control Officer exchange program with the U.S. Coast Guard, which worked to exchange best practices in implementing international ship security requirements.

The National Police Agency (NPA) and the Public Security Intelligence Agency (PSIA) continued to monitor the activities of Aum Shinrikyo, renamed Aleph. In January, the Public Security Examination Commission extended PSIA’s legal authority to monitor Aleph for an additional three years. The Tokyo District Court, in August, upheld the death sentence for Aum Shinrikyo member Masami Tsuchiya, who was charged with making the sarin nerve gas used in the deadly 1995 attack on the Tokyo subway system. In September, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Aum Shinrikyo founder Chizuo Matsumoto; he is not eligible to file future appeals. In February, the Tokyo High Court upheld the death sentence for Tomomitsu Niimi, convicted in 2002 for murdering 26 individuals in seven Aum Shinrikyo-related cases, including the 1995 sarin attack.

The Tokyo District Court sentenced Fusako Shigenobu, a former Japanese Red Army (JRA) member, to 20 years in prison in February. Members of the JRA were responsible for seizing the French Embassy in The Hague in 1974 and the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur in 1975. Prosecutors argued for a life sentence for Shigenobu, claiming she was the alleged mastermind of the “Hague Incident,” but the court ruled that even though she conspired to take over the French Embassy, she was not physically present during the Embassy seizure. As of mid-December, former JRA member Jun Nishikawa remained on trial for his suspected role in a 1977 Japan Airlines hijacking.

Korea, North

See State Sponsors of Terrorism.

Korea, South

The Republic of Korea (ROK) demonstrated excellent law enforcement and intelligence capabilities, and provided terrorism-related training to law enforcement officials from various developing countries. Traditionally focused on potential terrorism from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea), the Korean government broadened its attention to possible acts of terror from beyond the Korean Peninsula. Reflecting this shift, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT), appointed the first Director for International Counterterrorism Cooperation in February. Seoul supported U.S. goals in Afghanistan and maintained the third-largest foreign troop contingent in Iraq, where it has committed $260 million in assistance since 2004. The Korean government remained a valued international partner in the fight against terror financing and money laundering.

In December, the Republic of Korea agreed to participate in the Secure Freight Initiative, which will provide screening for radiation of all cargo bound for the United States. On aviation security, the government participated in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program and contributed over 500,000 US$ to ICAO activities. In November, the Republic of Korea joined other APEC member nations in endorsing U.S. security initiatives on aviation security, bio-terrorism and food defense, and the protection of commercial and financial sectors from abuse by proliferators of weapons of mass destruction. It also took a number of bilateral antiterrorism measures in the region. In November, the governments of Korea and the Philippines launched a joint study on the development of a national computer emergency response team to combat cyber crime. In December, Korea and Indonesia agreed to continue cooperation against transnational crime, including terrorism and security in the Malaka and Singapore Straits. The Korean government also held bilateral counterterrorism consultations with Australia, Singapore, India, Vietnam, Russia, and China.

Korean immigration and law enforcement agencies have an excellent record of tracking suspicious individuals entering their territory and reacting quickly to thwart potential terrorist acts. The government conducted a Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) vulnerability assessment of Incheon International Airport in September, and began examining various countermeasures, including a three-level alert system, increased local patrols, and enhanced public education.

Seoul continued its active participation in regional training and capacity building programs. The Korean government hosted representatives from the Middle East, Latin America, and elsewhere in Asia for training in crime prevention, criminal justice, counterterrorism, forensic science, anti-piracy and terrorism management, prevention of money laundering, and narcotics law enforcement.

Laos

Although the Government of Laos had positive intentions regarding counterterrorism, weak enforcement procedures, inefficient security organizations, and a fundamental misunderstanding of how its law applies to the UNSC counterterrorism conventions, all served to hamper the implementation of multilateral agreements. Border security was negligible. Since 2002, Laos consistently denounced international terrorism and expressed a willingness to cooperate with the international community on counterterrorism. Its actions, however, have mostly been disappointing, due to both a lack of resources and an attitude among Lao officials that Laos could not become a target of international terrorism. In spite of the presence of a domestic insurgency that has employed terrorist tactics, such as ambushing civilian buses and bombing civilian targets, Lao officials at many levels saw terrorism as an issue of only marginal relevance to Laos; they believed that Laos, as a small and neutral country, would not be targeted by international terrorists.

The Bank of Laos vetted government and commercial bank holdings for possible terrorist assets, as identified by U.S.-provided lists of terrorist organizations and individuals, and has issued freeze orders for assets of organizations and individuals named on these lists. However, the Bank has yet to require the freezing of assets of individuals and entities included on the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee consolidated list.

In accordance with its obligations under UNSCR 1373, the Bank of Lao issued freeze orders for assets of organizations and individuals named in lists provided by the United States. Lao authorities issued orders limiting the amount of cash that could be withdrawn from local banks or carried into or out of the country and strengthened reporting requirements of state and privately owned commercial banks. Banking regulation remained extremely weak, however, and the banking system was vulnerable to money laundering and other illegal transactions.

Laos does not have a separate counterterrorism law, but the Lao judicial system was prepared to prosecute acts of terrorism as serious crimes under the Lao criminal code, and recent amendments to the criminal code sought to strengthen counterterrorism sanctions. Still, a November UN-sponsored workshop on counterterrorism illustrated a myriad of shortcomings and vagaries in the theoretical application of the Lao criminal code to deal with terrorism-related crimes, and successful prosecution under these laws is speculative.

Laos’ border security was weak; border officials could not effectively control access to the country even at its most sophisticated border checkpoints. Border crossing along the Mekong River into the surrounding countries of Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia could be accomplished easily and without detection. In more remote sections of the country, along borders with Vietnam and China, it is likely that unmonitored border crossings by locals occurred on a daily basis. Since 9/11, Lao authorities have strengthened airport security, but security procedures at both airport and land immigration points remained lax compared with most other countries in the region. In addition, official Lao identity documents, including passports and ID cards, were easy to purchase from corrupt officials. Laos has a small insurgency numbering perhaps 1,000 to 2,000 persons, including women and children, based in very remote areas of north/central Laos.

Malaysia

The Government of Malaysia took significant steps to improve its legal framework to deal with terrorists and their enablers. New provisions were added to Malaysia’s Penal Code and Criminal Procedures Code that include clearer definitions of terrorism and related crimes and penalties including the death penalty or life in prison for terrorist-related crimes. In the Spring, police arrested 12 members of Darul Islam in Sabah, including citizens of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The group was believed to have supported JI terrorists operating in Indonesia and the Philippines, and they were reportedly caught with illegal firearms and bomb making directions at the time of their arrest. Media reports also indicated that police made multiple interdictions of explosives and bomb making material transiting Malaysia via Eastern Sabah.

The police in Malaysia took the lead in counterterrorist investigations and operations. Malaysian police forces fall under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Security which is headed by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi. To date, suspected terrorists have not been brought to trial but are held in detention under the country’s Internal Security Act (ISA) where they undergo a program of rehabilitation. While in theory, ISA detentions can last indefinitely, sentences are for two years and must be renewed by a determination that the detainee remains a threat to national security. In October, the government unexpectedly released 17 individuals from ISA detention stating that they had been rehabilitated. Because they had been released before completing their sentences, these individuals were placed in probationary status and must periodically report to the authorities. Five of the released detainees had been members of the Kumpulan Mujahedin Malaysia (KMM), while the other eleven were believed to have had ties to Jemaah Islamiya (JI).

Counterterrorism finance-related amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the Subordinate Courts Act and the Courts of Judicature Act came into effect on January 1, 2007. Malaysia and the United States also signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

The Malaysian government engaged with its neighbors on issues related to counterterrorism and transnational crime. It continued to operate and hoped to expand the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Counterterrorism (SEARCCT), an international center for training. Malaysian mediators continued to work in the southern Philippines to help end the dispute between the Philippine government and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). With the “Eyes in Sky” program, Malaysian military forces were working with Singapore and Indonesia to provide enhanced security to the Straits of Malacca, the world’s busiest shipping lane. In December, the Malaysian Defense Minister/Deputy Prime Minister and his Indonesian counterpart announced an initiative to enhance bilateral police cooperation along the land border on Borneo.

Mongolia

There were no known terrorist groups operating in Mongolia and no known bases of support. However, Mongolian government officials cited more than 6,000 kilometers of porous borders, easy entry for foreign travelers, and poverty as conditions that terrorists could exploit and moved to increase awareness of terrorism and to consider new laws. On July 8, a law to combat money laundering and terrorist financing offenses was approved by the Mongolian Parliament. The Mongolian police, Ministry of Justice, and the General Intelligence Agency’s counterterrorism branch all cooperated with the U.S. to willingly provide requested support. As a result of resource and technical limitations, however, law enforcement capacities, including those related to counterterrorism, remained modest. Mongolia deployed a seventh rotation of 100 Mongolian soldiers to Iraq in October in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as a sixth rotation of 21 Mongolian soldiers to Afghanistan to train the Afghan National Army.

New Zealand

In June, the New Zealand Parliament passed the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Act 2005, which expanded criminalization of terrorist financing to include the intentional financing of non-designated organizations that engage in terrorism. New Zealand designated 68 terrorist organizations in 2006, bringing its total number of designated terrorist organizations to 488. Under the Financial Transactions Reporting Act of 1996, banks are required to report suspicious activities to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) housed in the National Police Department. The FIU had received about 4,200 Suspicious Transaction Reports and referred 616 of these to various law enforcement agencies and units for investigation. The FIU received approximately 53 Suspicious Property Reports; none were found to have connections to terrorist entities or associated individuals.

New Zealand remained active in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, where it has commanded the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamiyan Province since September 2003. New Zealand also participated actively in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and took part in a U.S.-sponsored PSI tabletop exercise in October. On March 27, New Zealand and the U.S. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) through which New Zealand joined the United States and Australia in the Regional Movement Alert List (RMAL) passport alert system, an APEC forum initiative. In the Fall, an officer from the New Zealand police was seconded to the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (JIATF-West) in the Pacific Command Center in Hawaii. New Zealand offered assistance to Pacific Islands Forum member countries to help them submit reports pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions 1267, 1373, and 1540. Nine Pacific Island countries responded positively to this offer.

Philippines

The Philippines, one of the earliest supporters of the War on Terror, continued its bilateral and multilateral counter-terrorism efforts. In August, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) launched “Operation Ultimatum”, a concerted effort to capture or kill the top Jemaah Islamiya (JI) and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) operatives on Jolo Island in the South. The operation has been highly successful to date as a number of ASG and JI members have been captured or killed since its inception. Philippine forces recently eliminated both Khadaffy Janjalani, the nominal leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group, and ASG spokesperson, Abu Solaiman. Operation Ultimatum is one feature of a U.S.- assisted strategy to strengthen the rule of law in the Sulu archipelago. Joint U.S.-Philippines military exercises know as “Balikatan” supported the Philippine govern-ment’s campaign to separate terrorists from the general population and diminish support for their cause. The Anti-terrorism Task Force arrested, captured, or killed 88 suspected terrorists, and seized over 900 kilograms of explosive materials. Philippine authorities also made some progress in tracking, blocking, and seizing terrorists’ assets.

Despite some successes, major evidentiary and procedural obstacles in the Philippines continued to hinder the building of effective terrorism cases. A large and growing case backlog and the absence of consistent trials against terrorists were impediments to the prosecution of suspected terrorists. Despite plans dating back to 2001, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had yet to introduce a digitized, machine-readable passport.

While the Philippines cooperated with U.S. requests for prosecutions for persons who had tampered or altered travel documents, the prosecutions carried low-level penalties for those convicted of such fraud. In addition, there was a reluctance to investigate or charge vendors or users of false documents. Under current Philippine law, the suspect must present the fraudulent document to a Philippine government authority in order for a crime to have been committed. At year’s end, a counterterrorism bill approved in April by the House of Representatives remained in the Senate.

The Philippines experienced 93 bombings, ranging from improvised explosive devices and grenades to landmines, including:

  • In February, the bombing of a karaoke bar located near a Philippine military base in Jolo left one dead and 22 injured.
  • In March, a bomb exploded at the Sulu Consumers Cooperative in Jolo killing nine people and injuring 20.
  • In June, a roadside bombing in Shariff Aguak killed three people and injured eight.
  • In August, two bombs exploded almost simultaneously in Kidapawan City injuring three people.
  • In September, a bomb exploded at a public market in General Santos City killing two people and injuring six.
  • In October, a bomb exploded near the headquarters of the Sulu Philippine National Police in Jolo injuring two persons.
  • In a separate October attack, three bombs exploded in Tacurong, Sultan Kudurat; Makilala, North Cotabato; and Cotabato City killing eight people and injuring over 30.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) was empowered by the Philippines Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (AMLA), as amended in 2003, to investigate and prosecute money laundering. The AMLC is the lead agency responsible for implementing the asset freeze measures called for by the UN Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee. Under current law, however, the AMLC cannot take direct action against suspected terrorists or those supporting terrorism, but must apply for a court order to inquire into bank accounts and direct the freezing of assets and transactions. The AMLC sometimes needed several months to issue the relevant resolution to the Court of Appeals after receiving information about a newly-listed terrorist entity and circulating it to the financial institutions. The AMLC has 91 cases pending in various stages with the courts, including 34 for money laundering, 24 for civil forfeiture, and the rest pertaining to freeze orders and bank inquiries. The slow judicial process hindered efforts by the AMLC to see these cases through to conclusion; a trial can take up to seven years to complete.

In April, a bilateral U.S.-Philippines Security Engagement Board (SEB) was inaugurated to address non-traditional security issues, including counterterrorism and maritime security. The SEB set the stage for the “Kapid Bisig” (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) counterterrorism framework that focused on civil affairs, capability upgrades, and support for AFP operations. The United States assisted the Philippines in establishing an interagency intelligence fusion center in Zamboanga City to support both maritime interdictions against transnational criminal/terrorist organizations, and the “coast watch” system in Mindanao, established with Australian assistance.

Singapore

Singapore continued its bilateral and multilateral intelligence and law enforcement cooperation to investigate terrorist groups, focusing on Jemaah Islamiya (JI). In February, Indonesia extradited Mas Selamat bin Kastari to Singapore. Mas Selamat, reportedly the Singaporean leader of a local JI network, fled Singapore in 2001 following the arrest of other JI members by the Internal Security Department (ISD).

Singapore detained five members of the regional terrorist group JI, including Mas Selamat, under the Internal Security Act (ISA). As of November, 34 people with links to terrorist groups were in detention. Detainees included members of JI who had plotted to carry out attacks in Singapore in the past and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Under detention orders, the detainees were required to undergo a program of religious counseling with a group of volunteer religious counselors. Singapore enlisted the support of religious teachers and scholars to study JI’s ideology, develop teachings to counter the group’s spread within Singapore’s Muslim community, and provide counseling to detainees.

In April, the Government of Singapore and the U.S. Department of Energy commenced joint operation of a Second Line of Defense (SLD) Megaports pilot project at Singapore’s Pasir Panjang Terminal. Radiation detectors monitored export containers and a limited number of inter-terminal transshipped cargo containers. In July, Singapore announced a voluntary plan to enhance supply chain security. The plan included security guidelines and goals for companies to adhere to, in order to improve the security of their operations.

Since August, all new Singaporean passports were biometrically enabled. Singapore shared lost and stolen passport information with the U.S. and was working with its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) partners to develop similar data-sharing. Singaporean officials took strong measures to enhance maritime security in nearby waters, especially the Strait of Malacca, including countering terrorist threats, piracy, and other criminal attacks. In April, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia signed the Malacca Strait Patrols (MSP) agreement linking naval and air patrols over the Strait of Malacca by the three littoral states. In November, Singapore hosted the inaugural meeting of the 14-member governing council of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP). Singapore provided significant funding for the organization’s Information Sharing Centre, based in Singapore. Singapore actively participated in counterterrorism efforts through various international fora, including the ASEAN Regional Forum, and continued to take part in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), including the October Leading Edge PSI interdiction training exercise.

Taiwan

Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations and, therefore, is not subject to UNSC Resolutions and cannot join UN conventions and protocols related to terrorist financing. Nonetheless, Taiwan sought to implement, to the maximum extent possible, all UN resolutions relating to combating terrorism and terrorist finance issues. Taiwan continued to provide rapid and thorough responses on terrorism financing issues to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). Taiwan’s Executive Yuan submitted an “Anti-terrorist Action Law” to the Legislative Yuan. This bill would empower the Financial Supervisory Commission to seize assets of entities involved in terrorist activities, and employ a package of trade, travel, and financial sanctions against North Korea in response to UNSCR 1718. These items are under review. The cabinet-level Counterterrorism Office conducted several large-scale training exercises. While its primary mission was counterterrorism, its focus broadened to include crisis management, disaster preparedness, and island-wide civilian military mobilization.

In September, the Container Security Initiative began operations at Taiwan’s port of Kaohsiung and subsequently was expanded to Keelong harbor. Inspections in Kaohsiung have already yielded seizures of counterfeit currency and illegal drugs. In May, AIT and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office signed a Memorandum of Agreement to implement the U.S. Department of Energy’s Megaports program in Kaohsiung to help prevent trafficking in radioactive materials. Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs announced a more comprehensive requirement for official approval of commodities exported from or transshipped through Taiwan ports to Iran and North Korea. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs tightened regulations for issuing visas to nationals of North Korea and Iran.

Thailand

On December 31, a series of eight bomb attacks took place at six separate locations in Bangkok. The bombs killed three Thai citizens and injured dozens, including six foreign tourists. The locations targeted in the attacks were not specifically identified with foreign interests or tourists. The perpetrators of the attacks were not identified. Thai-land’s biggest domestic security challenge remained the ongoing separatist movement in the far southern provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani, and Songkhla. This region, bordering Malaysia, has experienced episodic, separatist-related violence for decades among the predominantly ethnic Malay-Muslim population. Since January 2004, violence increased dramatically and continued on a near daily basis. Suspected separatist militants carried out shootings, beheadings, and several coordinated bombings using improvised explosive devices, including an August 31 attack on 22 bank branch offices in Yala province.

In an effort to address local grievances, the interim government made a series of conciliatory gestures towards southern ethnic-Malay Muslims, including a pledge to seek talks with separatist leaders. Additionally, on November 1, the government reconstituted the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) and the Civilian, Military, and Police Command, two entities credited with effectively coordinating Thai government efforts in the region prior to their disbandment in 2002. The militants have not responded positively to these conciliatory gestures, and the violence continued.

The Government of Thailand maintained that the situation was a domestic issue. Elements of the government expressed concern, however, that militants involved in the violence may have received funding or training from outside Thailand. In November, interim Prime Minister Surayud said that militants were financing their activities in part through restaurants owned by Thai nationals living in Malaysia. Malaysian officials vehemently denied this allegation. Relations between Thailand and Malaysia remained strained as violence continued in Thai territory near their common border, but improved following visits to Kuala Lumpur by Surayud and other senior officials. The ongoing unrest received international attention and the concern of international Islamic organizations, including the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which expressed support for the reconciliation efforts made by the interim government.

Police forensics and ballistics work often failed to produce evidence that led to arrests following separatist attacks, and government prosecutors struggled to develop cases that could stand up in court. On November 18, three southern Thai Islamic teachers were convicted of criminal conspiracy charges related to their membership in the outlawed separatist group Pattani United Liberation Organization (PULO) and were sentenced to ten years in prison. This was one of the few successful prosecutions of southern militants by the government since the dramatic escalation in violence that began in 2004. In August, the Thai Attorney General held the first ever conference of Thai police and prosecutors working in the South, in part to improve cooperation between police and prosecutors. The newly reinstated SBPAC will also, for the first time, incorporate a special Ministry of Justice component offering legal aid to local citizens as well as serving to enhance police and prosecutor work in the South.

Thai security forces cooperated with the U.S. and other countries to deny safe haven for terrorists within their territory. In the past, Thailand has served as a transit point for regional terrorists, as evidenced by the 2003 capture in Central Thailand of Nurjaman Riduan bin Isomuddin (a.k.a. Hambali), JI’s operations chief and the architect behind the 2002 Bali bombing. Thai and U.S. officials were concerned that transnational terror groups could establish links with southern Thailand-based separatist groups. However, there were no indications that transnational terrorist groups were directly involved in the violence, and there was no evidence of direct operational links between southern Thai separatist groups and regional terror networks.

There were several militant domestic separatist groups implicated in the ongoing violence besides PULO, including the Pattani Islamic Mujahideen Movement (GMIP) and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional Coordinate (BRN-C). Some Thai officials have publicly labeled the operational arm of the BRN-C as the Ruanda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK), which they blame for a significant number of attacks in the South. Some of these separatist groups may share elements of ideology and general rejection of Western influence held by international Islamic terrorists, but by all indications they remained primarily focused on seeking autonomy for the far southern provinces and historical grievances against the Thai state.

There was no evidence that foreign governments provided financial, military, or diplomatic support for militant separatist operations in the South of Thailand. However, Thai separatist groups such as PULO reportedly operated openly in Syria and a number of self-declared separatist leaders received asylum in Europe or were believed to be hiding in Malaysia. Officials in the Thai government expressed concern that money from Middle Eastern charities that supported religious or educational objectives could be diverted to support separatist activities, but there was no evidence of a direct link. Thai officials expressed concern that Thai students studying in madrassas in Pakistan and the Middle East might be exposed to extremist indoctrination. In November, Royal Thai Army Commander General Sonthi Boonyaratglin met with Thai students in Karachi, in part to address these concerns.

Since 2004, the militants appear to have limited their attacks to the geographic far South and have not specifically targeted U.S. persons or interests. On September 16, a U.S. citizen tourist was killed in Songkhla province by one of five coordinated bombs and on November 19, the local Ford and Chevrolet showrooms were among six car dealerships in Yala City targeted by bombers. No group claimed responsibility for these attacks.

Thai police and security officials participated in U.S. government training programs. The U.S. and Thai militaries conducted a number of joint exercises and training programs that supported counterterrorism. Bangkok’s International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) began a series of training modules for Thai security officials and police that included post-blast and crime scene investigation courses. Under the auspices of the Container Security Initiative and the Megaport Initiative, Thailand engaged in a range of port security programs.

The Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) acted as the center for interdicting terrorist finance. UN 1267 resolutions were quickly implemented by Thai banks under instructions from AMLO. Thailand has engaged with the G-8 Counterterrorism Action Group on increasing penalties for document fraud, which is an ongoing problem in Thailand.

The Government of Thailand participated actively in international counterterrorism efforts through ASEAN and other fora, but areas of concern remained. Thailand was party to only six of the 13 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. Thailand has not endorsed the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which negatively affects regional counter-proliferation cooperation given Thailand’s regional leadership role and strategic location.

EUROPE AND EURASIA

Overview

While no major terrorist attacks took place in Europe in 2006, foiled plots and concerns over increasing radicalization among immigrant youth served as stimulus for increased cooperation and efforts to strengthen counterterrorism capabilities. Italy and Germany worked closely with neighboring countries and held a successful and incident-free Winter Olympics and World Cup, respectively. European nations continued to work in close partnership with the United States on the global counterterrorism campaign and continued to enhance both their individual and collective abilities to deal with a terrorist threat characterized by both external and, increasingly, internal components. The contributions of European countries in sharing intelligence, arresting members of terrorist cells, and interdicting terrorist financing and logistics were vital elements in the War on Terror.

At the June 2004 U.S.–EU Summit, the sides agreed on a Declaration on Combating Terrorism that renewed the transatlantic commitment to develop measures to maximize capacities to detect, investigate and prosecute terrorists, prevent terrorist attacks, prevent access by terrorists to financial and other economic resources, enhance information sharing and cooperation among law enforcement agencies, and improve the effectiveness of border information systems. These commitments were reconfirmed at the 2006 Summit and work continued on implementation. In 2006, the ratification/implementation of the Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties between the U.S. and EU Member States was ongoing. (In the United States, the treaties were submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.) In October, the U.S. and EU reached an interim agreement on the transferring of passenger name record data, which was necessitated by the nullification of the earlier agreement by a European court. On November 6, the U.S. and the EU signed an agreement to facilitate U.S. participation in Eurojust, the EU’s prose-cutorial liaison organization. Also in November, the U.S. and EU launched a formal dialogue to develop common data protection standards to facilitate efforts to share terrorist information.

European nations are active participants in a variety of multilateral organizations that contribute to counterterrorist efforts, including the G8, NATO, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The United States and its partners work through these organizations to establish and implement best practices, build the counterterrorism capabilities of “weak but willing” states, and help fight the War on Terror globally. OSCE members committed themselves to becoming parties to the 13 UN terrorism conventions and protocols, to work together to modernize travel documents and shipping container security, to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist organizations, and to implement UNSC Resolution 1540 to counter WMD (related materials and the means of delivery) proliferation.

Terrorist activity and the presence of terrorist support networks in Europe remained a source of concern. Efforts to combat the threat in Europe were sometimes slowed by legal protections that made it difficult to take firm judicial action against suspected terrorists, asylum laws that afforded loopholes, inadequate legislation, or standards of evidence that limited the use of classified information in holding terrorist suspects. Terrorists are also able to take advantage of the ease of travel among Schengen countries. Some European states have at times not been able to prosecute successfully or hold some of the suspected terrorists brought before their courts. The EU as a whole remained reluctant to take steps to block the assets of charities associated with HAMAS and Hizballah.

European governments were increasingly concerned about radicalization among their indigenous populations and sought greater understanding of the process of “radicalization” and how to prevent it. Several governments increased outreach to Muslim communities living within their countries and made attempts to gain support from within those communities to counter the appeal of extremist ideology.

The announcement by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), formerly the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), that it was merging with al-Qaida sparked concerns throughout Europe, in particular in France, after the AQIM/GSPC made more threats against what it termed “crusading” westerners, particularly American and French citizens.

In March, the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist group declared a “permanent cease-fire,” leading to hopes that its long campaign would at last come to an end. On December 30, however, following street violence by ETA supporters and the organization’s theft of 350 handguns from an armory in France, ETA set off a huge car bomb at the Madrid International Airport that killed two Ecuadorian immigrants. In July, terrorists planted suitcase bombs that failed to detonate on two German trains.

In August, in cooperation with the U.S. and Pakistan, British authorities disrupted a terrorist plot to blow up aircraft traveling between the United Kingdom and the United States. Some 15 persons suspected of being involved in the U.K.-based plot were arrested.

Political progress in Northern Ireland continued, resulting in a marked decrease in terrorist incidents. The Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), which monitors progress by paramilitary groups in ending violent activities, reported in October that evidence showed the leadership of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) was committed to following a peaceful path. Cooperation among European law enforcement agencies was important to counterterrorism successes. France and Spain continued to cooperate effectively against ETA. Belgian courts convicted individuals connected to the 2003 Madrid bombings and several countries, including France, Spain and Italy, broke up terrorist networks facilitating travel by foreign fighters to Iraq.

U.S.- European bioterrorism cooperation expanded. The topic was addressed at high-level U.S.- EU counterterrorism talks and at the U.S.- Russia Counterterrorism Working Group. Switzerland and the U.S. co-sponsored the successful “Black Ice” bioterrorism coordination exercise in Montreux, hosting senior officials from numerous multilateral organizations. During its 2006 G8 presidency, Russia worked closely with the U.S. to launch the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

Several significant terrorist leaders were killed in Russia. In July, Russia’s most wanted terrorist, Chechen separatist Shamil Basayev, was killed. In November, Russian security forces killed Abu Hafs al-Urdani, the al-Qaida-linked, Jordanian-born commander of foreign fighters in Chechnya. Central and Eastern European states made strides in countering terrorism in 2006. Many states across the Balkans, Baltics, and Caucasus sent troops to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo.

Albania

Albania contributed troops to both Afghanistan and Iraq, froze bank accounts related to money laundering and terrorism financing, and worked with the U.S. and other countries to combat terrorism. Albania made progress in identifying vulnerabilities at land and sea borders, but the government and police forces faced substantial challenges to fully enforce border security and combat organized crime and corruption.

In May, Albania granted political asylum to five Guantanamo Bay detainees, after the U.S. determined they were no longer considered enemy combatants. In November, Albania admitted an additional three former detainees who were designated for release. Albania has publicly committed to maintaining its presence in Iraq as long as required, and has a contingent of around 120 soldiers operating in the country. In Afghanistan, Albania deployed 26 troops to ISAF, including four members of a joint medical unit.

Although no new groups’ assets were frozen this year under the Terrorism Financing Freeze (TFF) law enacted in 2004, the Albanian government found an additional seven holdings by already identified groups that were subsequently frozen. While the Albanian State Intelligence Service (SHISH) is the foremost counterterrorism unit within the Albanian government, much of their success went unnoticed due to the clandestine nature of their work. We note that the effectiveness of the government’s counterterrorist financing efforts was hampered by inadequate financial resources, poor communications, a lack of data processing infrastructure, and the lack of experienced personnel due to frequent turnover.

Andorra

The Government of Andorra worked to build law enforcement capacity, enhance border security, and combat money laundering and terrorist financing. In September, the Minister’s Council approved the ratification of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Terrorism prevention signed by the Andorrans in Warsaw on May 16, 2005, and the Convention is pending approval by the Andorran Parliament. The Andorran government contributed to UNESCO’s solidarity and international cooperation programs by sending financial support to Afghanistan, and provided financial support to OSCE to implement a rocket buster destruction project in Tajikistan.

Armenia

With substantial U.S. assistance, Armenia continued to strengthen its capacity to counter the country’s few perceived terrorist threats. Armenia’s geographic location, porous borders, and loose visa regime presents opportunities for traffickers of illicit materials, persons, and finances.

Armenia’s reliance on ties with neighboring Iran have dampened Armenian criticism of Iranian extremism and led to closer trade relations between the two countries. Diplomatic and trade relations with Iran are seen as a geographic and strategic necessity for the landlocked country, in light of closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan, and the perceived risk of instability in Georgia. President Kocharian spoke out in November against the possibility of international sanctions against Iran.

The Financial Monitoring Center (FMC), a U.S.-supported financial intelligence unit within the Central Bank, is still developing as a regulatory body. Established in 2005, the FMC began to make investigative strides this year. The FMC received 23 suspicious transaction reports in 2006. After analyzing the reports, the FMC developed five suspicious transaction cases; three of the cases were subsequently referred to the Prosecutor General’s office for further investigation. To date, the FMC has received no reports of transactions involving watch-list designees. The heavy flow of remittances, however, may hinder efforts to detect fund transfers in support of terrorism. The FMC has applied for Egmont Group membership.

Armenia introduced additional security features into the production of passports, continued to install passport readers at border posts, and continued efforts to increase the security of its vital documents, such as birth certificates. On November 1, the government implemented mandatory fingerprinting for travelers departing Zvartnots Airport, Armenia’s only international airport. The National Security Service (NSS) and police shared information with the U.S. Embassy when they discovered fraudulent U.S. visas or other such documents.

In May, the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team for al-Qaida and the Taliban visited Armenia to monitor the implementation of sanctions under UNSCR 1267 and successor resolutions. The team met with the Central Bank, the Ministry of Defense, the National Security Service and the Police, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the MFA, the team said it was satisfied with Armenia’s level of preparedness. Armenia supported U.S. efforts in Iraq with troops on the ground and provided overflight authorization in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In September, Armenia participated in a CIS-wide exercise called “Atom-Antiterror 2006.” The Armenian Special Forces together with the Russian Federal Security Service, ran counterterrorism and hostage release drills at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant.

Austria

In May, during its EU Presidency, Austria welcomed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Department of Home-land Security Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson to a conference of Justice and Interior Ministers from the EU and Russia. The participants signed a declaration to increase cooperation against terrorism, organized crime, corruption, and illegal migration. In June, President Bush attended the U.S.-EU Summit in Vienna and discussed developing biometric standards and preventing WMD proliferation, terrorist financing, and radicalization and recruitment.

Austria promoted intercultural dialogues as a preventive strategy against radicalization and the isolation of ethnic and religious groups. In April, it hosted the second European Conference of Imams and convened a “Dialogue between Cultures and Religions” for high-ranking government and religious leaders from around the world in May. Austria has a comprehensive legal framework to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. It achieved a good level of compliance with FATF’s nine Special Recommendations. Also in April, Austria hosted a joint EU-Gulf countries seminar in Brussels to strengthen international cooperation among financial intelligence units, non-profit organizations, and formal and informal banking systems. Austria allocated 12 million euros for counterterrorism measures and amended its export control legislation to further restrict transfers of chemicals, software, and weapons. In June, Austria hosted a U.S.-EU workshop on terrorist financing for 120 representatives from EU member state governments, and the private financial sector. The meeting focused on identifying best practices for ensuring private sector compliance with financial sanctions.

Austria maintained three instructors at the International Police Training Center in Jordan to train Iraqi police and four Austrian liaison officers served in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul.

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan’s counterterrorism cooperation with the United States included granting blanket overflight clearance, engaging in information sharing and law-enforcement cooperation, and approving numerous landings and refueling operations at its civilian airport in support of OEF. Azerbaijan has supported peacekeeping operations in Iraq since August 2003 with an infantry company of approximately 150 soldiers stationed at the Haditha dam. A platoon of Azerbaijani soldiers has been working with the Turkish peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan since November 2002, and President Aliyev announced plans to double this number to between 40 and 44 soldiers.

Azerbaijan stepped up its efforts and had some success in reducing the presence and hampering the activities of international mujahedin with ties to terrorist organizations seeking to move people, money, and material throughout the Caucasus. Azerbaijan took steps to combat terrorist financing and identify possible terrorist-related funding by distributing lists of suspected terrorist groups and individuals to local banks. In December, the inter-ministerial experts group responsible for drafting anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance legislation, provided its most recent draft to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Council of Europe (COE) for comment. The draft law included the establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and would expand the predicate crimes for money laundering beyond narcotics trafficking.

In April, the Azerbaijani Serious Crimes court sentenced six men in a group called Al-Muvahhidun Jamaat to prison terms ranging from ten to fifteen years. The group was convicted of purchasing illegal weapons, armed robbery, illegal border crossing, fabricating documents and resisting arrest. According to the Azerbaijani Ministry of National Security, the members of the group planned to travel to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey for military training. The group was accused of planning bomb attacks on the U.S., Israeli and Russian embassies, the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) building, and the National Bank of Azerbaijan; and “seeking the physical elimination of the leaders of Azerbaijan’s government and security forces.” (Members of the group were first arrested on July 13, 2005.)

Also in April, in a trial involving a group called al-Qaida Caucasus (separate from a group of the same name sentenced in 2005), 16 group members were sentenced to terms of up to life in prison. The group was convicted of the illegal purchase and bearing of firearms and for the July 2005 assassination of an officer of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Internal Affairs. The group consisted of citizens of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and Yemen. Most of them were activists of various radical religious organizations that had undergone training at a camp in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge.

Azerbaijan extradited to Russia a terrorism suspect accused of a bombing in Dagestan in 2002. The suspect was originally arrested in Azerbaijan and, in April, was sentenced by an Azerbaijani court to seven years in prison. He was subsequently extradited to Russia.

Belgium

The Belgian government continued efforts to improve its ability to combat and control terrorist financing, including disrupting the possibility for untraced money flows through phone shops and other alternate remittance systems, value added tax refund carousels, laundered proceeds through narcotics trafficking or prostitution, and the diamond trade. Separately, the Belgian government enacted new legislation that broadened the definition of “bank account” to include insurance, stocks or other securities, and other financial instruments, for the purpose of investigating financial crimes, including the financing of terrorism. The burden of proof on judges to freeze terrorist assets was relatively high. To constitute a criminal offense, authorities had to demonstrate that support was given “with the knowledge that it would contribute to the commission of a crime by the terrorist group.”

Belgium contributed 340 troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The government also provided support for Afghan reconstruction. Belgium plans to expand its technical assistance efforts in Iraq and has begun implementing debt forgiveness within the framework of Paris Club agreements. It expanded its participation in the Jordan International Police Training Center in Amman, increasing the number of Belgian police officers at the facility from two to four. Other programs included training for Iraqi diplomats and magistrates in Belgium and training for Iraqi servicemen in Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with Germany.

Belgium is not a significant safe haven for terrorist groups, although the PKK operated television production facilities in the country. Belgian authorities were concerned about potential terror activities involving groups from Algeria and North Africa, and investigated groups such as the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP-C), and a far right group with links to neo-Nazi groups.

In February, a Belgian court convicted members of the GICM for belonging to a terrorist group linked to attacks in Madrid and Casablanca and providing logistical and financial support to the GICM. Under the antiterrorism law, prosecutors focused on the material support the suspects provided to terrorists, including lodging and false documents. Three of the 13 defendants were sentenced to terms of six to seven years. Six received three to five year sentences under the 2003 antiterrorism law, which criminalized membership in a terrorist group and broadened the definition of terrorist acts. In September, a Belgian appeals court upheld the convictions of five GICM members and imposed sentences ranging from 40 months to eight years.

In another case, also prosecuted pursuant to the 2003 anti-terrorism law, members of the DHKP-C were convicted for membership in a terror organization and for providing material support to a terrorist group. In November, the Belgian court of appeals upheld those convictions. In September, Belgian authorities arrested 17 members of a loosely-organized far right group with links to neo-Nazi groups that was allegedly planning attacks to disrupt Belgian democratic institutions.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s law enforcement organizations cooperated with the United States on international counterterrorism. Bosnia remained a weak state, however, with multiple semi-autonomous centers of power, vulnerable to exploitation as a terrorist safe haven or as a potential staging ground for terrorist operations in Europe. Nevertheless, there were notable signs of increased local operational capability to combat terrorism and terrorism finance.

Bosnian authorities continued to strengthen existing counterterrorism mechanisms and develop new ones. The Inter-Ministerial Counterterrorism Task Force (IMCTF), formed in December 2004, and currently responsible for coordinating all State-level institutions with counterterrorism responsibilities, directed two successful terrorism-related deportations in 2006. On February 8, the State Investigative and Protection Agency (SIPA), the State Border Police (SBP), the Foreigners Affairs Service (FAS), and the State Prosecutor worked together to remove convicted terrorist Said Atmani from the country. Atmani, a Moroccan national who fought in Bosnia during the war, served three years in jail for a bombing in France in the mid-1990s, before returning to Bosnia in 2005. On August 30, these agencies deported Tunisian national Bedrudin Ferchicij (a.k.a. Abu Malik), a mujahedin fighter who had remained illegally in Bosnia after the war. Despite these successes, the Task Force’s operational effectiveness was generally hampered by insufficient coordination, such as infrequent communication and a lack of clear divisions of labor among the agencies.

In January, the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina formed the Citizenship Review Commission (CRC). The Commission reviewed the status of foreign Mujahadin fighters and others who obtained Bosnian citizenship during and after the 1992-95 war, and withdrew citizenship from those who had obtained it improperly. In October the Council of Ministers adopted the Commission’s interim progress report. According to the report, the CRC has completed preliminary reviews of approximately 600 cases (about half the total number pending), adjudicated 150 decisions, and stripped about 50 individuals of their citizenship. Among those stripped were three men listed under UNSC 1267 Committee for links with the Taliban, UBL and/or al-Qaida. The Foreigner Affairs Service had responsibility for determining the appropriate legal status of people stripped of citizenship and of initiating deportations when mandated under the Law on Movement and Stay of Aliens and Asylum. Although created in August 2005, vacant leadership positions stalled FAS institutional development until summer 2006. The process of drafting a revised Law on Movement and Stay of Aliens that would define and strengthen the FAS, which also began in 2005, remained unfinished.

The Bosnian State Court heard opening arguments in its first state-level terrorism trial in July. The trial remained underway with three individuals that were arrested in October 2005 and charged with terrorism, and two others charged with illegal possession of explosives. During the arrests, authorities confiscated weapons, explosives, a crudely fashioned suicide belt, and a video depicting masked men supposedly preparing to attack unspecified European targets. Lead defendants Mirsad Bektasevic (a Swedish citizen) and Abdulkadir Cesur were linked to terrorist networks elsewhere in Europe, and Cesur was also a named defendant in a terrorism trial concurrently underway in Denmark.

The Bosnian organization Aktivna Islamska Omladina (Active Islamic Youth, or AIO) spread extremist and anti-American rhetoric through its weekly print and on-line publication SAFF Magazine. AIO was founded in Zenica in 1995 by individuals with ties to the so-called “El Mujahid Brigade,” a wartime unit comprised mainly of foreign extremists. There were indications that AIO conducted youth outreach in Bosnia during the year and maintained a presence in Western Europe.

In December, the Ministry of Defense pledged to donate 50,000 AK-47 rifles and necessary ammunition to security forces in Afghanistan in support of OEF. Bosnia and Herzegovina deployed a 36-member Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) unit in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit began its fourth rotation in Iraq in November.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria participated in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Bulgaria’s OIF contribution included a year-long deployment of a 154-person security company to Camp Ashraf in March, peace support operations training for 27 Iraqi officers at the National Military University in Veliko Turnovo in August as part of the NATO Training Mission in Iraq, and deployment of four officers to the NATO Training Mission in Iraq in October. In Afghanistan, Bulgaria maintained approximately 150 military personnel throughout the year, including soldiers assigned to HQ SEEBRIG; a separate mechanized infantry platoon assigned to the Kabul Multinational Brigade; a military police and counterintelligence platoon in Kabul; three military medical teams in Kabul and Herat; and Air Force personnel operating Kabul International Airport from October through December.

The Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) continued efforts against terrorist financing and cooperated with the U.S. government on identifying terrorist assets. The FIA distributed lists of individuals and organizations linked to terrorism to all Bulgarian banks, the Ministry of Interior, Customs, and the Border Police. Parliament further strengthened the FIA’s investigative powers by passing amendments enabling the FIA to obtain bank information without a court order.

Croatia

The Croatian government increased its contribution to the International Stabilization and Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan from 50 to 147 soldiers who served in military police, medical support and training roles. In addition, Croatia maintained a small civilian and police team deployment to the German-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Feyzabad. On December 8, the Croatian Parliament approved a further increase to 200 troops in 2007, and to 300 troops in 2008.

Croatia’s long land and sea borders presented a monitoring and enforcement challenge and guided continued efforts to improve its border integrity, its export control regime, and to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In November, Croatian police arrested in two men who were carrying explosives in Zadar, Croatia. The case was initially investigated as a terrorist plot to target and detonate the explosives on a ferry in the Adriatic Sea. Subsequent information pointed to the more likely scenario of an organized crime operation.

Cyprus

Despite limited resources, Cyprus took a clear stand against international terrorism and supported U.S. counterterrorism efforts. The government continued to allow blanket overflight and landing rights to U.S. military aircraft supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the government raised concerns about the allegations in a Council of Europe report identifying Cyprus as a “staging post” for U.S. rendition flights. Cyprus was generally supportive of international efforts to block and freeze terrorist assets, implemented Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, and conformed to EU directives on counterterrorism. In 2005, the Director of the Cyprus Central Intelligence Service (KYP) drafted and submitted to parliament legislation to restructure, modernize, and strengthen Cyprus’s intelligence-gathering capabilities.

Third-country nationals comprised approximately ten percent of the Republic of Cyprus population, and the asylum community was growing. The government had concerns that this population was a potential source of recruits for terrorist groups looking to extend their reach into Europe. Moreover, the UN-patrolled “Green Line” dividing north and south is relatively porous. Immigration controls were uneven, and it was relatively easy for asylum seekers to cross from the Turkish Cypriot-administered area. Such border conditions posed a potential vulnerability and access point for terrorist groups seeking entry into an EU member state (the EU’s “acquis communitaire” currently is suspended in the north of Cyprus).

Cyprus’s eastern Mediterranean location and the large volume of container traffic moving through its ports made the island potentially convenient for terrorist organizations seeking transshipment points for WMD and other items of concern. While Cypriot agencies responsible for nonproliferation assessed there was only a small risk that illicit materials might move through transit cargo, the United States continued to work for increased maritime cooperation. In addition to EXBS activities, there was increased collaboration between the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in providing antiterrorism programming to Cyprus through the Department of Defense’s International Counterproliferation Program (ICP). In October, the ICP provided an “Executive Seminar” on terrorist applications of weapons of mass destruction for 40 senior Republic of Cyprus officials.

The Kongra Gel/Kurdistan Workers’ Party (KGK/PKK) maintained an active presence throughout Cyprus and reportedly used the island as both a fundraising and transit point. Experts estimated the Kurdish community in the government-controlled area to number 1,500. Among Kurdish-origin Turkish settlers in the north, the KGK/PKK reportedly enjoyed significant support. Cyprus maintained that it was fulfilling all responsibilities with respect to the EU designation of the KGK/PKK as a terrorist organization. Authorities in both the area under government control and in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots believed there was little risk the KGK/PKK would conduct operations on Cyprus and were reluctant to take any action that they perceived could make the island a potential target for PKK action. In addition, Turkish authorities believed that the large Turkish troop presence in the north acted as a significant deterrent to open KGK/PKK activity.

Czech Republic

The Government of the Czech Republic provided military assistance in Iraq and Afghanistan, cooperated in routine investigations, and worked with the U.S. to protect the Prague headquarters of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The Czech Republic contributed 101 troops to Coalition efforts in Iraq, 148 troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, and 120 Special Forces troops under Operation Enduring Freedom.

In December 2005, pursuant to a U.S. arrest warrant and INTERPOL Red Notice, Czech authorities arrested Oussama Kassir, a Lebanese-born Swedish national, in transit from Stockholm to Lebanon. Kassir was wanted in the United States on allegations that he conspired to provide material support to terrorists in the planned establishment of a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon. In June, a hearing was held to consider the extradition. Kassir remained in Czech custody pending continued consideration of the U.S. extradition request.

Denmark

Denmark implemented several new measures as part of two anti-terror packages adopted by Parliament. These new measures criminalized the recruitment of persons to terrorism, and the training of others to assist in committing terrorist acts, including financing terrorism.

These new counterterrorism packages also enhanced the Danish government’s ability to investigate and prevent terrorism and other serious crimes. Under the new acts, police may jam or disrupt communications to prevent criminal acts relating to terrorism or the security of Denmark. Information sharing between the Danish Security Intelligence Service (PET) and other agencies was made easier; and phone and internet providers must retain certain data for one year. In addition, the new legislation expanded the scope of certain warrants, allowing the police to conduct repeated searches under one warrant and to obtain intercept warrants covering an individual, rather than a particular phone number or single means of communication.

In January, the Danish government established the Center for Terrorism Analysis under the PET, which was composed of 15 analysts from five agencies. The government also transferred 150 employees from the national police to the PET to strengthen investigative capabilities within the intelligence service for terrorism and other serious crimes. In addition, the government proposed legislation that would prohibit private persons from purchasing fertilizer with ammonium nitrate levels of more than 28 percent, which could be used for improvised explosive devices.

Danish police and prosecutors cooperated closely on terror-related cases. Acting under the new counterterror measures and under provisions of its 2002 counterterrorism law, which explicitly criminalized both terrorism and providing financial and other support to terrorist groups, Danish authorities made several arrests on terrorism-related charges. In September, Danish officers arrested nine individuals suspected of planning a terrorist attack in Denmark in a suburb of Odense, Denmark’s third-largest city. Five of the individuals remained in custody.

Danish authorities proceeded with several court trials on terrorism charges. In August, Danish prosecutors indicted four individuals, all born in Denmark, for attempting to conduct terrorist acts in cooperation with two men arrested in Bosnia in 2005. The four were charged under the terrorism statute; the trial began in December.

The trial continued against three members of the Danish branch of the Al-Aqsa Foundation (a Palestinian charity with suspected links to HAMAS) charged with supporting terrorism. They were indicted in 2003 for funneling money collected in Denmark, ostensibly for humanitarian purposes, to terrorist-related groups abroad. Danish authorities seized approximately $89,406 in funds from the organization. The case is Denmark’s first prosecution under its financing of terrorism legislation.

The trial of Said Mansour, a Danish citizen originally from Morocco, began in December. Mansour was arrested in September 2005, by Danish police, for making and distributing CDs and videos throughout Europe that showed beheadings and killings and called for a violent jihad against the Western world. He was charged under the counterterrorism statute for attempting to recruit terrorists and facilitate terrorism, the first such case in Denmark. Mansour previously served a 90-day sentence from December 2004 on weapons possession charges.

Patrick MacManus, the spokesman of the Danish Non-Governmental Organization, “Opror” (Revolt) was indicted in October for violating Danish counterterrorism legislation by transferring approximately $17,000 to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). In 2005, MacManus informed local media that the group’s actions were a means to challenge Denmark’s counterterrorism laws.

Denmark deployed more than 450 military personnel in southern Iraq to assist with security and reconstruction efforts, and contributed more than 350 military personnel to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Denmark served as chair of the UN Security Council’s Counterterrorism Committee.

Estonia

Estonia contributed 132 soldiers to participate in the U.K.-led provincial reconstruction team in Helmand, Afghanistan. The Estonian contribution consisted of an explosive ordnance disposal team, a national support element, a military observation team, a human intelligence team, a platform maintenance team in Kabul, and infantry. Estonia also sent 38 soldiers to participate in international peace support operations in Iraq. In addition, two staff officers served in the NATO-led training mission along with one police trainer in the Iraq training mission in Jordan.

In April, Estonian law enforcement, security police, and defense forces took part in Shamrock Key 2006, a regional counterterrorism exercise held in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The U.S., Norway, and Poland also participated as NATO partners. The exercise’s objective was to improve cooperation and coordination between the various NATO allies’ counterterrorism units, including synchronization of communications systems, coordination of logistical support, and cooperation on combat tactics.

On August 17, the Government of Estonia’s antiterrorism council approved its antiterrorism policy’s basic principles and action plan. The council consisted of representatives from the Ministries of Defense, Justice, Foreign Affairs, Economic Affairs and Communication, Internal Affairs (which included Security Police and Central Criminal Police), and the State Chancery’s National Security Coordination Office. The Ministry of Internal Affairs headed the council.

Finland

Finland held the EU Presidency from July-December and made counterterrorism a top priority. The government led ongoing efforts within the EU to remove institutional barriers to counterterrorism cooperation and championed EU cooperation with the U.S. and international community. In November, Interior Minister Rajamaki visited Washington for discussions with Justice and Homeland Security officials, and FBI officials participated in Finnish-sponsored EU seminars.

Approximately 100 Finnish troops were deployed in Afghanistan in support of ongoing NATO operations, and a number of Finnish civilian crisis management experts were working in Afghanistan as well. Finland aims to provide ten million euros in development and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan on an annual basis.

On October 1, 2005, new regulations entered into force requiring ships to submit security-related information prior to entry into port. Finland signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the United States; the treaty is awaiting ratification by the Finnish Parliament.

In cases when another government presented a legal request for action or when an individual or organization was suspected of having committed an offense within Finland’s borders, Finland implemented regulations that allowed it to freeze assets without EU or UN approval. Finland amended its criminal code to make it possible to sentence leaders of terrorist groups to 15 years in jail, although the group would have to have actually committed an act of terrorism in Finland before investigation or prosecution could begin. If the charge included murder, the maximum sentence would be life imprisonment.

France

France pursued aggressive counterterrorism measures, including dismantling terror networks on its territory, notably those assisting in the recruitment or financing of terrorists to Iraq. In total, French authorities arrested 317 people in connection with terrorism: 140 for links to Islamic terrorism,150 for attacks in Corsica, and 27 with ties to Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA). Since 2002, French police have arrested 1,422 persons on terrorism related charges.

In September, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) announced its merger with al-Qaida, changed its name to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and declared France its number one target. Several high profile events—including the local publication of the Danish Mohammed cartoon pictorials, heated debate on the interdiction of the veil in French public institutions, and the presence of French troops in Afghanistan and Lebanon—were cited by various French authorities as factors manipulated by Islamic extremists to incite violence.

In May, 29 people were detained in France for suspected association with Iraq-related terror networks. In September, officials noted that at least nine terrorists, whose journey to Iraq began in France were killed, two were incarcerated, and another twelve-to-fifteen were likely still engaged in combat against Coalition Forces. Increasing Islamic radicalization in the prison system also continued to worry French officials.

On January 23, the French government adopted new counterterrorism legislation that considerably strengthened police powers in criminal law and codified some current practices. Preliminary detention for terrorism suspects was extended from a maximum of four to up to six days. Current legislation allowed the state to thereafter place suspects in pre-trial detention for up to four years when the evidence is strong or when they present an imminent threat. The law gave the government additional powers for the freezing of assets, video and telephone surveillance, allowed increased monitoring of public transport records, and granted broader powers of official access to connection data held by internet cafes and to various personal data records. Sentences for convicted terrorists were increased from 20 to 30 years for leading or organizing an attack, and from ten to twenty years for assisting a terrorist organization or operation. The new law also reinforced existing legislation that allowed for the revocation of French nationality and eventual expulsion if the terrorist became a citizen through naturalization within the preceding 15 years.

The French government published its White Paper on terrorism on March 7. The paper, a publicly available document, sets out the government’s overall policy efforts to combat terrorism. It included attack scenarios, threat analyses, and technical as well as political responses to terrorism.

France continued its active engagement with the United Nation’s Security Council (UNSC) Counterterrorism Committee (CTC), the G8’s Counterterrorism Action Group (CTAG), the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee (for the Taliban and al-Qaida), and the European Council’s Anti-Terrorism Strategy action plan. In response to increasing calls, especially in some European and NAM delegations, that the process of listing and delisting of terrorist groups and entities under UNSCR 1267 lacked transparency, the United States and France co-sponsored UNSCR 1730, which made improvements in the process. The resolution was adopted in December. France is a founding member of the joint U.S./Russia Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism that was inaugurated in October. France is a member and contributor to both the Proliferation and Container Security Initiatives. The U.S. and France maintained regular bilateral counterterrorism consultations.

On the military front, French Special Forces participated in coalition operations in Afghanistan as part of OEF. France was also a key participant in Coalition Task Force (CTF) 150, a multinational naval force that patrols the Red Sea and Gulf of Yemen to interdict the movement of suspected terrorists between Afghanistan, the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. It has twice commanded the Task Force. France’s overall contributions in Afghanistan increased.

French police cooperated closely with Spanish authorities in the Basque region. Several arms caches were discovered in France, and a number of arrests of Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) suspects were made throughout the year. Several ETA members were extradited to Spain. One attack, allegedly claimed by Ipparetarek (a defunct French Basque nationalist group) or an Ipparetarek sympathizer, occurred in France on June 11 against the Hotel Ostap.

There were no injuries and only minimal damage. France continued to develop competencies and capabilities of TRACFIN, the Ministry of Finance’s terrorism financing coordination and investigation unit. Within the European Union, France played an active role in the Clearinghouse, the EU process for designation of terrorist organizations. France did not designate HAMAS-affiliated charities, such as the French based Comite de Bienfaisance et Secours aux Palestiniens (Committee for the Well-Being and Assistance to Palestinians), arguing that it had no proven links to terrorism. France also opposed EU designation of Lebanese Hizballah as a terrorist organization, although it supported Hizballah’s eventual disarmament, maintaining that disarmament would result in Hizballah’s gradual integration into Lebanese politics. Attacks on the French island of Corsica were up approximately 38 percent in 2006, totaling over 225. A majority of these attacks were claimed by the National Front for the Liberation of Corsica-Combatants Union, or by the National Front for the Liberation of Corsica of October 22. Three terrorists were killed during the year by accident while attempting to carry out attacks. The government had a widespread police presence in the region and arrested dozens of people throughout the year in connection with various attacks. The groups tended to target secondary residences, and avoided serious damage or casualties. Separatist groups appeared to have largely given up their political battle for independence but continued to wage an intimidation campaign aimed at foreigners or mainland French citizens interested in permanent residence or secondary homes on the small island.

Key judicial proceedings on Islamic terrorism related crimes included:

  • On June 13, 25 Islamic militants tied to a Chechen extremist network that allegedly planned to bomb a commercial center in Paris and the Eiffel Tower were sentenced. Several members of the group, including Menad Benchellali and Merouane Benhamed, received the maximum sentence of ten years.
  • Five of six former Guantanamo detainees expelled to France in 2004 and 2005 were no longer in detention (they were initially detained for many months after their arrival in France). One, Brahim Yadel, remained in custody for violating the terms of his conditional release. All six former detainees faced further charges in France for terrorist conspiracy. In September the trial was halted when a judge ordered further investigations into the role of alleged visits of French intelligence authorities to Guantanamo.
  • On October 26, Karim Mehdi, a Moroccan national, was sentenced to nine years for terrorism related activities. Mehdi is alleged to have ties with September 11 terrorists (Ramzi bin al Shaibah and Ziad Jarrah) and is suspected of planning an attack on the island of Reunion in 2003. Mehdi will be deported following his sentence and not allowed in France for a minimum of six years.
  • On March 29, Rachid Ramda, who was extradited to France from the U.K. in December 2005 after ten years in detention, was sentenced to ten years for his role in the 1995 Paris subway and train attacks.
  • On November 12, France’s chief counterterrorism judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, sent to the Paris Court of Assises the cases of three suspects allegedly connected to the 2002 Djerba, Tunisia attacks. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Christian Ganczarski, and Walid Nawar are suspected of assisting convicted terrorist Belgacem Nawar in the Djerba AQ attacks whose victims included two French citizens. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed remained in U.S. custody at Guantanamo.
  • In late November, three individuals were detained in France after being expelled from Syria; they were suspected of attempting to transit through Syria to join insurgents fighting against Coalition Forces in Iraq. Another nine individuals were deported from Egypt in mid-December under similar charges. All were released after a brief period of detention.
  • On July 19, Adel Tebourski, a Tunisian and French dual-national citizen, who was arrested in 2001 and sentenced in 2005 for his contribution to the September 9, 2001 assassination of Afghan War Chief Ahmad Shah Massood, was stripped of his French nationality by decree and expelled to Tunisia on August 7.
  • Karim Bourti, a French AQIM/GSPC supporter, was also stripped of his citizenship in May.

Since May 2005, the Government of France revoked the security clearances of 72 individuals working in private companies at Charles de Gaulle international airport. The majority of those were announced in early November. A few of those concerned brought legal action against the government and were subsequently reinstated. The government claimed that the individuals, while not terrorists, posed a security risk to the airport because background checks showed they had sympathies with Islamic extremists.

Georgia

Georgia is improving border security operations and made efforts to close its borders to those who wished to smuggle money, weapons, and supplies, but was hindered by corruption at border checkpoints, a general lack of resources, and obstructionism by Georgian separatists. Russia’s July closure of its single legal border crossing with Georgia at Verkkhniy Lars (ostensibly a temporary closure for repairs) further hampered Georgia’s control over its borders. All commerce and transit from Russia into Georgia had to thus pass illegally through the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where Georgian authorities have no way to monitor or control the movement of goods and people as a result of the refusal of Russia and the separatists to permit joint monitoring of Georgia’s borders between these separatist regions and Russia. Georgian internal troops carried out anti-terrorist operations in the Pankisi Gorge. The identification and safe removal of hidden weapons caches in Pankisi enabled Georgian security forces to better improve security in the area.

The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor General’s Office worked closely with U.S. law enforcement on counterterrorism. On January 12, a Georgian court sentenced Vladimir Arutunyan, who was convicted of throwing a grenade at President George Bush in 2005, to life in prison.

Germany

Germany participated in military operations overseas, provided leadership in multilateral settings, and fought terrorism within its borders. While no terrorist attacks took place in Germany, terrorists planted suitcase bombs that failed to detonate on two German trains, and German authorities uncovered a plot to smuggle a bomb aboard an Israeli jetliner. These incidents received extensive press coverage and were pointed to by German officials as reasons for Germany to take additional counterterrorism actions.

Germany was a leading contributor of troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan with nearly 3000 troops deployed. The German Navy also participated in Operation Enduring Freedom off the Horn of Africa with roughly 330 military personnel involved. On October 25, a German Ministry of Defense White Paper outlined that, in the future, the international fight against terrorism would be a central task for the German military. Germany has resisted sending forces to Iraq, but provided equipment and training for the Iraqi military and training for the Iraqi police in the United Arab Emirates.

Eight EU member states joined the “Pruem” agreement, a German initiative from May 2005, to deepen law enforcement cooperation. The agreement enables faster sharing of car registration, DNA, and fingerprint data. Germany was active in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, in the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, and in seeking additional EU listings of terrorists.

The German government implemented legislation to strengthen its ability to fight terrorism. Federal reforms, enacted in July, granted the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation broader powers for terrorism investigations and for preventive arrest of would-be terrorists. On December 1, the German Bundestag approved two bills: one created a unified terrorism database, combining information from federal and state agencies as well as from law enforcement and security agencies; the second bill broadened and simplified the ability of German security agencies to obtain travel, financial, and telephone data.

The June 9–July 9 Soccer World Cup brought millions of fans from around the world to 64 matches in 12 German cities. Germany sought vigorous cooperation with law enforcement officials from neighboring and participating countries to prevent terrorist incidents. Several U.S. agencies developed new bilateral cooperative arrangements with German counterparts.

During the year, German law enforcement authorities arrested and investigated numerous individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism. At the end of the year, German authorities were investigating nearly 200 cases of terrorism-related crimes nationwide. Prominent new actions and arrests included:

  • The November 17 raids and detention of six individuals who tried to bribe another person to smuggle a bomb aboard an Israeli aircraft during the summer. German authorities indicated the plot had been at an early stage; they released all individuals later in the day except for one wanted on another charge.
  • The October 10 arrest of an Iraqi for posting AQ and other terrorist messages on the Internet.
  • The August 19 and 25 arrests of a Lebanese and a Syrian, respectively, connected with the July 31 planting of two suitcase bombs aboard German regional trains in Dortmund and Koblenz. German prosecutors ordered the release of the Syrian on September 14 due to lack of evidence. German authorities worked closely with their Lebanese counterparts, who arrested another individual implicated in the plot.
  • The July 6 arrest of a German citizen of Moroccan heritage charged with recruiting extremist fighters for battle in Iraq as well as for fundraising and providing logistical support for AQ.
  • The June 12 arrest of an Iraqi charged with providing financial and logistical support for Ansar al-Islam.
  • Additional arrests resulted in German prosecutors charging several with leadership of and fundraising for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C).

German courts began trials or reached verdicts in some notable counterterrorism cases. As in previous years, German laws and traditional procedures, as well as the courts’ long-standing and expansive view of civil liberties, sometimes limited the success of cases prosecutors brought to trial:

  • On November 16, ruling on an appeal, the Federal High Court convicted Moroccan citizen and 9/11 Hamburg cell member Mounir el Motassadeq of both membership in a terrorist organization and of 246 counts of accessory to murder (the 246 figure represented the number of passengers aboard the hijacked airliners of 9/11).
  • On July 14, German prosecutors closed their investigation of Syrian-German dual national Mamoun Darkazanli, wanted in Spain on terrorism charges.
  • On June 20, a Stuttgart court began the trial of three Iraqi alleged members of Ansar al-Islam: Ata Abdoulaziz Rashid, Rafik Mohamad Yousef, and Mazen al-Hussein. German prosecutors have charged the three, who have been in detention since December 2004, with a plot to assassinate former Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi during his visit to Berlin that month. Prosecutors also charged them with financial crimes and membership in, financing, and recruiting for a foreign terrorist organization.
  • On May 9, a Düsseldorf court began the trial of one Iraqi (Ibrahim Mohamed Khalil) and two Palestinian defendants (brothers Yasser Abu Shaweesh and Ismail Abu Shaweesh) accused of membership in and/or support of Ansar al-Islam, insurance fraud, and attempted procurement of enriched uranium for a “dirty bomb.” The three have been in German custody since their arrests in January and May 2005.
  • On January 12, a Bavarian court convicted Iraqi citizen Lokman Amin Mohammed of membership in Ansar al-Islam and Ansar al-Sunna, providing them financial and logistical support, and smuggling terrorists into Iraq; he was sentenced to seven years in jail.

The German Interior Ministry used its authority under the Law on Associations to ban organizations that it believed were connected to terrorism. Germany banned a number of such organizations in recent years, including the DHKP-C, Dev Sol, Hizb-ut Tahrir, the PKK, and organizations connected with HAMAS. On January 25, a German court rejected an appeal of the ban against Hizb-ut Tahrir.

Germany participated in several U.S. programs to combat terrorism, including the Container Security Initiative in the ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven. The Transportation Security Administration’s presence in Frankfurt, together with U.S. and German air marshals, formed key parts of bilateral efforts to provide air transport security for the six German airports with flights to the United States.

Greece

With improved counterterrorism infrastructure in place following the 2004 summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece continued to fight domestic and international terrorism. Greece sustained its participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan by providing a unit from the Greek Corps of Engineers (511 troops) and a NATO medical unit in Kabul (209 troops). From October 2005 through April, Greece had the lead for security at Kabul International Airport. On October 12, Greece signed the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure, and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism.

In July, convicted 17 November (17N) terrorist Nikos Papanastasiou, was released from prison for health reasons. Papanastasiou was sentenced to eight years imprisonment in 2003, for setting up and participating in the 17N terrorist group. Papanastasiou is the third convicted 17N terrorist to be granted an early release from prison on health grounds, being preceded by Konstantinos Telios and Pavlos Serifis in 2005. On April 12, an appellate criminal court unanimously acquitted Constantinos Avramidis, a self-confessed member of anarchist organizations who was arrested and indicted as a member of 17N in 2003, for lack of evidence.

Despite these early releases, on October 10, a Greek court denied 17N prisoner Savvas Xiros’ pleas for release on medical grounds for the second time. Xiros’ first plea was denied in October 2005. Xiros’ botched bombing attempt in 2002 led to his arrest and the subsequent arrest and trial of several members of the November 17 organization.

In 2003, Greek courts handed down multiple life sentences to key 17N members who were responsible for hundreds of crimes and the murders of 13 Greeks and five U.S. government employees over a course of almost 30 years. A group appeals trial for 15 17N convicts and two previously acquitted individuals opened in December 2005. The appeals trials essentially represented a new trial for the convicts, since the Greek judicial system allows new facts and evidence to be introduced in the appeals phase.

The appeals trial lasted far longer than the original trial, in part due to the defense team’s tactics and the court’s decisions allowing defendants great leeway to make statements and interrupt witnesses. The defense attorney’s strategy had been to dismiss defendant confessions rendered in the first trial as void due to alleged illegal interrogation methods. Investigation of 17N continued despite the arrest, trial, and conviction of what has been identified as “the main body” of the 17N terrorist group.

The Revolutionary Struggle (RS), an anti-Greek establishment radical leftist group, claimed responsibility for a May bomb explosion near the residence of former Minister of Public Order Giorgos Voulgarakis. The remotely detonated bomb was placed next to a school along the minister’s usual route to work and exploded just minutes before he was due to pass. The explosion wrecked several cars but did not cause any injuries. Police have made no arrests in the case. Police officials have not closed their investigation into the 2004 killing of a Greek Special Guard at his post outside the residence of the British Defense Attaché, which they regarded as a domestic terrorist incident.

Self-styled anarchists attacked “imperialist-capitalist targets” with tools such as firebombs and Molotov cocktails. Since these attacks usually occurred in the middle of the night, few persons were seriously injured and there were no deaths. Several U.S. businesses were targeted. Police officials pursued a more pro-active approach to deterring violent attacks by anarchists and arrested perpetrators.

Hungary

Hungary deployed a provincial reconstruction team to Afghanistan and continued to fully implement domestic legislation to ensure compliance with EU norms regarding financial transactions and money laundering. Cooperation with U.S. and regional officials on export and border controls remained outstanding as Hungary continued its preparations to join the Schengen zone. Hungarian officials aggressively developed and pursued leads in cooperation with U.S. officials to prevent the transshipment of hazardous materials. Efforts to improve its technical ability to trace and control dangerous materials continued, consistent with EU membership obligations.

Iceland

Although Iceland does not have its own military, the government undertook efforts to review its national security policy following the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iceland. The Icelandic government made strong efforts to ensure that Iceland was not a haven for terrorist groups. In June, Iceland passed the “Act to Counter Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorist Acts,” which brought Icelandic law fully into compliance with FATF’s recommendations regarding terrorist financing. In support of efforts to prevent trafficking in weapons of mass destruction, Iceland was a member of the Proliferation Security Initiative and participated in the U.S. Coast Guard’s International Port Security Program. Through its participation in the Schengen Agreement, the Icelandic government consulted closely with other Schengen states on border control and security matters.

In September, the National Police Commissioner’s Office confirmed it was investigating a case involving a resident who showed an interest in researching explosives and bomb making. No charges were brought in the case, but this was the first public confirmation that Iceland’s police conduct preemptive investigations of possible terrorist activity.

On September 26, the government announced efforts to strengthen its security and counterterrorism capabilities, including: a legal review of intelligence and information sharing with foreign governments, the planned establishment of a national security unit within the National Police Commissioner’s Office, and purchases of a new fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and a patrol vessel for the Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG).

On October 12, Iceland’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and the U.S. Secretary of State signed a Joint Understanding on Defense and Security Issues, detailing new initiatives in training, exercises, and intelligence. The government conducted several joint counterterrorism training activities with the United States.

Iceland supported NATO counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan through the deployment of a mobile observation team to the provincial reconstruction team in Ghor Province and through its role as lead NATO nation at Kabul International Airport. Iceland also deployed personnel to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, which reported violations of the cease-fire between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Ireland

The Irish government permitted the transit of U.S. military personnel and material through Irish airspace and airports for deployment to Iraq. The government also took steps to strengthen bilateral dialogue on terrorism issues, including establishing a security liaison office at the Irish Embassy in Washington and the visit of an Irish Justice Department delegation to meet with U.S. Government agencies to discuss terrorism. Ireland focused largely on implementing recent terrorism-related domestic legislation and on negotiations to bring republican groups into a political power-sharing arrangement in Northern Ireland.

The Irish media focused on concerns about the possible radicalization of small numbers of people within Ireland’s 40,000-strong Muslim community. One imam told the press that recruits were targeting some Muslim youth to participate in terrorist activity, although most Muslim leaders strongly denied this claim.

The Irish government continued to work with the British government to bring republican groups into the Northern Ireland political process, the objective of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. In October, representatives of Sinn Fein, formerly the political wing of the Provisional IRA (PIRA), and the Democratic Unionist Party announced their support for the Ireland/U.K.-brokered “St. Andrews Agreement.” The Agreement envisions a power-sharing arrangement between the two sides and a Sinn Fein endorsement of joint policing. The negotiation process leading to the Agreement followed steps by the IRA in 2005 to decommission its weapons and to announce an end to armed struggle.

In October, the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), a four-person body established by the Irish and British governments in 2004, published its twelfth report which concluded that the IRA “is firmly set on a political strategy, eschewing terrorism and other forms of crime.” The IMC reported no acts of crime or violence that could be regarded as sanctioned by the PIRA. In April, however, former Sinn Fein leader Denis Donaldson was murdered in Ireland, roughly four months after his public admission that he had acted as an informant for the British government. While no suspects were apprehended in his murder, there is widespread suspicion that his murder was an act of republican retribution for his work as a double-agent.

Italy

Italy aggressively fought terrorism and dismantled terrorist-related cells within its borders, while it maintained high-level professional cooperation with its international partners. The Italian security services maintained a high-state of readiness at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in

Turin in February and during national elections in April, and closely collaborated with U.S. and other international partners to ensure that both events remained free of terrorist-related incidents. There was no discernible change in either the pace or scope on counterterrorism cooperation with the political change in government from the center-right to the center-left.

Italy contributed to Coalition peacekeeping activities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. Italy was an important partner in the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Container Security Initiative. In October, Italy became an initial partner nation of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, developed by the United States and Russia.

Italy’s judiciary continued to be engaged in counterterrorism efforts, with several noteworthy cases during the reporting period. In September, a Milan court sentenced five members of an Ansar al-Islam cell to sentences ranging from five to ten years. The ruling overturned a January 2005 decision by another court that released two of the individuals and reduced the sentences of the other three, based on a judgment that their activities to recruit fighters for the insurgency in Iraq did not necessarily constitute terrorist activity.

In October, Italy’s Court of Cassation (Italy’s highest appellate court) overturned acquittals by two lower appellate courts for three individuals: Mohamed Daki, Maher Abdelaziz Bouyahia, and Ali Ben Sassi Toumi, suspected of supporting international terrorism. The higher court maintained there was sufficient evidence for a retrial of their alleged involvement in recruiting fighters for Iraq and facilitating the movement of suspected terrorists. In November, a court in Milan sentenced Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, an Egyptian national, to ten years in prison on charges of subversive association aimed at international terrorism for having recruited suicide bombers in Italy for Iraq. Rabei Osman will be extradited to Spain to stand trial on charges of being a key plotter in the 2004 Madrid bombings.

In July, the new Parliament, dominated by the center-left, approved a universal pardon in an effort to relieve prison overcrowding. The pardon allowed anyone serving a prison sentence (except for certain specified offenses) to be released from prison three years early. The pardon excluded those convicted of terrorism, but some individuals convicted of lesser crimes, but potentially having some terror connections, were pardoned. It is unknown how the pardon will affect other individuals with known or suspected ties to terrorism.

In May, the U.S. Ambassador and the Italian Justice Minister signed a new treaty on extradition and mutual legal assistance. The treaty, when ratified by the U.S. Senate, will allow for joint investigative teams, easier asset freezing and forfeiture, and faster sharing of bank account and other financial information.

The Italian security services engaged in raids, temporary detentions, prosecutions, and expulsions of known or suspected extremists to combat Islamic extremists. The Italian government benefited from reinforced counterterrorism legislation enacted in 2005, which made it easier to hold suspects; mandated arrest for crimes involving terrorism; and facilitated the deportation of persons who may be involved in terrorist activities. More than 25 individuals were arrested nationwide as a result of counterterrorism investigations, and approximately 20 suspected terrorists or facilitators were deported. The European Court of Human Rights is reviewing the Italian government’s policy of expulsions and deportations without judicial review, which could impact the government’s ability to uphold a key part of its counterterrorism policy.

Italian officials carefully monitored and dismantled groups with suspected links to the Balkans and Islamic terrorist groups. In a variety of operations, Italian officials maintained that some members of Balkan-based groups in Italy traveled throughout the country and elsewhere in Europe, possibly engaging in recruitment, support, and facilitation of terrorist activities. These individuals faced charges of membership to a terrorist organization and involvement in illegal immigration, both of which are considered a crime under the Italian Penal Code.

In February, two of the main plotters in terrorist cells that were planning attacks in Italy, including against Saint Petronio’s Basilica in Bologna, were arrested in Algeria and Morocco with Italian support. The investigation and subsequent debriefing of the suspects identified seven other individuals residing in Italy linked to the plot; the seven were subsequently ordered deported. In April, as a result of a joint operation, Italian and French police detained 13 suspected Islamic militants linked to the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (AQIM/GSPC). Eight of the suspects were apprehended in Naples on suspicion of using or making forged documents. In July, Italian police authorities arrested four Algerians suspected of belonging to the AQIM/GSPC and of fabricating false documentation. In October, Italian police services, in collaboration with the Federal Swiss Police, arrested six Algerians that belonged to the AQIM/GSPC and were suspected of promoting, financing, and supporting terrorist acts against the Algerian government. Individuals in the group reportedly were linked to at least two terrorist attacks in Algiers conducted in 2005. The investigation also revealed that the group managed more than $1.7 million through some 50 bank and postal accounts.

With respect to financial aspects of fighting terrorism, Italy aggressively identifies and blocks financial resources to suspected terrorist individuals and groups. Italy is second in the EU only to the United Kingdom in the number of individual terrorists and terrorist organizations the country has submitted to the United Nations UN 1267 Sanctions Committee for designation.

Domestic anarchist-inspired terrorist groups presented a diminished threat as a result of Italian authorities’ continued efforts to dismantle their organizations. Nevertheless, anarchist groups sent letter bombs to Italian officials and placed package bombs near military installations and media outlets. In some cases, these devices caused minor injuries. Communist-inspired revolutionary groups occasionally placed improvised explosive devices outside military installations and in one case, a defense industrial firm.

In December, Italian authorities rearrested Fabio Matteini on charges of belonging to a terrorist and subversive organization and of participating in an armed organization. Matteini, who was released from prison in 1997 after serving time for similar charges, is connected to the new Red Brigades, which killed labor advisers Marco Biagi (in 2002) and Massimo D’Antona (in 1999). Biagi and D’Antona served as advisers to the center-right and center-left governments, respectively. Matteini previously was a member of the Combatant Communist Nuclei. In December, a Court of Appeals in Bologna confirmed the life sentences of four other individuals involved in Biagi’s killing.

Latvia

Latvia’s Financial Intelligence Unit continued to maintain a terrorist financing (OFAC) database that it shared with local banks. Although Latvia had previously passed legislation to improve government oversight, in May 2005, the Department of the Treasury designated two Latvian banks as institutions of “primary money laundering concern” under Section 311 of the Patriot Act, prohibiting them from having any dealings with U.S. financial institutions. Since then, the Latvian government and regulatory agencies have worked very closely with the United States to enhance their legislative and regulatory framework. In July, Treasury cleared one bank but continued sanctions against the second.

In April, Latvian law enforcement, security police, and defense forces took part in Shamrock Key 2006, a regional counterterrorism exercise held in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The United States, Norway, and Poland also participated as NATO partners. The exercise’s objective was to improve cooperation and coordination between the various NATO Allies’ counterterrorism units, including synchronization of communications systems, coordination of logistical support, and cooperation on combat tactics. In November, the NATO summit in Riga brought Heads of State and Government from 26 countries to Latvia. The summit provided an impetus for significant improvements in coordination among the various Latvian security-related agencies. Annual exercises are planned to ensure continuation of this high level of coordination. Latvia actively sought vigorous cooperation with law enforcement officials from neighboring and participating countries to prevent terrorist incidents. In securing the summit, Latvia also undertook significant cooperation with U.S. agencies and the U.S. military. Latvia used the Summit to strengthen its border control and inspection system, including data sharing with EU and other partners.

Latvia contributed 35 soldiers to support the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan; in October the team’s mandate was renewed for one year and is now scheduled to expire the same day that the UNSCR mission mandate expires (October 13, 2007). In Iraq, Latvia has 120 soldiers under Polish command. Parliament renewed the authority for the Iraq deployment in December for an additional year.

Lithuania

In May, President Adamkus introduced a Lithuanian-Belarusian intergovernmental agreement to combat organized crime and trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances, terrorism, and other crimes (Decree No. 616), which is pending ratification. In June, the Parliament passed an amendment that allows for and formalizes the process by which the military can be used for counterterrorism purposes. In October, based on EU guidelines, the Lithuanian government approved a terrorist watch list of persons, groups, and organizations related to terror acts or suspected of terrorism. For EU citizens on the list, it limited their rights to own and use funds held by them in financial institutions (Decision No. 1027).

Lithuania has approximately 60 troops in Iraq, including infantry troops serving in Multinational Division South East (MND-SE) near Basra and trainers in the NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I). Lithuania also led a provincial reconstruction team in Afghanistan’s remote Ghor Province. This element consists of approximately 130 Lithuanian troops and civilians responsible for maintaining a stable environment throughout the province to enable reconstruction efforts.

Macedonia

Macedonia’s active implementation of the Law on Export Control of Dual Use Goods and Technologies, through the establishment of an electronic system to review and issue export licenses for dual use technologies, demonstrated its commitment to preventing the sale of potentially dangerous technologies to terrorist and criminal regimes. Macedonia also passed legislation on nuclear security and terrorism, chemical weapons, and bilateral law enforcement, security, and extradition agreements.

Macedonia continued to support troop rotations to Afghanistan and Iraq. The government removed five of seven caveats on its troops deployed to both countries so Macedonian soldiers can better support ISAF and other allied military operations. The United States trained several hundred police and military personnel in counter and anti-terrorism techniques, technologies, and methods.

Malta

Although the Government of Malta has expressed political will, counterterrorism efforts in Malta remained in a nascent stage and are in need of development, enlargement, training, and financial assistance. Deputy Prime Minister Tonio Borg acknowledged this during his September visit to the United States. In February, Malta’s Prevention of Money Laundering Regulations was extended to include “financing of terrorism,” which criminalized terrorist financing and imposed additional obligations, namely customer due diligence, record keeping, reporting, and training procedures. Like other EU countries, Malta has not yet adopted the Directive but was already in substantial compliance with the enumerated requirements. The Government of Malta made significant strides to reform and regulate the banking laws, most significantly, ending its offshore investment regime. The Ministry of Finance’s Financial Intelligence and Analysis Unit continued to expand and upgrade its capabilities.

The Maltese government was concerned about the proliferation and trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in and through its territory. A particular vulnerability is Malta’s Freeport which transshipped approximately 1.2 million containers per year. Most of the containers through Freeport were heading to, or coming from, nations along the North African littoral. Through the Export Control and Border Security assistance program, the United States has for several years provided training and advanced equipment that have increased Maltese authorities’ capability to monitor what passes through its ports. The Maltese have seized many shipments of stolen and counterfeit goods as a direct outcome of the U.S. assistance. Malta and the United States agreed in October on the text for a bilateral Proliferation Security Initiative Ship Boarding Agreement. After Malta and the United States sign the agreement, which is set to occur in March 2007, the Maltese Parliament must approve legislation for it to enter into force.

Technology, funding, and training of Maltese agencies contributed to improved port security and the ability to inspect goods transiting the Freeport and Malta International Airport. With Malta’s geographic location between northern Africa and the European mainland, Malta could become increasingly attractive to terrorist organizations seeking entry into Europe.

Moldova

Moldova deployed four separate contingents of servicemen (a total of 76 servicemen) to Iraq, where they specialized in demining, liaison, and convoy security. The Moldovan government continued to manage a counterterrorism strategy based on its 2003–2008 National Action Plan on Combating Terrorism. The SECI/GUAM National Virtual Center, aimed at combating terrorism, organized crime, and narcotics trafficking, was created on January 27. On November 13, a Counterterrorism Center within the Information and Security Service (SIS) was created and staffed by 18 employees.

The separatist-controlled Transnistria region of Moldova remained a potential area for terrorist recruitment. Mold-ovan law enforcement worked hard to track the whereabouts and activities of a sizeable Arab student population, as many often move in and out of Transnistria, an area where the Moldovan police and security services do not have the authority to operate. Many of these students remained in Moldova illegally, as the government lacked the resources to deport them when their visas expired. Corruption was endemic, and it was easy to obtain false travel documents. The U.S. embassy does not maintain liaison relationships or contacts with Transnistrian law enforcement and/or security service personnel. To date, Embassy has not obtained any information about known terrorist organizations or terrorists operating from or within this region.

Montenegro

Montenegro became independent on June 3, after a May 21 public referendum. The Government of Montenegro, before and after independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, has taken a serious and considered approach to combating international terrorism, including terrorism finance. Although Montenegro made considerable progress in its efforts to combat corruption and organized crime, weak border control and high levels of organized crime make Montenegro a potential harbor for organized crime and extremist groups that seek to operate in Montenegro and the Balkan region. Montenegro sits along several major smuggling routes between Southern and Western Europe. Montenegro does not tolerate the activity of terrorist groups on its territory. The Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering, which was established with and continues to receive assistance and training from the United States, works closely and shares information with regional and international Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs). The Montenegrin FIU also conducted local investigations of terrorism finance and initiated investigations potentially leading to future criminal prosecution in three cases this past year. Montenegro joined INTERPOL in September.

On September 9, the day before parliamentary elections, Montenegrin police raided arms caches in a suburb of Podgorica, the nation’s capital, initially arresting 14 persons, including three foreign nationals, on suspicion that the group planned to carry out armed attacks on election day. The Government described the group as comprising of ethnic Albanian extremists. On December 7, 18 persons, including four fugitives and, non-exclusively, five foreign nationals, were criminally charged with planning terrorist acts, financing of terrorism, and other acts constituting organized crime. Subsequently, one foreign national fugitive was arrested in Austria upon an Interpol warrant filed by Montenegro. The State Prosecutor, in the indictment, stated that additional planning for the terrorist acts took place in Skoder, Albania. Some opposition political parties criticized the arrests, claiming the raid was aimed at suppressing legitimate political dissent. At year’s end, all of the defendants were still awaiting trial. Since September 9, there were numerous unconfirmed reports of similar ethnic-Albanian extremist groups operating within Montenegro.

Netherlands, The

The Dutch continued to respond to the global terrorist threat with leadership and energy in the areas of border and shipping security, terrorist financing, and Coalition efforts in Afghanistan. The Netherlands deployed over 1900 troops to Afghanistan as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission and in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The Dutch led a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Uruzgan province, and in November assumed a six-month rotational command in Kandahar of NATO’s efforts in southern Afghanistan. For 2004-2006, the Dutch pledged 75 million euros toward the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund to support the transition from humanitarian to reconstruction assistance. From December 2005 to May 2006, the Government of the Netherlands commanded OEF’s Combined Task Force 150, committing a fast frigate, a submarine, and a support ship to the mission. Dutch troops ended their deployment in Iraq as part of SFIR in March 2005 following two extensions. The Netherlands deployed 14 trainers and security guards in support of the NATO Training Mission in Iraq and pledged 21 million euros for Iraqi reconstruction.

In its October quarterly terrorism threat analysis, the Dutch National Counterterrorism Coordinator (NCTb) maintained the “substantial threat” level, citing significant threats against other European countries, and Western countries in general. The NCTb also highlighted concern about continuing radicalization among young Muslims, particularly through the Internet. The report cited the increasing presence of susceptible teenagers, particularly those of Dutch-Turkish descent, in local Jihad networks as evidence of continuing radicalization, noting that frustration about the position of Muslims in the Netherlands and fury about events in conflict areas appeared to nourish the feeling of “having to do something.” The NCTb also highlighted the role of the Internet as a platform for radical Islamic propaganda.

In February, the Dutch government launched a national counterterrorism public information campaign, “The Netherlands against Terrorism.” The campaign was designed to make the public aware of government counterterrorism actions and what individuals could do to minimize the risks of an attack. In March a special notification center for radical statements and hate mail became operational via the new cyber crime website. The Dutch hosted the first ever U.S.-Netherlands Cyber-Crime Conference in October. The conference, attended by Attorney General Gonzales and Dutch Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin, included discussions on bilateral counterterrorism investigations and combating internet radicalization.

The Dutch prosecuted two major terrorism cases. In March, the Rotterdam court ruled the Hofstad group a terrorist organization that aimed to incite hatred, violence, and intimidation. Nine of 14 defendants, including Mohammad Bouyeri, the convicted murderer of film director Theo Van Gogh, were found guilty of membership in a criminal organization “with terrorist intent.” Two of the nine, Jason Walters (a dual U.S.-Dutch national) and Ismael Akhnikh, were also convicted for attempted murder and violating the Weapons and Ammunition Act for throwing a hand grenade at The Hague police officers in November 2004. They were sentenced to 15 and 13 years, respectively. Noureddin el Fatmi, also charged in the Piranha case, was sentenced to five years. Bouyeri, considered the group’s leader, did not receive an additional sentence in the Hofstad case because he already was serving a life term for Van Gogh’s murder. This was the first case to be tried under the 2004 Terrorist Crimes Act, which made membership in a terrorist group and conspiracy to commit terrorist attacks criminal offenses.

The second major prosecution concluded in December, when Samir Azzouz and four additional defendants in the “Piranha” trial were found guilty of planning terrorist attacks on politicians and the national intelligence office. Samir Azzouz, the alleged leader of the group, was sentenced to eight years in prison.

In November, the National Crime Squad arrested five men and one woman on suspicion of terrorist recruitment, participating in a terrorist organization, and obtaining false travel documents.

Dutch officials remained committed to active cooperation with the United States in freezing the assets of known terrorist organizations. In March, the Netherlands Finance Ministry hosted an international conference on terrorist financing issues. In April, the Hofstad group and nine convicted members of the group were put on the Dutch Terrorist Sanctions List, freezing all their assets; in June the government decided, on humanitarian grounds, to ease financial sanctions on some members of the group who already served their sentences. The Netherlands sought EU designations of the Hofstad group and Hizballah as terrorist groups.

The Netherlands adopted three new counterterrorism laws that were expected to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of terrorism suspects. The Protected Witness Act permitted the use of intelligence information in criminal proceedings by establishing procedures to allow the examining judge to assess the reliability of intelligence information without exposing the identities of intelligence officers or sharing confidential intelligence information with the public. The provisions went into effect November 1. The “special investigative methods” bill expanded the use of special investigative techniques in terror investigations by lowering the threshold for the use of surveillance, infiltration, undercover purchases, and wiretapping. This allows the police to initiate investigations at a much earlier stage in terrorist planning. The final law forbade the operation in the Netherlands of terrorist organizations on the UN or EU designations lists. (Previously, only the bank accounts of such groups were frozen.) The law also provided for action, including the confiscation and liquidation of the group’s Dutch assets, to be taken against foreign organizations, including those not appearing on the UN or EU terror lists, conducting activities or pursuing objectives in the Netherlands deemed contrary to public order. These new laws complemented the 2004 Terrorist Crimes Law and were expected to facilitate the successful investigation and prosecution of terrorist suspects.

The National Police Service’s Special Intervention Unit became operational in June. It integrated various special police and defense units engaged in counterterrorism activities.

The government’s sectoral terror alert system, which became operational in June 2005, now includes nine economic sectors: Schiphol Airport, the Rotterdam Port, and the petrochemical industry, drinking water, railway, natural gas, electricity, nuclear, municipal and regional transport, and financial sectors. This early-warning system was designed to trigger a clear and rapid response to terrorist threats by both the public and private sectors. It links sector-specific measures to be taken to the latest threat information from the National Counterterrorism Coordinator. There are four alert levels: basic, low, moderate, and high-threat. A total of 14 sectors are anticipated.

On October 11, the Justice Minister approved the extradition to the United States of Wasem Al Delaema, an Iraqi-born Dutch citizen. Al Delaema was charged with conspiring to attack U.S. troops in Iraq in 2003, and was the first person to be charged in U.S. courts for terrorist activities in Iraq. The Supreme Court’s September ruling that Al Delaema was eligible for extradition was the first time a Dutch court approved the extradition of a Dutch citizen on terrorism-related charges. Al Delaema filed for an injunction against the Minister’s extradition order; his appeal was rejected on December 19, paving the way for his extra-dition. In September, the Dutch Supreme Court blocked the extradition of alleged female PKK leader Nuriye Kesbir to Turkey, citing concerns over Turkey’s human rights practices and insufficient guarantees against torture.

Norway

Norway took steps to improve its counterterrorism capabilities but more work remains to be done. The govern-ment’s efforts to address serious shortages in equipment, training, and capabilities were complicated by the widespread belief among the general public that no one would attack Norway. In October, the Ministry of Interior conducted a large-scale exercise in Oslo designed to test emergency response capabilities to a London and Madrid-type terrorist attack on transit infrastructure.

In October 2005, Norway passed an antiterrorism law that gave the police greater leeway to investigate and prosecute terror suspects. The September 2006 arrest of four individuals suspected of shooting an Oslo synagogue and planning attacks on the U.S. and Israeli embassies was the first test of this law. Some of the new investigative tools were used in the case. However, the prosecution of the case highlighted concerns that the law’s definition of a conspiracy to commit a terror act was restrictive and could limit its usefulness. Reported miscommunication among various police offices and mishandling of information and suspects illustrated the need for improvement. Alleged Ansar al-Islam leader Mullah Krekar, an Iraqi Kurd listed in December 2006 under UNSCR 1267, continued to reside in Norway but was unable to travel abroad, as his travel documents were confiscated and he remained under a government expulsion order. In the fall of 2005 the Oslo City Court rejected Krekar’s suit against the government’s expulsion decision. His subsequent appeal was rejected one year later. Despite the failure of his appeal, Krekar remained in Norway because the government was unable to receive sufficient human rights assurances from Iraq to proceed with deportation.

Poland

Poland supplied about 100 troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan while leading the Multinational Division Center South (MNDCS) in Iraq with 900 troops. Domestically, Poland hosted the global Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) policy meeting in June, conducted a PSI maritime interdiction exercise in September, and cooperated with the United States in various counterterrorism training opportunities. There were no reported terrorist groups or incidents in Poland, but a growing population of Chechen migrants vulnerable to radicalization was a cause for concern.

Through the bilateral Joint Counterterrorism Working Group (JCTWG), Poland cooperated with various U.S. government agencies on synchronizing counterterrorism policy and training counterterrorism specialists. The United States trained 16 Polish Air Marshals, eight Polish officials in cargo inspection procedures, and about 100 Polish officials in topics ranging from bioterrorism to the psychology of terrorism.

Poland continued to closely monitor incoming Chechen migrants for signs of radicalization. According to the Office for the Repatriation of Foreigners, about 4,500 Chechens entered Poland in 2006. Most of them continued on to other EU destinations in search of work, however, approximately 5,500 Chechens were residing in Poland, of whom approximately 100 were known to be extremists.

Portugal

Portugal supported international efforts to combat terrorist networks and actively pursued indications of extremist group activity in Portugal. Portuguese government agencies took steps to minimize exploitation of its financial sector and to maintain the integrity of its passports and other documents.

On November 14, Portugal’s Judicial Police (PJ) simultaneously executed 48 search warrants on small currency exchange operations. The effort, in cooperation with the Bank of Portugal, was intended to investigate money laundering operations with links to Lusophone Africa and South Asia that could be exploited by extremist organizations. The investigation into the “mixed Hawala” system netted equipment, documents, and over 300,000 Euros, but no arrests. Portugal announced it would restructure the Judicial Police to create four major operational commands regarding terrorism, corruption, drug trafficking, and technological investigation.

In August, Portugal began issuing biometric passports with greater protections than previous iterations. In addition to the additional security features, the new Portuguese passport law passed July 16 centralized the production of all passports to counter the fraudulent acquisition of Portuguese documents by criminal and extremist organizations. Portugal maintained its active participation in both the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Container Security Initiative.

Romania

Approximately 1,500 Romanian troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of coalition and NATO efforts to combat terrorism and to deny terrorists operational and political opportunities. President Basescu reaffirmed his commitment to keep Romanian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for as long as they are needed. Romania made available its airspace, ground infrastructure, and naval facilities to support U.S. and NATO forces. The Romanian frigate Regina Maria deployed from September to November with NATO counterterrorism forces in the Mediterranean Sea as part of Operation Active Endeavor.

The Romanian government strengthened its national policies as part of a strategic approach to combat terrorism. Romania included proactive language on counterterrorism in its National Security Strategy, in its National Antiterrorism Strategy, and in guidelines for preventing and combating terrorist financing activities. Romania continued to promote the Bucharest-based South East Europe Cooperation Initiative (SECI), a regional center that provides law enforcement training and intelligence sharing to prevent trans-border criminal activities, including terrorist-related activities, for the 12 member countries in South Eastern and Central Europe.

In April, Romania hosted the first meeting of counterterrorism chiefs within the framework of the Regional Conference of Interior Ministers under the Brdo Process (a regional initiative involving Interior Ministries from Central and Southern European states). In October 2005, the Government of Romania first released a list of over 250 individuals and legal entities suspected of committing or financing terrorist acts. The 21 official agencies that form Romania’s National System to Prevent and Combat Terrorism routinely update this list based on information from the UN Security Council. The list was compiled by the Ministry of Public Finance, which was responsible for monitoring and blocking the movement of terrorist funds.

In October, the Romanian Parliament ratified the UN International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism; in November, it ratified two Council of Europe Conventions related to counterterrorism: the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism and the Convention on Money Laundering, and the Search, Seizure, and Confiscation of Criminal Proceeds.

In June, a Romanian citizen, Ioan Les, was detained by Romanian intelligence agents near the town of Buzias in Western Romania, for allegedly planning an act of terrorism. According to Romanian authorities, the suspect was arrested in transit to Timisoara, where he planned to use a remote control device to blow up a car in the city center. The suspect told investigators that his motive was to force Romania to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Investigators linked the suspect to a Bosnia-based terrorist network. The Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) placed Les under surveillance for several months after he allegedly made several threats via the internet to various entities, including CNN and Al-Jazeera television stations. Les was charged under a 29-day preventive arrest warrant.

Omar Hayssam, a businessman with strong connections both to the Arab world and the now-in-opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) was arrested on terrorism-related charges in 2005 for his involvement in the abduction of three Romanian journalists and another businessman in Iraq. Although prohibited from leaving the country, Hayssam fled Romania for Syria on June 30, following his conditional April release on medical grounds. As a result of the ensuing public scandal, the General Prosecutor, the Police Information Service chief, and both Internal and External Intelligence chiefs resigned.

On November 13, four Romanian-Muslim citizens were arrested in Iasi under suspicion of supporting Middle Eastern terrorist groups. On November 14, an Iraqi citizen Shaker A. Shaker was arrested in Bacau under suspicion of terrorist-related activities. Romanian Intelligence Services had evidence that Shaker possessed a false passport, and that his real name was in fact Mahmoud Chaker, a former Iraqi Embassy diplomat, who had been deported previously from Romania in 2003 along with 40 other Iraqi citizens for planning terrorist attacks against Israeli interests in Bucharest.

Russia

The Russian government continued to view counterterrorism as a top priority and considered cooperation with the United States in this area as one of the pillars of the bilateral relationship. Much of the terrorist activity in Russia was homegrown and linked to both the Chechen separatist movement and in some ways, to separate, but overlapping, North Caucasus-wide extremism. However, there was evidence of a foreign terrorist presence in the North Caucasus with financial and ideological ties to international terrorism. There were no high-profile terrorist incidents involving large numbers of civilian casualties, as had been the case in the four previous years.

Russian security forces carried out operations that led to the deaths of two significant terrorist leaders. In July, Russia’s most wanted terrorist, Chechen separatist Shamil Basayev, was killed in the North Caucasus. Russian officials claim he was targeted by security forces but there were reports he was killed accidentally by his own explosives. In November, Abu Hafs al-Urdani, the AQ-linked, Jordanian-born commander of foreign separatist forces in Chechnya, was killed by security forces. In June Russian security forces killed Chechen separatist leader Abdul Khalim Sadulayev, whom the Russian government considered a terrorist, and who was nominal head of the Chechen separatist “government” to which Basayev belonged.

The most significant terrorist incident for Russia took place outside the borders of the Russian Federation. In June, five employees of the Russian Embassy in Baghdad were abducted and murdered, reportedly by members of the Mujahideen Shura Council, an umbrella group incorporating al-Qaida in Iraq. This was followed by a Presidential decree that ordered Russian security forces to “eliminate” those responsible and authorized the deployment of Russian security forces abroad to prevent “international terrorist activity.”

The Russian government continued to take steps to improve coordination of counterterrorism activities and expand law enforcement responsibilities domestically. In February, President Putin signed a decree creating the National Counterterrorism Committee (NCC), to be headed by the Federal Security Service (FSB). The NCC was an effort to rationalize the decision-making process following the 2004 Beslan school siege, and was designed to establish a single chain of command and centralize the decision-making process at the national level, subordinating the Regional Counterterrorism Committees headed by governors. In March, the Russian legislature approved the law “On Counteracting Terrorism,” which further defined the role of the NCC. The legislation expanded the concept of terrorism under Russian law, going beyond physical involvement in planning or carrying out terrorist attacks. Under the law, terrorism also included promotion of “terrorist ideas” and distributing materials or information to encourage terrorist activity or inciting individuals to commit a terrorist act.

The government provided further transparency about its counterterrorist efforts in July by releasing, for the first time, a list of 17 organizations it designated as terrorist entities. All entries to the list must be approved by the Supreme Court, and must meet the following criteria:

  • Activities aimed at changing Russia’s constitutional system through violence, including terrorism;
  • Links to illegal armed groups and other extremist organizations operating in the North Caucasus; and
  • Association with, or links to, groups regarded as terrorists by the international community.

The list includes the following organizations: AQ; Supreme Military Majlisul Shura of the Caucasus Mujahedin United Forces; Ichkeria and Dagestan People’s Congress; Asbat al-Ansar; Holy War (Al Jihad or Egyptian Islamic Jihad); Islamic Group (Al-Gamaa al Islamia); Moslem Brothers (Al-Ikhvan al-Muslimun); Party of Islamic Liberation (Hiz’but-Tahrir al-Islami); Lashkar-I-Taiba; Islamic Group (Jamaat-i-Islami); Taliban Movement; Islamic Party of Turkestan (former Islamic movement of Uzbeki-stan); Social Reform Society (Jamiyat Ikhya al-Islakh al-Ijtimai); Islamic Heritage Renaissance Society (Jamiyat Ikhya at-Turaz al-Islami); Two Holies’ House (Al Kharamein); Islamic Jihad—Mujahidin Jammat; and Jund ash-Sham.

There were three known organizations operating within the Russian Federation that the United States designated terrorist entities in February 2003, under Executive Order 13224. They have not been designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations under 8 USC Section 1189. These include:

  • The Special Purpose Islamic Regiment (SPIR). The SPIR was one of three Chechen-affiliated terrorist groups that furnished personnel to carry out the seizure of the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow in October 2003. It is not clear if the SPIR was still active, nor is it clear who commanded the organization.
  • Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs. The group had been led by Basayev. It used terrorism as part of an effort to secure an independent Muslim state in the North Caucasus. The group has not mounted a terrorist attack since the Beslan school attack in September 2004. The group’s strength is probably no more than 50 fighters at any given time.

Noteworthy court cases involving terrorist suspects included:Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade (IIPB). The IIPB is a terrorist group affiliated with the Chechen separatist movement demanding a single Islamic state in the North Caucasus. Arab mujahedin still operating in Chechnya fell under the command of Abu Hafs al-Urdani, until his death in November. According to the proseparatist website Kavkaz Center, Saudi national “Mukhanned” (full name not known) is the group’s new commander. The IIPB has engaged in terrorist and guerrilla operations against Russian forces, pro-Russian Chechen forces, and Chechen non-combatants. At its peak, the group had up to 400 fighters, including as many as 100 Arabs and other foreign fighters, but almost certainly has suffered significant attrition. It operates primarily in Russia in adjacent areas of the North Caucasus, particularly in the mountainous south of Chechnya, with major logistical activities in Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. The IIPB and its Arab leaders appear to be a primary conduit for Islamic funding of the Chechen guerrillas, in part through links to AQ-related financiers on the Arabian Peninsula. The IIPB was also listed under UNSCR 1267 for its associations with AQ, and the Terrorist Exclusion List.

  • In May, Nurpashi Kulayev was found guilty of all charges for his role in the 2004 Beslan school siege and was sentenced to life in prison. He was charged with murder and terrorism. Kulayev was the sole known survivor among the Beslan hostage takers. Kulayev claimed he did not kill anyone during the siege.
  • In November, the highest court in the Russian Republic of Dagestan found Magomed Salikhov innocent of the 1999 apartment bombing that killed 64 people. Russian authorities cited that attack and a series of other bombings to justify sending troops back into Chechnya in 1999. The court had previously found Salikhov not guilty but that decision was overturned by the Federal Supreme Court, which ordered him retried.
  • In December, Spanish police arrested suspected Chechen terrorist Murat Gasayev in Mislata, Valencia. Russian authorities were preparing an extradition request. Under Spanish law, Gasayev would first have to be found guilty in a Spanish court.

The United States and Russia continued to cooperate on a broad range of counterterrorism issues, including efforts to destroy, safeguard, and prevent the proliferation of WMD. The U.S.- Russian Counterterrorism Working Group (CTWG) met for its fifteenth session September 13-14 in Washington, fostering cooperative, operational links between numerous U.S. and Russian agencies. Law enforcement, intelligence, and policy cooperation have increased as a result of the work of the CTWG. At the St. Petersburg G8 Summit in July, the United States and Russia jointly announced the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and Russia and the United States invited other nations to join. The Initiative demonstrates Russia’s effort to take a leadership role in establishing a partnership amongst nations to accelerate efforts to combat nuclear terrorism. Partner nations are committed to steps to combat nuclear terrorism in a variety of ways, to include safeguarding radioactive and nuclear materials, preventing nuclear smuggling, and sharing information. The first meeting of the Initiative took place in Morocco in October.

Russia was an active member of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (FATF). Russia fulfilled its pledge to create a Eurasian FATF-style regional body (FSRB) in 2004, known as the Eurasia Group on Money Laundering (EAG), and as the group’s leading force remained its chair. The EAG, whose members also include Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, made significant progress toward building Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) and established the necessary legislative and regulatory frameworks in member states to help those states improve their compliance with international standards.

Russia used its position in international fora to build cooperative mechanisms and programs to counter terrorism. For example, Russia led efforts to make counterterrorism cooperation a key element in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Russia has also promoted counterterrorism within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the G8, and the United Nations.

Serbia

Serbia was eager to cooperate with the United States on a wide range of issues including border security, information sharing, antiterrorism financing, and export control. Internally, the Serbian government consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to counterterror operations. Serbia and the United States signed an agreement on countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; the agreement was provisionally in force upon signature and awaited ratification by the Serbian parliament. While still largely complacent about the prospect of an attack in Serbia by international terrorists, Belgrade officials were significantly concerned about the potential for an increase of Middle Eastern terrorist transit through Serbia.

Kosovo

Kosovo’s counterterrorism efforts were hampered by porous boundary lines easily crossed by individuals trafficking in people or goods. The Kosovo border police service is new and lacks basic equipment: Underpaid border and customs officials were often easily corrupted. While NATO has roving teams patrolling the green border right up to the border and administrative boundary lines, terrorists could exploit numerous passable roads leading into Kosovo.

The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) continued to administer Kosovo pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and to monitor suspected terrorist activity with the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG). The Provisional Institutions and UNMIK monitored NGOs suspected of funding Islamic extremist and Albanian extremist movements. Officials believed only several of the more than 400 NGOs operating in Kosovo were involved in suspicious activities, and sought to prevent extremists from using NGOs to gain a foothold in Kosovo. Consequently, municipalities authorized NGO use of public facilities for religious gatherings only if the relevant religious community consented. The Kosovo Islamic Community (KIC) reported that it evaluated about 20 applications of mostly foreign NGOs and rejected four due to reservations about their proposed programs and participants.

The UNMIK Police’s Counterterrorism Task Force (CTTF) is primarily responsible for Kosovo’s counterterrorism efforts, and reported that its objectives shifted in 2006 from reactive to preventive measures. It received information and analysis support from the UNMIK Central Intelligence Unit (CIU) and the UNMIK Police Intelligence Liaison Unit (ILU). In October, with UNMIK Police’s support and guidance, the Kosovo Police Service established its own Counterterrorism Unit (CTU), with six officers.

While there were no new terrorism cases, UNMIK’s Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that intimidation of witnesses during investigation and trial phases hampered ongoing terror prosecutions. According to UNMIK’s DOJ, a weak domestic witness protection program and the absence of witness relocation agreements to places outside of Kosovo made it difficult to convince witnesses to come forward. Moreover, international officials still handled terrorism cases due to concerns that local officials could be susceptible to intimidation.

While Kosovo officials struggled to bring the perpetrators of terrorist acts to justice, domestic extremists, acting individually and in groups, continued to commit violence, sometimes directed towards local government institutions and UN facilities. Approximately 15 attacks by such groups or individuals occurred and included use of hand grenades, rocket propelled grenades, explosive devices, and shots fired. There were a few fatalities and injuries as a result of these attacks. In early December, groups of armed, masked men reportedly presenting themselves as members of the Albanian National Army (AKSH), intermittently stopped pedestrians and vehicles in western Kosovo to check their identification documents. On December 5, the masked men fired at Kosovo Police Service officers in the village of Gercine near Gjakove. AKSH’s Tirana-based spokesman, Gafurr Adili, told Kosovo media that these groups were not affiliated with the AKSH.

Slovakia

Slovakia contributed a team of 57 deminers and construction engineers to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and 112 personnel to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). In late 2006 Slovakia decided to withdraw the bulk of its forces from Iraq with effect from February 2007.

Slovenia

Slovenia participated in four training sessions for dual-use licensing as part of its ongoing cooperation with the United States under the Export Control and Border Security Program, as well as several Proliferation Security Initiative exercises. Slovenia continued to provide police instructors in Amman, Jordan, to train Iraqi policemen, instructors as part of the NATO training mission in Iraq, and troops as part of the International Stabilization Forces in Afghanistan.

Spain

Spain cooperated closely with the United States and worked aggressively to investigate and prosecute acts of terrorism, to prevent future attacks, and to disrupt terrorist acts that possibly were directed against U.S. interests.

Spain has decades of experience with terrorism involving the Basque terrorist group Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA). Despite the “permanent ceasefire” declared by the group in March, on December 30 the group exploded a massive car-bomb at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport, killing two individuals. The government of Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced political negotiations with the group had ended. ETA supporters continued to carry out acts of street violence and vandalism in the Basque region and Navarra. The group was weakened by the continued arrests of senior members and logistical supporters by Spanish and French authorities.

Spain arrested 47 individuals with possible links to al-Qaida and related extremist organizations. The National Court Chief Prosecutor reported in July that Spain held a total of 145 Islamist extremist terrorist suspects that were either under prison sentence or awaiting trial. Detainees included individuals arrested in 2004 for the March 11 train bombings and others for conspiring to bomb Spain’’s High Court. Authorities continued to hold eleven Pakistani nationals arrested in Barcelona in 2004, for allegedly providing logistical support to al-Qaida, and the prosecutor asked for sentences ranging from 22 to 32 years in jail. In April, the U.K. extradited Tunisian citizen Hedi Ben Youseff Boudhiba to Spain, where he was awaiting trial for membership in a Spanish terrorist cell that provided false passports and other identification to the March 11, 2004 bombers.

Spain remained both a target for international terrorist groups and an important transit point and logistical base for terrorist organizations operating in Western Europe. Spain did not serve as a safe haven for terrorists or terrorist organizations, but the large population of immigrants from North Africa, the opportunities that exist for raising funds through illicit activities, and the ease of travel to other countries in Europe, made Spain a strategic location for international terrorist groups. Spanish authorities put great effort into investigating, disrupting, and prosecuting members of such groups.

Many of the 2004 Madrid train bombing suspects had direct or indirect relationships with members of the Moroccan Islamic Combat Group (GICM), and, in 2006, several GICM members were arrested. A splinter group, known as the Moroccan Salafiya Jihadiya, was also increasingly on the radar screen of Spanish law enforcement.

The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), who later in the year changed its name to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, was known to use Spain as a logistical base and transit point. Several alleged AQIM/GSPC members were arrested this year and Joan Mesquida, Director of the Police and Civil Guard, announced in November that the Spanish and French Ministries of Interior had created a “Joint Investigation Team” to investigate the financial network of the group. This was the first joint team the two countries have created to fight Islamist terrorism.

Spanish police worked to thwart terrorist facilitation networks that sought both to funnel potential extremists from Spain to Iraq, primarily through Syria, as well as bring fighters seasoned in Iraq into Spain. In November, police arrested four individuals charged with cooperating with an Islamist terrorist organization, forging official documents to support terrorist activities, and aiding extremists who tried to enter Spain after having fought in Iraq. In a separate case pending before Spanish courts, the national prosecutor will seek a prison sentence of 124 years for six alleged Islamist extremists arrested in January 2003 in Barcelona and Girona. These individuals are known in Spain as “The Detergent Command,” because of their possession of large quantities of detergents that police believed were to serve as ingredients for explosive devices. In June, police arrested eleven individuals on charges of recruiting terrorists for terrorist organizations operating in Iraq.

Also in June, the Supreme Court reduced the prison sentence of Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, aka Abu Dahdah, from 27 years to 12 years. Barakat Yarkas, a Syrian immigrant to Spain, was detained in November 2001 on charges of providing support to AQ and of helping Mohammed Atta organize the September 11 terrorist attacks. Yarkas and 17 co-defendants were convicted in September 2005 for their roles in supporting AQ, but three codefendants were later released on appeal. Among those convicted was al-Jazeera journalist Taysir Alony, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for transporting funds from Yarkas to terrorists in Afghanistan under his cover as a journalist. Spanish authorities released Alony in October for humanitarian reasons stemming from a serious heart problem, but he remained under surveillance.

Spanish authorities continued their investigation into the March 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people and wounded hundreds of others, and the trials of 29 suspected perpetrators of the attacks were scheduled to begin in February 2007. This year, police arrested an additional 31 individuals in connection with the attacks, bringing to 110 the total number of suspects detained as part of the investigation. In November, Italian authorities extradited Egyptian national Osman El Sayed, known as “the Egyptian,” to Spain in response to an international arrest warrant for his alleged role in the Madrid bombings. Later that month, Osman was sentenced in Italy to ten years in jail for international terrorist crimes.

Key arrests by Spanish security forces of suspected international terrorists included:

  • January: A joint Civil Guard-SNP operation culminated in the arrest of 19 people associated with Islam-ist terrorism in Catalonia, Madrid, and Guipuzcoa Province (15 of them were sent to jail). Among the group arrested in Catalonia were seven Moroccans and one Spaniard who were alleged members of the GICM, and allegedly were responsible for sending the suicide bomber who struck the Italian base of Nasiriyah in southern Iraq in November 2003, killing 20 Italian soldiers.
  • May: the Civil Guard arrested Issa Ben Othman in Barcelona, an alleged member of the terrorist network dismantled in the January operation. He was accused him of recruiting and sending foreign combatants to Iraq.
  • November: Two individuals accused of belonging to the GICM and of having links with the 2003 Casablanca terrorist attack were arrested by Spanish police in Melilla.
  • December: Spanish National Police arrested ten Spanish nationals and one Moroccan national in the North African enclave of Ceuta on charges that the men were plotting to carry out a terrorist attack.

Spain continued to make progress in its decades-old campaign to eliminate the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist group, but a new phase in the struggle began in March when ETA declared a “permanent cease-fire.” The government of President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero agreed to begin peace talks with ETA and its outlawed political wing Batasuna if the group put an end to all violence. ETA supporters continued to engage in street violence and vandalism, and in October alleged ETA supporters stole 350 handguns from an armory in the French town of Vauvert. As of mid-December, Spanish authorities had arrested 15 individuals for membership in or association with ETA. On December 30, ETA exploded a massive car-bomb that destroyed much of the covered parking garage outside the new Terminal 4 of Madrid’s Barajas International Airport and effectively broke its nine-month “permanent cease-fire.” Two individuals killed in the blast became ETA’s first fatalities in more than three years. The government suspended talks with ETA, and government officials subsequently said political negotiations with the group had ended. The bombing came on the heels of extensive vandalism by street gangs in various Basque cities.

Spain cooperated with French authorities in its ETA effort, with French police arresting 22 suspected members and extraditing seven of them to Spain to stand trial. Cooperation with Mexico resulted in the extradition to Spain of four additional ETA members. Spanish authorities charged 41 members of ETA’s illegal political front group Batasuna, including senior Batasuna figure Arnaldo Otegi, with membership in a terrorist organization and of providing financial support to ETA. Before the fatal December 30 airport bombing, ETA had carried out 12 bombings, all of them before the March 22 cease-fire announcement, resulting in injuries and significant property damage, but no fatalities.

Spain made great strides in disrupting terrorist cells and frustrating would-be terrorist plots. Under Spanish law, however, the standards of evidence for conviction are high and this affects terrorism cases. For example, the Spanish National Court in September 2005 convicted Spanish national Hamed Abderrahman (known as the “Spanish Taliban”, who was transferred to Spain from the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo in February 2004 at the request of Spanish authorities), and sentenced him to six years imprisonment for membership in a terrorist organization.

The Supreme Court overturned that decision in July. In its decision, the Supreme Court excluded all evidence obtained during the more than two years that Abderrahman spent in Guantanamo, as well as communications intercepts by Spanish authorities that had also served as evidence against him. It threw out other evidence collected against Abderrahman prior to his capture in Afghanistan and determined that prosecutors had skewed Abderrahman’s testimony to incriminate him. This finding had an immediate affect on the case of Lahcen lkassrien, a Moroccan national and former Guantanamo detainee transferred to Spanish custody in July 2005. Spain’s National Court, in October, acquitted lkassrien after finding insufficient evidence that he was a member of either AQ or of the Abu Dahdah terror cell in Spain, or that he fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Court excluded the prosecution’s evidence that was obtained during his detention in Guantanamo and any information gleaned from intercepted phone calls in Spain.

The U.S.-Spain Counterterrorism Working Group (CTWG) met in Madrid in October, and was addressed by U.S. Attorney General Gonzales, Spanish Minister of Justice Lopez Aguilar, and Spanish Attorney General Conde Pumpido. The group helped foster counterterrorism cooperation between numerous U.S. agencies and their Spanish law enforcement and judicial counterparts. The sides agreed to designate a point of contact on counterterrorism issues in the U.S. Department of Justice and in the Spanish Prosecutors’ office to streamline future collaborative efforts.

Spain participated in the Container Security Initiative to scan containers bound to the United States from the port of Algeciras for hazardous and illicit materials. The Mega-ports initiative was inaugurated in Algeciras in June. Spain and the United States co-chaired the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Terrorism Finance Working Group, and Spain participated in all meetings of the G8 Counterterrorism Action Group (CTAG).

Sweden

In his first policy statement in October, newly elected Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt called for increased international cooperation against terrorism, to include preventive measures and greater coordination of operational activities and intelligence. Authorities considered the threat of terrorist attacks in Sweden low, but monitored a number of known extremists and extremist organizations within the country. Such groups, including AQ, Ansar-Al-Islam, FARC, Hizb Al-Tahrir, Hizballah, and Islamic Jihad, provided logistical and financial support to their respective organizations abroad.

While the Government of Sweden did not provide safe haven for terrorists or terrorist organizations, terrorist organizations exploited its considerable legal protections of personal freedoms and civil liberties to maintain a presence in the country. Sweden’s immigration policy, based on political asylum, attracted individuals from troubled countries, including some that sponsor terrorism. The government augmented law enforcement funding and passed new laws to fight terrorism. In July, a law entered into force that enabled the military to assist police in responding to terrorist incidents. The Swedish government provided an extra $10 million to strengthen the work on serious crime and to increase capabilities at the Prosecutors Office and the National Police Board.

The Stockholm District Court in June convicted three men: 22-year-old Nima Ganjin, 25-year-old Andreas Fahlen, and 19-year-old Albert Ramic; for attempting to commit a terrorist act, and conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, in connection with a December 2005 botched arson attack on a Stockholm polling center for expatriate Iraqis. Prison sentences for the three ranged from two to three years. In September an appeals court reduced the sentences of Ganjin and Fahlen to two years for Mr. Ganjin, and 15 months for Mr. Fahlen, and reversed the conviction of Mr. Ramic.

In April, authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed the indictment of Swedish citizen Mirsad Bektasevic on charges, inter alia, of terrorism under Article 201, Paragraph 1, in conjunction with Article 29 of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bektasevic’s formal trial opened in July and was ongoing. He has remained in Bosnian custody since his arrest in Sarajevo in 2005.

Pursuant to a U.S. arrest warrant and INTERPOL Red Notice, in December 2005, Czech authorities arrested Oussama Kassir, a Lebanese-born Swedish national, while he was in transit from Stockholm to Lebanon. Kassir is wanted in the United States on allegations that he conspired to provide material support to terrorists in the planned establishment of a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon. In June, a hearing was held to consider the extra-dition. Kassir remained in Czech custody pending continued consideration of the U.S. extradition request.

Swedish law did not provide the government independent national authority to freeze assets, unless in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation. Noteworthy cases concerning asset freezing included:

  • In September, Sweden unfroze the assets of Ahmed Yusuf, one of three Swedes designated on UN and EU lists in 2002; after he was delisted from UNSCR 1267 and the EU formally de-listed him.
  • In November, authorities froze assets of a grain trading company “al-Aqsa” in Malmo (southern Sweden), and arrested its head Marwan el-Ali; they subsequently released him and unfroze the assets due to lack of evidence.

Subsequent to his listing in December 2006 under UNSCR 1267 (as well as U.S. and EU designations), Sweden froze the financial assets of, and imposed travel restrictions on AQ-linked Mohamed Moumou, a Swedish citizen of Moroccan origin.

Sweden actively contributed to EU counterterrorism efforts. Through the European Common Foreign and Security Policy (EFSP), Sweden coordinated EU counterterrorism cooperation with Morocco and Algeria. Sweden participated in EUROPOL and EUROJUST, European law enforcement institutions that coordinated member states’ counterterrorism cooperation and activities. Further, the government participated in the Nordic Council of Ministers Regional Forum for Nordic Governmental Cooperation. Sweden contributed $900,000 to the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. It additionally provided $150,000 to the UN Counterterrorism Implementation Taskforce. In Asia, Sweden continued to provide funding for the Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation, with a contribution of $150,000.

Switzerland

In 2006, the Swiss became more conscious of the presence of terrorist groups on their own soil, with the Swiss Federal Police describing Switzerland as a “jihadi field of operations” in its 2005 terrorism report. Due in part to increased pressure in neighboring EU countries, several non-al-Qaida terrorist groups, including the Tamil Tigers (LTTE), Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), and Colombian FARC, appeared to have increased their presence in Switzerland. Existing Swiss law and practice limited the government’s ability to designate these as terrorist entities, but Swiss officials have expressed willingness to pursue criminal investigations of such “violent extremist” groups. Swiss officials have provided information to U.S. officials when information had a specific U.S. angle; however, law and practice continued to limit the scope of intelligence sharing and joint investigations.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) noted that, in the past, Swiss officials were primarily concerned that outside radical networks might try to use the country as a logistical base to raise money or support operations elsewhere. Whereas most terrorism suspects arrested or questioned after September 11, 2001, were foreigners just transiting, most of the ten North African suspects arrested for alleged involvement in a plot against a U.S. or Israeli commercial aircraft at Geneva or Zurich airport were immigrants who had been granted Swiss residency. The accused were believed to be members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (AQIM/GSPC).

On May 12, the Swiss Federal Police arrested seven North African terrorists in Basel and Zurich, following a lengthy investigation in Switzerland, including close cooperation with the police and legal authorities in several European countries. This operation was followed in July with the arrest of another North African terrorist in July and other arrests abroad.

In a parallel investigation, federal police arrested another AQIM/GSPC member in October following an international warrant issued by Italian authorities. Afif Mejri, also known as Lofti, is believed to be a member of a Milan cell that had raised 1.62 million Euros (SFr 2.57 million) to finance at least two AQIM/GSPC attacks on January 3, 2005, and another on March 27, 2005, in towns southwest of Algiers. Two others, Yacine Ahmed Nacer and Ali El Heit have been jailed in Italy since May 2005 for weapons trafficking for terrorist groups. Three other suspects, identified as Rabah Bouras, Lamine Ahmed Nacer and Farid Aider are fugitives and are believed to have left Europe last year. They are being sought on the more serious charge of having criminal associations with terrorism.

The Government of Switzerland estimated there were 4,000 sympathizers of the PKK/Kongra-Gel in Switzerland and approximately 100 individuals in the Kongra-Gel’s central coordinating cadre, although no training camps were found in Switzerland during the last four years. Swiss police still experienced problems when tracking them, because their leaders changed jobs about every six months. Most Kongra-Gel’s activities in Switzerland consisted of media relations, training management staff, and fundraising. Swiss authorities also noted that the Turkish Communist Party/Marxist-Leninists (TKP/ML) and the successor organizations of Devrimci Sol, the Revolutionary Peoples’ Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C), and the Turkish Peoples’ Liberation Party/Front (THKP-C) remained active in Switzerland.

The Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UN in Geneva met with Swiss authorities on June 6, and expressed concerns about the presence of members of the separatist movement Tamil Tigers, and pointed to the EU’s inclusion of the Tamil rebels on its terrorist list in May. While Norway is an official mediator in the Sri Lankan conflict, Switzerland has offered its services several times in the past. Swiss officials asserted that since September 2005, Switzerland “has implemented a very selective visa policy” for Sri Lanka, especially regarding sympathizers of Tamil rebels.

Similarly, the Colombian Ambassador raised concerns with Swiss officials over the presence of the Colombian Marxist guerrilla movement FARC in Switzerland. The Swiss press reported not only the presence of the FARC member Marcos Calarca, but also noted that the group’s website was based in Switzerland.

Investigations continued against individuals suspected of supporting the 2002 Jerba and 2003 Riyadh bombings, although only three suspects remained imprisoned. On March 29, the Federal Council agreed that authorities must be able to better supervise new technologies and in particular those related to the Internet.

Counterterrorism activities were carried out by several police units: the Federal Criminal Police’s Counterterrorism Unit focused on al-Qaida-related cases and employed 21 officials -- eleven working on terrorism, nine working on terrorism financing, and a chief. Another 15 analysts worked in the Department for Analysis and Prevention (DAP) in the Federal Office for Police. There were also 70 policemen in the cantons working on counterterrorism activities.

The Federal Council extended its ban on AQ and kept frozen approximately $28 million in AQ and Taliban assets in 82 separate accounts. One recent Swiss investigation centered on Al-Taqwa Management, a financial firm based in Switzerland until it went into liquidation in December 2001. The United States accused the company of funding al-Qaida. Al-Taqwa was founded in 1988 and was run from Lugano, canton Ticino, by its Egyptian-born managing director, Youssef Nada, and his Syrian-born associate, Ali Himat. The company is on the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)’s list of organizations accused of helping to fund terrorism and is listed under UNSCR 1267. Soon after the list was published, Swiss police raided the firm’s headquarters in Lugano. The company’s bank accounts, as well as those belonging to its board members, were subsequently frozen. Swiss authorities acknowledged that their investigations showed that the Al-Taqwa directors’ ties to leadership could go back as far as the late 1990s.

In September, Switzerland and the United States co-sponsored the successful “Black Ice” bioterrorism coordination exercise in Montreux, hosting senior officials from numerous multilateral organizations. The Swiss also sponsored several conferences on civil infrastructure protection and terrorism finance under the auspices of NATO’s Partnership for Peace.

Turkey

Domestic and transnational terrorist groups have targeted Turkish nationals and foreigners, including, on occasion, U.S. Government personnel, for more than 40 years. International and domestic terrorist groups that operated in Turkey included Kurdish separatist, Marxist-Leninist, radical Islamist, and pro-Chechen groups.

Most prominent among terrorist groups in Turkey is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), subject to regular name changes, currently operating as Kongra-Gel (KGK/PKK). Composed primarily of Kurds with a historically separatist agenda, the KGK/PKK operated from headquarters in part of northern Iraq and directed forces to target mainly Turkish security forces, government offices, and villagers who opposed the KGK/PKK. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a group affiliated with the KGK, assumed responsibility for attacks on resort areas in southern and western Turkey, an attack on the office of a political party, and the bombing of a minibus carrying schoolchildren.

KGK/PKK attacks against Turkey increased significantly and claimed as many as 600 lives in 2006. In October, the KGK/PKK declared a unilateral cease-fire that slowed the intensity and pace of its attacks but attacks continued in response to Turkish security forces significant counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, especially in the southeast.

Other prominent terrorist groups included the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), a militant Marxist-Leninist party with anti-U.S. and anti-NATO views that seeks the violent overthrow of the Turkish state; and Turkish Hizballah (not affiliated with Lebanese Hizballah), an organization of Sunni Kurds with a violent history, which appeared to be providing social services and promoting Sharia in parts of the southeast.

At year’s end, a criminal trial was underway for the 72 defendants allegedly involved in the four November 2003 Istanbul bombings. The trial concluded on February 16, 2007, with 48 of the 72 receiving jail sentences. Seven of those were sentenced to life in prison; 26 were acquitted. The lead defendants admitted to contacts with AQ and warned of further attacks. Most of the other defendants denied responsibility for, or knowledge of, the bombings. Four of the suspects, including the brother of one of the four suicide bombers, were released pending trial in May after spending more than two and half years in prison.

As of late November, Turkish prosecutors were seeking life imprisonment for Luay Sakka, a Syrian national linked to AQ and the Zarqawi network. Sakka was connected to the funding of the November 2003 Istanbul bombings and the deaths of U.S. and Coalition Forces in Iraq, and was allegedly plotting a terrorist attack on Israeli cruise ships in Turkish ports when he was apprehended in August 2005.

In addition to sharing intelligence information on various groups operating in Turkey, the Turkish National Police (TNP) and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) conducted an aggressive counterterrorist campaign and detained numerous suspected terrorists in scores of raids, disrupting these groups before terrorist acts could be carried out. For example, in December, TNP counterterrorism units simultaneously raided ten addresses in Istanbul that were suspected of housing leftist militants. Twenty suspects were arrested. Turkish law defined terrorism as attacks against Turkish citizens and the Turkish state, and government left the definition unchanged when Parliament enacted a package of amendments to its antiterrorism law.

Turkey has consistently supported Coalition efforts in Afghanistan. After commanding ISAF II in 2002 and ISAF VII in 2005, in August, Turkey began a two-year joint rotational command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for the Capital Regional Command along with France and Italy. Turkey also opened its first Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in November in Wardak Province and pledged $100 million in humanitarian assistance for the reconstruction and operation of schools and hospitals.

Turkey has provided significant logistical support to Coalition operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, authorizing the use of Incirlik Air Base as an air-refueling hub for OEF and OIF and as a cargo hub to transport non-lethal cargo to U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Almost 60 percent of air cargo for U.S. troops in Iraq transits Incirlik. Establishment of this hub allows six C-17 aircraft to transport the amount of goods it took nine to ten aircraft to move from Germany, and saves the United States almost $160 million per year.

One-third of the fuel (has been as high as two-thirds) destined for the Iraqi people and more than 25 percent of fuel for Coalition Forces transits from Turkey into Iraq via the Habur Gate border crossing. Turkey was active in reconstruction efforts, including providing electricity to Iraq. Turkish citizens continued to be killed, providing logistical support to Coalition Forces or performing reconstruction in Iraq. Turkey contributed headquarters personnel to the NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I), helped train Iraqi diplomats and political parties, and completed military leadership training in Turkey for 90 Iraqi officers as a further contribution to the NATO NTM-I. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) conducted a peer review of Turkey’s regime against the financing of terrorism and money laundering in September and planned to publicize the report in early 2007. Pursuant to its obligations under UNSCR 1267 and subsequent resolutions, Turkish officials continued to pass UN and U.S.-designated names of terrorists to all law enforcement and intelligence agencies, as well as to financial institutions. Only UN-designated names, however, were subjected to asset freezes enforced through a Council of Ministers decree. This legal mechanism for enforcing the sanctions under UNSCR 1267 was challenged in Turkish courts by UN-designated terrorist financier Yasin al-Qadi. A lower-court ruled in July that the Council of Ministers lacked the authority to freeze assets, but in February 2007, an appeals court overturned the lower court ruling and confirmed the Council of Ministers’ authority to freeze. In the meantime, al-Qadi’s assets remain frozen. Separately, in October, Parliament enacted legislation to reorganize MASAK, Turkey’s anti-money laundering agency, which doubled as Turkey’s Financial Intelligence Unit. This law explicitly criminalized terrorism finance and provided legal protections for filers of suspicious transaction reports.

Ukraine

Ukraine did not suffer from domestic terrorism incidents, although law enforcement authorities sometimes labeled ordinary criminal activity as terrorist acts. Still, the Ukrainian government instituted legislative and regulatory changes to improve its ability to investigate and prosecute acts of terrorism. In September, the Ukrainian Parliament amended the Criminal and Criminal Proceedings Codes of Ukraine to conform to commitments resulting from Ukraine’s ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Prevention of Terrorism. The amendments to the codes introduced punishments for inducing people to participate in an act of terror, public calls to commit an act of terror, formation of a terrorist group/organization, and facilitating an act of terror through provision of financing, material, or arms. The Ukrainian State Financial Monitoring Agency signed bilateral agreements with Croatia, Canada, and China, which stipulated cooperation in the prevention of money laundering and prevention of terrorist financing. Ukrainian banks and other financial institutions were required to screen all transactions against a consolidated list of terrorists approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

United Kingdom

There were no successful terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom in 2006. In August, British, Pakistani, and American officials worked together to disrupt a terror plot involving British citizens intent on detonating aircraft traveling between the United Kingdom and the United States. The British government arrested over 20 individuals suspected of being involved in that plot, many of whom were subsequently charged with criminal acts and intent to carry out acts of terrorism. Their cases remained before the courts. Some of those arrested had spent time in or had ties to Pakistan. The British and American governments instituted new restrictions to transatlantic airline travel in response to the revealed airline plot. The United States and United Kingdom enjoyed a wide-range of bilateral information sharing on threat assessments and terror networks, and government responses to both. Cooperation in derailing the transatlantic terror plot in August was evidence of the ability of the two governments to work together, in real-time, to avert loss of life from terrorism.

The British government acknowledged the existence of some 200 known terror networks in the United Kingdom. In November, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of the domestic security service (known as MI5), made a stark announcement that there were some “1,600” individuals, “200 networks,” and an estimated “30 terror plots” in the United Kingdom. The British government viewed radicalization of young people in the U.K. and elsewhere, regardless of whether those radicalized in the U.K. had ties to AQ or are “homegrown,” as a growing threat to international and British security.

The government enacted new counterterrorism legislation that made the “glorification of terrorism” illegal, and expanded the government’s ability to detain terror suspects before charging them. The government has a mechanism for deporting foreign terror suspects to their home countries once those countries agreed to provide assurances that the suspects’ human rights will not be violated upon their return. The courts tried and convicted several prominent terror suspects involved in terror plots prior to 2006. The British government also increased its efforts at outreach to Muslim communities within the U.K. It sought to support advocates of moderate interpretations of Islam and to gain support from within British Muslim communities to counter the appeal of extremist ideology and radicalization.

The United States and the U.K. worked closely within the UN and the FATF to deny terrorists and their supporters access to the international financial system. The United Kingdom had strong legal provisions for freezing assets related to terrorist financing, including the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2001, the al-Qaida and Taliban (United Nations Measures) Order 2001, and the Antiterrorism Crime and Security Act 2001. In October, the British government took measures to further strengthen its terrorist financing legislation when Chancellor Gordon Brown announced that Her Majesty’s Treasury, on the advice of law enforcement agencies, had agreed to use “closed source evidence” (classified materials) in asset freezing cases where there were strong operational reasons to impose a freeze but insufficient unclassified information available. He also announced that the government would seek to amend its existing domestic legislation to give “the Treasury the power to stop funds reaching anyone in the U.K. suspected of planning terror or engaging with terror.”

Northern Ireland

Political progress in Northern Ireland, including prospects for the establishment of a devolved government and continuing cease-fires by paramilitary organizations, have created a marked decrease in terrorist incidents in Northern Ireland. In October, the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), which was established in 2004 by the British and Irish governments to monitor progress made by paramilitary groups in ending their violent activities, reported that evidence showed the Provisional Irish Republican Army had committed itself to following a peaceful path.

Loyalist paramilitary groups, however, were thought to be responsible for two killings in Northern Ireland from September 2005 to August 2006. The IMC was unable to place blame in three other killings, including the April murder of Sinn Fein member Denis Donaldson, who admitted publicly in December 2005 to having been a British spy.

Loyalist paramilitary Michael Stone disrupted a session of the Northern Ireland Assembly on November 24 as he tried to enter the parliament building with a viable bomb, a knife, and an imitation pistol. Afterwards, Stone, who was sentenced to over 600 years in prison for killing three mourners at a 1988 Sinn Fein funeral but released in 2000 under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, had his license for liberty under that agreement revoked. He will now serve out the remainder of his term and faces additional charges stemming from the November 24 incident including attempted murder for targeting the leader of Sinn Fein (Gerry Adams).

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Overview

Iraq remained at the center of the War on Terror battling al-Qaida and affiliated terrorist organizations, insurgent groups fighting against Coalition Forces (CF), militias and death squads increasingly engaged in sectarian violence, and criminal organizations taking advantage of Iraq’s deteriorating security situation. Terrorist organizations and insurgent groups continued to attack Coalition Forces primarily utilizing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). The U.S. Government continued with focused efforts to mitigate the threat posed by foreign fighters in Iraq, coordinating both with the interagency and with our embassy officials overseas. State sponsors of terrorism, Iran and Syria, continued to play destabilizing roles in the region.

Israel faced a new situation when HAMAS, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, assumed control of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). After HAMAS’ election win in January, the Israeli government declared it would not meet with PA representatives, and that it would hold HAMAS responsible for all terrorist attacks and rocket launches emanating from PA territory.

In the past year, major terrorist attacks occurred in Algeria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Lebanon, and Egypt. In Lebanon, in addition to the war precipitated by Hizballah against Israel in July, political violence continued throughout the year. Most notable was the assassination of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel by a team of gunmen in the streets of a northern suburb of Beirut on November 21. This act, the latest in a series of assassinations and attempted assassinations over the last two years, seemed designed to inflame tensions and intimidate forces opposing Syrian interference in Lebanon. Algiers experienced its first terrorist attacks since 2004, including one that targeted westerners. Past attacks targeted Algerian government interests. On April 24 in Egypt, three suicide bombers detonated their explosive charges in rapid succession at three popular tourist locations in the Sinai resort town of Dahab. The bombers killed at least 24 people, including six foreigners. At least 87 were injured, among them four Americans and 25 other foreigners. In Saudi Arabia, one failed attack attempted to target a critical petroleum installation.

Almost all governments in the region cooperated with the United States in counterterrorist activities and undertook efforts to strengthen their capabilities to fight the War on Terror. These efforts included active participation in USG-sponsored antiterrorism assistance (ATA) programs and bolstering banking and legal regimes to combat terrorist financing. Many countries continued to provide some form of assistance to Coalition efforts to bring peace and stability to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The United States rescinded Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism on June 30. Full diplomatic relations were resumed and Libya continued to cooperate closely with the United States and the international community on counterterrorism efforts.

Some countries made impressive strides. In Saudi Arabia, the government announced in December that it had captured 136 suspected terrorists over a three month period. In Morocco and Jordan, authorities disrupted a number of terrorist cells, some with connections to AQ and the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), now known as al-Qaida of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The Government of Jordan moved forward with prosecuting several terrorism-related cases, including the sentencing of seven individuals connected to the 2005 Amman hotel bombings. The Kuwaiti government sentenced several individuals who intended to travel to Iraq to join the insurgency. In Algeria, as part of the government’s National Reconciliation Project, over 350 terrorists turned themselves over to authorities. The Moroccan government continued to implement internal reforms that aimed to address the socioeconomic conditions extremists exploit for recruitment.

The Summer War

On July 12, Hizballah terrorists entered Israel from southern Lebanon, abducted two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others. During the next 34 days, Hizballah fired over 4,000 Katyusha rockets and other missiles into northern Israel, forcing the residents of Haifa, Nahariya, Tiberias, and other northern communities into bunkers. Hizballah also launched weaponized drones toward Israel and struck an Israeli naval vessel with an anti-ship missile. Israel responded by sending the Israeli Air Force (IAF) to attack rocket launchers and Hizballah infrastructure throughout southern Lebanon and in select areas north of the Litani River. The IAF also bombed Hizballah offices in southern Beirut, and roads, bridges, and power plants throughout Lebanon. Israeli Defense Force (IDF) artillery struck Hizballah targets in southern Lebanon and paved the way for an incursion of more than a division of mechanized and infantry forces into southern Lebanon, aimed at pushing Hizballah forces north of the Litani River and laying the groundwork for a cessation of hostilities. During this period, Israel imposed an air and sea blockade on Lebanon to prevent the resupply of Hizballah by Syria and Iran. At least 110 Israeli soldiers and 43 Israeli civilians died in the conflict. The conflict also resulted in more than 1,000 Lebanese civilian deaths, and four UN observers died following an Israeli air attack.

The war ended with a UN-sponsored cessation of hostilities on August 14. Despite the cessation of hostilities and the deployment of Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and additional United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) troops in the south, Lebanese militias, particularly designated Foreign Terrorist Organization Hizballah, retained significant influence over parts of the country. UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions 1559 and 1701 required the government to take effective control of all Lebanese territory and disarm militia groups operating in Lebanese territory. Due to several factors, including internal political differences, resource shortages, and the unstable political situation following the conflict, the government was not able to disarm fully various extralegal armed groups or Hizballah. The conflict did not resolve Hizballah’s claim of its right to conduct hostile operations against Israel along the Blue Line on the premise of legitimate self-defense of Lebanese territory and sovereignty. Hizballah has contended, with the support of many Lebanese, that the Shebaa Farms area of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights is Lebanese territory.

The Israeli government and IDF report they dealt a serious blow to Hizballah, degrading its medium to long-range missile capability, destroying its infrastructure in southern Lebanon, and killing up to 700 of its fighters. By the end of the year, however, Israeli security experts suggested that Hizballah had recovered much of its manpower and equipment losses through recruitment and resupply from Syria and Iran. Hizballah nonetheless was keeping a low profile on the Israel-Palestinian border, and the provocations that preceded the July outbreak of hostilities have not resumed.

Algeria

For the majority of 2006, the security situation in Algeria remained relatively unchanged, marked by stability in the major urban areas and low-level terrorist activities in the countryside. The last quarter of the year, however, witnessed four attacks in the province of Algiers, including one that targeted Westerners. These were the first attacks inside the province since 2004. Until these recent attacks, terrorism in Algeria was generally not aimed at foreign entities. Instead, the country’s major terrorist group, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), preferred to target Algerian government interests.

Two events helped fuel terrorism concerns in Algeria: the GSPC’s September merger with al-Qaida and the conclusion of the amnesty period for Algeria’s National Reconciliation project. Following al-Qaida’s September 11 announcement of the GSPC’s status as an AQ affiliate in North Africa, the group changed its name to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and subsequently made more threats against what it termed “crusading” westerners, particularly American and French citizens. On October 19, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded outside a military barracks in an Algiers suburb, wounding six; and on October 30 two bombs killed two persons approximately 20 kilometers from downtown Algiers. On December 10, a shuttle bus carrying expatriate workers of an American oil services company was ambushed in an Algiers suburb thought to be secure because of its proximity to residences of senior government officials and a major western hotel. This attack, done with a road-side IED, killed two foreigners and wounded several others, including an American worker. The terrorists escaped. The December 10 attack against a relatively soft American target generated greater global media attention than nearly all of AQIM/GSPC past attacks against Algerian government targets. Given the success of this attack in terms of media attention, the AQIM/GSPC likely will attempt further attacks.

Even before its affiliation with AQ, the GSPC was an organization whose regional ties were expanding. AQIM/GSPC support cells have been discovered and dismantled in Spain, Italy, Morocco, and Mali; it maintains training camps in the Pan-Sahel. The AQIM/GSPC’s regional scope, however, is thought to be the result of successful Algerian security service and military operations against it on Algerian soil that compelled it to operate outside Algerian territory. The Algerian services killed approximately 260 terrorists and arrested an additional 450 in 2006, compared to the combined killed and arrested figure of about 400 for 2005. The counterterrorism successes of the Algerian services, combined with the public’s continued rejection of terrorists, led the AQIM/GSPC to seek new methods to finance attacks. Algerian media reported the use of extortion in concert with 16 instances of fake roadblocks and 55 kidnappings inside Algeria. The kidnappings, sometimes in coordination with fake roadblocks, often targeted wealthy Algerians. Not all these methods were attributed solely to the AQIM/GSPC as there was also a growing crime problem in Algeria. AQIM/GSPC terrorists such as Mokhtar Belmokhtar have also taken an active role in regional smuggling to finance terrorism.

The final stages of implementation of the national reconciliation, a major policy initiative of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, took place in 2006, and sought to bring closure to the near civil war between Algeria’s secular government and Islamic terrorists in the 1990s. A cornerstone of this initiative was the six-month amnesty program from March to September 2006 for repentant imprisoned or active terrorists who had not committed bombings, massacres, or rapes. As of September, over 2,300 convicted terrorists were released and more than 350 terrorists surrendered to authorities in order to benefit from the amnesty; statistics on the recidivism of these individuals were not available. Despite a September deadline for amnesty, the government has quietly extended the amnesty grace period indefinitely. In addition, some members of the banned political party Islamic Salvation Front returned to the country from self-imposed exile as part of the amnesty.

The National Reconciliation policy was an effort to resolve divisions that had resulted during more than a decade of civil strife. The amnesty, however, paradoxically appeared to harden the resolve of the remaining terrorists. Indeed, there were reports of terrorists killing cohorts who surrendered to the authorities. During the March through September amnesty period, 199 security officials and civilians were killed, compared to 107 during the rest of the year. Perhaps as a show of defiance and renewed determination, the AQIM/GSPC was responsible for the death of 78 security officials and civilians in October and November, immediately after the amnesty period ended. The AQIM/GSPC, thanks in part to high unemployment among Algerian youth, was partially successful in replenishing its numbers after the arrests, surrenders, and deaths of over 1,000 terrorists. Those remaining appear to be more hard-line and resistant to the government’s amnesty offer.

Despite the upsurge of AQIM/GSPC activity toward the end of the year, overall, the government has greatly improved security from the situation of the late 1990s. The Algerian security services and military remained capable of handling the prolonged effort against internal terrorist threats and continued to be a reliable ally in the War on Terror.

Bahrain

In 2006, the Government of Bahrain enacted important legislation to combat terrorism and its financing. In August, Bahrain enacted its first law (Law 58 of 2006) specifically criminalizing terrorism. The law, officially titled “Protecting Society from Terrorist Acts,” enumerated the types of crimes considered to be terrorism and established punishments, ranging up to and including the death penalty. The law criminalized conspiracy to carry out an act of terror, although it did not specify a precise penalty of imprisonment or fine.

In August, the King signed amendments to an anti-money laundering law (Law 4 of 2001) that specifically addressed terror financing. These amendments criminalized the undeclared transfer of money across international borders for the purpose of money laundering or in support of terrorism. Anyone convicted under the law of collecting or contributing funds, or otherwise providing financial support to a group or people who practiced terrorist acts, was subject to imprisonment and/or fine. Law 54 also codified a legal basis for a disclosure system for cash couriers although the government must still enact supporting regulations.

The new law included a definition of terrorism based upon the Organization of the Islamic Conference definition. The law excludes from the definition of terrorism acts of struggle against invasion or foreign aggression, colonization, or foreign supremacy in the interest of freedom and the nation’s liberty, according to the principles of international law. There are various legal interpretations about the possible application of this clause, and its impact is not yet known.

Bahrain actively monitored terrorist suspects. Domestic legal constraints, particularly prior to the promulgation of the new counterterrorism and CFT laws, at times have hamstrung its ability to detain and prosecute suspects. The legal case of four Bahrainis arrested in mid-2004 on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks was resolved conclusively on November 20 when Bahrain’s Higher Criminal Court ruled that the four accused were not guilty of any remaining charges. This step followed a June 26 ruling by the Constitutional Court that conspiracy charges filed against the suspects were unconstitutional.

In September, security services arrested eight Bahrainis on suspicion of planning possible terrorist activities. During the interrogations, several of the suspects admitted they intended to travel to Afghanistan to fight allied forces. The prosecutor general subsequently decided he did not have enough evidence to charge them under the counterterrorism law and released them on bond in late September.

Bahrain continued to host the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENA FATF) secretariat. At the Bahraini government’s request, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank conducted a financial sector assessment program (FSAP). The FSAP made recommendations to improve the anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terror environment in Bahrain, among other items. The Bahraini delegation briefed MENA FATF members on the FSAP during the November plenary in Abu Dhabi.

Egypt

Egypt was a victim of domestic terrorism in 2006. On April 24, three suicide bombers detonated explosive charges in rapid succession at three popular tourist locations in the southern Sinai resort town of Dahab. The bombers killed at least 24 people, including six foreigners. At least 87 were injured, among them four Americans and 25 other foreigners. As with the 2005 triple bombing in Sharm el-Sheikh, the attacks seemed to target the Egyptian tourism industry, not Americans or foreigners specifically.

On April 26, two suicide bombers attacked a vehicle belonging to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in northern Sinai and the Egyptian police, but the bombers were the only casualties. In the first attack, a suicide bomber wearing a belt bomb threw himself on the hood of an unarmored MFO vehicle, shattering the windshield. In the second attack, several kilometers away, another man with a belt bomb rode a bicycle to an Egyptian police vehicle and blew himself up. The police vehicle was responding to the first attack on the MFO vehicle.

Following these attacks, Egyptian police conducted major security sweeps of the Sinai. According to police, al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad (“Unity and Holy War”), an indigenous group comprised mostly of radicalized Bedouin extremists was responsible for the Sinai bombings. Although the group espouses a pro al-Qaida, Salafist ideology, there were no indications the group was specifically targeting Americans. Egyptian authorities believed they have arrested or killed most of its leadership and operational planners, but members are very likely still at large in the Sinai.

Although al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad was the only terrorist group to successfully commit attacks in Egypt this year, the Egyptian government broke up two other alleged terrorist groups before the groups could conduct operations. One group was reportedly planning attacks; the other was reportedly planning to send foreign fighters to Iraq. There was no further evidence of operational domestic or foreign terrorist groups in the country.

The Egyptian government’s well-known opposition to Islamist terrorism and its effective intelligence and security services have made it less likely that terror groups will seek safe haven there. However, Egypt’s rugged northern Sinai region remained a haven for smuggling arms and explosives into Gaza and a transit point for Gazan Palestinians trying to infiltrate Israel. In addition, Palestinian HAMAS officials have allegedly carried millions of U.S. dollars in cash across the Gaza-Egypt border. Criminal networks that smuggle weapons and other contraband through the Sinai into Israel and the Gaza Strip may be associated with or used by terrorist groups in the region.

The apparent radicalization of some Sinai Bedouin might be linked in part to these smuggling networks, to heavy-handed Egyptian efforts to dismantle them, and to the Bedouin’s long-standing distrust of the central government.

In the past three years, Egypt has tightened its terror finance regulations. Egypt maintained its strengthened security measures for airports, seaports, and the Suez Canal.

The Egyptian judicial system does not allow plea bargaining, and terrorists have historically been prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Terrorism defendants may be tried in military tribunals or emergency courts. Under the framework of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, the Egyptian regime provided evidence for counterterrorism cases in the United States.

Many of the Egyptian President’s far-reaching counterterrorism authorities are derived from a decades-old Emergency Law that was renewed by Parliament in 2006 for two years. President Mubarak called for new counterterrorism legislation to replace the Emergency Law. Such legislation is reportedly being drafted by a governmental interagency committee, although pursuit of the legislation will likely follow passage and public approval of constitutional amendments which maintain wide latitude for government action against terrorist suspects.

Iran

See State Sponsors of Terrorism.

Iraq

Iraq remained at the center of the War on Terror with the Iraqi Government and the Coalition battling al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) and affiliated terrorist organizations, insurgent groups fighting against Coalition Forces (CF), militias and death squads increasingly engaged in sectarian violence, and criminal organizations taking advantage of Iraq’s deteriorating security situation. Terrorist organizations and insurgent groups continued to attack CF primarily using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIEDs). The Iraqi government universally condemned terrorist groups and supported CF against AQI and its affiliates.

The June 7 death of AQI’s leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, damaged the group’s leadership but did not diminish attacks against Coalition Forces and Iraqis nor did it halt overall increasing attack trends by the group. AQI’s new leader is Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir. January press reports indicated that AQI teamed with several smaller Sunni Islamist groups devoted to continuing the insurgency calling themselves the Mujahideen Shura Council. By the end of the year, this group had renamed itself the Islamic State of Iraq.

AQ and affiliated groups continued attacks on Iraq’s infrastructure and claimed responsibility for kidnappings and attacks against Coalition Forces.

The Government of Iraq sponsored reconciliation programs to reduce the sources of violence. The government organized conferences involving tribal and religious leaders, politicians, and civil society organizations to counter support for terrorist organizations and to promote dialogue between Iraq’s ethnic and religious groups in an effort to decrease violence. Tribal leaders in Ramadi, a volatile city in Anbar province, banded together late in the year and pledged to fight against AQ instead of the coalition. While the tribal leaders’ full effectiveness remained uncertain, this represented an important step.

Iraq’s sectarian divide increased dramatically following the February 22 bombing of the al-Askariyah Mosque, one of the holiest sites to Shia Muslims, located in Salah ad Din province. While violence against both CF and Iraqis had increased prior to the bombing, this event exacerbated sectarian tensions and led to increased violence in Iraq’s ethnically-mixed areas, especially Baghdad. Sectarian attacks, including car bombs, suicide vests, sniper fire, targeted assassinations, and death squad murders, occurred on a close-to-daily basis with Iraqi civilians suffering the majority of causalities. Iraq’s sectarian violence furthered the terrorists’ goals by creating instability and weakening the government.

Neighboring countries, specifically Iran, continued to interfere in Iraq’s internal affairs by allowing, condoning, or in some cases, actively smuggling weapons, people, materials, and money to terrorist, insurgent, and militia groups inside Iraq. Iranian agents and sympathizers utilized an 800-mile long, porous border with limited security to transport goods, which increasingly included Iranian-made weapons such as IEDs or their components, which proved effective in attacks against Coalition Forces.

In recent statements, Iraqi government leaders, including the Prime Minister, the President and the Foreign Minister, have called on neighboring countries to stop interfering in Iraq’s internal affairs and to stop supporting elements actively fighting against Iraq’s elected government. Syria’s Foreign Minister traveled to Baghdad and agreed to cooperate more closely on border security in an effort to reduce the number of foreign fighters entering Iraq. Senior Iraqi officials, including Iraqi President Talabani, traveled to Iran throughout the year encouraging the Iranian government to support Iraq’s political process and to stop material support of terrorist groups and militias.

To demonstrate that the Iraqi government does not wish to allow Iraq to become a safe haven for terrorist organizations, Prime Minister al-Maliki appointed the Minister of State for National Security, Shirwan al-Waeli, as the Iraq coordinator for issues involving the Kurdistan Workers Party (Kongra-Gel/PKK), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. Tension between Turkey and the Iraqi government increased as Turkish leaders expressed increasing frustration at what they viewed as Iraq’s inaction against the PKK. Although Iraq is a proven ally in the War on Terror, Iraq’s developing security and armed forces will require further training and resources before they can effectively address the terrorist groups already operating within their borders. Iraq’s intelligence services continued to improve in both competency and confidence, but they also will require additional support before they will be able to adequately identify and respond to internal and external terrorist threats. The international community’s support for investment and reconstruction are critical components needed to ensure that the Government of Iraq’s plans to reduce violence, improve services, and increase economic opportunities are successful.

Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza

Israel faced a new situation when HAMAS, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, assumed control of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). After HAMAS’ electoral victory in January, the Israeli government declared it would not meet with PA representatives, initiated a diplomatic campaign to secure international isolation of the HAMAS-led PA government, and withheld the disbursement of hundreds of millions of dollars of value-added tax and customs revenues collected by Israel on behalf of the PA. Following the formation of a new HAMAS-led government in March, the Israeli government declared it would hold HAMAS responsible for all terrorist attacks and rocket launches emanating from PA territory. IDF officials were instructed to suspend all contact with Palestinian security forces in the Gaza Strip. Israeli security experts increasingly expressed concern that terrorist know-how and capabilities would be transferred from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.

Throughout the year, Israel grappled with the problem of Qassam rocket launches from the Gaza Strip. On numerous occasions, rockets struck Israeli communities in the western Negev desert, including Sderot, or landed near or in the city of Ashkelon. Evidence suggested that Palestinian terrorists were able, on occasion, to improve the range of the Qassams. On at least three occasions, longer-range Katyusha rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip. To address the problem of rocket launches from populated areas, the IDF modified its rules of engagement to permit its forces to fire on targets a few hundred meters from Palestinian homes and police positions. During an IDF incursion into the northern Gaza Strip in November (Operation Autumn Cloud), an errant IDF artillery strike destroyed an apartment complex, and killed 18 Palestinian civilians and wounded over 50. A HAMAS spokesman called on all Palestinian factions to renew attacks, including suicide bombings, inside Israeli territory. Beginning in late November, however, HAMAS was the primary group observing a cessation of rocket fire from Gaza into green-line Israel. Although other groups have disregarded the cease-fire, HAMAS has upheld it, according to Israeli security experts.

Israel also grappled with a growing concern that terrorists, weapons, and funds were being smuggled between Egypt and the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing -- manned by the PA Border Crossing Authority, international observers, and Egyptian border guards -- and a series of tunnels under the 12 km Philadelphi Corridor (PC) separating Gaza from Egypt. Israeli security experts voiced concern that Palestinian militants were exiting the Gaza Strip via Rafah, and then infiltrating Israel across the Egypt-Israel border. After HAMAS staged a June 25 attack on IDF soldiers near Kerem Shalom that resulted in two deaths and the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit, Israel took steps that severely limited the operation of the Rafah crossing. The IDF also carried out operations to locate tunnels under the PC, destroying at least 17 during the year.

Early in 2006, Israeli security officials said Israel was not targeting HAMAS because it forbade its members to participate in Qassam rocket launches. The Israelis maintained, however, that HAMAS activists were providing assistance to militants from other terrorist groups launching Qassams. HAMAS called Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s (PIJ) April 17 suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv a legitimate act of resistance. PIJ launched Qassam rockets into Israel, carried out the January 19 and April 17 suicide bombings at the old central bus station in Tel Aviv (which killed ten Israeli civilians and an American citizen, and injured 98 Israeli civilians), participated in a foiled February attack against the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, and attempted to carry out a number of other suicide bombings. Israeli security sources said PIJ made significant efforts to carry out terror attacks in Israel prior to the March 28 Knesset elections. The IDF believed PIJ was behind the launch of a Katyusha rocket from the Gaza Strip into Israel during Knesset elections.

Israeli security officials also maintained that various Fatah-affiliated groups carried out Qassam launches, particularly the Fatah-linked al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB) and the Abu Rish Brigades. Using stolen bulldozers, AAMB demolished part of the border wall between Gaza and Egypt on January 4, allowing hundreds of Palestinians to surge through the wall and enter Egypt. AAMB also claimed that it participated in two failed attempts in February to attack the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip. AAMB claimed, on the Hizballah-operated Al-Manar TV station in Lebanon that it was responsible for the March 30 suicide car bombing at the entrance to a West Bank settlement that killed four Israeli civilians. On April 17, AAMB issued a statement threatening to target Zionists outside Palestine until Israel released its prisoners.

Lebanese Hizballah continued to provide support to select Palestinian groups to augment their capacity to conduct attacks against Israel. Hizballah also continued to call for the destruction of Israel, and directly launched a number of attacks from Lebanon, including a May 28 attack against Israel and the July 12 attack.

Israeli security services maintained that Palestinian terrorists attempted numerous times to perpetrate attacks in Israel, but were thwarted. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip attempted to infiltrate Israel by breaching the security fence around the Gaza Strip, and PIJ members were stopped en route to suicide bombings in Israeli territory. Israeli security officials claim they thwarted numerous attempts by Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) operatives and other Palestinian militants to detonate explosives at the Karni crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

According to claims by HAMAS, AAMB, PIJ, PFLP, and the PRC, a number of terrorist attacks and Qassam launches were carried out by two or more organizations acting together. AAMB, PRC and PIJ claimed to have cooperated in a foiled February 9 attempt to attack the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip. In February, the IDF and ISA shut down a Fatah-Tanzim infrastructure in Bethlehem that was receiving instructions and professional and financial assistance from PRC terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli security sources expressed concern that AQ and other external Sunni extremists were attempting to infiltrate the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On March 21, an Israeli military court in the West Bank charged two Palestinians with conspiracy to cause death, active membership in AQ, illegal assembly, and other charges. According to the charges, the two men created an al-Qaida cell in the West Bank city of Nablus, were recruiting to form other AQ cells in the West Bank, were preparing to carry out large-scale terrorist attacks in Israel, and were receiving funds and instructions from al-Qaida in Jordan. One of the two men had also been a member of HAMAS and AAMB.

In response to continuing threat information, Israeli security forces launched frequent arrest and detention raids throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, conducted targeted killings of suspected Palestinian terrorists, imposed strict and widespread closures and curfews in Palestinian areas, conducted aerial attacks on buildings affiliated with designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations in the Gaza Strip, and continued the construction of an extensive security fence in the West Bank. Israeli security forces arrested and held without trial or charges HAMAS and other Palestinian lawmakers and PA ministers from the West Bank. In the wake of the June 25 kidnapping by HAMAS of an IDF corporal posted outside the Gaza Strip, IDF troops arrested 64 HAMAS ministers and members of parliament. On August 5, the IDF arrested the speaker of the PA parliament.

On March 14, the IDF carried out an operation to seize Palestinian terrorists held in a prison in the West Bank city of Jericho within minutes after international monitors left the prison. The IDF took into custody five PFLP members, including four held responsible for the 2001 murder of an Israeli government minister, a prisoner responsible for the foiled “Karine A” weapons smuggling attempt, and over 100 other prisoners (most of whom were soon released). Israel’s Attorney General said the prisoners believed responsible for the Israeli minister’s murder would stand trial.

In December 2005, the IDF declared a 16 square kilometer zone in the northern Gaza Strip off-limits, warning the PA and general public that anyone in the zone could be targeted. The area remained off-limits in 2006. The IDF carried out ground and naval artillery and aerial strikes against wanted terror suspects and terrorists attempting to launch Qassam rockets into Israel, access roads to Qassam rocket launch sites, terrorist training camps, and weapons manufacturing and storage facilities. The IDF also conducted air strikes against the offices and official establishments of the PA in the Gaza Strip, including the office of PA Prime Minister Haniyeh, the PA ministries of interior, foreign affairs, and finance; and the offices of HAMAS’security force located in the Jabalya refugee camp.

Israeli security forces carried out several operations to shut down terrorist finance networks and seize terrorist funds. In the port city of Ashdod, Israeli Customs authorities seized containers of goods worth millions of dollars that they claimed were to be sold as part of a money laundering and transfer operation aimed at providing funds to HAMAS and PIJ. Another container from China destined for the Gaza Strip was confiscated because it allegedly contained combat support equipment. On numerous occasions, Israeli security forces raided the West Bank offices of HAMAS’ “Dawaa” organization, charging that the offices were providing financial support to families of suicide bombers and imprisoned terrorists under the guise of charity. Israeli security forces also raided foreign exchange bureaus in the West Bank, confiscating millions of counterfeit shekels that Israeli security sources suspected originated in Iran, were transferred by HAMAS, PIJ, and Hizballah offices in Syria and Lebanon, and were earmarked for terrorist acts.

Israeli security experts cited occasions when HAMAS-affiliated PA officials smuggled millions of dollars into the Gaza Strip from Egypt. In June, PA Foreign Minister Zahar carried 20 million Euros in his suitcases into the Gaza Strip from Egypt. On October 22, the PA Interior Minister carried $2 million into the Gaza Strip in his suitcases. On November 28, the PA Foreign Minister crossed into Gaza through Rafah with $20 million. In an effort to stop another such effort, Israel closed the Rafah crossing on December 14, to prevent PA Prime Minister Haniyeh from entering the Gaza Strip from Egypt carrying $35 million. Haniyeh was eventually allowed to enter Gaza after he agreed to deposit the money in an Egyptian bank.

Jordan

The Government of Jordan retained its keen interest in combating Takfiri-inspired extremism, and has actively supported forums for tolerance and religious education during the last year. Polls indicate, however, that only one-half of Jordanians considered AQ a terrorist organization, but many Jordanians viewed U.S. operations in Iraq as terrorist operations. King Abdullah continued to be an out-spoken critic of terrorism and Islamic extremism -- condemning as a “criminal cowardly attack” the September 4 shooting of a British tourist in downtown Amman. The King also continued to promote a tolerant and moderate brand of Islam. The Jordanian government publicly condemned terrorist acts throughout the world, practiced strict security measures, and passed new anti-terror legislation. Jordanian security forces disrupted several terrorist plots during the year, while Jordan’s State Security Court (SSC), which has purview over terrorism-related cases, maintained a heavy caseload.

In March, Jordanian and Arab intellectuals participated in a conference titled “Terrorism: The Phenomenon and Mechanisms to Combat It.” Hosted by Public Security Director Lieutenant General Mohammad Eitan and Interpol Secretary General Ronald Nobel, the conference highlighted the threats from terrorism and the need to understand and fight its origins. In April, Prince Ghazi bin Mohammad inaugurated the 17th annual Fiqh Academy Conference -- a three-day conference on Islamic doctrine. Prince Ghazi delivered a speech on behalf of King Abdullah calling on Muslims “to work honestly and seriously to eradicate terrorism and expose misguided Takfiri thought.” Also in April, the King signed the Amman Declaration, which calls for more dialogue, cooperation, and understanding between Western and Muslim civilizations and stressing that ties must be built on mutual respect rather than conflict and rivalry. King Abdullah told reporters during a subsequent TV interview, “[w]e believe fighting terrorism does not take place through employing direct security measures alone, but through a comprehensive strategy to strengthen the culture of dialogue and renounce the culture of violence.”

The General Intelligence Directorate and Public Security Directorate actively defended Jordan throughout the year. In February, Jordan’s security forces disrupted an al-Qaida-linked cell plotting to attack Queen Alia International Airport. In June, the State Security Court indicted seven Iraqi, Libyan, and Saudi suspects involved in the airport plot for conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks. In mid-April, the Government of Jordan announced it had discovered a cache of weapons, including rockets, C-4 explosives, and small arms, in northern Jordan. The government said that several militants associated with the cache were arrested while planning attacks in Jordan with instructions from HAMAS leaders in Syria. In early November, the State Security Court indicted three of the HAMAS-affiliated defendants for plotting attacks in Jordan. Jordanian security forces quickly apprehended Nabil Ahmed Issa al-Jaaourah, a Jordanian citizen, after he shot and killed a British tourist and injured five tourists from the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand, and a Jordanian tourist police officer, while shouting “God is great” at Amman’s Roman Amphitheater in early September.

Jordan’s lower house of Parliament ratified a bill on the prevention and punishment of terrorism in late August; the bill became law in early November following a royal decree. Highlights of the bill include: authority for the government to freeze the assets of persons suspected of terrorist conspiracy, place them under surveillance, and prevent them from leaving Jordan; a provision that would limit investigative detention to 30 days; and a definition of terrorism. The approved bill defined terrorism as “every intentional action committed by any means that leads to killing anyone or causing him physical harm or inflicting damages to public or private property…if the intention of that action was to disturb public order and endanger public safety and security or impede the implementation of the law or the constitution.”

The Government of Jordan moved forward on several high-profile al-Qaida-related terrorism cases:

  • In February, the State Security Court sentenced nine men to hang for the 2004 plot to carry out a chemical/vehicle-borne explosive attack against the U.S. embassy and Government of Jordan targets.
  • On March 11, Jordanian authorities executed Libyan national Yasser Saad bin Suway for the October 2002 assassination of USAID officer Lawrence Foley.
  • In September, the State Security Court sentenced seven terrorist plotters to hang, including would-be suicide bomber Sajidah al-Rishawi, for the November 2005 Amman Hotel Bombings. The King must review and approve the death warrant before the execution can take place.
  • In September, the Court sentenced Omar Jamil Nazzal al-Khalayleh, a cousin of the late terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to six months in prison for planning to recruit fighters in Syria to fight against U.S. and Iraqi forces in Iraq.
  • On December 7, Ali Muhammad Hasan al-Sahli was sentenced to death, and Abd-al-Rahman Ismai’l and Samih al-Nubani to two years in prison, for their roles in the August 2005 rocket attack against U.S. naval vessels (USS Ashland and USS Kearsarge) visiting the port of Aqaba.

Several non-al-Qaida-related cases were also concluded:

  • In the first quarter of 2006, the State Security Court sentenced Abdullah al-Mrayat and seven men from the Horani cell to prison for recruiting fighters for operations against U.S. and Iraqi government forces in Iraq;
  • In March and September, the State Security Court sentenced four members of the Qteishat cell and six members of the Khattab Brigade for plotting attacks against hotels, liquor stores, tourist sites, and security officers.
  • In October, the Court found eight Mansurah cell militants guilty of plotting to kill American and Iraqi trainers at the Jordan International Police Training Center; and in November, the court sentenced five men from the Khaled Mohammad cell to prison for planning attacks against Israel.
  • In December, the Court sentenced three men to prison for attempting to join Iraqi insurgents.

Border security remained a top concern. The Jordanian government enforced security measures at each of its ports of entry, including thorough manual and electromagnetic searches of vehicles and persons attempting to enter Jordan through the Karama-Trebil border crossing in the West Bank. The Jordanian and Iraqi Interior Ministers met in Amman in mid-December to discuss the formation of joint committees aimed at countering terrorism and enhancing control along the 180 km Jordanian-Iraqi border.

Kuwait

Kuwaiti officials condemned terrorism in regional and international fora, drafted stronger money laundering and terrorist finance legislation, and implemented a government-funded moderation campaign to combat extremism. Despite these efforts, the risk of a terrorist attack in Kuwait remained high because of the Government of Kuwait’s continued reluctance to confront domestic extremists and Kuwaiti supporters of terrorism active in Iraq and Afghanistan, and regional tensions, particularly sectarian violence in Iraq.

The Government of Kuwait continued to pursue prosecutions of 36 members of the “Peninsula Lions” terrorist cell involved in the January 2005 confrontations with police, 22 Kuwaiti citizens accused of “jihad in Iraq,” 12 Kuwaitis involved in the 2002 Failaka Island shooting, and eight Guantanamo detainees released to Kuwaiti custody. In November, the Appeals Court upheld most of the verdicts in the “Peninsula Lions” case, including four death sentences, four prison sentences of ten years or more, two seven-year sentences, and six sentences of four years or less. The Court commuted two death sentences to life imprisonment and reduced seven other prison sentences; it also increased four sentences from seven to ten years imprisonment.

In the “Jihadists in Iraq” case, 15 defendants were sentenced to three years, three received small fines, and four were acquitted by the Appeals Court in June. The government is still pursuing cases against 12 of the defendants. In January, the Appeals Court increased the sentences of six of the 12 defendants in the Failaka Island shooting case, and imposed heavier fines, longer probation periods, and travel restrictions. Of the eight Guantanamo detain-ees released to Kuwait, two remained in Kuwaiti custody awaiting trial. The other six were tried. Five were found not guilty and released; the government is appealing the verdicts. One was initially found guilty, but in an appeal, Kuwait’s highest court overturned the decision and issued a not guilty verdict.

Kuwait still lacked strong legal provisions to deal effectively with those engaged in conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. Kuwaiti officials stated that insufficient and incomplete evidence prevented the conviction of, or more robust sentences for, many suspected terrorists.

In August, Kuwaiti police apprehended Hamid Nawaf al-Harbi, a suspect in the “Peninsula Lions” case who was sentenced in absentia to seven years in prison. Mohsen al-Fadhli, a known Kuwaiti terrorist believed to be in the country, remains at large. In December, the U.S. Treasury Department designated Kuwaiti extremist cleric Hamid al-Ali and terrorist facilitators Mubarak Bathali and Jabir Jalahmah as terrorist supporters. Kuwait continued to pursue upgrades to its border security, and worked closely with Iraq and other countries to secure the Iraqi border area. Kuwait also significantly increased security at oil installations after AQ threatened to attack oil facilities in the Gulf.

The Kuwaiti government continued to strengthen its legal regime for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, but problems persisted, particularly with enforcement. Although money laundering was a criminal offense, terrorist financing was not specifically prohibited. Currency smuggling into Kuwait was illegal, but cash reporting requirements were not uniformly enforced and there were no currency reporting requirements for individuals leaving the country. Members of the Kuwait National Committee for Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing represented a wide range of government ministries and domestic financial institutions, but vague delineations of the roles and responsibilities continued to hinder their overall effectiveness. Kuwait was also an active member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force and had a Financial Intelligence Unit in accordance with current international standards, although it was not well-organized nor an independent body.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor took steps to increase the monitoring and regulation of the domestic fundraising activities of Kuwait-based Islamic charities, but the Kuwaiti government was less effective in monitoring the operations of Kuwaiti charities abroad. The government needed to accelerate its efforts to pass counterterrorism legislation, strengthen charity oversight, empower its FIU, monitor cash couriers, and fully conform to international standards and conventions on terrorist financing.

Toward the end of the year, Kuwait’s Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs opened its World Moderation Center, a special agency responsible for implementing an initiative launched in 2005 to combat extremism and spread moderation among Muslims through education, training, international dialogue, and research.

Lebanon

Political violence continued throughout the year. Most notable was the assassination of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel by a team of gunmen in the streets of a northern suburb of Beirut on November 21. This act, the latest in a series of assassinations and attempted assassinations over the last two years, seemed designed to inflame tensions and intimidate forces opposing Syrian interference in Lebanon. An assassination attempt on Internal Security Forces (ISF) Colonel Samir Shehade took place on September 5. Colonel Shehade was injured by the explosion of a roadside bomb which went off as his car passed by the village of Rmaileh, near the southern port city of Sidon. Lebanese officials suspected that the attempt on his life was in retaliation for his role in the investigation into former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s murder.

Between October and November, several attacks targeted ISF barracks in different areas in Beirut. On October 8 and November 1, Energa grenade-type shells were fired at al-Helou ISF barracks, causing damage to the ISF dormitory. On October 10, the Barbar el-Khazzen ISF barracks were also the target of an Energa shell that caused no casualties. The Tareek el-Jedideh ISF barracks were targeted on November 5. In what may have been a related incident, on October 15, two Energa shells exploded in downtown Beirut, injuring five and causing damage to the Credit Libanais Bank building.

Since October 2004, there have been at least 18 bombings and assassination attempts that resulted in more than 32 deaths, including that of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on February 14, 2005. Other attacks have targeted Lebanese journalists and politicians critical of Syrian interference in Lebanon, including Telecom Minister Marwan Hamadeh, MP Gebran Tueni, journalist May Chidiac, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Elias Murr, and journalist Samir Kassir. Each of these attacks remained unsolved. The UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) has been investigating the Hariri assassination and other possibly related crimes, pursuant to UNSC Resolution 1644. The Lebanese government also continued to investigate the acts of political violence.

The government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has taken some gradual steps to prevent terrorist activities. In accordance with UNSC Resolution 1701, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) strengthened its border presence and increased patrols in the south, with assistance from UNIFIL. The LAF deployed 15,000 troops in the south, establishing itself in this region for the first time in 30 years. Also, the ISF created a special unit to combat terrorism, and established branches of this unit to preempt terrorist activity in northern and central Lebanon.

Even with these steps, there are many concerns about Lebanon’s ability to combat terrorism. Hizballah still remains the most prominent terrorist group in Lebanon. It has strong influence among Lebanon’s Shia community, which comprises about one-third of Lebanon’s population. The Lebanese government still recognizes Hizballah as a legitimate “resistance group” and political party. Hizballah maintains offices in Beirut and elsewhere in the country, has official liaison officers to the security services, is represented by elected deputies in parliament, and until recently had one minister in the cabinet.

The unstable political situation in Lebanon also contributed to enabling suspected foreign terrorist organizations, such as AQ and Fatah-Islam, to infiltrate Lebanon and set up operational cells within the Palestinian refugee camps. Some of these groups, such as AQ affiliate Asbat al-Ansar, have been able to find safe haven within the camps to support their actions.

Although Syria withdrew its military forces from Lebanon in April 2005, it still maintained a covert intelligence presence. The Lebanese government accused Syria of continuing to support and facilitate arms smuggling to Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups. Even with the post-conflict LAF troop deployments, the Government of Lebanon did not exercise full control over areas in the Hizballah-dominated south, the southern suburbs of Beirut, parts of the Biqa Valley, and inside the Palestinian-controlled refugee camps or Palestinian paramilitary bases. This lack of control provided opportunity for terrorist groups to operate relatively freely in some of these locations. During the national dialogue held in March that aimed to generate consensus among the country’s major parliamentary groups, Lebanese leaders agreed to disarm the Palestinian factions located outside the 12 Palestinian refugee camps by September. The intended disarming of the Palestinian factions was derailed by the Summer War and the subsequent unsettled internal political situation.

At the end of 2006, the Lebanese government had not fully complied with UNSC Resolution 1559, which calls for respect for the sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon, the end of foreign interference in Lebanon, and the disarming and disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias. While Lebanon was committed to fulfilling UNSC Resolution 1559, its political leaders maintained that implementation of Hizballah’s disarmament should be accomplished through a national dialogue rather than force. Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps, safe havens for several armed Palestinian factions and numbers of Sunni extremists, remained no-go zones for the LAF.

Lebanese authorities maintained that the amnesty for Lebanese individuals involved in acts of violence during the civil war prevented the government from prosecuting terrorist cases of concern to the United States. These cases included individuals involved in the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847, during which a U.S. Navy diver was murdered, and the abduction, torture, and murder of U.S. hostages in Lebanon from 1984 to 1991. U.S. courts brought indictments against Lebanese Hizballah operatives responsible for a number of those crimes. Despite evidence to the contrary, some Lebanese government officials have insisted that Imad Mughniyah, wanted in connection with the TWA 847 hijacking and other terrorist acts, and placed on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists in 2001, was no longer in Lebanon. Mohammad Ali Hamadi, who spent 18 years in a German prison for his role in the TWA hijacking, was released in December 2005 and was believed to be in Lebanon. The United States continued its efforts to bring him to trial before a U.S. court and formally requested his extradition.

With regard to terrorism finance, Lebanese officials played an active leadership role in the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENA/FATF). The Central Bank of Lebanon’s Special Investigation Commission (SIC), an independent legal entity with judicial status that is empowered to investigate suspicious financial transactions, investigated 123 cases involving allegations of money laundering and terrorist financing activities. On two occasions, the SIC was unable to designate or freeze the assets of two groups affiliated with Hizballah, on the ground that the groups were affiliated with a political party participating in the Lebanese government, and thus, a decision to freeze their assets would have been a political, rather than a legal, decision.

Libya

On May 15 the United States announced its intention to restore full diplomatic relations with Libya and to rescind Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. The United States formally rescinded Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism on June 30. Libya continued to cooperate closely with the United States and the international community on counterterrorism efforts.

Since pledging to renounce terrorism in 2003, Libya has endeavored to show its commitment to the War on Terror. Libya cooperated with the United States to combat the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an AQ affiliate dedicated to the overthrow of the Qadhafi regime. Libya also worked with the United States to curtail terrorist activities of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an Algeria-based al-Qaida associate formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC).

A number of U.S. court cases seeking compensation from Libya for its past support for terrorism remained unresolved.

Morocco

The Moroccan government continued with internal reforms that aimed to address the socio-economic conditions extremists exploit for recruitment. The National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), launched by King Mohammed VI in 2005, is designed to combat poverty, generate employment, and improve infrastructure. INDH projects have focused on rural areas. Morocco’s Ministry of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs (MOIA) continued reforms begun in 2004 to counter extremist ideology and promote religious tolerance and moderation. Thirty Imams were dismissed in an effort to eliminate extremist ideology in the mosques, and the Ministry supervised revisions to the country’s religious curriculum, broke with precedent by appointing 50 women to serve as Islamic spiritual guides in mosques across the country, and installed a closed circuit television network that broadcast moderate religious lectures and sermons to 2,000 mosques daily.

Moroccan efforts to combat terrorism were overhauled and upgraded following coordinated suicide bombings in Casablanca in May 2003 that left 45 persons dead. In the investigation that followed, approximately 3,000 persons suspected of connections to the network were detained, some of whom remain imprisoned. The Moroccan government continued to aggressively investigate and detain terrorist suspects. Minister of Interior Chakib Ben Moussa announced in late November that 300 terrorist suspects had been detained during the year.

Several terrorist cells were identified and disrupted. In March, members of the “Ben Hadi Cell,” allegedly tied to (AQIM/GSPC) were arrested. In July, 56 alleged members of the “Mehdi Support Group,” led by Hassan al-Khatab, an extremist first jailed after the 2003 Casablanca bombings, were arrested. In November, 13 alleged members of another group were arrested. All three terror cells had identified targets, procured explosives, and initiated planning for attacks against both domestic and foreign interests in Morocco.

Morocco continued with steps to counter terrorism finance and to strengthen controls against money laundering. At the end of 2006, the Parliament was in the final stages of preparing new anti-money laundering legislation that will provide a comprehensive legal basis for the monitoring, investigation, and prosecution of illegal financial activities.

Oman

Oman remained proactive in developing counterterrorism programs and strategies to ensure that it does not become a terrorist safe haven. Oman has worked extensively with neighboring countries to delineate border regions to help prevent the ability of terrorists to move freely throughout the Arabian Peninsula. These efforts resulted in a December agreement between Oman and Saudi Arabia to establish a formal Port of Entry along Oman’s western border to better control border transit operations between the two countries.

Although Oman does not have a significant money laundering problem, its government launched the “Oman Program for Anti-Money Laundering” (OPFAM) in August. The purpose of this initiative was to promote greater cohesion among Omani policy-makers, regulators, law enforcement agencies, and financial institutions. Through OPFAM the Omani government hopes to promote information exchanges among relevant actors, standardize indicators to report suspicious transactions, and develop common guidelines to address anti-money laundering challenges. The Omani government has expressed concern about the increasing number of illegal immigrants attempting to enter Oman. Oman’s long coastline and porous borders offered significant challenges as they remained vulnerable to illegal transit by immigrant workers, smugglers, terrorists, and individuals involved in the traffic and sale of illegal drugs. No known terrorists were apprehended during immigration enforcement operations, but Omani officials were aware of the possibility of such individuals using human smuggling organizations to enter Oman. To date, illegal immigrants used Oman primarily as a transit point to other destinations in the Arabian Peninsula, particularly the United Arab Emirates. The majority of illegal immigrants apprehended were Pakistani, Afghani, and, to a much lesser extent, Iranian nationals who were smuggled across the Gulf of Oman.

The Omani government has been aggressive in obtaining training and equipment through the U.S. military to support efforts to control its land and maritime borders. This included the purchase of night vision equipment, an upgraded communication system used by the Royal Omani Police (ROP) and Coast Guard units, open-water patrol boats for the Coast Guard with advance radar systems, and ground surveillance radar systems to assist in border interdiction efforts. The Royal Omani Police, Sultan’s Special Force, and the Royal Omani Police Coast Guard participated in U.S. Antiterrorism Assistance Programs.

Qatar

The Qatari government’s 2004 Combating Terrorism Law defined terrorism and terrorist acts, provided measures against terrorist financing or fundraising activities, gave the government the authority to take action against terrorist activities, and listed specific punishments, including the death penalty, for terrorist crimes.

The Qatar Authority for Charitable Works monitored all domestic and international charitable activities and approved international fund transfers by charities. The Authority had primary responsibility for monitoring overseas charitable, development, and humanitarian projects; and reported annually to Qatari government ministries on their status.

Cooperation with U.S. authorities on counterterrorism finance was strong. Qatar’s Financial Information Unit resided in the Qatar Central Bank. Local banks worked with the Central Bank and the FIU on counterterrorism finance and anti-money laundering issues, and bank officials attended U.S.-sponsored conferences.

There has not been a terrorist attack in Qatar since the March 19, 2005, suicide car bomb attack at an amateur theater playhouse, which killed a British citizen. Cooperation with U.S. authorities improved during the course of the investigation of this unresolved case.

Saudi Arabia

The Government of Saudi Arabia continued to experience a mix of successes and setbacks in its efforts to combat terrorism. Government security forces conducted successful operations against terrorist cells, capturing or killing large numbers of wanted terrorist suspects, as well as members of their support networks. The government has made some progress in other aspects of its counterterrorism effort, such as financing and education, but it still has significant ground to cover to address these issues.

Saudi efforts suffered setbacks with prison breaks and an attack that led to the discovery of extensive support networks in the Kingdom. Prison escapes occurred in March at the al-Kharj prison and in July from al-Malaz jail in Riyadh. On February 24, a Saudi-based AQ cell conducted a suicide attack utilizing vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices on Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq oil stabilization and processing facility near Dammam, which resulted in the death of two security guards and several of the bombers.

Saudi security forces achieved several successes, both in response to these attacks and independently of them. Saudi security forces killed or captured all of the members of the Abqaiq cell and all but three of the Maraz prison escapees. On August 21, five wanted terrorists surrendered in response to government assurances in the media that they would receive mitigated sentences. In December, the government announced the capture during the previous three months of 136 suspected terrorists who were involved in terrorist support networks in the Kingdom.

The Saudi government initiated several programs to support its counterterrorism efforts and bolster its campaign against extremists. King Abdullah created a special security court, the Court of the Divergent, to prosecute terrorist suspects. Interior Minister Prince Nayif gave public assurances that the Court would not be a military tribunal, but would conform to existing judicial practices and law. Additionally, the government began planning a border security system, including fences and sensors, to prevent infiltration of terrorists or terrorist funding into the kingdom. In December, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit reiterated its calls to criminalize terrorism, and called for a comprehensive effort against terrorism to include intellectual, social, and educational efforts.

The Saudi government moved to monitor and enforce its anti-money laundering and terrorist finance laws, regulations, and guidelines. However, it still had not established a High Commission for Charities. As in many countries in the Middle East, there was still an over-reliance on suspicious transaction reporting to generate money laundering investigations. Saudi Arabia’s unwillingness to publicly disseminate statistics regarding money laundering prosecutions impeded the evaluation and design of enhancements to the judicial aspects of its anti-money laundering system. The Saudi government did not subject Saudi international charities to the same government oversight as domestic charities. In August, the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee designated the International Islamic Relief Organization’s (IIRO) branches in Indonesia and the Philippines, and the Kingdom’s Eastern Province Branch Director, Abdulhamid Al-Mujil.

In late 2005, the government enacted stricter regulations on the cross-border movement of money and precious metals. Money and gold in excess of $16,000 must be declared upon entry and exit from the country. While the regulations were effective immediately, Customs has not issued new cash declaration forms, and therefore has not yet been able to enforce the current regulation.

In the cultural arena, official visits by a number of U.S. officials, including Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom John Hanford, highlighted the govern-ment’s efforts to remove references in textbooks that called for violence against non-Muslims and Muslims of different sects. The government also initiated the National Campaign to Counter Terrorism, which included publications, lectures, and workshops intended to educate school-age girls and boys about the evils of terrorism. To promote tolerance, the government began revising curricula and teaching methods, screening and reevaluating existing teachers, improving selection of future teachers, and better monitoring of teachers.

The government continued to require religious leaders to attend courses designed to eradicate extremist ideology in the mosques and monitor mosque sermons to promote tolerance and eliminate extremism. Several religious leaders were fired or subjected to punitive actions for failure to abide by government instructions to avoid provocative speeches against non-Muslims and non-Sunni Muslims. In previous years in some mosques, a second preacher would appear after the main preacher during the Friday prayer and speak provocatively against Jews, Americans, or non-orthodox Muslims. This practice is less prevalent now, due in large part to the government’s efforts to combat extremism in the mosques.

The Saudi government remained engaged in its efforts to root out terrorists and their support networks in the Kingdom, but continued to face difficulties in combating the appeal of AQ ideology. Despite significant efforts and successes in the counterterrorism realm, Saudi security forces continued to discover new terrorist networks in the Kingdom. The Saudi government will need to further address the social and religious underpinnings that sustain the Saudi form of Islamic extremism.

Syria

See State Sponsors of Terrorism.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) repeatedly condemned terrorist acts in Iraq, Egypt, and elsewhere in the region throughout the year. In order to prevent extremist preaching in UAE mosques, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments provided prescribed guidelines for all Friday sermons, and required all 1,500 mosques that delivered sermons to record them each Friday to ensure that imams adhered to the guidelines. The UAE undertook several border security measures to deter terrorists from reaching UAE soil.

The UAE was generally cooperative in counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts, although cooperation on law enforcement matters was hampered by the lack of a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) between the UAE and the United States. In February, the UAE passed a cyber-crimes law criminalizing the use of the internet for terrorist groups to “promote their ideologies and finance their activities.” In June, the UAE established a National Security Council charged with formulating and implementing a national strategic plan.

The Container Security Initiative (CSI), which became operational at the ports of Port Rashid and Jebel Ali in the Emirate of Dubai in 2005, had five U.S. Customs officers co-located with the Dubai Customs Intelligence Unit at Port Rashid. On average, CSI reviewed approximately 250 bills of lading each week, resulting in 15-20 non-intrusive inspections of U.S.-bound containers; examinations were conducted jointly with Dubai Customs officers. In addition, Dubai Customs made requests for most, if not all, containers that originated in Iran to be designated for inspection.

The U.S./UAE Joint Terrorist Finance Coordinating Committee met three times during the year, directly resulting in affirmative changes to the UAE’s anti-money laundering laws. The UAE Central Bank provided training programs to financial institutions on money laundering and terrorist financing. The Central Bank initiated memoranda of understanding with regional financial intelligence units, and performed anti-money laundering training both locally and regionally. The Central Bank investigated financial transactions and froze accounts in response to internal investigations. Nine prosecutions for money laundering were in process at year’s end. The Central Bank has registered 201 hawala dealers to date.

Yemen

The Republic of Yemen took action against al-Qaida and local extremists, arresting several individuals suspected of having AQ ties, and prosecuting the perpetrators of previous terrorist acts. Yemen also experienced several setbacks to its counterterrorism efforts with the February 3 escape of 23 suspected AQ supporters and the September 15 terrorist attacks on two oil facilities.

On September 15, two coordinated attacks on oil facilities in eastern Yemen resulted in the deaths of all four attackers and one Yemeni security official. A group calling itself al-Qaida in Yemen claimed responsibility. One day after the attack, security forces arrested four individuals on suspicion of links to the attack and for planning attacks in Sanaa on Yemeni government and Canadian Nexen oil company facilities. The investigations into the oil facility and Sanaa attacks continued but no charges were filed.

On February 3, 23 suspected AQ supporters escaped from a maximum security prison in Sanaa. Among the escapees were individuals convicted of participating in the 2000 USS Cole and 2002 M/V Limburg attacks, including the alleged organizer of the Cole attack, Jamal Badawi. On October 1, the U.S.-trained Central Security Force/Counterterrorism Unit killed two of the most dangerous escapees, Foaz al-Rabi’i and Mohammed al-Dhailami. Rabi’i was sentenced to death, in absentia, in 2004 for his role in the M/V Limburg attack. Rabi’i and Dhailami were alleged to have organized the September oil facility attacks. In total, eight escapees surrendered and security forces killed three.

Yemeni security forces continued to arrest and try suspected members of AQ and other terrorist groups throughout the year. On May 3, a security court convicted Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal, alleged to be AQ’s number two in Yemen, of financing terrorist groups associated with AQ. Al-Ahdal was sentenced to 37 months in prison, much of which was credited as time served while awaiting trial.

On July 8, the Special Penal Court (SPC) acquitted 19 individuals charged with conspiring to attack U.S. and Yemeni interests. The defendants admitted to traveling to Iraq to “conduct jihad,” but the judge ruled that jihad was not illegal under Yemeni law. Also in July, the SPC acquitted 23 other individuals on conspiracy charges relating to traveling to Iraq to attack U.S. forces and found 21 of the defendants guilty on fraudulent document charges. Both cases are currently under appeal. In March, the Sanaa Appellate Court upheld the acquittal of four Iraqis charged with plotting to attack the U.S. and British Embassies in 2003.

In August, the Sanaa Appellate Court returned the case of two individuals accused of plotting to assassinate the U.S. Ambassador in 2004 to a lower court, claiming the judge did not follow correct sentencing procedures. Hizam al-Mass and Khalid al-Halilah were sentenced on March 5 to five years in prison.

Yemen used its Islamic Dialogue Committee, headed by a leading judge, to continue its dialogue with detainees arrested for connections to terrorist groups and extremist elements. The government released detainees it considered rehabilitated after they pledged to uphold the Yemeni constitution and laws, the rights of non-Muslims, and the inviolability of foreign interests. No comprehensive program existed to monitor recidivism rates. An undisclosed number of released detainees from previous years reportedly have traveled to Iraq to participate in attacks against Coalition Forces.

The government’s capacity for stemming terrorism financing remained limited. In 2004, the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee designated prominent Yemeni Sheikh Abd al-Majid al-Zindani for his association with AQ. The Yemeni government took no action to bar his travel or freeze his assets in compliance with its UN obligations. Throughout the year, President Saleh voiced public support for Zindani and his Al-Iman University.

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Overview

Terrorism remained a problem in the region, directly and indirectly threatening American interests and lives. To varying degrees, U.S. cooperation with regional partners on counterterrorism issues continued to increase, but much is left to be accomplished.

Despite considerable progress in Afghanistan, the Talibanled insurgency remained strong and resilient, particularly in the Pashtun south and east. Although the insurgency absorbed heavy combat losses, its ability to recruit foot soldiers from its core base of rural Pashtuns remains undiminished.

Pakistan executed effective counterterrorism cooperation and captured or killed many terrorists. In August, close cooperation between Pakistani, British, and American law enforcement agencies exposed the London-Heathrow bomb plot, leading to the arrest in Pakistan of Rashid Rauf and other conspirators believed to be connected to the case. However, the United States remained concerned that the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan are a safe haven for al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other militants.

Terrorists staged numerous attacks in India, including a series of commuter train bomb attacks in Mumbai which killed over 200 people and injured more than 700. Despite challenges associated with its law enforcement and judicial systems, India achieved major successes this year, including numerous arrests and the confiscation of explosives and firearms. Neighboring Bangladesh continued to arrest extremists, but the deteriorating political situation in Bangladesh may increase the opportunity for terrorists to find refuge or transit.

In Nepal and Sri Lanka, terrorism carried out by the Maoists and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) posed a severe challenge to those governments. On an encouraging note, in November, the Maoists signed a peace agreement with the Government of Nepal that provided, under certain disarmament conditions, that the Maoists could be admitted into an interim government. In Sri Lanka, the LTTE continued attacks including targeted assassinations against political and military opponents.

A sustained commitment to counterterrorism by Central Asian states resulted in relatively few terrorist attacks. Yet terrorism and the underlying conditions and porous borders it exploits still pose a significant threat to the region. In May, terrorists attacked border posts in Tajiki-stan and Kyrgyzstan but were subsequently killed and captured by joint operations in the Ferghana Valley. With U.S. support, Central Asian states have undertaken to improve the capabilities of their border forces and build new border posts to impede terrorist movements and interdict drug smuggling, some of which financed terrorism in the region. The sheer length of the border and local corruption remained obstacles in Central Asia’s efforts to control its borders. More widely, popular grievances over governance and poor economic growth enhance conditions terrorists and other extremists could exploit to recruit and operate in the region.

Central Asia’s most notorious terrorists are the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and a splinter group, the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU). However, radical extremist groups such as Hizbut-Tahrir (HT) may also present a danger to the region. HT, an extremist political movement advocating the establishment of a borderless, theocratic Islamic state throughout the entire Muslim world, has followers in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbeki-stan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and the Middle East. The United States has no evidence that HT has committed any acts of international terrorism, but the group’s radical anti-American and anti-Semitic ideology is sympathetic to acts of violence against the United States and its allies. HT has publicly called on Muslims to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight Coalition Forces.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan continued its progress toward building a stable and democratic government, despite a strong Taliban offensive and an increase in suicide bombings and attacks on soft targets throughout the country. Programs designed to combat the Taliban and other lawlessness were the principal focus of the Afghan government and international community.

At year’s end, the Program for Strengthening Peace and Reconciliation (PTS), which worked to reconcile Taliban and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) members, had eleven regional offices, and over 2,500 former Taliban fighters and other insurgents had left the battlefield and joined the program. Plans were underway to strengthen and expand PTS, provided sufficient funding was available. The Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) program processed more than 63,000 former combatants in 2005, and 380 in 2006, as the program successfully wound down in June. The Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) began work in June 2005 vetting parliamentary candidates to ensure they had no ties to illegal armed groups (IAGs). The DIAG disqualified a number of candidates, using the program more as an effort to push compliance rather than to punish individuals for past and present actions. The program’s second phase began in early 2006, and undertook a province-by-province effort to identify and remove government officials with links to IAGS and disband the most notorious IAGs. Progress has been slow because of a lack of government enforcement of mandatory compliance and the unwillingness of many to disarm given the security situation.

Coalition Forces, in particular the U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force-76, conducted a series of sub-campaigns during 2006. These actions utilized effective counterinsurgency means and methods, including the simultaneous use of kinetic (air and ground forces) and non-kinetic means to counter terrorism, extremism, and anti-government forces. This regional strategy, focusing on the south and east, destroyed many anti-government forces and attempted to restore the flow of reconstruction and development. Coalition Forces killed over 2,000 anti-government forces and provided hundreds of millions of dollars in reconstruction and development aid.

Increasingly, the rapidly professionalizing Afghan National Army (ANA), with more than 31,000 personnel trained and equipped, and to a lesser extent the Afghan National Police (ANP), with 61,500 trained and equipped, have taken the lead in counterterrorism operations and cooperated closely with the U.S. Afghan security forces have arrested presumed terrorists, disrupted several IED cells, and prevented many bombings, particularly in Kabul.

Despite this progress, the Taliban-led insurgency remained a capable and resilient threat to stability, particularly in the Pashtun south and east. Although the insurgency absorbed heavy combat losses, its funding and ability to recruit foot soldiers from its core base of rural Pashtuns remained undiminished. This was due in part to aggressive Taliban propaganda. Taliban information operations have grown increasingly sophisticated. Seemingly reliable streams of Taliban financing from various sources, including collusion with narcotraffickers responsible for 92 percent of the world’s opium supply, as well as safe haven in the FATA across the border in Pakistan, have allowed the insurgency to strengthen its military and technical capabilities.

Afghanistan saw an increasing number of violent incidents during 2006. More than 1,400 civilians were killed in terrorist attacks during the year. The use of IEDs and suicide bombings in Afghanistan increased fourfold. Militants launched approximately 130 suicide attacks this year. Insurgents targeted provincial governors, NGOs, women’s affairs officials, and ministry buildings and officials during the year. Insurgents increased their use of IEDs and suicide attacks against Coalition Forces, NATO/ISAF, Afghan National Security Forces, and Government of Afghanistan targets, while maintaining a steady level of direct and indirect fire attacks against these same forces.

Overall attacks against non-combatants (government officials, civilians, religious figures, teachers, and students) appeared to increase, and international NGOs, UN workers, and recipients of NGO assistance were attacked on approximately 57 occasions. Thirty-one NGO staff members were killed compared to 33 in 2005 and 23 in 2004. Insurgents targeted Provisional Reconstruction Teams and construction crews in a possible effort to hamper reconstruction and drive the international assistance community out of Afghanistan.

Bangladesh

Bangladesh continued to arrest, prosecute, and convict top leaders and activists of Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB), the banned Islamic extremist group responsible for a wave of bombings and suicide attacks in late 2005. In response to the attacks, the government’s Rapid Action Battalion, a paramilitary organization, emerged as Bang-ladesh’s lead counterterrorism unit responsible for the arrests of significant numbers of JMB leaders and activists. Although JMB remnants have threatened violence if the death sentences of JMB leaders under appeal are carried out, there was no JMB-linked violence in 2006. In September, authorities arrested four members of another banned terrorist organization, Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B), two of whom confessed involvement with the 2004 grenade attack that severely injured the British High Commissioner, the 2005 assassination of opposition Awami League elder statesman Shah Kibria, and three attacks on two other Awami League leaders.

The Government of Bangladesh stated that it intended to close permanently the local office of the radical Kuwait-based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, but has yet to do so. The Central Bank of Bangladesh fined Islami Bank for violating anti-money laundering laws in connection with possible financing of JMB activities. Islami Bank has a number of board members who are associated with the Jamaat Islami Party, a member of the ruling coalition.

India continued to allege that the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and other anti-India insurgency groups operated from Bangladesh with the concurrence of senior Bangladeshi government officials. The Government of Bangladesh strongly denied these allegations. Nonetheless, the arrest in India of two Pakistanis linked to the Mumbai train bombings who allegedly entered India from Bangladesh underscored how porous the Indo-Bang-ladeshi border is. The absence of counterterrorism cooperation between India and Bangladesh fueled mutual allegations that each country facilitated terrorism inside the borders of the other.

U.S. and Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies cooperated well on several cases related to domestic and international terrorism. With U.S. technical assistance, Bangladesh drafted an improved anti-money laundering law, and put into operation basic elements of a Financial Intelligence Unit. Bangladesh also continued cooperation with the United States to strengthen control of its borders and land, sea, and air ports of entry.

India

As in previous years, terrorists staged hundreds of attacks on people and property in India. The most prominent terrorist groups were violent extremists operating in Jammu and Kashmir; Maoists operating in the “Naxalite belt” in eastern, southern and central India; and ethno-linguistic nationalists in India’s northeastern states. The federal and state governments tried various strategies to address some of these grievances within the context of Indian democracy, but the government was firm: groups must cease violence before negotiations can begin, and the government will not entertain territorial concessions.

India alleged, based on numerous arrests and several major attacks, that UN designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) began a campaign in the Indian heart-land to gain support from India’s minority Muslim population for terrorist attacks. The Indian government blamed two prominent Pakistani-based FTOs, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), for several attacks in major Indian cities.

On July 11, terrorists set off seven blasts on packed commuter trains in Mumbai, killing at least 209 people and injuring more than 700. On March 7, terrorists set off three blasts in the holy city of Varanassi, killing 21 and injuring 62 people. On September 9, terrorists set off a series of blasts outside a mosque in the western Indian city of Malegon that killed 38 people and wounded more than 50. Police claimed the Malegon attack was conducted by Islamic extremists hoping to incite further anger between the Hindu and Muslim communities.

On October 27, Karnataka state police in Mysore arrested two suspected terrorists who allegedly belonged to the terrorist group Al-Badr. Police believed the suspects were inserted as an advance team to establish a base in southern India from which they would facilitate terrorist attacks on economic and government targets, especially in nearby Bangalore, a high-tech hub.

In addition, terrorist groups continued their attacks in Jammu and Kashmir against Indian and Kashmiri politicians, civilians in public areas, and security forces. Hundreds of non-combatants were killed, most of whom were Kashmiri Muslims. Indian experts asserted that the July 11 attack that killed eight tourists and injured 43 in Srinagar was designed to inhibit growth in the tourism industry and to hamper increasing Kashmiri enthusiasm for normalization of ties with New Delhi and between Indian and Pakistani controlled Kashmir. Unfortunately, Kashmir continued to be a dangerous area as an American citizen was injured in a grenade attack in Srinagar in June. Indian officials said that terrorist infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir increased in 2006, although they also pointed to an overall decline in violence and infiltration since 2000.

Naxalite (a Maoist agrarian peasant movement) terrorism, which covered a broad region of eastern, central, and southern India, grew in sophistication and lethality. Naxalites launched several high-level attacks, raising the insurgency’s profile, and expanded the rural territory under their control. On July 17, at least 25 people were killed, 80 injured, and approximately 250 people were missing following an attack by some 800 armed Naxalites in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), an ethnic separatist group, conducted multiple terrorist attacks against civilians and security forces in the Northeastern Indian state of Assam resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. In one of the more violent series of attacks attributed to ULFA, on November 5 several bombs exploded in a crowded market and at an oil refinery in Assam’s capital city Guwahati, killing 12 people and injuring a few dozen.

In Manipur, a Northeast Indian state affected by over 20 insurgent groups, two American citizens were seriously injured on August 16 in a grenade attack on a Hindu temple in the capital, Imphal. Four people died, including two children, and 34 were injured. An ethnic Meitei separatist group, Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), was suspected to have been the perpetrator.

Indian security agencies and the police in Tamil Nadu remained active to prevent infiltration into the state by members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who were engaged in violent conflict with the army in neighboring Sri Lanka.

U.S. Government and military cooperation with India on counterterrorism continued to expand. In October, a company of U.S. Marines traveled to India for a counterterrorism exercise with the Indian army. In September, the Indian Army sent a company to Hawaii to train with U.S. Army Pacific forces. In August, the Indian Army sent two experts to observe a military exercise in Hawaii.

The U.S.-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group (CTJWG) has met eight times since its creation in 2000. India also participated in CTJWGs with 15 other countries, and in multilateral CTJWGs with the EU and BIMSTEC (an organization promoting economic cooperation among Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal).

The Indian government supported ongoing U.S. investigations in cases involving American citizens that were victims of terrorism. On April 26, in part due to U.S. evidence, a special court in Kolkata convicted seven men for the January 2002 attack on the American Center in Kolkata that left five Indian police officers dead and over 20 injured.

India’s counterterrorism efforts were hampered by its outdated and overburdened law enforcement and legal systems. The Indian court system was slow, laborious, and prone to corruption; terrorism trials can take years to complete. An independent Indian think tank determined that the thousands of civilians killed by terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir from 1988 to 2002 received justice in only 13 convictions through December 2002; most of the convictions were for illegal border crossing or possession of weapons or explosives. Many of India’s local police forces were poorly staffed, trained, and equipped to combat terrorism effectively. Despite these challenges, India scored major successes this year, including numerous arrests and the seizure of explosives and firearms during operations against Lashkar-e-Taiba and other terrorist groups.

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan continued to aggressively combat terrorism and extremism locally and strengthened its cooperation and timeliness in sharing information with the United States. There was little movement, however, on counterterrorism legislation. The draft law on money laundering that the government has worked on since 2005 remained stalled in Parliament.

In January, authorities arrested a number of individuals from two extremist cells in Almaty on terrorism charges. Eight of those arrested remain in prison with trials ongoing. In November, authorities arrested eleven people from a terrorist group in Stepnogorsk and confiscated arms, explosives, and extremist printed materials. According to press reports, members of the terrorist group were planning hostage sieges, lethal attacks on state employees, and several explosions. In December, three Kazakhstani nationals were returned to Kazakhstan from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Kazakhstan continued to face a growing problem with the Islamic extremist group Hizb’ut Tahrir (HT). HT remained outlawed as an “extremist” organization through the Law on Extremism and continued to be the only group so designated under this law.

In November, the Government of Kazakhstan added the East Turkistan Liberation Organization and Aum Shinrikyo to the national list of banned terrorist organizations, accusing these groups of using terrorist means in an attempt to achieve an independent state in Central Asia and in China, respectively. The list of banned groups also included al-Qaida, the East Turkistan Islamic Party, the Kurdish People’s Congress, Asbat al-Ansar, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, the Boz Gurd, Jamaat of Central Asian Mujahadins, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, the Social Reform Society, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and its splinter group, the Islamic Jihad Union.

In July, Kazakhstan became an initial partner nation in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Kazakhstan was one of the first countries to endorse and participate in the Global Initiative after its inception.

Kazakhstan, along with China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which established a Regional Antiterrorism Center in Tashkent. Kazakhstan is also a member of the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasia Group, a regional anti-money laundering organization modeled on the Financial Action Task Force, which has as its objective the integration of Kazakh-stan, Belarus, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, and Uzbekistan into the global system of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.

Kyrgyzstan

The Republic of Kyrgyzstan took new political, legislative, and law enforcement steps to disrupt terrorism. Since 2001, Kyrgyzstan has hosted the Operation Enduring Freedom Coalition airbase at Manas International Airport near Bishkek. In October, Kyrgyzstan adopted an antiterrorism law that authorized an antiterrorism center to coordinate state agencies and facilitate international cooperation. In November, President Bakiyev signed a comprehensive law on “Counteracting Terrorist Financing and Legalization (Money Laundering) of Proceeds from Crime.” The law authorized the establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and obligates financial institutions to report any suspicious activity and bank transactions that exceed the threshold amount of $25,000.

Kyrgyzstan’s military and internal forces worked to improve their counterterrorism capabilities and to expand cooperation with regional partners. Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Central Asian Cooperation Organization (CACO), which established lists of banned terrorist groups in an effort to streamline cooperation.

On May 12, an attack on Tajik and Kyrgyz border posts in the southern Batken region left six Kyrgyz servicemen and civilians dead. Kyrgyz authorities blamed the attack on Islamic militants crossing from Tajikistan. In response to a request from the Kyrgyz government following the attack, the United States provided $280,000 in radio and communication equipment to the Kyrgyz Border Guards in December to help improve their operational effectiveness in the mountainous border regions. In addition, the United States is funding $5 million in infrastructure improvements for the Kyrgyz Border service in the southern regions.

During the summer, Kyrgyz security services conducted operations in southern Kyrgyzstan against alleged terrorists from banned groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). A July 14 raid killed five suspected IMU militants near Jalalabad. In September, a raid on the home of the alleged leader of the Islamic Movement of Turkestan, Rasul Akhunov, resulted in his death; authorities later claimed that Akhunov died of a heart attack.

Hizbut-Tahrir (HT) has been banned in Kyrgyzstan since 2003. Local specialists estimate that there are more than 5,000 HT members in Kyrgyzstan, located primarily among Kyrgyzstan’s ethnic Uzbek population in the south but with growing support in the north as well. Kyrgyz authorities continued to report seizures of HT leaflets and small arms.

Nepal

Through April 2006, Nepal’s primary counterterrorism focus remained the Maoist insurgency but the focus shifted dramatically after Nepal’s political parties, the Maoists, and civil society led a popular uprising against the King. King Gyanendra was compelled to restore parliament and cede his authoritarian powers to a government run by an alliance of the seven main political parties. The Maoists declared a unilateral cease-fire on April 27. The government followed suit on May 3, formally lifting its designation of the Maoists as a terrorist organization. Months of negotiations resulted in a comprehensive peace agreement on November 21 that formally ended the insurgency. The agreement also provided that the Maoists would be admitted into an interim government once Maoist combatants were in camps and relinquished their weapons under UN monitoring.

From January to November, Maoist rebels were responsible for the deaths of 165 security personnel and 46 civilians. During the same time period, the government killed 182 suspected Maoist militants. Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) reported that murders by Maoists lessened after the cease-fire in April, but still totaled 28 from May until November. Security force killings of Maoist insurgents were also significantly lower after the cease-fire, totaling nine during the same period.

Despite the cease-fire, Maoist rebels continued to conduct abductions, extortion, and violence. In the Kathmandu Valley, Maoists took advantage of their dramatically increased presence and the government’s reluctance to upset the peace process to expand their use of extortion and efforts to undermine trade unions and student groups affiliated with the political parties. They also continued forced recruitment of schoolchildren, with thousands targeted after the signing of the initial November 8 peace accord. On September 20, and again on December 19, the Maoists declared nationwide transportation strikes. Both events were accompanied by the stoning of vehicles, and each lasted only for the declared period, demonstrating Maoist command and control.

This year also saw the beginning of a disturbing new trend with the activation of the separatist Maoist-splinter terrorist group called the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM), which aimed to bring about the secession of the southern Terai plains from the rest of Nepal. This group was responsible for the assassination of a Nepali Member of Parliament in September.

“Imperialist” United States and “expansionist” India were the targets of considerable Maoist venom, especially in the period leading up to the April uprising. A trip by Maoist Supremo Prachanda to New Delhi on November 18, however, seemed to mark the culmination of a shift in the Maoist view of Nepal’s large neighbor to the south. At the end of the year, the United States was the only country to maintain its designation of the Maoist insurgency as a terrorist organization. Several countries, including India, were waiting for the Maoist entry into government to authorize open contacts at all levels.

The United States provided substantial antiterrorism assistance and training to Nepal’s security forces, including courses on crisis management and critical incident management.

Pakistan

The Government of Pakistan is a frontline partner in the War on Terror. Nevertheless, Pakistan remains a major source of Islamic extremism and a safe haven for some top terrorist leaders. Credible reports estimated that as many as 900 Pakistanis lost their lives in more than 650 terror attacks in 2006, with another 1,500 people seriously injured. Pakistan has experienced attacks from international terror networks such as AQ and its supporters, as well as violence stemming from Sunni-Shia sectarian strife and militant sub-nationalists. Attacks occurred with greatest frequency in the regions bordering Afghanistan: Balochistan, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), and the adjacent Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Al Qaida’s continued calls for the overthrow of President Musharraf remained a threat to Pakistan, despite the government’s efforts to eliminate AQ elements. Pakistan continued to pursue AQ and its allies aggressively through nationwide police action and military operations in the FATA. Despite having approximately 80,000 troops in the FATA, including Army and Frontier Corps (FC) units, the Government of Pakistan has been unable to exert control over the area.

Pakistan Army and FC units have targeted and raided AQ and other militant safe havens in the FATA. In November, a suicide bomber killed 43 Army recruits and injured more than 40 others at a Pakistani military training facility in Dargai, NWFP, in retaliation for raids on AQ installations.

Operations throughout the year against both AQ and Taliban command and control capabilities helped disrupt support for the anti-Coalition insurgency in Afghanistan and anti-militant activity in Pakistan. In the early part of the year, recognizing that military operations alone would not restore security and stability to the FATA, President Musharraf directed governmental agencies to devise a comprehensive strategy to accelerate economic and social development, strengthen political administration and enhance security in the region. By year’s end, the FATA Sustainable Development Plan was undergoing a final review before being presented to the Pakistani public and international community.

Pakistani security services cooperated with the United States and other nations to attack terrorism both within Pakistan and abroad. Hundreds of suspected AQ operatives have been killed or captured by Pakistani authorities since September 2001. Close cooperation between Pakistani, British and American law enforcement agencies exposed the August London-Heathrow bomb plot, leading to the arrest in Pakistan of Rashid Rauf and other alleged conspirators connected to the case. Pakistani authorities arrested two suspects in the March bombing of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, which killed American diplomat David Foy and two others and injured more than 50 bystanders.

Pakistan’s leaders took steps to prevent support to the Kashmiri militancy and denounced acts of terrorism in India, including bombings in Varanasi in March and Mumbai in July. Meeting in September on the margins of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Havana, President Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to establish an Anti-Terrorism Mechanism to coordinate bilateral exchange of information on terrorist threats.

Armed conflict between the national government and militant Baloch nationalists escalated, culminating in the August 26 death of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti during a raid by security forces on his mountain hideout. The “Balochistan Liberation Army” (BLA) claimed responsibility for dozens of terror attacks on government offices and economic infrastructure in the province, as well as in neighboring Sindh and Punjab. The government declared the BLA a terrorist organization in April. In addition to violence related to the militant Baloch nationalists, a series of bomb attacks in the provincial capital of Quetta followed police actions against suspected Taliban fighters in the last quarter of the year.

Sectarian violence, a scourge in Pakistan for more than two decades, claimed hundreds of lives, although the total number of sectarian terror attacks continued to decline for the second year in a row. A suicide bomber killed over two dozen and injured approximately 50 people participating in a February 9 Shia religious procession in Hangu, NWFP. On April 11, at least 57 people were killed in a bombing of a gathering of Sunni (Barelvi) religious leaders in Nishtar Park, Karachi. Although media reports blamed intra-Sunni Muslim sectarian rivalry, the results of the govern-ment’s investigation have not been made public.

President Musharraf remained a forceful advocate for his vision of “enlightened moderation,” calling on Pakistanis to reject extremism and terrorist violence. The govern-ment’s crackdown on banned organizations, hate material, and incitement by religious leaders continued unevenly. Madrassa registration, foreign student enrollment in madrassas, and financial disclosure requirements remained a source of friction between government and religious leaders.

Although Pakistan continued to work with the UNSCR 1267 Committee to freeze the assets of individuals and groups identified as terrorist entities linked to AQ and the Taliban, several UN-sanctioned entities continued to operate. An anti-money laundering bill introduced into the National Assembly in September 2005 remained under consideration in 2006. Adoption of anti-money laundering legislation consistent with international standards would significantly broaden Pakistan’s ability to cooperate internationally on counterterrorism finance issues. Pakistani customs officials continued to enhance controls to interdict bulk cash couriers at key ports of entry to prevent unregulated cross-border cash flows, which are a potential source of terrorism funding.

Pakistan’s courts, including the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), presided over several high-profile terror-related cases. Prosecuting terrorism cases presented considerable challenges for the government, which obtained convictions in some cases but suffered reversals in others. On May 22, the Rawalpindi ATC sentenced four men to death and ordered life imprisonment for three others for their part in a July 2004 plan to assassinate Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. On May 30, a Multan ATC judge sentenced Lashkare-Jhangvi activist Qari Omar Hayat to death on 16 counts of murder for a 1999 attack on a Shia prayer gathering. On November 23, the Sindh High Court reversed the convictions of nine Harkat-ul Mujahideen members for killing three during the May 2004 bombing of the honorary Macedonian Consulate in Karachi.

The United States and Pakistan engaged in a broad range of counterterrorism cooperative efforts including border security and criminal investigations, as well as several long-term training projects. A Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counterterrorism and Law Enforcement, established in 2002, convened in Washington, DC in April to assess ongoing efforts and discuss enhanced cooperation.

Sri Lanka

The 2002 cease-fire between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, continued to erode amidst numerous violations and escalating military engagement between the LTTE and government security forces. The Sri Lankan Army remained deployed across the country to fight the insurgency. The paramilitary Special Task Force (STF) police were deployed both in the east and in strategic locations in the west.

The LTTE conducted a campaign of targeted assassinations against political and military opponents. This included the April assassination attempt of Sri Lanka Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka and the assassination of the Army Third-in-Command; the August 12 assassination of the Government of Sri Lanka’s Secretariat for the Coordination of the Peace Process, Deputy Director Keteshwaran Loganathan; and the December 1 suicide bomber’s attempt on the life of Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, the President’s brother. The Karuna faction, a dissident faction of the LTTE, conducted its own assassination campaign against the LTTE and pro-LTTE civilians in the east.

Following the assassination of Foreign Minister Kadirgamar in August 2005, the government enacted emergency regulations giving arrest power to members of the armed forces, who were required to turn suspects over to the police within 24 hours. Individuals arrested under the emergency regulations may be detained for up to one year. Under these regulations, 148 persons were arrested; most have already been released. A revised Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), enacted in December, strengthened these powers.

The LTTE financed itself with contributions from the Tamil Diaspora in North America, Europe, and Australia, and by imposing local “taxes” on businesses operating in the areas of Sri Lanka under its control. Using this money, LTTE weapons were purchased on the international black market or captured from the Sri Lankan Army. Many LTTE innovations, such as explosive belts, vests, and bras, using female suicide bombers, and waterborne suicide attacks against ships, have been copied by other terrorist groups.

In general, the LTTE did not target U.S. citizens or assets, limiting attacks to Sri Lankan security forces, political figures, civilians, and businesses. However, two suicide bomb attacks on VIP motorcades in Colombo occurred within half a mile of the U.S. embassy on roads frequently traveled by Embassy employees.

Sri Lankan cooperation with the FBI has resulted in arrests of persons charged with material support to terrorist groups. The Sri Lankan government cooperated with U.S. efforts to track terrorist financing, although no assets were identified. The United States also provided training for relevant Sri Lankan government agencies and the banking sector. The government cooperated with the United States to implement both the Container Security Initiative and the Megaports program at the port of Colombo.

Tajikistan

Sharing a 1,400-kilometer border with Afghanistan, Tajikistan offered its limited resources to assist the United States with Operation Enduring Freedom almost unconditionally. Following the deployment of U.S. troops to Afghanistan, Tajikistan allowed its territory and air space to be used for counterterrorist actions. The Tajik govern-ment’s main impediment to counterterrorism performance remained its lack of resources. The fact that Tajikistan remained the poorest of all the former Soviet republics, and the ninth poorest country in the world in per capita GDP, puts these funding issues into context.

Tajikistan is not known to harbor terrorist groups, but extremists have transited Tajikistan to and from Afghanistan and Pakistan through the porous 1,400 kilometer Tajik-Afghan border. The United States spent over $5.8 million in 2006 to train and equip the Tajik Border Guards, improve border fortifications, and related capacity-building assistance. These measures will help stem the flow of potential terrorists attempting to cross the border and allow Tajikistan to better monitor its own borders.

Tajikistan prohibited extremist-oriented activities and closely monitored terrorist groups like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and extremist groups like Hizbut-Tahrir (HT). The Government of Tajikistan believed HT was active in the Ferghana Valley. The Tajik legal system convicted 32 alleged HT members (19 men and 13 women) in 2006. Analysts believed that the IMU also operated in Tajikistan. Recent press reports indicated that Tajik authorities arrested 30 suspect IMU members in Tajikistan; figures were not available regarding how many of them have been convicted. Tajik authorities arrested five additional alleged IMU members in Isfara. During a search of their house, police claimed that they found 80 kilograms of ammoniac nitrate and four kilograms of aluminum powder.

In May, a small group of armed bandits attacked Tajik and Kyrgyz border posts. The fighters seized several weapons, including 17 Kalashnikov assault rifles, a PK light machine-gun, and 3,000 rounds of ammunition. The date of the attack coincided with the one-year anniversary of the Andijan uprising in Uzbekistan leading authorities to suspect that the IMU was responsible for these attacks. Kyrgyz security services killed four militants during the attack and arrested one other. Tajik authorities later convicted seven IMU members for their participation in the attacks.

Tajikistan participated in the counterterrorist activities of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Commonwealth Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and the CIS Counterterrorist Center.

Turkmenistan

While the Government of Turkmenistan strictly controlled access into and passage through Turkmenistan at official border crossings and along main roads, clandestine passage could not be eliminated because of the extended border through mountainous and desert terrain, as well as the small size and uneven quality of Turkmenistan’s border guard, customs service, and law enforcement agencies. Turkmenistan government officials exert stringent security control over the country. The Government of Turkmenistan strictly controlled religious expression, and radical or extremist forms of Islam were not tolerated. The military-style counterterrorism unit with hostage rescue and explosives threat management capability, inaugurated in 2005, and the Department for the Prevention of Terrorism and Organized Crime in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, were used largely to investigate and harass real or perceived opposition to the regime, relatives of those implicated in the 2002 coup attempt, religious groups, and non-governmental organizations. The Government of Turkmenistan supported humanitarian assistance related to the War on Terror and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The government entered the names of individuals and organizations on terrorist financing lists into its banking system.

Uzbekistan

There remained a clear potential for Islamic extremism and acts of international terrorism in Uzbekistan. Supporters of terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), and the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), were active in the region. Members of these groups expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and have attacked U.S. interests in the past, including a 2004 suicide bombing at the U.S. embassy in Tashkent, which was clamed by the Islamic Jihad Group (IJU), now the IJU. U.S. Government personnel and facilities continued to operate at a heightened state of alert.

The Government of Uzbekistan did not provide safe haven for terrorists or terrorist organizations. However, the country’s poor economic climate and repressive government policies created conditions in which large portions of the population were increasingly susceptible to extremist ideologies. Uzbekistan’s porous borders, particularly in the Ferghana Valley, allowed for people and illicit goods to move in and out of the country with relative freedom. The government responded to these threats with even more repressive actions against regime opponents and those it deemed to be religious extremists. However, it failed to address the conditions terrorists might exploit to gain popular support and recruits for their cause.

Although Uzbekistan was among the first states to support U.S. efforts in the War on Terror, the Government of Uzbekistan ended virtually all counterterrorism cooperation with the United States in mid-2005. In November 2005, the United States fully vacated, at Uzbekistan’s request, the Karshi-Khanabad airbase. Authorization for U.S. aircraft to overfly Uzbekistani territory ended in January 2006, although an agreement was signed in November allowing Department of Defense-contracted civilian aircraft to overfly Uzbekistan on a fee-per-flight basis.

Tashkent hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Regional Antiterrorism Center Secretariat (RATS), which claimed to have begun to focus on operational activities such as developing a coordinated list of terrorist groups and facilitating joint counterterrorism exercises among SCO member states. In the past, the government participated in UNODC and OSCE programs aimed at ensuring that it enacted appropriate terrorism legislation. However, Uzbekistani participation in these programs has virtually ended, and the government has made little progress in this regard.

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

Overview

Terrorism in the Western Hemisphere was primarily perpetrated by Foreign Terrorist Organizations based in Colombia and by the remnants of radical leftist Andean groups. With the exception of the United States and Canada, where some prosecutions of suspected terrorists were underway, there were no known operational cells of Islamic terrorists in the hemisphere, although pockets of ideological supporters and facilitators in South America and the Caribbean lent financial, logistical, and moral support to terrorist groups in the Middle East.

The Secretary of State certified Venezuela as “not fully cooperating” with U.S. antiterrorism efforts. The designation, included in Section 40A of the Arms Export Control Act, was based on a review of Venezuela’s overall efforts to fight terrorism. The certification became active October 1 and will remain in effect until the end of the fiscal year, when it may be renewed by a determination by the Secretary of State. Cuba remained a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

On October 25, the Argentine special prosecutors who investigated the July 18, 1994, terrorist bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) building that killed 85 and injured over 200 people, issued an 801-page indictment charging eight Iranian government officials and one member of Hizballah with the attack. On November 9, Judge Canicoba-Corral ratified the indictments and maintained charges against former Iranian Ambassador Soleimanpour. The judge issued arrest warrants, and on November 15, the Argentine government transmitted a request to INTERPOL for new Red Notices for the nine suspects. The year ended with action in INTERPOL pending.

The threat of a major terrorist attack remained low for most countries in the hemisphere. Overall, governments took modest steps to improve their counterterrorism (CT) capabilities and tighten border security, but corruption, weak government institutions, ineffective or lack of inter-agency cooperation, weak or non-existent legislation, and reluctance to allocate sufficient resources limited progress. Some countries, like Panama, Mexico, and El Salvador, made serious prevention and preparedness efforts. Others lacked urgency and resolve to address deficiencies in their counterterrorism posture. Caribbean and Central American nations, recognizing their attractiveness and vulnerability to attack or transit by terrorists, took steps to improve their border controls and to secure key infrastructure, especially air and maritime ports. Most countries began to look seriously at possible connections between transnational criminals and terrorist organizations.

The United States enjoyed solid cooperation on terror-related matters from most hemispheric partners, especially at the operational level. The United States maintained excellent intelligence, law enforcement, and legal assistance relations with most countries. The hemisphere boasts the OAS’ Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, the only permanent regional multilateral organization focused exclusively on counterterrorism.

Mexico and Canada were key partners in the War on Terror and for U.S. homeland security. Cooperation with them was broad and deep, involving all levels of government and virtually all agencies, in several initiatives. Mexico represented primarily a terrorist transit threat, and the Mexican government worked with the United States to enhance aviation, border, maritime, and transportation security, to secure critical infrastructure, and to combat terrorism financing. In the first case of its kind in Canada, law enforcement officials in June arrested 18 individuals, all Canadian citizens or residents, who were allegedly planning terror attacks on Canadian soil. The group was arrested with bomb building materials and was attempting to buy an additional three tons of ammonium nitrate and detonators.

The United States remained fully committed to assisting the government and people of Colombia in their efforts to defeat Colombian-based Foreign Terrorist Organizations. President Alvaro Uribe continued vigorous law enforcement, intelligence, military, and economic measures against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and remaining elements of the former United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). The Colombian government also increased its efforts with neighboring countries to thwart terrorist expansion, investigate terrorist activities inside and outside Colombia, seize assets, and bring terrorists to justice.

Colombia’s neighbors had varied reactions to the threat from Colombian based terrorists. While none condemned the terrorists or outlawed membership in such groups in their countries, for the most part, they responded positively to Colombian requests to arrest specific fugitives. Brazil and Peru improved cross-border cooperation with Colombia (often based on local, rather than national, arrangements), but their security forces remained under formal or informal orders to avoid military confrontations with encroaching foreign terrorists. Forces in those countries pursued renascent domestic terrorist groups aggressively. It remained unclear to what extent the Government of Venezuela provided material support to Colombian terrorists. However, weapons and ammunition -- some from official Venezuelan stocks and facilities -- have turned up in the hands of Colombian terrorist organizations. The Venezuelan government did not systematically police the 1,400-mile Venezuelan-Colombian border to prevent the movement of groups of armed men or interdict arms flows to narcoterrorists.

Argentina hosted a meeting of the 3+1 Security Group (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and the United States) in December. Delegates highlighted the importance of early warnings among States and the immediate exchange of information in order to prevent and combat illegal activities, and to deny refuge to those who finance, plan or commit acts of terrorism. In November, Brazil inaugurated a new Regional Intelligence Center, in Foz do Iguacu, dedicated to coordinating intelligence activities of the police forces of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, and invited Argentina and Paraguay to send official representatives to the center.

OAS Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE)

CICTE delivered more than $5 million in counterterrorism capacity-building assistance in the region. CICTE provided training to nearly 500 port and airport security officials from 29 member states to help meet the requirements of the International Maritime Organization’s International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code, and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) new air security standards. CICTE advised 15 member state governments on how to meet the requirements of UNSC Resolution 1373, the 13 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, and the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism (IACAT), which complements and expands on international conventions and protocols. CICTE also organized its sixth annual regular session in Bogotá, Colombia.

Tri-Border Area

(Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay)

The governments of the Tri-Border Area (TBA) have long been concerned with arms and drugs smuggling, document fraud, money laundering, and the manufacture and movement of contraband goods through this region. In the early 1990s, they established a mechanism to address these illicit activities. In 2002, at their invitation, the United States joined Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay in what became the “3+1 Group on Tri-Border Area Security” to improve the capabilities of the three TBA states to address cross-border crime and thwart money laundering and potential terrorist fundraising activities. The United States remained concerned that Hizballah and HAMAS were raising funds in the TBA by participating in illicit activities and soliciting donations from extremists within the sizable Muslim communities in the region and elsewhere in the territories of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, although there was no corroborated information that these or other Islamic extremist groups had an operational presence in the area.

Argentina

Argentina cooperated well with the United States at the operational level, and began to address legal and institutional weaknesses that have hindered its counterterrorism efforts. The Argentine government amended its money laundering legislation to strengthen and reorganize its Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and created a new national Coordination Unit in the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights to oversee and manage the government’s money laundering and terrorism finance efforts. The Attorney General’s Office and the Central Bank both established special investigative units to handle money laundering and terrorism finance cases. In order to comply with a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) mandate, on December 20, President Kirchner approved a draft antiterrorism and counterterrorism finance law and sent it to Congress for review. If passed, the draft law would criminalize both terrorist acts and the financing of terrorism, and would provide the legal foundation for the FIU, Central Bank, and other law enforcement bodies to investigate and prosecute such crimes. The Argentine government and Central Bank have committed to freeze assets of terrorist groups identified by the United Nations if detected in Argentine financial institutions. Implementation will determine whether Argentine law enforcement institutions, including the Central Bank and FIU, aggressively apply the newly strengthened legal and administrative measures available to them.

Since President Bush’s visit during the November 2005 Summit of the Americas, there were no reported incidents similar to the 20 small-scale bombings, attempted bombings, or acts of arson noted in Country Reports on Terrorism 2005. American businesses received e-mail threats and bomb threats, and were at times the focus of protests and demonstrations, but actual reporting and confirmation of these types of incidents declined.

Hizballah and Iran remained the chief suspects for the July 18,1994 terrorist bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) that killed 85 and injured over 200 people. On October 25, AMIA special prosecutors issued an 801-page indictment charging eight Iranian government officials and one member of Hizballah with the attack. On November 9, Judge Canicoba-Corral ratified the indictments and maintained charges against former Iranian Ambassador Soleimanpour. The judge issued arrest warrants and on November 15, the Argentine government transmitted a request to INTERPOL for new Red Notices for the nine suspects. The year ended with action in INTERPOL pending.

Bolivia

Bolivia’s counterterrorism efforts were hindered by inadequate resources, corruption, and a weak legal framework. The Bolivian government’s ineffective anti-money laundering regime failed to comply with international norms.

In April, the Bolivian government released Francisco “Pacho” Cortez, a member of the National Liberation Army (ELN), who was arrested in Bolivia after the statute of limitations on his case expired. Bolivian authorities arrested Aida Ochoa, a suspected member of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), in October 2005, but then released her in early 2006. After a four month delay, the Government of Bolivia issued an arrest warrant, as requested by the Peruvians, for Ochoa, who by that time was a fugitive. In a separate case in late May, Bolivia’s Vice-Minister of the Interior directly intervened to arrange the release of Paraguayan Free Fatherland Party (PPL) member Angel Acosta, after he was arrested on an Interpol warrant for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Cecilia Cubas, claiming the warrant was invalid.

Peruvian terrorist organizations appear to be extending their influence to Bolivia. The Bolivian district attorney prosecuting a gang leader allegedly responsible for the murders of three foreign tourists in Bolivia said the gang had received training from Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization from Peru. Additionally, a December press article highlighted a Peruvian intelligence report claiming that the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) was rebuilding its capabilities in Bolivia and was receiving aid from supporters in La Paz and Cochabamba.

Brazil

The Government of Brazil vigorously condemned international terrorism, but did not provide the necessary political and material support to strengthen domestic counterterrorism institutions. A government commission proposed a new national interagency counterterrorism structure, but the government did not present legislation to implement it.

Brazil chose not to establish a terrorist-designation regime that would make support for and membership in terrorist organizations a crime. Moreover, the Government of Brazil considers Hizballah a legitimate political party. Brazilian law prohibits the extradition of native-born Brazilian citizens and imposes tight constraints on the extradition of naturalized citizens and foreigners, which complicates foreign governments’ efforts to bring terrorist fugitives to justice. In August 2005, the Brazilian Federal Police arrested Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) “spokesman” Francisco Antonio Cadena Collazos under an international warrant. In August 2006, the Government of Brazil granted him political asylum and denied Colombia’s extradition request.

Brazil continued to improve aspects of its counterterrorism capabilities, such as more effectively using its financial intelligence unit (COAF) to monitor and prevent possible funding for terrorist groups. With assistance and training from the United States, COAF upgraded its database and data collection mechanisms. The government also invested in border and law enforcement infrastructure with a view toward gradually controlling the flow of legal and illegal goods through the Tri-Border Area. The United States continued to work with Brazil in several bilateral, multilateral, and international fora, including CICTE and the 3+1 group.

Canada

The United States and Canada collaborated extensively on a broad array of initiatives, exercises, and joint operations that spanned virtually all agencies and every level of government. Canada added the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to its list of terrorist organizations, preemptively arrested 18 Canadian citizens in June for suspected terrorist activity, and sought to amend the country’s terrorist financing act to strengthen its information sharing and reporting provisions.

In the first case of its kind in Canada, law enforcement officials in June arrested 18 individuals, all Canadian citizens or residents, who were planning terror attacks on Canadian soil. Individual members of the Toronto-based group (the Toronto 18) were under investigation since August 2005. Two group members had been previously arrested by Canadian authorities on charges of bringing weapons from the United States to Canada and were already in custody. Two other individuals traveled from the United States to Canada in March 2005 to meet with the group’s leader, and were subsequently arrested in the United States where they were awaiting trial. The group was arrested with bomb building materials and was attempting to buy an additional three tons of ammonium nitrate and detonators. The group’s targets reportedly included the Parliament Building and Peace Tower in Ottawa, and the CN Tower and Stock Exchange in Toronto. Reactions by Canadians were measured but sober, and sparked a national discussion on multiculturalism, immigration, and the necessary balance between protective security and respecting civil liberties.

The Toronto 18 were charged under Canada’s Antiterrorism Act, which was enacted in December 2001 to provide law enforcement with new tools for the War on Terror. In October, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down one piece of the Act that required the specification of motive in proving terrorist offenses. Two other provisions that allow for preventive arrest and permit judges to compel testimony, are subject to mandatory Parliamentary review and renewal and were under consideration at year’s end.

U.S.-Canadian counterterrorism cooperation rested on a number of established forums, including the terrorism sub-group of the Cross Border Crime Forum, the Shared Border Accord Coordinating Committee, and the Bilateral Consultative Group. In September, the latter brought together counterterrorism officials from over a dozen agencies on both sides of the border to coordinate policy on bio-terrorism, information sharing, and joint counterterrorism training.

In Afghanistan, Canada stood firm in fighting the resurgent Taliban in Kandahar province, where it led Regional Command South and provided a battalion-sized battle group and a Provincial Reconstruction Team for stabilization and development efforts.

Canada also helped key countries address terrorism and terrorism financing with new training programs. For example, Canada provided 18 trainers to the Iraqi police training program in Amman and had four senior advisors attached to the U.S. Security Coordinator for the West Bank and Gaza. In other supportive efforts, its Counterterrorism Capacity Building Program became a fully operational mechanism for providing Canadian expertise to other countries in border security, transportation security, and antiterrorism legislation drafting.

The United States and Canada continued to work on mechanisms to accommodate Canadian concerns about information sharing in the wake of the Arar affair, in which a Canadian-Syrian citizen and terror suspect was removed from New York to Syria in 2002. A Canadian government commission said in September that there was no evidence of Arar’s involvement in terrorism or any Canadian government participation in the U.S. decision to detain and remove Arar. This has made certain aspects of information sharing more challenging, although it was noteworthy that the commission also recommended that “the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) should maintain its policy of sharing information obtained in the course of national security with other agencies and police departments, both domestic and foreign…in accordance with clearly established policies.” The commission also recognized that it did not have access to all the information on Arar available to the United States.

The Canadian government introduced legislation before Parliament to amend the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act to make Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regime consistent with new Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards. It would allow Canada to enter into Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with international and third country law enforcement organizations to strengthen information sharing and to create penalties to improve compliance with the act.

In May, the Canadian government announced $56 million in additional funding over the next two years for the Financial Transactions And Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), the RCMP, and the Department of Justice, to increase their capability to combat terrorist financing and money laundering. Additionally, Toronto was selected as the permanent headquarters of the Egmont Group, a worldwide organization of financial intelligence units including FINTRAC. For the first time ever, Canada assumed the presidency of FATF, the international body that develops and promotes policies to combat terrorist financing and money laundering.

In April, the government announced that it was listing the Liberation Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist group, pursuant to the Criminal Code, making it illegal for any person to provide support, facilitate, or participate in the activities of the listed group, including providing financial support. The move brought the total number of listed entities in Canada to 40. The large Tamil community in Toronto has traditionally been a key source of funding for the LTTE. The RCMP assisted the FBI in an investigation that led to the arrest on August 19 of seven Canadians, three in New York and four in Canada, involved in trying to buy weapons for the LTTE.

Chile

Chilean law enforcement actively cooperated in international terrorism investigations and cooperated with the United States to monitor and combat terrorist financing. Law enforcement officials monitored possible extremist links between Chile’s Iquique Free Trade Zone and the Tri-Border Area; trade links between these two areas are increasing. Chile’s National Intelligence Agency remained an analytical body, relying on law enforcement and investigative agencies for collection and operations.

Chile hosted an Interpol working group meeting on terrorism in Central and South America in October to discuss the activities of individuals related to radical fundamentalist movements in the region. The meeting was attended by members of both the law enforcement agencies and the intelligence communities from Chile, the United States, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, and Argentina.

Thirty-eight members of Chile’s law enforcement agencies participated in money-tracing and document-tracking techniques training, and several investigators and lawyers took part in a cyber-crime seminar. The United States worked closely with Chilean counterparts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Senior analysts from Chile’s armed forces, academia, and non-governmental organizations participated in a counterterrorism seminar with an OAS counterterrorism expert. The seminar highlighted the role of illegal financing, corruption, and drug trafficking in enabling terrorists to carry out attacks.

Grupo de Operaciones Especializados (GOPE), a 300-person unit of the Carabinero police force, served as the nation’s primary counterterrorist reaction force. The force is well-trained and participates each year in Exercise Fuerzas Comando, a SOCOM-sponsored special operations seminar designed to refine the tactics, techniques, and procedures used by Special Operations counterterrorism forces.

Colombia

The Government of Colombia, facing a domestic terrorist threat, continued vigorous law enforcement, intelligence, military, and economic measures against three designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and remaining elements of the former United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). Colombia increased its efforts with neighboring countries to thwart terrorist expansion, investigate terrorist activities inside and outside Colombia, seize assets, and bring terrorists to justice. The U.S.-Colombia extradition relationship remained the most successful in the world. The Colombian government cooperated fully with U.S. efforts to recover three U.S. citizens kidnapped by the FARC in February 2003, and remained open to third-party proposals for a hostage-prisoner exchange, but at year’s end talks had not progressed.

Colombian based terrorist groups were weakened as a result of aggressive actions by the military and police, but these groups continued to murder, kidnap, and terrorize Colombians from all walks of life. The Uribe administration maintained its focus on defeating and demobilizing Colombia’s terrorist groups through its “democratic security” policy. In the course of an increased tempo of offensive military, intelligence, and police operations, combined with efforts to demobilize combatants, the security services captured or killed numerous terrorists and mid-level commanders, debriefed terrorist group deserters for detailed information on their terrorist cells, and reduced the amount of territory where terrorists can freely operate. The government increased offensive operations against the FARC and ELN along the Venezuelan and Ecuadorian borders, and restarted anti-drug fumigation operations along the Ecuadorian border. Overall, aerial spraying in 2006 covered 425,000 acres of illegal drug crops (coca and opium poppies).

Colombia continued its close cooperation with the United States to block terrorists’ assets, and financial institutions continued to close narcotrafficking and terrorism-related accounts on government order. In December, the Colombian Congress passed a law that, upon final presidential approval, will make terrorist financing an autonomous crime. Where financial institutions previously cooperated with authorities in specific cases of terrorist finance, the new law will require them to screen all new clients, and to file suspicious transaction reports (STRs) with the country’s financial intelligence unit when they suspect terrorist finance activities.

Colombia emerged as a regional leader for improving counterterrorism capabilities and for strengthening political will to combat terrorism in the region, and intends to expand its leadership role in counterterrorism training in the region. Building on U.S. Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA), Colombia provided training to regional neighbors on anti-kidnapping, VIP protection, and cyber-investigation, and took over the Chair of the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE). The government continued to seek enhanced regional CT cooperation to target terrorist safe havens in vulnerable border areas. The threat of extradition to the United States is a strong weapon against the FARC, the ELN, and ex-AUC leaders. In 2006, Colombia extradited 102 criminals to the United States, the vast majority of whom were Colombian nationals. Trials for extradited FARC leader Ricardo Palmera “Simon Trinidad” and financier Omaira Rojas Cabrera “Sonia” on terrorism and drug related charges were scheduled when the year ended. The Uribe administration suspended two more extraditions of alleged AUC members, bringing the total to five, who were cooperating with the peace process, but the United States continued to seek their extraditions. However, the Colombian government denied a request from two other AUC leaders to suspend their extradition based on their demobilization; the extraditions are proceeding.

The FARC continued tactical-level terrorist and narcotrafficking activities, despite the ongoing military campaign against it, and launched several bombings against military targets in urban areas, including Bogotá. The FARC also targeted numerous rural outposts, infrastructure targets, and political adversaries in dozens of attacks, and continued kidnappings across Colombia. A sample of the FARC’s daily criminal activity included:

  • In February, the FARC killed eight town councilmen in Rivera, Huila;
  • In April, Liliana Gaviria, sister of former-President Cesar Gaviria, was killed by the FARC;
  • In October, the FARC launched car bomb attacks in Bogotá, Villavicencio, and Fusagasuga;
  • In November, the FARC attacked rural National Police post in Tierradientro, killing 17 police officers;
  • In December, the FARC ambushed the military in Ocana, North Santander, killing 17 soldiers; and
  • In December, the FARC killed 15 soldiers near La Julia (Meta).

Three Irish Republican Army (IRA) members who were awaiting final sentencing for training the FARC on IRA bomb tactics fled Colombian parole and resurfaced in Ireland in August 2005. They were detained and questioned by the Irish national police and released without charge. The Colombian government requested their extradition. Ireland does not have an extradition treaty with Colombia; the case remained under review and the three fugitives at large.

The Government of Colombia and the ELN conducted several rounds of peace talks, but no agreements were reached. The ELN remained in the field, but with limited resources, a dwindling membership, and reduced offensive capability. The ELN and FARC clashed over territory in northeastern Colombia regularly, which further weakened the ELN.

AUC blocs continued to demobilize under the Justice and Peace Law, which offers judicial benefits and reduced prison sentences for qualifying demobilizing terrorists. The law requires all participants to confess fully their crimes as members of a terrorist group and to return all illicit profits. More than 32,000 AUC members have demo-bilized, and the government is attempting to reintegrate them into society through a newly created high commissioner for reintegration. At year’s end, the Colombian Prosecutor’s office began taking sworn confessions from ex-members of the AUC as part of the Justice and Peace process. Some AUC renegades continued to engage in criminal activities after demobilization, but the AUC as a formal organization largely ceased to function.

Cuba

See State Sponsors of Terrorism.

Ecuador

Ecuador’s greatest counterterrorism and security challenge was the presence of Colombian Foreign Terrorist Organizations, frequently linked with narcotics trafficking organizations, along its northern border. Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) were widely present on the Colombian side of the border and regularly entered Ecuadorian territory (generally as unarmed civilians) for rest and resupply. Training camps for these groups were discovered on the Ecuadorian side of the border.

In response, the Government of Ecuador continued troop shifts to the northern border region, and publicly affirmed the need to maintain effective presence and control of the border. This position was taken in the Ministry of Defense White Paper and in the Foreign Ministry’s forward-looking foreign policy White Paper, referred to as PLANEX 2006 -2020. Greater troop presence and more frequent patrolling led to the discovery and dismantling of over 30 clandestine FARC camps in northern Ecuador. The Ecuadorian National Police continued efforts to strengthen border crossing security and worked with the military to deepen national security cooperation to combat illegal armed groups. Ecuador strengthened its dialogue with Colombia on sensitive cross-border issues and initiated bilateral development planning. Ecuador worked closely with the United States and other donors to promote lawful economic activity and development in the north. In May, the Ecuadorian Congress ratified the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism.

Ecuadorian police suspected several small Ecuadorian groups of domestic subversion and involvement in terrorism. Of greatest concern was the estimated 200-member Popular Combatants Group (GCP), a faction of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador. Its members are mainly students and are trained in the use of firearms and low-yield pamphlet bombs, which they deployed in major cities without casualties. Also of concern were the Political Military Organization (OPM) and Alfarista Liberation Army (ELA), which were reputed to have ties with and support from Colombian narcoterrorists.

El Salvador

El Salvador, the only Western Hemisphere country with troops serving alongside U.S. forces in Iraq, continued its support for the Coalition by dispatching an eighth contingent of troops to Iraq in December, and President Tony Saca publicly expressed his intention to deploy a ninth unit.

In September, the Legislative Assembly passed new counterterrorism legislation, which President Saca quickly signed into law. The law featured new sentencing requirements for certain terrorist-related crimes, but fell short of international recommendations on terrorist finance. Rather than distinguishing terrorism from regular crime by defining it as politically-motivated violence, the new legislation lists some 27 types of acts as terrorism, punishable by a maximum sentence of 86 1/2 years in prison in the case of aggravating circumstances and, in a controversial provision, the law provides for 25-30 years in prison for armed occupation of public buildings (a tactic favored by some militant groups affiliated with the opposition FMLN party). The FMLN legislators, many of whom are former guerrilla insurgents, voted unanimously against the legislation, charging that its measures would restrain their right of free association. A group of different organizations is planning constitutional challenges and threatened to take the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights if necessary.

The Civilian National Police (PNC) is a professional force that is well-regarded by Salvadorans and international observers. The PNC coordinated its work with the Immigration Service, the Office of the Attorney General (FGR), and the National Intelligence Service (OIE). The new CA-4 agreement, implemented among El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, allowed for the inspection-free movement of citizens among these countries, and reduced overall inspection at land crossings. While important for improving overall integration and trade among the four member nations, the system has raised concerns that it could facilitate easier international movement of terrorists.

Guatemala

Guatemala continued to strengthen its anti-money laundering and terrorism finance regime since its 2004 removal from the Financial Action Task Force list of Non-Cooperative Countries. The Financial Intelligence Unit is an active partner of U.S. and multilateral efforts to track terrorism finance and reduce financial sector vulnerabilities. With U.S. assistance, Guatemala formed an inter-agency money laundering task force with representation from the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Guatemalan tax authority, and the Public Ministry (prosecutors office). There was no credible evidence of terrorism financing in Guatemala, and the Guatemalan government, along with private financial sector actors, actively cooperated in looking for such funds.

An organized crime bill passed by the Guatemalan Congress on July 19 provided the Guatemalan government with the tools to investigate criminal activities including those related to terrorism, but is not yet operational. The Guatemalan military’s deployment of a western border task force at the beginning of the year continued the government’s initial efforts to secure control of its borders with Mexico that began with the deployment of a northern border task force in September 2005.

Severe resource constraints of both technology and manpower, corruption, and an ineffective criminal justice system hindered efforts against transnational crime threats such as drug trafficking and alien smuggling, especially through remote areas of the country. Guatemala’s northern and western borders with Mexico lacked effective coverage by police or military personnel, and controls at its southern and eastern borders with El Salvador have been relaxed as part of the Central American integration process. Nevertheless, Guatemalan civil aviation and port authorities provided strong cooperation to U.S. requests for assistance in investigating potential terrorism leads. Deployment of the military-led border task forces provided a new governmental presence in the previously lawless northwest and western border regions. The Guatemalan government worked to enhance overall maritime and aviation security and counterterrorism capabilities to remain in compliance with rising international standards.

Mexico

Mexico demonstrated a strong commitment to work with the United States to preempt terrorist activity and entry through our shared border. There were no known international terrorists residing or operating in Mexico, and no terrorist incidents have occurred on or originated from its territory. Mexico represented primarily a terrorist transit threat, and our bilateral efforts focused squarely on minimizing that threat.

Counterterrorism cooperation steadily increased through the end of the Fox administration. President Calderon entered office on December 1, committed to prioritizing national security. U.S. law enforcement agencies enjoyed particularly strong relationships with the Center for National Security Investigations (CISEN), the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), and the National Migration Institute (INM). Mexico worked with the United States to enhance aviation, border, maritime, and transportation security, secure critical infrastructure, and combat terrorism financing.

The Mexican government further professionalized federal law enforcement institutions, restructured and strengthened the institutions directly responsible for fighting organized crime, and developed tools under the framework of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) to better address national security threats.

The March 2005 launch of the SPP, which consists of ten security-related goals within its Security Pillar, institutionalized mechanisms for information exchange across agencies and levels of our respective governments. While a solid foundation has been built, we are working towards further cooperation and information sharing.

Mexico continued to make steady progress on border security projects focused on counterterrorism and alien smuggling. Mexico acknowledged and responded thoughtfully to U.S. reports concerning terrorist transit and the smuggling of aliens who may raise terrorism concerns. Cooperation between the United States and Mexico was especially positive in alien smuggling initiatives along Mexico’s northern and southern borders. Initiatives included exchanges of information on and screening of individuals suspected of cooperation with terrorist organizations as well as smugglers whose activities presented terrorist concerns. This cooperation led to the deployment of the Operation Against Smugglers Initiative on Safety and Security (OASSIS) system, which allowed Mexican and U.S. law enforcement officials to share real-time information regarding ongoing alien smuggling investigations in a systemized fashion. OASISS enhanced the ability to prosecute alien smugglers and human traffickers on both sides of the border and to avoid situations where smugglers responsible for life-threatening behavior (even deaths) on one side of the border could evade justice by escaping to the other side. The U.S. Government would like to see more cooperative efforts to identify smuggling organizations operating along Mexico’s southern border that may raise terrorism concerns.

An ongoing issue of strategic concern was the continued exploitation of smuggling channels traversing the U.S.-Mexico border and the lack of enforcement along the southern Mexican border with Guatemala and Belize. The southern border, in particular, could be vulnerable to the movement of terrorists. In the wake of increasing narcotics-related border violence, bilateral cooperation on border security issues has increased.

The Mexican government coordinated with the United States on information sharing of air passenger data. The United States was also planning to support Mexico’s plans to develop a national center for migratory alerts, which would coordinate information drawn from various other agencies to alert officials of possible suspect entries into Mexico.

Mexico and the United States began negotiations on programs designed to deter terrorists from using Mexico’s seaports to ship illicit materials, detect nuclear or radioactive materials if shipped via sea cargo, and interdict harmful material before it could be used against the United States or U.S. allies. The cooperative effort will include installation of specialized equipment to screen cargo containers for nuclear or other radioactive materials.

Despite excellent U.S.-Mexico cooperation, money laundering remained a significant problem. The United States and the new Mexican government are discussing the dedication of greater resources to combating it. The underlying legal framework remained inadequate, and the establishment of a specific Mexican penal charge against money laundering connected to terrorism is needed.

Both chambers of the Mexican legislature have passed legislation outlawing terrorist financing and associated money laundering; the two bills must still be consolidated in conference. The Mexican government notably deployed a task force to the Mexico City airport that included elements from the Agencia Federal de Investigacion (Federal Investigative Agency), Mexican Customs, and prosecuting attorneys from the PGR’s anti-money laundering criminal prosecution section.

The Mexican Armed Forces continued to expand its counterterrorism capabilities. The Secretariat of the Navy improved maritime air surveillance by returning to service two of three E-2C Hawkeye command and control aircraft and acquiring more MI-17 helicopters. This capability related directly to efforts to secure key national strategic facilities, including those related to oil production in the Bay of Campeche. It remains difficult to accurately assess Mexican Army counterterrorism capabilities because the U.S. and Mexican Armed Forces had limited interoperability in counterterrorism.

The U.S.-Mexico Border Security and Public Safety Working Group, formed in March, has become another important tool for bilateral cooperation, establishing protocols between both governments to respond cooperatively at a local level to critical incidents and emergencies along the border. It remains in the pilot stage. The United States was able to further develop its border security relationship with the Government of Mexico through training programs, which focused on using non-intrusive inspection equipment, detecting weapons of mass destruction, and identifying fraudulent documents.

Nicaragua

The most pressing counterterrorism issue for the United States concerning Nicaragua was the stalled destruction of Nicaragua’s stocks of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). While the Nicaraguan executive branch under outgoing President Enrique Bolanos, as well as the armed forces, recognized the danger of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorists and cooperated with the United States, the opposition-controlled legislature refused to allow the MANPADS destruction program to move forward. The Nicaraguan legislature also failed to act on a comprehensive counterterrorism law that would create a national counterterrorism operations unit and address deficiencies in existing criminal and money laundering statutes. The latter, coupled with both the lack of a Financial Intelligence Unit, and a Prosecutor General who refused to prosecute money laundering cases brought to him by the existing cash-starved Commission on Financial Analysis, amounted to an ineffective anti-money laundering and terror financing regime. Nicaragua’s court system was politicized and mired in corruption that reached right up to the Nicaraguan Supreme Court. Nicaragua’s immigration system suffered from corrupt practices and could be exploited by terrorist groups.

Panama

The Panama Canal remains Panama’s most important economic asset. Any act of terrorism that could close off the Canal would severely impact the economies of Panama, the United States, and other countries that rely heavily on the Canal for commerce. The government undertook a review of the structure of its Public Forces and conducted exercises to ensure its ability to protect the Canal and residents of Panama against a possible terrorist act.

Panama’s highly developed commercial transport sector and shared border with Colombia makes it a transshipment point for arms, drugs, and smuggling of illegal aliens. Panama’s Public Forces (PPF) closely monitored FARC activities in the Darien Province on the Colombian border. In January, the FARC kidnapped two Spanish citizens near the town of Jaque in the Darien. The group held and later released the two individuals. This incident indicated that the FARC continued to have a presence and activity in the Darien. Panama created a dedicated border patrol force for both the Colombian and Costa Rican borders. The Border Protection Force was a separate service with its own command and headquarters under direction of the Panamanian National Police (PNP).

Panama provided enhanced force protection for U.S. military vessels, including submarines, during “high value transits” (HVT) of the Canal; U.S. officials praised Panama’s level of support and security. The Ministry of Government and Justice (MOGJ) used classroom training, table-top exercises, and field visits to improve coordination among the PPF agencies. Panama was also the sponsor and host of the annual PANAMAX exercise, a multinational civil and military forces training exercise tailored to the defense of the Panama Canal. The exercise replicated real world threats to the Canal in order to develop appropriate responses and guarantee safe passage through the waterway. Fifteen nations, including the United States, participated.

The Ministry of Government and Justice, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice worked together on joint counterterrorist initiatives, including the malafide traveler interdiction operation at Tocumen Airport, Operation Firewall. Panama worked closely with DHS to finalize the Declaration of Principles for Panama’s Container Security Initiative.

On October 30-31, Panama hosted a multilateral conference for Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE) members from the United States, Panama, Colombia, and Brazil to discuss strategies and preventative measures to protect critical infrastructure from potential terrorist activities. The conference included expert presentations on topics such as telecommunications, cyber security, and international port security. The October meetings were held in preparation for the upcoming CICTE General Assembly scheduled to take place in late February 2007.

Panama is an international offshore banking center. While the government has taken extensive measures to combat money laundering, the banking system and the Canal Free Zone continue to serve as vehicles for illicit finance. Panama’s Foreign Ministry, Council for Public Security and National Defense, Financial Analysis Unit, and the Superintendent of Banks were fully cooperative in reviewing terrorism finance lists. The Panamanian legislature passed legislation that toughened laws on money laundering.

Paraguay

Although Paraguay was generally cooperative in counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts, its judicial system remained severely hampered by a lack of strong anti-money laundering and counterterrorism legislation. Such legislation is essential for Paraguay to meet its counterterrorism obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions and, equally important, acquire the tools it needs to effectively obstruct and prosecute money laundering and terrorist financing occurring in the Tri-Border Area, particularly Ciudad del Este.

Paraguay did not exercise effective immigration or customs controls at its borders. Efforts to address illicit activity occurring in the Tri-Border Area were uneven due to a lack of resources and, more principally, corruption within customs, the police, and the judicial sector. In October, a Legal Reform Commission introduced to Congress a Penal Code Reform bill that included provisions to update Paraguay’s money laundering law. The Legal Reform Commission was also working on a Procedural Code Reform bill that would include provisions on money laundering and terrorism. Separately, Congress must pass another bill that would give Paraguay’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the Secretariat for the Prevention of Money Laundering (SEPRELAD), the autonomy it would need to function effectively. Without this law, in June 2007 SEPRELAD could be suspended from the Egmont Group, the international group that facilitates information exchange among the Financial Intelligence Units of its 100 members. Despite expanded cooperation with other government entities and significant assistance from the United States over recent years, SEPRELAD has yet to demonstrate the ability to monitor and detect money laundering. Absent effective money laundering and terrorist financing legislation, it remained difficult for Paraguay to prosecute terrorist financiers or seize their assets.

Without effective counterterrorism legislation, Paraguay has successfully prosecuted suspected terrorist financiers under tax evasion or other statutes. The tax evasion case against Kassem Hijazi, a suspected Hizballah money launderer connected to 113 businesses and 46 individuals, remains ongoing. This case was set to go to trial pending Hijazi’s latest appeal to the Supreme Court. Suspected terrorist fundraiser Hatim Ahmad Barakat was convicted of document fraud and was sentenced to six years in jail in June. Paraguayan authorities continued to seek the arrest of fugitive Hassan Ali Barakat (Ahmad Barakat’s cousin), for conspiracy, piracy, and contempt of court.

Twelve of the 15 individuals charged with the 2004-5 kidnapping and murder of Cecilia Cubas, daughter of former President Raul Cubas, were convicted in November. Their sentences ranged from 10 to 35 years. Several of the defendants were tied to the leftist Free Fatherland Party (PPL) which, in turn, has allegedly received support from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and other foreign governments. The PPL supports armed struggle as a means to overthrow the Paraguayan elected government. Several co-conspirators remained at large. Six escaped to Argentina, one of whom subsequently fled to Bolivia after the others were captured, and were awaiting the possibility of extradition. Two escaped to Bolivia and extradition was pending. An additional nine individuals remained at large and were under investigation. The United States assisted Paraguay with training for judges, prosecutors, and police in investigating, preventing and prosecuting individuals involved in money laundering, bulk cash smuggling, and terrorism, including terrorism financing. Paraguay qualified for participation in the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Threshold Program and received a $35 million dollar grant to develop and strengthen institutions. Paraguay is a member of the Financial Action Task Force of South America Against Money Laundering (GAFISUD), which has been critical of Paraguay for its failure to adopt strong money laundering legislation. A delegation from the UN Security Council’s Counterterrorism Committee visited Paraguay in June urging it to move expeditiously to adopt counterterrorism legislation that would meet its international obligations.

Peru

Peru’s top counterterrorism concern was preventing the reemergence of the militant Maoist Sendero Luminoso (SL or Shining Path), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization that convulsed the country in the 1980s and1990s at a cost of more than 69,000 lives. SL members continued to engage in narcotrafficking and killed eight civilians and five counternarcotics police officers. SL members also intimidated voters during the election year, but it suffered significant setbacks in 2006 when SL founder and leader Abimael Guzman was sentenced to life in prison, SL’s number two military leader Hector Aponte Sinarahua “Clay” was killed, and a boat capsized in the Ene River drowning some 40 members.

Although previous Peruvian administrations nearly eliminated SL in the 1990s, the organization, now entwined with narcotics trafficking, reemerged and remained a threat. Now estimated to include hundreds of armed combatants, Sendero Luminoso conducted 92 terrorist acts in remote areas. While the new SL is shorter on revolutionary zeal than its predecessor, reports suggested it was attempting to rebuild support in the university system, where it exercised considerable influence in the 1980s. Meanwhile, the drug trade provided SL with a greater source of funding to conduct operations, to improve relations with local communities in remote areas, and to gain recruits. Lack of government presence in these areas and deterioration in Peruvian security capabilities complicated efforts to counter or disrupt SL activity.

Since SL remnants operated in coca growing regions and relied on narcotrafficking income, the Peruvian National Police (PNP) in these regions and U.S.-Peruvian counter-narcotics operations were on alert for possible attacks based on SL threats. SL presence and activity near Aucayacu in Huanuco limited voluntary eradication and alternative development projects, as SL members reportedly owned and operated coca fields in this area.

SL killed five Peruvian Police officers and two employees of the government-regulated licit coca company (ENACO) in an ambush attack on December 16 in the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE) of Ayacucho. The ENACO staff, protected by the PNP officers, was tasked to confiscate illegal coca and cocaine precursor chemicals. The Armed Forces reported three soldiers wounded by SL. Two sustained injuries in May and July when their base came under SL fire, and the other soldier was wounded when his convoy was ambushed by SL guerillas.

In rural areas of the Huallaga Valley and the Apurimac and Ene River Valley, SL called for the boycott of April presidential elections and stepped up its recruitment before the elections. Five murders were linked to SL either as voter intimidation during the presidential elections or as revenge for the police operation resulting in the death of SL military leader Hector Aponte Sinarahua “Clay”. In March, three people were tortured and mutilated for allegedly providing information to the PNP that led to the police operation against Clay. Their bodies were found with anti-election/pro-revolution notes attached. In March, three residents of Leoncio Prado, Huanuco were murdered; one body was found with a note stating that other informants would also be murdered. SL declared that the killings would continue until Clay’s death was avenged. In August, SL murdered a fifth civilian from Tocache, San Martin for working as an informant in Clay’s case. SL’s propaganda and intimidation activities peaked around the first round of the presidential elections and were less pronounced for the subsequent runoff and regional/municipal elections.

From January through June, then-President Toledo undertook a counterterrorism campaign (the Huallaga Police Front) in response to the deadly attacks on police in 2005. This strategy remained in effect. Alan Garcia’s government announced a new counterterrorism strategy in November. Under Garcia’s strategy, 2,000 troops and 19 antiterrorism bases in the Apurimac and Ene River Valley operated under a central command. The plan also called for new health, education, and infrastructure investment in these isolated communities where the state lacked presence. The government also sought to improve interagency cooperation and strengthen prosecutors. Police units specializing in counterterrorism and counternarcotics conducted joint operations with the Peruvian Army. President Garcia proposed a law in November that called for the death penalty for those convicted of acts of terrorism, but Congress has yet to take action.

President Garcia and former President Toledo repeatedly reauthorized a 60-day state of emergency in parts of Peru’s five departments where SL operates, suspended some civil liberties and gave the armed forces authority to maintain public order.

The Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) has not conducted a significant terrorist attack since the December 1996 hostage taking at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence in Lima. However, there were indications that ex-MRTA members were trying to reconstitute an organizational structure. These MRTA activists were infiltrating far left civil society organizations. For example, the MRTA participated in a conference with left-wing fringe parties in Chile in an attempt to rejuvenate their organization. Police also found MRTA propaganda distributed during the election season.

Authorities arrested 155 suspected SL members and nine Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) members. On February 19, the PNP killed Clay, military leader and number two in the Huallaga branch of the SL. The PNP also arrested Mansueto Ausencio “Mansho” and Juan Chujutalli “Pablito”, two top political-military operatives in November. Reportedly the result of a boat accident, almost 40 SL members, a third of the force in the region, drowned in the Ene River. Government records indicated that 145 former SL members were released from jail in November after completing their sentences. Some of these members rejoined political movements but there was no evidence that they have engaged in violent acts.

The Government of Peru aggressively prosecuted terrorist suspects, led by special counterterrorism prosecutors. A special terrorism court was in the process of retrying the remaining SL and MRTA members whose convictions were overturned by Peru’s Constitutional Tribunal in 2003. Following a trial that lasted over a year, Abimael Guzman was convicted and sentenced to life in prison on October 13 for acts of terrorism and for founding and leading SL. Elena Iparraguirre, his partner and co-conspirator, was also sentenced to life in prison. Oscar Ramirez Durand ‘Feliciano’, former leader of SL was sentenced to 24 years prison in June for acts of terrorism. Guzman and his accomplices will continue to face other judicial processes.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) used remote areas along the Colombian/Peruvian border for rest and to make arms purchases. According to the Peruvian police, the FARC has forced indigenous groups in remote jungle areas to cultivate coca crops. The outgoing Loreto Regional President made headlines in November when he claimed the FARC operated in the region and had begun to recruit locals to fight in Colombia. Peru, Colombia, and Brazil are party to a 2004 border security agreement to cooperate against terrorism and arms trafficking.

Suriname

Suriname’s lead agency for counterterrorism, the Central Information and Security Agency (CIVD); and the Ministry of Justice and Police (MOJP) have a police Anti-Terrorist Team (ATE) and a 28 person “capture team” for use in the interior. Suriname has not yet signed the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and does not have laws or regulations that would enable the authorities to freeze and seize funds and assets related to terrorist financing, but does have legislation to allow authorities to freeze assets of those suspected of money laundering.

Suriname began issuing CARICOM-compliant machine-readable passports in 2004, yet there are still numerous valid old passports in circulation, which can easily be tampered with in order to assume a false identity to travel across borders. An unknown number of blank old-style passports remained unaccounted for. The United States provided watch lists of known terrorists to Suriname police, but if any terrorists were present, the likelihood of apprehending them is low because of the lack of border and immigration control by police and officials, and because Suriname has no system for registering and monitoring visitors. According to police sources, the FARC conducted arms-for-drugs operations with criminal organizations in Suriname.

Trinidad and Tobago

In October, Trinidad and Tobago signed a U.S.-CARICOM Memorandum of Intent for the creation of an Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) in preparation for the 2007 Cricket World Cup, and the Parliament passed implementing legislation for the system. The Opposition United National Congress Party failed in its attempt to challenge the constitutionality of the 2005 Antiterrorism Act, and Imam Yasin Abu Bakr became the first person to be prosecuted under the Act. Law enforcement officials participated in U.S. Antiterrorism Assistance programs, and in December, the Trinidad and Tobago government hosted a seminar on “Tourism and Recreational Security”, sponsored by the OAS’ Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE).

Venezuela

In reviewing Venezuela’s overall level of cooperation in U.S. efforts to fight terrorism, the Secretary of State certified Venezuela as “not fully cooperating” with U.S. antiterrorism efforts. In light of Venezuela’s actions, the United States imposed an arms ban effective August 17. The Secretary’s designation became a matter of law October 1, and will remain in effect until the end of the fiscal year, when it may be renewed by a determination by the Secretary of State.

President Hugo Chavez persisted in public criticism of U.S. counterterrorism efforts, deepened Venezuelan relationships with Iran and Cuba, and was unwilling to prevent Venezuelan territory from being used as a safe haven by the FARC and ELN, effectively flouting UN Security Council Resolutions 1373 and 1540, which form part of the legal basis of international counterterrorism efforts.

Chavez’ ideological sympathy for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) limited Venezuelan cooperation with Colombia in combating terrorism. FARC and ELN units often crossed into Venezuelan territory to rest and regroup with relative impunity. Splinter groups of the FARC and another designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the United Self- Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), operated in various parts of Venezuela and were involved in narcotrafficking.

It remained unclear to what extent the Venezuelan government provided material support to Colombian terrorists. However, limited amounts of weapons and ammunition -- some from official Venezuelan stocks and facilities -- have turned up in the hands of Colombian terrorist organizations. The Venezuelan government did not systematically police the 1,400-mile Venezuelan-Colombian border to prevent the movement of groups of armed terrorists or to interdict arms or the flow of narcotics.

An individual claiming to be a member of an Islamic extremist group in Venezuela placed two pipe bombs outside the American Embassy in Caracas on October 23. Venezuelan police safely disposed of the two pipe bombs and immediately made one arrest. The investigation by Venezuelan authorities resulted in the additional arrest of the alleged ideological leader of the group. At year’s end, both suspects remained in jail and prosecutors were pressing terrorism charges against them.

Responding to a complaint filed by two deported ETA terrorists in the Interamerican Human Rights Commission in June, Venezuelan officials negotiated and signed an “amicable settlement” to facilitate the naturalization of Basques who came to Venezuela as political refugees in the 1980s as a result of a bilateral agreement between the governments of Spain and Venezuela. After media reports revealed that ETA terrorists would obtain substantial benefits from the settlement, Venezuela repudiated the terms of the agreement in December.

Venezuelan citizenship, identity, and travel documents remained easy to obtain, making Venezuela a potentially attractive way-station for terrorists. International authorities remained suspicious of the integrity of Venezuelan documents and their issuance process.

STATE SPONSORS OF TERRORISM

Overview

State sponsors of terrorism provide critical support to non-state terrorist groups. Without state sponsors, terrorist groups would have much more difficulty obtaining the funds, weapons, materials, and secure areas they require to plan and conduct operations. Most worrisome is that some of these countries also have the capability to manufacture weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and other destabilizing technologies that could get into the hands of terrorists. The United States will continue to insist that these countries end the support they give to terrorist groups.

As a result of the historic decisions taken by Libya’s leadership in 2003 to renounce terrorism and to abandon its WMD programs, the United States rescinded Libya’s designation as a state sponsors of terrorism on June 30. Since pledging to renounce terrorism in 2003, Libya has cooperated closely with the United States and the international community on counterterrorism efforts.

Sudan continued to take significant steps to cooperate in the War on Terror. Cuba, Iran, and Syria, however, have not renounced terrorism or made efforts to act against Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Iran and Syria routinely provided safe haven, substantial resources, and guidance to terrorist organizations.

Venezuela was certified by the Secretary of State as “not fully cooperating” with U.S. counterterrorism efforts. The designation, included in Section 40A of the Arms Export Control Act, was based on a review of Venezuela’s overall efforts to fight terrorism. Effective October 1, the decision imposed sanctions on all commercial arms sales and transfers. It remains in effect until September 30, 2007, when it may be renewed by a determination by the Secretary. (Venezuela is the only nation certified as “not fully cooperating” that is not a state sponsor of terrorism.)

State Sponsor: Implications

Designating countries that repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism as state sponsors of terrorism imposes four main sets of U.S. Government sanctions:

  • A ban on arms-related exports and sales.
  • Controls over exports of dual-use items, requiring 30-day Congressional notification for goods or services that could significantly enhance the terrorist-list country’s military capability or ability to support terrorism.
  • Prohibitions on economic assistance.
  • Imposition of miscellaneous financial and other restrictions, including: Requiring the United States to oppose loans by the World Bank and other international financial institutions; Lifting diplomatic immunity to allow families of terrorist victims to file civil lawsuits in U.S. courts; Denying companies and individuals tax credits for income earned in terrorist-listed countries; Denial of duty-free treatment of goods exported to the United States; Authority to prohibit any U.S. citizen from engaging in a financial transaction with a terrorist-list government without a Treasury Department license; and Prohibition of Defense Department contracts above $100,000 with companies controlled by terrorist-list states.

Cuba

Cuba continued to publicly oppose the U.S.-led Coalition prosecuting the War on Terror. To U.S. knowledge, Cuba did not attempt to track, block, or seize terrorist assets, although the authority to do so is contained in Cuba’s Law 93 against Acts of Terrorism, as well as Instruction 19 of the Superintendent of the Cuban Central Bank. No new counterterrorism laws were enacted, nor were any executive orders or regulations issued in this regard. To date, the Cuban government had not undertaken any counterterrorism efforts in international and regional fora or taken action against any designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The Government of Cuba provided safe haven to members of ETA, FARC, and the ELN, and maintained close relationships with other state sponsors of terrorism such as Iran. The Cuba-Iran Joint Commission met in Havana in January.

The Cuban government continued to permit U.S. fugitives to live legally in Cuba and is unlikely to satisfy U.S. extra-dition requests for terrorists harbored in the country. The United States periodically requested that the government return wanted fugitives, and Cuba continued to be non-responsive. The Cuban regime publicly demanded the return to Cuba of five of its agents convicted of espionage in the United States. The five were variously accused of being foreign intelligence agents and infiltrating U.S. military facilities, but the Cuban government continued to refer to these individuals as heroes in the fight against terrorism. One was accused of conspiracy to murder for his role in the Cuban Air Force’s shooting down of two small civilian planes. Cuba has stated, however, that it will no longer provide safe haven to new U.S. fugitives who may enter Cuba. Although Cuba did not extradite suspected terrorists during the year, the government demanded that the United States surrender Luis Posada Carriles, whom it accused of plotting to kill Castro and bombing a Cubana Airlines plane in 1976, which resulted in more than 70 deaths. Posada Carriles remained in U.S. custody. Cuba also asked the United States to return three Cuban-Americans implicated in the same cases.

Iran

Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism. Its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) were directly involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups, especially Palestinian groups with leadership cadres in Syria and Lebanese Hizballah, to use terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

Iran maintained a high-profile role in encouraging anti-Israeli terrorist activity, rhetorically, operationally, and financially. Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Ahmadi-Nejad praised Palestinian terrorist operations, and Iran provided Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups—notably HAMAS, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command—with extensive funding, training, and weapons.

Iran continued to play a destabilizing role in Iraq, which appeared to be inconsistent with its stated objectives regarding stability in Iraq. Iran provided guidance and training to select Iraqi Shia political groups, and weapons and training to Shia militant groups to enable anti-Coalition attacks. Iranian government forces have been responsible for at least some of the increasing lethality of anti-Coalition attacks by providing Shia militants with the capability to build IEDs with explosively formed projectiles similar to those developed by Iran and Lebanese Hizballah. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard was linked to armor-piercing explosives that resulted in the deaths of Coalition Forces. The Revolutionary Guard, along with Lebanese Hizballah, implemented training programs for Iraqi militants in the construction and use of sophisticated IED technology. These individuals then passed on this training to additional militants in Iraq.

Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior AQ members it detained in 2003, and it has refused to publicly identify these senior members in its custody. Iran has repeatedly resisted numerous calls to transfer custody of its AQ detainees to their countries of origin or third countries for interrogation or trial. Iran also continued to fail to control the activities of some al-Qaida members who fled to Iran following the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the bombing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1987. The DPRK continued to harbor four Japanese Red Army members who participated in a jet hijacking in 1970. The Japanese government continued to seek a full accounting of the fate of the 12 Japanese nationals believed to have been abducted by DPRK state entities; five such abductees have been repatriated to Japan since 2002. In the February 13, 2007 Initial Actions Agreement, the United States agreed to “begin the process of removing the designation of the DPRK as a state-sponsor of terrorism.”

Sudan

The Sudanese government was a strong partner in the War on Terror and aggressively pursued terrorist operations directly involving threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan. In recent months, Usama Bin Laden and other senior al-Qaida leaders have called for the expansion of AQ’s presence in Sudan in response to possible deployment of UN peacekeepers in Darfur. This has led to speculation that some individuals with varying degrees of association with AQ have taken steps to establish an operational network in Darfur, but there were no indications that AQ affiliated extremists were active there.

With the exception of HAMAS, the Sudanese government did not openly support the presence of extremist elements in Sudan. The Sudanese government took steps to limit the activities of these organizations. For example, Sudanese officials welcomed HAMAS members as representatives of the Palestinian Authority (PA), but limited their activities to fundraising. The Sudanese government also worked to disrupt foreign fighters from using Sudan as a logistics base and transit point for Jihadists going to Iraq. There was some evidence to suggest that individuals who were active participants in the Iraqi insurgency have returned to Sudan and were in a position to use their expertise to conduct attacks within Sudan or to pass on their knowledge.

The Lords Resistance Army (LRA) continued to be a threat to Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Southern Sudan. The Government of Southern Sudan worked to mediate peace between the LRA and the Government of Uganda and sought to curb LRA raids, but achieved little tangible progress. Although LRA attacks declined significantly, renewed violence remains a threat. Formal negotiations commenced in Juba in July 2006. The LRA continued to stall the talks, however, most recently with demands for a change of venue and a halt to all Ugandan People’s Defense Forces activity in southern Sudan. Both parties signed a Cessation of Hostilities agreement in August 2006 identifying areas where the LRA could assemble for the negotiations without fear of being attacked by the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces.

Syria

The Syrian government continued to provide political and material support to Hizballah and political support to Palestinian terrorist groups. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), HAMAS, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), among others, base their external leadership in Damascus. The Syrian government insisted that the Damascus-based groups undertake only political and informational activities, but Palestinian groups with leaders in Syria have claimed responsibility for anti-Israeli terrorist acts.

Syria’s public support for the Palestinian groups varied, depending on its national interests and international pressure. In April, visiting PA Foreign Minister Zahar (HAMAS) met with Damascus-based Palestinian leaders and attended a rally at the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp alongside HAMAS Political Bureau Chief Khalid Mish’al and representatives of other terrorist groups and Hizballah. In July, Mish’al held a highly publicized press conference under tight security at a Damascus hotel, expressing gratitude for Syria’s unconditional support to the Palestinian cause.

The Government of Syria has not been implicated directly in an act of terrorism since 1986, although preliminary findings of a UN investigation into the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri indicated a strong likelihood of official Syrian involvement. That investigation remains in process.

On September 12, four Syrian nationals with alleged Islamist ties used grenades, guns, and a small truck bomb to launch an attack against the U.S. embassy in Damascus. All four of the assailants were killed as was a Syrian security officer who responded to the attack. In the incident’s aftermath, the Syrian government enhanced security for the embassy and American personnel in Syria, although it declined to provide the embassy with the findings of its internal investigation into the attack. Damascus repeatedly assured the United States that it will take every possible measure to protect U.S. citizens and facilities in Syria, but at the same time has not taken the measures considered necessary by the United States.

In 2004-2005, Syria upgraded physical security conditions on the border and began to give closer scrutiny to military-age Arab males entering Syria. (Visas are still not required for citizens of Arab countries.) It also highlighted the repatriation of more than 1,200 foreign extremists and the arrest of more than 4,000 Syrians trying to go to Iraq to fight. In November, Syria’s foreign minister announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with Iraq after a 25-year rupture, and, a month later, the Syrian and Iraqi Ministers of Interior signed a five-year memorandum of understanding to boost, among other things, joint efforts to control the borders and combat terrorism.

As in recent years, Damascus highlighted in Syrian government-controlled press, information about clashes on Syrian territory with terrorist groups, particularly with the Jund a-Sham group. Separately, in November, security agents on the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon engaged in a gun battle with a Syrian Islamic militant from the Tawhid and Jihad group. The militant, who was trying to use fake documents to cross into Lebanon, subsequently blew himself up with a hand grenade.

THE GLOBAL CHALLENGE OF WMD TERRORISM

Introduction

The nexus of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and terrorism poses one of the gravest potential risks to the national security of the United States and its global partners. A successful major WMD terrorist attack could result in hundreds of thousands of casualties and produce far-reaching economic and political consequences that would affect all members of the international community. This chapter outlines:

  • The key elements of the United States″ National Strategy for Combating WMD Terrorism;
  • The various types of materials terrorists may use in a WMD attack;
  • The potential that resources of a state could be directed or diverted to facilitate WMD terrorism;
  • The emerging WMD terrorism threat presented by non-state facilitators; and
  • Transformational U.S. partnerships to combat this growing global risk.

The U.S. Government places the highest priority on working with a broad range of international partners, international organizations and national governments, as well as local governments and private sector organizations, to develop effective partnerships to meet the global challenge of WMD terrorism.

Diplomatic Strategic Priorities for Combating WMD Terrorism

U.S. diplomatic priorities for combating WMD terrorism build on the comprehensive approach set forth in the U.S. National Strategy for Combating WMD Terrorism. Specifically, our strategic approach hinges on the six objectives outlined in the National Strategy. We work across all objectives simultaneously to maximize our ability to eliminate the threat.

Deny terrorists access to the materials, expertise, and other enabling capabilities required to develop WMD. We seek to deny our enemies access to WMD-related materials (with a particular focus on weapons-usable fissile materials), methods of transport, sources of funds, and other capabilities that facilitate the execution of a WMD attack. In addition to building upon existing initiatives to secure materials, we are developing innovative approaches that blend classic counterproliferation, non-proliferation, and counterterrorism efforts.

Determine terrorists’ intentions, capabilities, and plans to develop or acquire WMD. We need to understand and assess the credibility of threat reporting and provide technical assessments of terrorists’ WMD capabilities.

Deter terrorists from employing WMD. A new deterrence calculus combines the need to deter terrorists, facilitators, and supporters from contemplating a WMD attack and, failing that, to dissuade them from actually conducting an attack. Traditional threats may not work because terrorists generally show a wanton disregard for the lives of innocents and, in some cases, for their own lives. We require a range of deterrence strategies that are tailored to the various WMD threats and the individual actors who facilitate or enable those threats. We will employ diplomatic strategies that seek to address extremism and diffuse volatile conditions to discourage populations from considering WMD an appropriate tool to address perceived injustices.

Detect and disrupt terrorists’ attempted movement of WMD-related materials, weapons, and personnel. We will seek to expand our global capability for detecting illicit materials, weapons, and personnel transiting abroad or heading for the United States or U.S. interests overseas. We will use our global partnerships, international agreements, and ongoing border security and interdiction efforts. We also will continue to work with countries to enact and enforce strict penalties for WMD trafficking and other suspect WMD-related activities.

Prevent and respond to a WMD-related terrorist attack. Once the possibility of a WMD attack against the United States has been detected, we will seek to contain, interdict, and eliminate the threat. We will continue to develop requisite capabilities to eliminate the possibility of a WMD operation and to prevent a possible follow-on attack. We will prepare ourselves for possible WMD incidents by developing capabilities to manage the range of consequences that may result from such an attack against the United States or our interests around the world.

Define the nature and source of a terrorist-employed WMD device. Should a WMD terrorist attack occur, the rapid identification of the source and perpetrator of an attack would enable our response efforts and may be critical in disrupting follow-on attacks. We will maintain and improve our capability to determine responsibility for the intended or actual use of WMD via accurate attribution—the rapid fusion of technical forensic data with intelligence and law enforcement information. As we move forward in the implementation of our diplomatic strategic priorities for combating WMD terrorism, we will take special care to work closely with the full range of foreign partners to prioritize and to tailor our capacity-building approaches to the regional and local conditions we face across the world.

The Material Threats

There are four generally accepted categories of weapons of mass destruction that terrorists may seek to acquire and use in a WMD terrorist attack: nuclear, radiological, biological, and chemical.

Nuclear

Some terrorist organizations, such as AQ, have openly stated their desire to acquire and use nuclear weapons. The diffusion of scientific and technical information regarding the assembly of nuclear weapons, some of which is now available on the Internet, has increased the risk that a terrorist organization in possession of sufficient fissile material could develop its own nuclear weapon. The complete production of a nuclear weapon strongly depends on the terrorist group’s access to fissile material and scientific expertise. Terrorists may, however, seek to link up with a variety of facilitators to develop their own nuclear capability. These facilitators include black market proliferators or transnational criminal networks that may seek to profit from the sale of nuclear material, a weaponized device, or technical knowledge gathered from nuclear experts involved in a national nuclear program.

Radiological

Some terrorists seek to acquire radiological materials for use in a radiological dispersal device (RDD) or “dirty bomb.” Most radiological materials lack sufficient strength to present a public health risk, but public panic and the economic disruption caused by a radiological dispersal device would be significant. Radiological materials are used widely across the medical industry including medical isotopes and sources used in some X-ray machines; and in the oil industry they are used in well-logging devices and other measuring instruments. Its widespread use makes radiological material significantly easier to procure than fissile nuclear material.

Biological

Biological weapons, another deadly threat, consist of pathogens that are deliberately dispersed through food, air, water, or living organisms. If properly produced and released, biological weapons can kill on a massive scale, even spreading across oceans to distant continents and population centers. Like other WMD, developing a biological weapons capability represents scientific and operational challenges. The quality of a biological weapon greatly determines its ability to harm people. It requires scientific expertise to assemble a biological weapon or develop and disperse a suitable pathogen such as the one used in the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States. Some terrorist organizations, however, remain interested in developing a bioweapons capability.

Among present-day terrorist organizations, AQ is believed to have made the greatest effort to acquire and develop biological weapons. U.S. forces discovered a partially built biological weapon laboratory near Kandahar after expelling the Taliban from Afghanistan. Although it was not conclusive that AQ succeeded in obtaining a biological weapon, the discovery demonstrated a concerted effort to acquire a biological weapons capability.

Chemical

Chemical weapons represent another highly dangerous potential tool in the hands of terrorists. Effectively dispersed and in sufficient dosages, chemical weapons could injure tens of thousands. Not since the 1995 sarin attack conducted by Aum Shinrikyo in the Tokyo subway system has an attack been conducted with a sophisticated chemical device. Since then, only materials with legitimate dual uses, such as pesticides, poisons, and industrial chemicals, have been used. The growth and sophistication of the worldwide chemical industry, including the development of complex synthetic and dual-use materials, may make the task of preventing and protecting against this threat more difficult. Preventing chemical terrorism is particularly challenging as terrorists can, with relative ease, use commercial industrial toxins, pesticides, and other commonly available chemical agents as low-cost alternatives to conventional attacks—though likely with limited effects rather than mass casualties.

Dual-Use Materials, Equipment, Research and Technology of Concern

Reducing the risk of terrorist acquisition of, access to, and use of dual-use materials, equipment, research, and technology of concern also remains a critical challenge. Terrorists have shown an interest in developing improvised devices leveraging such capabilities, and the diffusion of information on the Internet regarding dual-use research of concern has compounded this challenge. Recent attacks in Iraq involving improvised devices containing chlorine, a dual-use chemical used in water treatment facilities, offer a notable example. Effective partnerships with private sector organizations—industry, academia, and the scientific research community—as well as with local governments will play an important role in mitigating the risk of dualuse capabilities falling into the wrong hands.

State Sponsorship of Terrorism: A Key Concern

A state that directs WMD resources to terrorists, or one from which enabling resources are clandestinely diverted, may pose a potentially grave WMD terrorism threat. Although terrorist organizations will continue to seek a WMD capability independent of state programs, the sophisticated WMD knowledge and resources of a state could enable a terrorist capability. State sponsors of terrorism and all nations that fail to live up to their international counterterrorism and nonproliferation obligations deserve greater scrutiny as potential facilitators of WMD terrorism.

Non-State Facilitators: An Emerging Threat

State sponsors of terrorism represent just one facet of the overall risk of WMD terrorism. Non-state facilitators have emerged as a growing WMD proliferation threat in recent years. In 2003, the United States and its international partners succeeded in interdicting a shipment of WMD-related material destined for Libya’s then active nuclear weapons program. As facts emerged regarding this shipment and its origin, the U.S. Government gained insight into an emerging WMD terrorism risk. Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan had developed a transnational nuclear proliferation network reaching from Southeast Asia to Europe, and was making available sensitive technology and WMD-related materials to nations willing to pay.

The dismantling of the A.Q. Khan network revealed an uncomfortable truth about globalization. The very trends driving globalization—improved communications and transportation links—can enable development of extended proliferation networks that may facilitate the terrorist acquisition of WMD. Globalization requires that partner nations work together closely to prevent, detect, and disrupt linkages that may develop between terrorists and facilitators such as A.Q. Khan.

Transformational Partnerships to Combat WMD Terrorism

Since September 11, 2001, the international community has taken significant strides in responding to the threat of WMD terrorism. States are working together bilaterally and multilaterally to address these threats and protect their populations. The United States has taken concrete measures to build a layered defense against the WMD terrorism threat. In 2003, the U.S. Government announced the first National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction. Through a variety of multinational initiatives such as the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, and the Proliferation Security Initiative, and most recently, through the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the United States has taken a leadership role in reducing the threat of WMD in the hands of non-state actors and terrorists.

The Proliferation Security Initiative

Announced by President Bush in 2003, the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) deserves special mention as a particularly well received and effective international initiative. The PSI is a global effort that aims to stop the trafficking of WMD, their delivery systems, and related materials to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern worldwide. States that wish to join the PSI are asked to endorse a Statement of Interdiction Principles that identifies specific measures participants intend to undertake for the interdiction of WMD and related materials. PSI participants also conduct exercises to improve their operational capabilities to conduct interdictions, and meet periodically to develop new operational concepts and share information. PSI has led to a number of important interdictions over the last two years and is an important tool in the overall U.S. strategy to combat WMD terrorism.

The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism

Presidents Bush and Putin announced the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism on July 15, 2006 to expand and accelerate the development of partnership capacity against one of the most serious threats to international security.

Although PSI has marshaled resources to support interdiction, the Global Initiative focuses on strengthening the other defensive layers necessary to prevent, protect against, and respond comprehensively to the nuclear terrorist threat.

Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States agreed to and endorsed a Statement of Principles and Terms of Reference for the Initiative in a meeting in Rabat, Morocco on October 30-31. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) attended as an observer. By agreeing to the Statement of Principles, partner nations committed themselves to:

  • Develop, if necessary, and improve accounting, control, and physical protection systems for nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances;
  • Enhance security of civilian nuclear facilities;
  • Improve the ability to detect nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances in order to prevent illicit trafficking in such materials and substances, to include cooperation in the research and development of national detection capabilities that would be interoperable;
  • Improve capabilities of participants to search for, confiscate, and establish safe control over unlawfully held nuclear or other radioactive materials and substances or devices using them;
  • Prevent the provision of safe haven to terrorists and financial or economic resources to terrorists seeking to acquire or use nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances;
  • Ensure adequate respective national legal and regulatory frameworks sufficient to provide for the implementation of appropriate criminal and, if applicable, civil liability for terrorists and those who facilitate acts of nuclear terrorism;
  • Improve capabilities of participants for response, mitigation, and investigation, in cases of terrorist attacks involving the use of nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances, including the development of technical means to identify nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances that are, or may be, involved in the incident; and
  • Promote information sharing pertaining to the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism and their facilitation, taking appropriate measures consistent with their national law and international obligations to protect the confidentiality of any information which they exchange in confidence.

Additional U.S. Efforts Supporting a Global Layered Defense

The United States has also worked with partner nations through the United Nations and the IAEA to reduce the threat of WMD in the hands of terrorists. In the past few years, the UN Security Council has passed two important resolutions related to the prevention of terrorism and the proliferation of WMD. In 2001, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1373, which requires all UN member states to refrain from providing any support, active or passive, to terrorists, and to work together to limit terrorist movement and safe haven. In 2004, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1540, which requires all UN member states to refrain from providing support to non-state actors that attempt to develop or acquire WMD and their means of delivery. The United States remains committed to full implementation of both UN Security Council Resolutions 1373 and 1540 and stands ready to support our partners in this area.

In 2005, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (Nuclear Terrorism Convention). The United States was one of the first signatories. There are now over 100 signa-tories to this Convention, and the United States is taking steps to prepare for ratification. The adoption of the Nuclear Terrorism Convention, and the recent adoption of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the Protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, both U.S. initiatives, underscore the importance that many countries are now placing on cooperating to reduce the risk of WMD terrorism.

Conclusion

The potential threat of terrorists acquiring and using WMD poses one of the greatest security challenges facing the United States and our international partners today. During the past year, the U.S. Government has built on a range of activities and launched new efforts to prevent, protect against, and respond to the threat or use of WMD. Together with partner nations and international organizations, the United States will continue to take the initiative to reduce the global risk of WMD terrorism.

TERRORIST SAFE HAVENS

Terrorist safe havens are defined in this report as ungoverned, under-governed, or ill-governed areas of a country and non-physical areas where terrorists that constitute a threat to U.S. national security interests are able to organize, plan, raise funds, communicate, recruit, train, and operate in relative security because of inadequate governance capacity, political will, or both. Physical safe havens provide security for terrorist leaders, allowing them to plan acts of terrorism around the world. Global communications and financial systems, especially those created by electronic infrastructure such as the internet, global media, and unregulated economic activity, further allow terrorists to carry out activities, particularly the dissemination of propaganda and misinformation, without the need for a physical safe haven. These “virtual” havens are highly mobile, difficult to track, and difficult to control, and are not based in any particular state. This part of the report, however, will not address virtual safe havens, focusing instead on physical safe havens.

Africa

Somalia. A small number of al-Qaida operatives found safe haven in East Africa, particularly Somalia, where they continued to pose a serious threat to American and allied interests in the region. Although these elements were severely disrupted at year’s end as a result of Ethiopian and Somali Transitional Federal Government military actions, AQ continued to operate in Somalia and elsewhere in East Africa. Somalia remains a concern given the country’s long unguarded coastline, porous borders, continued political instability, and proximity to the Arabian Peninsula all of which provide opportunities for terrorist transit and/or safe haven. AQ remains likely to make common cause with Somali extremists.

The Trans-Sahara. The Algeria based Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (AQIM/GSPC) officially merged with al-Qaida in September, and subsequently changed its name to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The AQIM/GSPC continues to operate in the Trans-Sahara region, crossing difficult-to-patrol borders between Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, and Chad to recruit extremists within the region for training and terrorist operations in the Trans-Sahara, and possibly for operations outside the region. Its new alliance with Al-Qaida potentially has given it access to more resources and training.

Northern Mali served as a potential safe haven for terrorists, traffickers, and smugglers because the region’s remoteness and harsh desert climate discouraged effective assertion of central government control. The al-Qaida-aligned AQIM/GSPC maintained a small-scale presence using sparsely populated areas in northern Mali as a safe haven, although the group does not maintain permanent facilities and is constantly on the move. Since a brief exchange of gunfire in April 2004, during which four Malian armed forces personnel were wounded, there have been no confrontations between the Malian military and the AQIM/GSPC. In September and October, a group of Malian Tuareg rebels, known as the Alliance for Democracy and Change (ADC), engaged in two fire-fights with the AQIM/GSPC in northern Mali. The Malian government has announced no official position on the violence between the ADC and AQIM/GSPC, nor did it attempt to confront AQIM/GSPC elements in the North or prevent their use of Malian territory in 2006.

The Government of Mauritaniaaggressively pursued AQIM/GSPC members on its territory, and several AQIM/GSPC members who attempted to infiltrate the country were arrested. In contrast with 2005, there were no terrorist attacks on Mauritanian soil. However, fighting between the AQIM/GSPC and Tuareg rebels in Northern Mali occasionally threatened the border region.

East Asia and Pacific

The Sulu/Sulawesi Seas Littoral. Southeast Asia includes a safe haven area composed of the Sulawesi Sea and Sulu Archipelago, which sit astride the maritime boundary between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The geography of the thousands of islands in the region makes them very difficult for authorities to monitor. The range of non-terrorist activities, both licit and illicit, that are occurring in this maritime area pose another challenge to identifying and countering the terrorist threat. Although Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have improved their efforts to control their shared maritime boundaries, the area remained difficult to control. Surveil-lance is partial at best, and traditional smuggling and piracy groups provided an effective cover for terrorist activities in the area, such as movement of personnel, equipment, and funds. This area represents a safe haven for the AQ-linked Jemaah Islamiya (JI) organization and the Philippine Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

In 2006, Malaysian authorities arrested several members of a JI support cell in Sabah, Malaysia, who were facilitating JI activities across the tri-border area. In December, the Malaysian Defense Minister/Deputy Prime Minister and his Indonesian counterpart announced an initiative to enhance bilateral police cooperation along the land border on Borneo.

The Southern Philippines. The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), responsible for multiple bombings and kidnappings throughout the southern Philippines in recent years, remained active, although weakened. Several key operatives, including ASG leader Khadaffy Janjalani and his lieutenant Abu Solaiman, were killed during a counterterrorism offensive by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. JI and ASG operatives continued to enjoy safe haven in the Southern Philippines, but sustained, effective counterterrorist field operations by Philippine military forces on key islands of the Sulu archipelago have had a marked impact on the terrorists’ freedom of action.

Development programs, civil-military affairs projects such as infrastructure construction, medical and dental clinics, and other measures have undermined public sympathy for terrorist groups and boosted popular support for the government.

Indonesia. Although Indonesia has made significant progress in weakening the JI terrorist organization, JI continues to operate in Indonesia, a geographically widespread archipelago country with porous borders and CT resource constraints. Key JI operational planner Noordin Mat Top remains on the run, although aggressively pursued by Indonesian CT authorities.

Near East Asia

Iraq. Iraq is not currently a terrorist safe haven, but terrorists, including Sunni groups like al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), Ansar al-Islam (AI), and Ansar al-Sunna (AS), as well as Shia extremists and other groups, view Iraq as a potential safe haven and are attempting to make it a reality.

The June 7 death of AQI leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, damaged the group’s leadership but did not diminish attacks against Coalition Forces, Iraqi civilians and infrastructure nor did it halt overall increasing attack trends by the group and other affiliated groups. Senior Iraqi officials, including Iraqi President Talabani, traveled to Iran throughout the year encouraging the Iranian government to support Iraq’s political process and to stop material support of terrorist groups and militias. Although efforts by the Iraqi government, the United States, Coalition partners, and the international community are helping to thwart the terrorists’ ambitions, the battle is not over. Prospects for increasing stability in Iraq over the next year will depend on: the extent to which the Iraqi government and political leaders can establish effective national institutions that transcend sectarian or ethnic interests and, within this context, the willingness of the security forces to pursue extremist elements of all kinds; the extent to which extremists, most notably AQI, can be defeated in their attempt to foment inter-sectarian struggle between Shia and Sunnis; and the extent to which Iraq’s neighbors, especially Iran and Syria, can be persuaded to stop the flow of militants and munitions across their borders.

Northern Iraq. The Kongra-Gel/PKK maintains an active presence in northern Iraq, from which it coordinates attacks in the predominantly ethnic Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey and provides logistical support to forces that launch attacks into Turkey, primarily against Turkish security forces, local Turkish officials, and villagers who oppose the organization. In an effort to demonstrate further that the Iraqi government would not allow Iraq to become a safe haven for terrorist organizations, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki appointed the Minister of State for National Security, Shirwan al-Waeli, as the Iraq coordinator for PKK issues.

Lebanon. In accordance with UNSC Resolution 1701, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) strengthened its border presence and deployed 15,000 troops to patrols in the south, establishing itself in this region for the first time in 30 years. The LAF was assisted by UNIFIL, authorized to deploy up to 15,000 international peacekeepers south of the Litani River. Also, the Internal Security Force created a special unit to combat terrorism and established branches of this unit to preempt terrorist activity in northern and central Lebanon. Despite these steps, Lebanon remains a safe haven for terrorist activities. Hizballah remains the most prominent and powerful terrorist group in Lebanon, with a strong influence among Lebanon’s large Shia community. Hizballah maintains offices in Beirut and elsewhere in the country, has official liaison officers to the security services, is represented by elected deputies in parliament, and has two ministers in the cabinet (although they have suspended their participation in the government). Hizballah is still recognized by the Lebanese government as a legitimate “resistance group” and political party.

The unstable political situation in Lebanon also contributed to enabling foreign Sunni extremists with links to AQ to infiltrate Lebanon and to set up cells, including within the Palestinian refugee camps. Palestinian extremist groups also have exploited the absence of Lebanese government authority within the 12 refugee camps, which have become terrorist safe havens and LAF no-go zones. We believe that some of these groups, such as AQ-associated Asbat al-Ansar, and Fatah al-Islam, have used the safe haven within the camps to train for terrorist attacks in Lebanon proper.

See State Sponsors of Terrorism, for discussions on Iran and Syria , which provide safe haven to Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups, and are used as safe havens by al-Qaida-linked operatives and groups.

Yemen. AQ’s operational structure in Yemen has been weakened and dispersed, but concerns remain about the organization’s attempts to reconstitute operational cells there. Yemen continues to increase its maritime security capabilities, but land border security along the extensive frontier with Saudi Arabia remains a problem, despite increased Yemeni-Saudi cooperation on bilateral security issues.

Southwest Asia

Afghan-Pakistan Border. Historically, Islamabad and Kabul have not exerted comprehensive control over the mountainous and sparsely populated Afghan-Pakistan border—the famed “Durand Line.” Fiercely independent Pashtun and Baluch tribes straddle the border, which is routinely crossed by militants and extremists.

Pakistan. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan have become a safe haven for AQ terrorists and Afghan insurgents since the fall of the Taliban in December 2001. Islamist Deobandi groups and many local tribesmen in the FATA continue to resist the govern-ment’s efforts to improve governance and administrative control at the expense of longstanding local autonomy. Despite Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate threats and establish effective governance in the FATA, these tribal areas continued to be terrorist safe havens and sources of instability for Pakistan and its neighbors. The government maintains approximately 80,000 troops, including Army and Frontier Corps (FC) units, along the Afghanistan border. The U.S. plans to help modernize and increase the capacity of the Frontier Corps so they can become a more effective force. The Pakistani government expects to close four Afghan refugee camps—in which terrorists and violent extremists often hide—this year. Pakistan Army and FC units have targeted and raided AQ and other militant safe havens in the FATA. The failure of the tribal leaders in the FATA to fulfill their promises to the government under the terms of the North Waziristan agreement signed in September, failed to stem insurgent infiltration into Afghanistan.

In order to increase the central government’s writ in the FATA, the Government of Pakistan is implementing a comprehensive approach with three prongs: political, security, and developmental. For the political prong, Pakistan seeks to bolster effective governance by empowering local officials. For the security prong, Pakistan’s objective is to increase the capacity and efficacy of local security forces. For the developmental prong, the Government of Pakistan has designed a comprehensive sustainable development plan for the region. The plan concentrates on four sectors (basic human services, natural resources, communication/infrastructure, and economic development) and, if fully implemented, would cost $2 billion. The plan was developed with the extensive grassroots participation of all stakeholders and will provide essential economic and livelihood opportunities while upgrading and expanding social services to a population at risk for recruitment by extremist and terrorist organizations.

Afghanistan. The Afghan government, in concert with ISAF/NATO forces and the international community, continues efforts to build security on the Afghan side of the border. The border areas remain contested, however, with ongoing insurgent and terrorist attacks, to include al-Qaida activity. Taliban terrorist attacks, alongside with those of associated extremist movements such as Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) and the Haqqani network, continued throughout Afghanistan. Taliban-sponsored insurgency, terrorism, and related narcotics cultivation remained particularly prevalent in the South and East of the country.

Western Hemisphere

Colombia Border Region . This region includes the borders between Colombia on one side, and Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and Brazil on the other. Rough terrain, dense forest cover, low population densities, and lack of government authority and presence in this area create an area of safe haven for insurgent and terrorist groups, including especially the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama have adopted an tacit policy mix of containment and non-confrontation with Colombian narcoterrorist groups, with, however, some confrontations occurring. Much of this depends on local decisions and relations. The FARC uses remote areas in Colombia’s border regions to rest and regroup, procure supplies, and stage and train for terrorist attacks. In addition, the FARC and another designated terrorist organization, the National Liberation Army (ELN) regard Venezuelan territory near the border as a safe haven and often use the area for cross-border incursions. Splinter groups of the FARC and breakaway members of another designated terrorist organization, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), operate in various parts of Venezuela and are involved in drug trafficking.

The Tri-Border Area (Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay). The United States remains concerned that Hizballah and HAMAS are using the Tri-Border area as a safe haven in which to raise funds by participating in illicit activities and soliciting donations from extremists within the sizable Muslim communities in the region and elsewhere in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Although there was no corroborated information that these or other Islamic extremist groups used the region for military-type training, or planning of terrorist operations, suspected supporters of Islamic terrorist groups, including Hizballah, take advantage of loosely regulated territory and proximity to Muslim communities in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, and Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, to engage in illegal activity and illicit fundraising. The governments of the TBA have long been concerned with arms and drugs smuggling, document fraud, money laundering, and the manufacture and movement of contraband goods through this region. In the early 1990s, the governments established a mechanism to address these illicit activities.

Strategies, Tactics, Tools for Disrupting or Eliminating Safe Havens

Corruption, poverty, a lack of civic institutions and social services, politically repressive governments, inadequate or unjust law enforcement and legal systems are conditions terrorists exploit for recruitment, operational planning or physical safe haven. Efforts to build partner capacity and encourage states to cooperate more effectively at the local and regional level are key to denying terrorists safe haven. U.S. Ambassadors, as the President’s personal representatives abroad, have a unique responsibility to bring all elements of national power to bear against the terrorist enemy. They lead interagency Country Teams that develop strategies to help host nations understand the threat and to strengthen their political will and capacity to counter it.

Defeating the terrorist enemy requires a comprehensive effort executed locally, nationally, regionally and globally. Working with partner nations, we must eliminate terrorist leadership, but incarcerating or killing terrorists will not achieve an end to terrorism. We must simultaneously eliminate terrorist safe havens, tailoring regional strategies to disaggregate terrorist networks, breaking terrorist financial, travel, communications and intelligence links. Finally, and most challenging, we must address the underlying conditions that terrorists exploit. These include geo-political issues, lack of economic opportunity and political participation, ethnic conflict, ungoverned space, or political injustice.

Regional Strategic Initiative

Building on this understanding, we have worked to develop the Regional Strategic Initiative (RSI), an effort to develop flexible regional networks of interconnected Country Teams. The State Department’s Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism (S/CT) is working with ambassadors and interagency representatives in key terrorist theaters of operation to assess the threat and devise collaborative strategies, action plans, and policy recommendations.

The RSI is a key tool in promoting cooperation between our partners in the War on Terror—for example with Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines as they confront terrorist transit across the Sulawesi Sea; or among Mauritania, Algeria, Morocco, Niger, Chad, and Mali, to counter a GSPC/AQIM enemy recruiting and hiding in the desert that sits astride national borders. Terrorists are highly adaptable; defeating them requires both centralized coordination and field authority. Resources and responses must be applied in a rapid, flexible, and focused manner. The RSI helps achieve this coordinated approach.

As of December 2006, RSI strategy groups were in place for Southeast Asia, Iraq and its neighbors, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Western Mediterranean, and the Horn of Africa. These groups are chaired by Ambassadors, with interagency representatives participating. RSI programs focus on developing a common understanding of the strategic situation in a region. Using this shared perspective, networked Country Teams then identify opportunities for collaboration and pool resources not only to eliminate terrorism safe havens, but also to address the conditions that terrorists exploit for recruitment.

Terrorists operate without regard to national boundaries. To effectively counter terrorists, we are working to strengthen our regional and transnational partnerships and increasingly operate in a regional context. Denying safe haven plays a major role in undermining terrorists’ capacity to operate effectively and forms a key element of U.S. counterterrorism strategy as well as the cornerstone of UN Security Council Resolution 1373, adopted in September 2001. UNSCR 1373 specifically targets terrorists’ ability to move across international borders and find safe haven, to solicit and move funds, and to acquire weapons. It also calls on UN member states to enact laws criminalizing terrorist activity and support to enact such laws.

Countering Terrorism on the Economic Front

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has acted to block funding of terrorists and their supporters and to promote international cooperation against them. On September 23, 2001, the President signed E.O. 13224, giving the United States a powerful tool to impede terrorist funding. This executive order provides a means to disrupt the financial support network for terrorists and terrorist organizations by authorizing the U.S. government to designate and block assets of foreign individuals and entities that commit, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism. In addition, because of the pervasiveness and expansiveness of the financial base of foreign terrorists, the order authorizes the U.S. government to block the assets of individuals and entities that provide support, offer assistance to, or otherwise associate with designated terrorists and terrorist organizations. The order also covers their subsidiaries, front organizations, agents, and associates.

The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, continues to designate Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. These designations play a critical role in the U.S. fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business. Among the consequences of such a designation, it is unlawful for U.S. citizens or any persons subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. to provide funds or material support to a designated FTO. U.S. financial institutions are also required to freeze the funds of designated FTOs.

Executive Order and Foreign Terrorist Organization designations support U.S. efforts to curb the financing of terrorism and encourage other nations to do the same. They internationally stigmatize and isolate designated terrorist entities and individuals. They also deter donations or contributions to, and economic transactions with, named entities and individuals. In addition, they heighten public awareness and knowledge of terrorist organizations and signal to other governments U.S. concerns about named entities and individuals.

International cooperation remains fundamental to our common endeavors for the simple reason that most of the funds used to support terrorism are located outside the jurisdiction of the United States. International cooperation is essential to initiatives in fields ranging from intelligence and law enforcement coordination to targeted financial sanctions to norms and standards of financial regulation.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 and successor resolutions require member states to impose financial and other sanctions on listed groups and individuals associated with Usama bin Ladin, the Taliban, or al-Qaida. In 2006, UNSCR 1735 was adopted, clarifying procedures for both listing and delisting terrorist groups and entities under 1267 in an effort to increase transparency. UNSCR 1735, also encourages member states and the 1267 Committee to update the Taliban section of the 1267 consolidated sanctions list, both by submitting additional names for inclusion on the Consolidate List of individuals and entities associated with the Taliban, especially those responsible for the recent upsurge of Taliban violence in Afghanistan, as well as considering petitions to remove listed members and/or associates no longer associated with the Taliban. In December 2006, the United States and France co-sponsored UNSCR 1730 in response to a call for improving procedures for delisting individuals and entities from the 1267 Committee’s Consolidated List. In 2006, the United States and other UN members designated a number of individuals and entities:

  • On February 8, the United States designated five individuals and four entities for their role in financing the Libya Islamic Fight Group (LIFG), an AQ affiliate known for engaging in terrorist activity in Libyan and cooperating with AQ worldwide. Abd Al-Rahman Al-Faqih, Ghuma Abd’rabbah, Abdulbaqi Mohammed Khaled, Tahir Nasuf, and Mohammed Benhammedi were designated pursuant to E.O.13224 as were the four entities Sara Properties Ltd., Meadowbrook Investments Ltd., Sanabel Relief Agency Ltd., and Ozlam Properties, Ltd. On February 7, the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee added these individuals and entities and entities to its list of individuals and entities associated with Usama bin Ladin, the Taliban, or al-Qaida.
  • On March 23, the United States designated Al-Manar, a satellite owned or controlled by the Iran-funded Hizballah terrorist network. Also designated were Al-Nour Radio and the Lebanese Media group, the parent company to both Al-Manar and Al-Nour.
  • On April 13, the United States designated four top leaders of the al-Qaida-linked Southeast Asian terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiya (JI) pursuant to E.O. 13224: Abdullah Anshori, Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, Gun Gun Rusman Gunawan, and Taufik Rifki.
  • On July 20, the United States designated Abu Sufian Al Salambai Muhammed Ahmed Abd Al-Razziq for high level ties to and support for the al-Qaida network pursuant to E.O.13224.
  • On August 4, the United States designated the Indonesian and Philippine branches of the Saudi-based International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) for facilitating fundraising for al-Qaida and affiliated terrorist groups pursuant to E.O. 13224. The Executive Director of the Eastern Province Branch of IIRO in Saudi Arabia, Abd Al Hamid Sulaiman Al-Mujil, was also designated for using his position to bankroll the al-Qaida network in Southeast Asia. On August 4, the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee added Abd Al Hamid Sulaiman Al-Mujil and the Philippine branch of the IIRO to its list of individuals and entities associated with Usama bin Ladin, the Taliban, or al-Qaida.
  • On August 30, the Islamic Resistance Support Organization (IRSO), a key Hizballah fund-raising organization, was designated under E.O.13224.
  • On September 7, the United States designated two financial companies and one individual that provided financial support to the Iran funded Hizballah terrorist network. Bayt al-Mal and the Yousser Company as well as Husayn al-Shami, the head of Bayt al-Mal and a senior Hizballah leader, were designated under E.O.13224.
  • On December 6, the United States designated nine individuals and two entities located in the triple frontier of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay that provided financial and logistical support to Hizballah. Muhammad Yusuf Abdallah, Hamzi Ahmad Barakat, Hatim Ahmad Barakat, Muhammad Fayez Barakat, Muhammad Tarabain Chamas, Saleh Mahmud Fayad, Sobhi Mahmud Fayad, Ali Muhammad Kazan, and Farouk Omairi, and two businesses, Casa Hamze and Galeria Page; were designated under E.O. 13224.
  • On December 7, the United States designated five individuals under E.O.13224 for providing financial support to al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations as well as facilitating terrorist activity. Mullah Krekar, Hamed Al Ali, Jaber Al Jalamah, Mubarak Al Btahali, and Mohamed Moumou were designated. On December 7, the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee approved the request that Mohamed Moumou and Mullah Krekar be added to its list of individuals and entities associated with Usama bin Ladin, the Taliban, or al-Qaida.
  • December 12, Mohammed Al-Ghabra, a British citizen who provided material and logistical support to al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations, was added to the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee list. On December 19, the United States designated Mohammed Al-Ghabra under E.O. 13224.
  • As of December 31, 2006, the United States has designated a total of 469 individuals and entities as terrorists, their financiers, or facilitators, since 2001. The global community has frozen more than $153 million in terrorist-related assets.

Bringing Terrorists to Justice

The Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Program continues to be one of America’s most valuable assets in the War on Terror. Through RFJ, the Secretary of State may offer rewards for information that prevents or successfully resolves an act of international terrorism against the United States. Rewards of up to $25 million have been authorized for information leading to the capture of Usama bin Laden and other key al-Qaida leaders. Since its inception in 1984, RFJ has paid more than $62 million to over 40 people who provided credible information. In 2006, rewards totaling $1.1 million were approved for the successful resolution of terrorist cases in Afghanistan and the Philippines. In January, the Department of State paid a reward of $500,000 to an individual who assisted U.S. authorities in resolving a terrorist case involving al-Qaida operative Habis Abdulla al-Saoub.

In January and May, two public rewards ceremonies were jointly sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Manila and the Government of the Philippines. In January, the Department paid a reward of $100,000 to an individual who helped the Government of the Philippines bring to justice Abu Sayyaf Group member Toting Craft Hanno. In May, the Department paid rewards of $250,000 each to two persons who supported Filipino authorities in their efforts to bring Rajah Solaiman Movement leader Ahmad Santos to justice.

New initiatives included adding five new reward offers at $1 million each for key al-Qaida leaders. In June, Abu Ayyub al-Masri was added to the RFJ program upon the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. In addition, the Secretary approved a reward of up to $1 million for the American-born al-Qaida terrorist Adam Gadahn. In October, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the FBI conducted a joint press conference announcing the RFJ reward offer and the indictment of Gadahn on charges of treason.

Bilateral and Multilateral Efforts to Identify and Address Terrorist Safe Havens

Throughout the year, the United States worked closely with multilateral partners in numerous counterterrorist financing efforts, including the Counterterrorism Committee of the United Nations, the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the G8’s Counterterrorism Assistance Group (CTAG), and international financial institutions. In addition, the United States continued its regular dialogue on terrorism finance with the European Union. Since its launch in September 2004, the dialogue has served as the framework for ongoing exchanges to promote information sharing and cooperation on FATF and on technical assistance issues. European nations are active participants in a variety of multilateral organizations that contributed to counterterrorist efforts, including the G8, NATO, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The United States and its partners worked through these organizations to establish and implement best practices, build the counterterrorism capabilities of “weak but willing” states, and institutionalize the War on Terror globally. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund also have pledged to provide countries with training to increase their capacity to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

The United Nations. The United Nations continued to devote energy to the fight against terrorism. The Security Council adopted four resolutions related to terrorism:

  • Resolution 1673, adopted in April, reauthorized and improved the mandate of the 1540 committee, which deals with nonproliferation and preventing terrorist access to WMD.
  • Resolution 1686, adopted in June, extended the mandate of the International Independent Investigation Commission and supported its intention to extend further technical assistance to the Lebanese authorities regarding their investigations in terrorist attacks in Lebanon since October 1, 2004.
  • Resolution 1699, adopted in August, endorsed and encouraged increased cooperation between the UN and INTERPOL to help facilitate the implementation of sanctions, including counterterrorism sanctions.
  • Resolution 1735, adopted in December, strengthened the current sanctions regime against the Taliban, Usama bin Laden, and al-Qaida.

The Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) was established by Security Council Resolution 1373 after September 11, 2001, with the goal of enhancing the ability of UN member states to combat terrorism. The Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate (CTED), established by Resolution 1535 in 2004, became fully operational in December 2005. CTED’s mandate is to enhance the Committee’s ability to monitor the implementation of Resolution 1373 and to continue its capacity-building work by facilitating technical assistance to member states and promoting closer cooperation and coordination with international, regional, and sub-regional organizations. It also conducts visits in member states to assess the implementation of Resolution 1373. CTED visited ten states in 2006, and the CTC has approved another 17 visits for the future. Resolution 1624 (2005), concerning incitement to terrorism and denial of safe havens, also directs the CTC, among other things, to include implementation of Resolution 1624 (2005) in its dialogue with states. CTED is doing so in its visits to member states.

The 1267 Sanctions Committee, also established by the Security Council, maintains a list of individuals and entities associated with al-Qaida, the Taliban, and/or Usama bin Ladin who are subject to international sanctions --assets freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo -- that member states are obligated to implement. The Committee entered into an agreement to exchange information with Interpol with the goal of better enforcing the sanctions.

In 2006, the UN General Assembly took several important steps to counterterrorism. The General Assembly negotiated and adopted three terrorism-related resolutions, 61/40, 61/86, and 61/161, and continued work on the negotiation of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. The General Assembly concluded the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism in 2005, and, by July 2006, 106 states had signed this important new instrument. In September 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Then-UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan continued to use his office to focus the international community on terrorism. He took steps to institutionalize the Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force, which brings together 23 United Nations system entities that address different aspects of terrorism. He also established a focal point within the Secretariat to help coordinate a civil society campaign to counterterrorism and suggested the creation of an informal group of UN technical assistance providers, donors and recipients to exchange information and coordinate efforts.

UN Secretariat staff of the Terrorism Prevention Branch in Vienna, Austria, continued to help countries build the legal framework necessary to become party to and implement the international counterterrorism conventions and protocols.

UN Specialized Agencies are also involved in the work of fighting terrorism. For example, the International Civil Aviation Organization adopted passport security standards, and the International Maritime Organization engaged in security-related activities designed to make it harder for terrorists to operate in the commercial shipping arena. In February, a new protocol to the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and a new protocol to the 1988 Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Fixed Platforms on the Continental Shelf opened for signature. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) launched a nuclear security action plan to combat the threat of terrorism involving nuclear and other radioactive materials. The IAEA also promoted more rigorous standards for securing radioactive sources and released the first international export control framework for radioactive sources. In February, under a global security initiative, an IAEA-supported operation safely conditioned, packaged, and shipped radioactive neutron sources from three African countries to the United States for ultimate disposition. In April, the IAEA supported the removal of potentially weapon-usable highly enriched uranium from a civilian research reactor in Uzbekistan. In July, two potentially dangerous radioactive devices were successfully secured in the Republic of Georgia. In December, the IAEA supported the return to Russia of over 200 kg of highly enriched uranium from a research reactor in Germany.

G8 Counterterrorism Actions. The Group of Eight (G8), the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom, has been instrumental in developing cutting-edge counterterrorism standards and practices. These included enhanced travel document security standards, as well as strengthened controls over exports and stockpile security to mitigate the threat to airports from illicit acquisition of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles (man portable air defense systems, or MAN-PADS).

G8 counterterrorism initiatives often have an impact well beyond the borders of G8 member states since the group actively seeks to promulgate the standards and practices it develops to international standard-setting organizations. In 2006, the G8 completed the Secure and Facilitated International Travel Initiative (SAFTI) and produced two counterterrorism-related documents for the St. Petersburg Summit. Since 2004, G8 leaders have expressed their commitment to defending against bioterrorism. Through the work of the Bioterrorism Experts Group (BTEX), G8 efforts to counter bioterrorism include strengthening national and international biosurveillance capabilities, increasing protection of the global food supply, and improving bioterrorism response and mitigation capabilities.

Securing Critical Energy Infrastructure. At the July 2006 St. Petersburg Summit, President Bush and the other leaders of the G8 announced a plan of action to secure global critical energy infrastructures, including:

  • Defining and ranking vulnerabilities of critical energy infrastructure sites;
  • Assessing emerging and potential risks of terrorists attacks; and
  • Developing best practices for effective security across all energy sectors.

Counterterrorism Action Group (CTAG). At the June 2003 Evian Summit, G8 leaders adopted a plan to build political will and capacity to combat terrorism globally, and established the Counterterrorism Action Group (CTAG) to implement this plan. CTAG supports the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee’s efforts to monitor and promote implementation of UNSCR 1373 by developing an active forum for donors to coordinate counterterrorism cooperation with, and assistance to, third countries. CTAG promotes counterterrorism by prioritizing needs, and targeting and coordinating assistance to expand counterterrorism capacity in recipient countries. CTAG also encourages all countries to meet their obligations under UNSCR 1373 and, for states party to them, the 13 international counterterrorism conventions and protocols.

Under the leadership of the rotating G8 presidency, CTAG meets three times per year with the active participation of G8 member states, the European Commission, the UN Counterterrorism Committee, and other countries and organizations. Coordination meetings hosted by the local embassy of the G8 presidency were also held among CTAG members’ diplomatic missions in recipient countries.

In 2006, CTAG coordinated diplomatic, donor cooperation, and donor assistance efforts, including:

  • Cooperated with the UN Counterterrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) during country visits by contributing significantly to the preparation of the visits, meeting with CTED during those visits, and monitoring the implementation by visited countries of the CTC’s recommendations;
  • Facilitated universal adherence to the 13 international counterterrorism conventions and protocols by encouraging more than a dozen countries to approve unratified instruments;
  • Focused counterterrorism donor assistance on needs in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region, especially port and maritime security gaps, in concert with APEC’s Counterterrorism Task Force;
  • Coordinated donor assistance to help countries in the Asia and South America assess and improve airport security; and
  • Promoted and assisting implementation of travel security and facilitation standards and practices being developed by the G8 under its Secure and Facilitated International Travel Initiative (SAFTI).

Financial Action Task Force (FATF) . Under the Department of Treasury’s leadership, the United States played a strong role in developing new initiatives within FATF to meet evolving anti-money laundering and counterterrorism finance threats. The United States became a co-chair, with Italy, of the newly created International Cooperation Review Group to examine AML/CTF systemic threats and participated in major FATF studies (e.g., Trade-Based Money Laundering) and FATF mutual evaluations.

European Union (EU). The United States and the European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust) agreed to improve cooperation and information exchange among investigators and prosecutors, posting a U.S. Liaison Prosecutor at Eurojust. We continue to make progress toward ratification and entry into force of the U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements between the United States and EU member states. Expert level discussions have begun on mutual recognition of the EU Authorized Economic Operator provisions and the U.S. Customs -Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. We have begun a pilot project to the Container Security Initiative for feeder ports, to increase security of goods transiting our ports, and continue to work jointly to refine our risk assessments. A pilot in Southampton under the U.S. Secure Freight Initiative should improve detection and response capabilities for high-risk container traffic.

In October, the United States and the EU concluded an interim agreement on the processing of passenger name record data. We are studying the comparability of our airport assessment programs and will continue to refine international airport security measures, as in our successful joint effort to establish a common standard for liquids in carry-on baggage.

The United States and the EU continued to improve procedures for information sharing and for proactively implementing FATF Special Recommendations, including enforcing cash declaration regulations for travelers and getting private sector financial institutions to improve implementation of asset freeze measures. We continue to exchange information and best practices in expert-level discussions. In 2006, conferences on terrorism finance and money laundering issues were held with sanctions implementers, analysts, and prosecutors and investigators. We are working on a public outreach statement on fairness and transparency in the implementation of sanctions regimes.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The United States worked with the OSCE to establish and implement best counterterrorism practices and help build the capacity of OSCE members. OSCE members committed themselves to becoming parties to the 13 UN terrorism conventions and protocols, to work together to modernize travel documents and shipping container security, to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist organizations, and to implement UNSC Resolution 1540 to counter WMD (related materials and the means of delivery) proliferation. The OSCE also held two regional workshops on ICAO’s minimum security standards for handling and issuance of passports, sponsored visits by ICAO and other experts to provide technical advice to requesting countries on new travel document security features, and increased OSCE countries’ cooperation with Interpol in reporting lost or stolen passports. The OSCE, in conjunction with the UNODC, held its second experts workshop in 2006 on promoting legal cooperation in criminal matters as related to terrorism, which covered such issues as extradition and mutual legal assistance. The OSCE also held a conference on countering the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) plays a key role in combating terrorism at the regional level in Europe. First and foremost, NATO is contributing to the War on Terror by leading security and stability operations in Afghanistan and continuing Operation Active Endeavor (OAE), a naval operation that aims to combat terrorism by monitoring maritime traffic in the Mediterranean. The Alliance is also engaged in a far-reaching transformation of its forces and capabilities to better deter and defend against 21 Century threats, including terrorism, and is working closely with partner countries and organizations to ensure interoperability of forces and broad cooperation.

Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP). The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) is a multi-faceted, multi-year strategy aimed at defeating terrorist organizations by strengthening regional counterterrorism capabilities, enhancing and institutionalizing cooperation among the region’s security forces, promoting democratic governance, discrediting terrorist ideology, and reinforcing bilateral military ties with the United States. The overall goals are to enhance the indigenous capacities of governments in the pan-Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Niger, as well as Nigeria and Senegal) to confront the challenge posed by terrorist organizations in the region, and to facilitate cooperation between those countries and our Maghreb partners (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) in combating terrorism. See section on Africa, for further information on the TSCTP.

The African Union. The African Union (AU) has several counterterrorism legal instruments, including a Convention on Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (1999), a 2002 Protocol to the Convention, and a 2004 Plan of Action.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). The United States works closely with the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), comprising Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam to enhance counterterrorism cooperation. In July 2006, Secretary of State Rice and her ASEAN counterparts signed the “Framework Document for the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEANU.S. Enhanced Partnership.” The Plan of Action identifies a range of measures to strengthen cooperation on maritime security, law enforcement, border security, information sharing, suppressing illicit money transfers and terrorist financial flows, curbing the abuse of NGOs and charities, as well as on other transnational crime issues. The United States actively participates in counterterrorism-related activities of the 26-member ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), including the annual meetings on counterterrorism and transnational crime. The United States has continued efforts to increase maritime security cooperation by co-chairing with Singapore an ARF confidence-building measure in 2005 focused on preventing and countering terrorist attacks and other unlawful acts. This event built on earlier efforts to strengthen agreement on the key elements of maritime security among participants. Subsequent events, hosted by India and Japan respectively, have focused on expanding cooperation in capacity building for maritime security. In July of 2005, ARF Foreign Ministers adopted the “Statement on Information Sharing and Intelligence Exchange and Document Integrity and Security in Enhancing Cooperation to Combat Terrorism and other Transnational Crimes” in which ministers committed to improve cooperation among participants in these areas.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The 21 member economies of APEC (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam) are committed to creating a safe environment for the movement of goods, services, and people throughout the region. The APEC Counterterrorism Task Force (CTTF) was established in 2003 to coordinate implementation of Leaders’ and Ministers’statements on counterterrorism and non-proliferation. The United States works within APEC to dismantle transnational terrorist groups and to eliminate the severe and growing danger posed by proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.

In 2006, with Australian and Chilean co-sponsorship, the United States introduced the first bioterrorism/biodefense initiative in APEC to protect the food supply from deliberate contamination. The United States co-hosted an experts-level workshop in Bangkok in November to share experiences and develop best practices. APEC is also committed to bolstering regional maritime and port security, and to strengthening international non-proliferation regimes. In 2005, APEC members adopted the Framework for Secure Trade and provided capacity building to seven economies to assist with implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security code. APEC export control systems were strengthened through capacity building initiatives, such as the 2005 Export Control Conference for APEC Economies. APEC also ensured the safe handling of radioactive sources through an agreement to implement the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Code of Conduct and Import/Export Guidelines for Radioactive Sources by the end of 2006. Airport Security was further enhanced through APEC members’ agreement to undertake Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MAN-PADS) Vulnerability Assessments at international airports based on ICAO or similar international guidelines. APEC enhanced travel security through improvements in travel document security standards and the launch of a pilot project to share lost and stolen passport data between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. APEC also continues to combat terrorist financing in APEC economies through efforts to strengthen financial intelligence units.

OAS Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE). CICTE delivered more than $5 million in counterterrorism capacity-building assistance in the region. CICTE provided training to nearly 500 port and airport security officials from 29 member states to help meet the requirements of the International Maritime Organization’s International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code, and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) new air security standards. CICTE advised 15 member state governments on how to meet the requirements of UNSCR 1373, the 13 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, and the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism (IACAT), which complements and expands on international conventions and protocols. CICTE also organized its sixth annual regular session in Bogota, Colombia.

Three Plus One Group on Tri-Border Area Security (3+1). Argentina hosted a meeting of the 3+1 Group (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and the United States) in December. Delegates highlighted the importance of early warnings among States and the immediate exchange of information to prevent and combat illegal activities, and to deny refuge to those who finance, plan, or commit acts of terrorism. In November, Brazil inaugurated a new Regional Intelligence Center, in Foz do Iguacu, dedicated to coordinating intelligence activities of the police forces of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, and invited Argentina and Paraguay to send official representatives to help staff the center.

Long-Term Goals and Programs

The Middle East Partnership Initiative. As President Bush noted, when an “entire region sees the promise of freedom in its midst, the terrorist ideology will become more and more irrelevant, until that day when it is viewed with contempt or ignored altogether.” Conversely, systems characterized by an absence of political choice, transparent governance, economic opportunities, and personal freedoms can become incubators for extremism, hate, and violence.

To this end, in 2006, the State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) continued to provide tangible support to reformers in the region so democracy could spread, education could thrive, economies could grow, and women could be empowered.

Working in 16 countries and the Palestinian territories, MEPI invested in programs ranging from campaign schools to civic education to an Arab businesswomen’s network. Despite a difficult political environment in the region throughout the year, reformers continued to provide reasons to believe that positive change is possible for the people of the Middle East. Examples of MEPI’s work with reformers include the following:

Political

  • MEPI-supported local and regional election monitors in Yemen reported a process with an absence of the violence of previous electoral contests in the country and with an opposition candidate garnering over 20 percent of the vote against the incumbent leader, a rarity in the region. Technical support also was provided to all parties contesting provincial and municipal elections on the same day;
  • MEPI-supported domestic monitors in Bahrain observed the most competitive elections in the king-dom’s history with a turnout of more than 70 percent and without the opposition boycotts that undermined the last round of elections;
  • Provided technical assistance to women candidates and voter awareness campaigns in Kuwait’s first parliamentary elections through universal suffrage as Kuwait joined Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE in enfranchising women in electoral processes;
  • Continued to provide technical assistance to parties and candidates across the region in anticipation of new rounds of municipal and parliamentary elections in 2007;
  • Strengthened the role of civil society in the democratic process by facilitating dialogue among activists, NGOs, and their respective governments within the framework of the G8’s Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative and by awarding direct grants to numerous civil society organizations across the region to advance the Freedom Agenda; and
  • Trained journalists in free and independent media techniques to support greater transparency and accountability in their countries.

Economic

  • Provided technical and other assistance in support of successfully completed free trade agreements with Bahrain and Oman;
  • Expanded trade capacity of Arab countries with training and technical assistance; a number of Gulf countries are drafting new labor laws and updating new customs codes and agricultural import/export standards;
  • Provided entrepreneurial training for more than 300 participants, almost half of them women, from 16 Middle Eastern and North African countries, with 35 alumni going on to start or expand businesses. At least 500 new jobs have been created following their participation in MEPI programs;
  • Extended credit and services to small-and mediumsized businesses through peer consultation and training for regional banks and financial organizations;
  • Established self-sustaining Junior Achievement chapters in 12 countries throughout the Middle East, with more than 10,000 students participating. Created public-private partnerships that assisted in the sustainability of Junior Achievement chapters; and
  • Expanded commercial and legal reform efforts in the Gulf by working to update legal curricula at law schools in Qatar and Oman, update commercial codes to meet international standards in Bahrain and Oman, and provide continuing education programs for the judiciary.

Education

  • Provided English language study to more than 4,500 underserved youth from 13 countries in the Middle East through a micro-scholarship program, bringing the total number of students reached with MEPI support to more than 12,000;
  • Empowered young, highly motivated Arab men and women with leadership, problem-solving, and entrepreneurial skills through intensive five-week institutes. More than 200 students have participated, and most have started their own civic projects back home;
  • Supported a regional civic-education network that promotes youth civic awareness and involvement. Examples of resulting youth-led projects included starting after-school classes for poor students and improving health services at local hospitals. The program is being widely accepted and adopted; for example, education officials committed to adopting Project Citizen in all schools in Marrakesh, Morocco; and
  • Promoted critical thinking and independent reading with an initiative to provide more than 80 titles of high-quality American children’s books to more than 3,000 schools in three Middle Eastern countries.

Women’s Empowerment

  • Strengthened the technology, business and advocacy skills of women across six Gulf nations;
  • Established the first U.S.-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research, which activated women across the region in private-public partnerships, civic engagement, and networking;
  • Established business network hubs in six countries, focusing on training, professional development, and information sharing on laws, business opportunities, skills, and the global economy; and
  • Focused on women’s rights, particularly family law, in three Gulf states and Morocco.

Antiterrorism Assistance Program (ATA). The Anti-terrorism Assistance Program (ATA) provides partner countries with the training, equipment, and technology needed to increase their capabilities to find and arrest terrorists, and to build the kind of cooperation and interactivity between law enforcement officers that has a lasting impact.

At the operational level, ATA alumni have led the investigation of a number of recent terrorist attacks. In Indonesia, a special unit trained and equipped by DS/ATA tracked SE Asia’s most wanted terrorist, Dr. Azahari. The suspect refused to give himself up and was killed along with another accomplice. Azahari and his accomplice were responsible for the Bali bombing in 2002, the J.W. Marriott attack in 2003, and the bombing of the Australian Embassy in 2004. The ATA program has also been crucial in helping local initiatives take root. In Tanzania, ATA assistance mapped out the foundation for the establishment of a counterterrorism center and the implementation of an innovative mechanism to regularly communicate with Kenyan counterparts. In Colombia, ATA financed a training facility in Sibate, which has become an international training hub for officials across the Hemisphere.

ATA sponsored 289 courses and technical consultations and trained approximately 4,816 participants from 77 countries in 2006. In its two-decade long existence, ATA has trained more than 57,116 students from 151 countries, providing programs tailored to the needs of each partner nation and to local conditions. Such training included crisis management and response, cyber terrorism, dignitary protection, bomb detection, airport security, border control, kidnap intervention and hostage negotiation and rescue, response to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction, countering terrorist finance, and interdiction of terrorist organizations. All courses emphasized law enforcement under the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP). The Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP) assisted priority countries at risk of terrorist activity to enhance their border security capabilities. TIP provided participating countries with a computerized watch listing system to identify suspect travelers at air, land, or sea ports of entry. TIP further promotes expanded cooperation and close liaison with host governments in the areas of rule of law, anticorruption, and law enforcement. Since 2001, the State Department has provided TIP assistance to more than 20 countries, assistance that was instrumental in impeding terrorist travel. Hundreds of individuals traveling on stolen passports in Pakistan, as well as wanted criminals, narcotics smugglers, and human traffickers have been identified and intercepted worldwide. The Terrorist Interdiction Program complements other counterterrorism-related U.S. Government efforts to enhance aviation, border, cyber, maritime, and transportation security.

Counterterrorist Finance Training. In response to the development of new international standards against the growing threat of illicit cash couriers and bulk cash smuggling, the State Department worked with its interagency partners to develop a training course on interdicting bulk cash smuggling. This course provided operational training to foreign customs officers, investigators, and other officials on the detection, interdiction, analysis, investigation, and seizure of illicit cross-border cash used to facilitate terrorism and criminal activities. The training, conducted in three Middle Eastern countries, emphasized the need to investigate the source, destination, and organization behind cash smuggling, and stressed FATF requirements on reporting of outbound/inbound currency and working with Financial Intelligence Units. Based on the vulnerabilities uncovered during this training, one country moved aggressively to implement new laws and regulations. Due to high demand, the State Department is planning to increase the number of courses offered and to provide this training to countries in other geographical regions.

Increasing Economic Development. Development is central to the President’s National Security Strategy. Expanding the circle of prosperity is critical to our national security. Poverty, weak institutions, and corruption can turn nations of great potential into recruiting grounds for terrorists. Well-conceived targeted aid is a potential leveraging instrument that can help countries implement sound economic policies, helping to improve the conditions that terrorists exploit.

The Millennium Challenge Account, established by Congress in 2004 based on President Bush’s concept, represents a new model for achieving transformational development by providing assistance to those countries that rule justly, invest in their people and encourage economic freedom. The prospect of an MCA Compact provides a powerful incentive for the poorest countries to reform. Good governance and sound policies, not foreign aid, are the keys to economic development. U.S. private sector flows to the developing world, including trade and investment ($450.2 billion in 2004), dwarf our foreign aid ($19.7 billion). Unutilized capital in developing countries, owing to weak policies and poor property rights, is estimated to be as high as $9 trillion.

Debt relief for the poorest is another element of our development strategy. Our long-standing support for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, as well as for the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) introduced in 2006, promotes debt sustainability, reduces the likelihood of debt distress and enables the poorest countries to devote additional resources to reducing poverty and promoting economic growth. Our aggressive multilateral and bilateral trade agenda to open agricultural and non-agricultural markets and liberalize financial services, transportation, telecommunications, and government procurement all support development.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), carries out foreign assistance programs that support key U.S. foreign policy interests and have a positive public diplomacy impact for many people in the developing world. USAID’s humanitarian aid programs and its activities in the areas of economic growth, agriculture, trade, health, democracy, and conflict prevention help reduce the risk of countries becoming breeding grounds for terrorism. In Afghanistan, USAID is helping to build a safe, stable society that meets the needs of its people and eliminates an environment in which terrorist groups have flourished. USAID has been on the front lines of support to tsunami-affected countries, garnering goodwill toward the United States among people in the hardest-hit areas. Our rapid humanitarian assistance and generous reconstruction pledge in response to the devastating South Asian earthquake helped Pakistan in its hour of need, tangibly changing hearts and minds about the U.S. role in this predominately Muslim country.

Support for Pakistan

The 9/11 Commission recommended that the United States “make the difficult long-term commitment to the future of Pakistan” and “support Pakistan’s government in its struggle against extremists with a comprehensive effort that extends from military aid to support for better education, so long as Pakistan’s leaders remain willing to make difficult choices of their own.”

Composition and Levels of Assistance, Including Security and Other Assistance

The USG commitment to a long-term relationship with Pakistan is highlighted by President Bush’s pledge to Pakistani President Musharraf to seek from Congress $3 billion in Economic Support Funds (ESF) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Pakistan during the five-year period from FY-2005 through FY-2009. In addition to Economic Support Funds and Foreign Military Financing, the United States Government is also providing other forms of assistance to Pakistan, including funding for Child Survival and Health (CSH), Development Assistance (DA), International Military Education and Training (IMET), International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INCLE), Anti-Terrorism Assistance (NADR-ATA), Export Control and Border Security (NADR-EXBS), Small Arms and Light Weapons (NADR-SALW), Terrorism Interdiction Programs (NADR-TIP), Food for Peace (P.L. 480 Title I & II), and Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA). Approximately $706.6 million in U.S. assistance was provided to Pakistan from monies appropriated for Fiscal Year 2006. In addition, the Administration received a supplemental Fiscal Year 2006 appropriation from Congress for $126.3 million for Pakistan to meet relief needs from the devastating October 8, 2005, earthquake. The Administration requested $738.565 million in assistance for Pakistan for Fiscal Year 2007 and is requesting $785 million for Fiscal Year 2008. The mix of U.S. assistance for Pakistan reflects the diverse ways that the U.S. Government is cooperating with Pakistan in pursuit of critical U.S. policy goals. These include prosecuting the War on Terror; countering nuclear proliferation; building a stable and democratic Afghanistan; ensuring peace and stability in South Asia through the continuation of the India-Pakistan reconciliation process; supporting Pakistan’s efforts to become a modern, prosperous, democratic state; and assisting it in recovering from the October 8, 2005, earthquake.

U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funding for Pakistan is designed to enhance Pakistan’s capabilities in the War on Terror; help it to better control its borders; meet its legitimate defense needs; and make Pakistan more secure so that it can more readily take the steps necessary to build a durable peace with all its neighbors-thus fostering security and stability throughout the South Asia region. FMF is being used by Pakistan to purchase helicopters, aircraft, weapons systems, munitions, and other equipment, which, inter alia, has enabled Pakistan’s armed forces to operate effectively against foreign terrorists and militants in the rugged border areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The Pakistani military is continuing major military operations along that border, which to date have resulted in the capture or death of several hundred foreign terrorists and militants, at the expense of the lives of several hundred Pakistani servicemen. International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance for Pakistan complements Foreign Military Financing by providing training to Pakistani officers with the aim of promoting military-to-military cooperation, increased professionalism, and enhanced military interoperability between Pakistan and the United States. IMET also assists Pakistan in developing expertise and systems to more effectively manage its defense establishment; builds technical skills for better operation and maintenance of U.S.-origin equipment; and promotes military subordination to democratic civilian rule and respect for human rights. For Fiscal Year 2008, the Administration’s International Military Education and Training request is $2.0 million, a slight decrease over the $2.075 million requested for Fiscal Year 2007.

Measures to Ensure that Assistance Has the Greatest Long-Term Positive Impact on the Welfare of Pakistani People and Their Ability to Cooperate Against Terror

Economic Support Funds, Development Assistance, and Child Survival and Health assistance is being used to improve the lives of ordinary Pakistanis; lay the ground-work for the country’s sustained economic growth; and strengthen social, political, and economic institutions, thus alleviating the conditions that breed extremism while demonstrating that the U.S. interest in Pakistan extends beyond the War on Terror to concern for the Pakistani people as a whole. Economic Support Funds reduced Pakistan’s bilateral debt to the United States by $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2003 and a further $460 million in Fiscal Year 2004. This debt reduction, together with prior comprehensive donor debt rescheduling, enabled Pakistan to reduce its total sovereign debt from 89 percent of gross domestic product in 2000 to 64 percent of gross domestic product in 2004, laying the groundwork for the implementation of economic reforms designed to stabilize its macroeconomic environment, boost economic growth, and reduce poverty.

During Fiscal Year 2007, $200 million in Economic Support Funds are being provided to the Government of Pakistan as budget support to enable the country to carry out further economic and social reforms, expand its poverty alleviation programs, and reform and expand access to public education and health care. Pakistan’s use of this money is guided by the Shared Objectives agreed to with the U.S. Government.

A total of approximately $61 million in Fiscal Year 2007 Economic Support Funds and Development Assistance funds ($69 million in Fiscal Year 06) were requested to implement education reform programs in Pakistan and support the Government of Pakistan’s education sector reform initiative. Pakistan’s literacy rate greatly hampers its ability to develop and expand its economic base. Literacy averages 49 percent nationwide, and in Pakistan’s remote tribal areas can be as low as 0.5% for women. The dearth of good public schools results in thousands of youth attending private madrassas, schools teaching only religious subjects, some of which also inculcate a radical, jihadist ideology. To tackle these problems, U.S. Government-funded education programs in Pakistan are aimed at improving the quality of education in Pakistani primary and secondary schools, especially in Baluchistan and Sindh provinces; improving early childhood education; training teachers; increasing parental and community involvement in schools, ensuring that teachers have adequate classroom materials; and promoting the development of a new generation of Pakistani leaders by providing scholarships for disadvantaged students to obtain a higher education. Adult and youth literacy education programs are targeting out-of-school youth and illiterate adult populations, with a focus on women and girls. In addition, student exchanges play a large part in our education efforts, with Pakistan’s Fulbright program being the largest in the world.

Democratization is a key focus of U.S. Government assistance toward Pakistan. One of the fundamental tools for combating terrorism over the long-term is democracy. The programs include several mutually reinforcing components: legislative training to increase the effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of Pakistan’s provincial and national parliaments; political party strengthening focused on identifying and training young reformers—tomorrow’s political leadership; support for increased women’s political participation; civil society development designed to increase the capacity of indigenous nongovernmental organizations to serve as policy watchdogs and promote human rights; and independent media training for journalists.

Pakistan trails its South Asian neighbors in almost all key health areas: maternal and infant mortality; safe, affordable family planning; and control of infectious diseases. Fiscal Year 2007 Child Survival and Health funds will be used to increase availability of maternal and child health services, especially in rural areas; to improve healthcare at the provincial and district level through better resource management; to help maintain Pakistan’s low human immunodeficiency virus prevalence rate by increasing awareness; to control other infectious diseases; and to improve water and sanitation.

Throughout 2007, Economic Support Funds, Development Assistance, and Child Survival and Health will support reconstruction efforts to rebuild, furnish, and supply health and education sector infrastructure and human resource capacities; to re-establish the livelihoods of earthquake victims; to relocate displaced victims; and to train skilled and unskilled individuals in vocational training, agriculture and livestock development, asset formation, enterprise development, micro-credit, and market restoration.

The Administration is requesting $382.9 million in Economic Support Funds and $39.8 million in Child Survival and Health for Pakistan for Fiscal Year 2008, a combined increase of $51 million from its Fiscal Year 2007 request. This increase is designed to complement Musharraf’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas Sustainable Development Plan to improve governance, provide security, and encourage economic development of the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan. These funds will also help meet earthquake reconstruction needs, with a focus on rebuilding education, economic, social and health care infrastructure, including human capital, in the earthquake zone. The Administration is requesting for Fiscal Year 2008 $18 million in Development Assistance and $39.8 million in Child Survival and Health funds, a decline from the $29 requested for Development Assistance and an increase from the $21.7 requested for Child Survival and Health in Fiscal Year 2007.

International Narcotics and Law Enforcement funds for Pakistan continue to strengthen border security and enable law enforcement access to remote areas along the Pak-Afghan border—thus enhancing the country’s capability to interdict traffickers in narcotics, arms, persons, and contraband, as well as terrorists. International Narcotics and Law Enforcement funds are used to reform, strengthen, and improve cooperation among Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies, all of which play an important role in the War on Terror. International Narcotics and Law Enforcement funds support a counternarcotics Air Wing based in Quetta, Baluchistan, operated by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry, which includes fixed-wing surveillance aircraft and Huey II helicopters. International Narcotics and Law Enforcement funds are used to procure vehicles and communications, surveillance, and related equipment for border control and counter-narcotics activities. Border security roads that facilitate law enforcement access to inaccessible parts of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas are also funded by International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, as are an Automated Fingerprint Identification System and National Criminal Database, and training and equipment to expand law enforcement investigative skills and forensic capacities. In tackling poppy cultivation, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement funds also support crop control, alternative livelihood, and demand reduction programs.

Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs/Export Control and Related Border Security assistance strengthens Pakistan’s export control system and thus prevents weapons of mass destruction and related technology transfers that raise proliferation concerns. Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs/Export Control and Related Border Security funds are used for nonproliferation export control training addressing legal/regulatory reform, export licensing systems, and customs enforcement; for general inspection and weapons of mass destruction detection training for border control personnel; and for procuring specialized radiation/chemical-detection equipment. The Administration’s $500,000 Fiscal Year 2008 request in Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs/Export Control and Related Border Security assistance represents a slight decrease from the $600,000 requested for Fiscal Year 2007.

Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs/Anti-terrorism Assistance funding for Pakistan enhances the capabilities of elite national police units responsible for counterterrorism investigations and tactical operations. Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs/Anti-terrorism Assistance trained the Special Investigation Group and crisis response teams that were integral in making arrests after the December 2003 assassination attempts on President Musharraf and the May 2004 car bombs near the U.S Consulate in Karachi. The Administration’s Fiscal Year 2008 request of $8 million for Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs/Anti-terrorism Assistance represents a decrease from the $8.59 million requested in Fiscal Year 2007.

Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs/Terrorism Interdiction Programs funding for Pakistan is being used to support the Personal Identification Secure Comparison Evaluation System automated border control system, including to sustain ongoing program operations and to expand coverage to additional Pakistani ports-of-entry. The Administration is requesting $900,000 in Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs/Terrorism Interdiction Programs funds for Pakistan for Fiscal Year 2008, a slight decrease from the $1 million requested for Fiscal Year 2007. The Administration is requesting $400,000 in Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs/Counter-Terrorism Finance funds for Fiscal Year 2008, an increase from the $100,000 requested in Fiscal Year 2007, to support assignment of a resident legal advisor to U.S. Embassy Islamabad. The legal advisor will assist the Pakistani government in establishing the counter-terrorist finance infrastructure needed to prevent money flows to terrorist groups.

Measures to Alleviate Difficulties, Misunderstandings, and Complications in U.S.-Pakistani Relations

The United States and Pakistan engage in extensive consultations to ensure that U.S. foreign assistance has the greatest long-term benefit for Pakistanis and also enhances the country’s ability to cooperate in the global War on Terror. This is exemplified by the annual consultations that result in mutually-agreed Shared Objectives for the Government of Pakistan’s use of $200 million in Economic Support Funds in direct budget support. The United States also participates in the annual Pakistan Development Forum, which brings together the Government of Pakistan and bilateral and multilateral donors to discuss Pakistan’s development priorities and assistance needs. The United States holds regular consultations with major donors, including the European Union, Japan, and World Bank, to ensure that assistance to Pakistan is effectively coordinated and that its impact is maximized.

U.S. public diplomacy programs in Pakistan play a critical role in improving mutual understanding; garnering Pakistani support for United States policies; supporting Pakistani reforms; and laying the foundation for a stable, productive, long-term U.S.-Pakistan relationship. U.S. public diplomacy efforts include: people-to-people exchanges to bring Pakistani students, journalists, academics, politicians, and other opinion leaders to the U.S. for academic programs and study tours; placement of articles and opinion pieces in the Pakistani media and interaction with Pakistani journalists to explain U.S. policies; and public speeches and appearances by the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, other U.S. mission staff, and American exchange visitors.

Collaboration with Saudi Arabia

Steps to Institutionalize and Make More Transparent Government-to-Government Relations

The U.S.-Saudi Strategic Dialogue, inaugurated in November 2005 by Secretary Rice and Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and reporting to President Bush and King Abdullah, continues to be the highest level institutionalized forum for coordinating U.S. and Saudi interests. The Strategic Dialogue consists of six working groups focusing on human development, economy, energy, consular affairs, military cooperation, and counterterrorism.

These Strategic Dialogue working groups meet periodically to address issues ranging from reform to human rights to visas to child custody cases to security cooperation. Ministerial-level meetings, dealing with bilateral issues of strategic importance, are held as part of the Strategic Dialogue.

Intelligence and Security Cooperation in the Fight against Islamic Terrorism

The United States and Saudi Arabia have an ongoing and robust dialogue on a full range of counterterrorism issues, including regular high-level discussions and close working-level collaboration. Saudi cooperation in this area is significant, and U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies have benefited and continue to benefit greatly from Saudi information and intelligence on individuals and organizations. U.S. law enforcement agencies have provided counterterrorism training to Saudi security services in both Saudi Arabia and in the United States. We hope to continue to build upon past cooperation and training through additional CT initiatives.

In 2006, Saudi Arabia improved its capabilities to disrupt terrorist organizations and operations and attempted to preempt the resurgence of al-Qaida and any potential attacks. Since May 2003, the Saudi government has killed or captured al-Qaida’s operational Saudi-based senior leadership, as well as almost all of the network’s key operatives and many of the Kingdom’s most wanted individuals. Saudi security forces killed or captured within four months all of the members of the al-Qaida cell that conducted the February 2006 attack on Aramco’s Abqaiq facility. On August 21, five wanted terrorists surrendered in response to government assurances in the media that they would receive mitigated sentences. The Saudi government continues to arrest individuals associated with terrorism, including nascent operational cells and members of facilitation networks for terrorist groups in Iraq and South Asia, including al-Qaida.

In November 2006, the Saudi government announced that security forces had captured 136 known or suspected terrorists or those who supported terrorist networks during the previous three months, continuing a trend in which hundreds of terrorist suspects have been killed or captured since 2003. However, the United States continues to urge Saudi Arabia to take action against additional key terrorist financiers and facilitators in the Kingdom. The U.S. and Saudi Arabian cooperation on designations in the UN 1267 Committee has also been good. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority circulates to all financial institutions under its supervision the names of suspected terrorists and terrorist organizations on the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list.

Saudi Contribution to Stability in the Middle East and Islamic World, Including the Middle East Peace Process, by Eliminating Support for Extremist Groups

Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to condemn the September 11 attacks and provided key logistical support to U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia has been an important partner in the War on Terror, particularly since the onset of the al-Qaida-sponsored terror campaign inside the Kingdom in 2003. Saudi Arabia also has strengthened its border controls and security and, in particular, its border with Iraq. These efforts have hampered the flow of terrorists and weapons across the border.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have worked closely to combat extremist groups and tendencies in Saudi Arabia. The government continued its wide-ranging re-education and training program that requires all government-sponsored religious leaders to attend courses designed to eliminate extremist ideology from mosques. Those who fail to abide by government directives have been fired or reassigned. Several religious leaders were fired or subjected to punitive action for failure to abide by government instructions to avoid provocative speeches against non-Muslims and non-Sunni Muslims. In previous years in some mosques, a second preacher would appear after the main preacher during the Friday prayer and speak provocatively against Americans, Jews, or non-orthodox Muslims. This practice is less prevalent now, due in large part to the government’s efforts to combat extremism in the mosques.

In the cultural arena, official visits by a number of U.S. officials, including Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom John Hanford, highlighted the govern-ment’s efforts to remove references in textbooks that promote hatred towards non-Muslims and Muslims of different sects. Senior Saudi officials have acknowledged the need to combat extremism by addressing comprehensive education reform. In November 2006, the King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue held the Sixth National Dialogue Forum in Al-Jawf called “Education: Reality and Promises.” The Dialogue produced a “road map” for educational reform, including revision of textbooks, curricula, and teaching methods to promote tolerance. The government also initiated the National Campaign to Counter Terrorism, which includes publications, lectures, and workshops intended to educate school-age girls and boys about the evils of terrorism. Additionally, The Ministry of Education recently issued a new regulation that allows only Ministry-approved summer camps to operate.

Political and Economic Reform in Saudi Arabia and Throughout the Islamic World

Since 2005, Saudi Arabia has taken incremental steps toward political reform through holding municipal city council elections and allowing women to both vote in and compete for seats in chamber of commerce elections and the Saudi Engineer’s Council. The United States welcomed the municipal elections as an opportunity to increase citizen participation in government and to increase government accountability. However, in the future the United States hopes to see the inclusion of women in the municipal elections, further expansion of citizen participation in politics, and the development of independent political and civil society institutions.

In 2006, there was also greater involvement in government activities by the Majlis Al-Shura (the Consultative Council) and the 178 municipal councils. Despite increased public and media discourse about human rights, the overall human rights environment remained poor. The United States sponsors a variety of initiatives focused on increasing freedom and opportunity for Saudi citizens, including the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), support to the Middle East Democracy Assistance Dialogue and the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) Civil Society Dialogue, and a broad variety of public diplomacy educational, exchange, and outreach programs of the State Department’s Bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs and International Information Programs. With MEPI support, Junior Achievement International--a program to educate youth on the benefits of free enterprise, business, and economics--will focus on opening a new chapter in Saudi Arabia this summer. MEPI also is supporting the creation of a women’s business hub in the kingdom to expand the participation and variety of economic opportunities for women.

Higher oil prices bolstered the Saudi economy in 2006, resulting in a budget surplus of roughly $71 billion. In addition to reducing the national debt, Saudi Arabia is re-investing much of the surplus revenue in ambitious social development and massive infrastructure projects. The government also has supported investments to diversify the economy away from petroleum and the petrochemical industry. Saudi Arabia’s accession to the World Trade Organization in December 2005 strengthened the King-dom’s ability to attract foreign investment.

Ways to Promote Greater Tolerance and Respect for Cultural and Religious Diversity in Saudi Arabia and Throughout the Islamic World

In November 2006, the Secretary of State designated Saudi Arabia a “Country of Particular Concern” pursuant to the International Religious Freedom Act. This is an important element of our bilateral dialogue with the Saudi government. The United States is working to promote religious and cultural diversity in Saudi Arabia and counter the spread of extremist ideology through high-level engagement and through exchange programs aimed at reaching key population groups. We also support efforts to promote moderation and tolerance, such as King Abdullah’s National Dialogue initiative. On April 25, 2005, following the visit of then-Crown Prince Abdullah to Crawford, Texas, the United States and Saudi Arabia issued a joint declaration noting that “future relations must rest on a foundation of broad cooperation. We must work to expand dialogue, understanding, and interactions between our citizens.” The declaration noted that such cooperation would include programs designed to:

  • Increase the number of young Saudi students traveling and studying in the U.S.;
  • Increase military exchange programs so that more Saudi officers visit the U.S. for military training and education; and
  • Increase the number of Americans traveling to work and study in Saudi Arabia.

In 2005, Saudi Arabia initiated a scholarship program to increase the number of young Saudi men and women pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies in the United States. By 2006, more than 15,000 Saudis were studying in the United States on government scholarships.

Ways to Assist Saudi Arabia in Reversing the Impact of Financial, Moral, Intellectual, or Other Support to Extremist Groups in Saudi Arabia and Other Countries, and to Prevent this Support from Continuing in the Future

The United States and Saudi Arabia work closely together to combat terrorism in Saudi Arabia and abroad. This includes collaboration on countering terrorist financing. The United States and Saudi Arabia have established a Joint Task Force on Terrorism Finance (JTFTF) that has strived to improve cooperation on combating terrorist financing. However, the Saudis still have not established a High Commission for Charities to oversee all charities in Saudi Arabia. Although the Saudis have increased oversight and monitoring of domestic charities, the government does not subject the foreign activities of Saudi-based international charities to the same level of scrutiny. Additionally, although the Saudis announced plans to establish the Commission for Relief and Charitable Works Abroad to oversee the activities of Saudi charities overseas, this body is not yet functioning.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have worked together to jointly designate entities to the UN 1267 Committee, and the Saudis have submitted over 20 names. To combat terrorist financing, Saudi Arabia has instituted new anti-money laundering and counterterrorism finance laws and regulations, including removing charity boxes from mosques, restricting the amount of cash that can be carried into or out of the Kingdom, and establishing a Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) in the Ministry of Interior to investigate money-laundering cases. However, the Customs authorities have not yet implemented the new regulations governing the movement of cash across Saudi Arabia’s border.

The Struggle of Ideas in the Islamic World

Public diplomacy is essential to a successful foreign policy and to America’s national security. The United States recognizes that the global and generational challenge of countering terrorism is, at its heart, a contest of ideas and values, and that America is more secure when people around the world share the same hopes and freedoms.

Goals for Winning the Struggle of Ideas

The State Department’s public diplomacy work is guided by three strategic imperatives. First and foremost, it continues to offer a positive vision of hope and opportunity rooted in the enduring U.S. commitment to freedom. It promotes the fundamental and universal rights of free speech and assembly, the freedom to worship, the rule of law, and rights for women and minorities. It strives to isolate and marginalize violent extremists and undermine their efforts to exploit religion to rationalize their acts of terror. Finally, it fosters a sense of common interests and common values between Americans and people around the world.

Tools to Accomplish Such Goals

The United States advances these strategic objectives by vigorously engaging foreign publics to explain and advocate American policies. Reaching foreign audiences with core policy messages on democracy, tolerance, and the universal values of liberty, justice, and respect are at the center of U.S. efforts to counter extremist rhetoric and disinformation coming from hostile groups.

The United States is promoting increased exchanges, which exemplify the transformative power of American global engagement. The significance of people-to-people exchanges has never been more clear or compelling. The 9/11 Commission Report recognizes the essential contribution exchanges make to national security. The National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 reaffirms the importance of America’s commitment to exchanges.

The United States is expanding educational opportunities as the path to hope and opportunity. English language programs not only provide crucial skills but also open a window to information about the United States, its people, and its values. Americans must also better educate themselves about the world; the President’s National Strategic Languages Initiative will encourage more American students to study critical languages such as Chinese and Arabic.

Responding to and quickly debunking misinformation, conspiracy theories, and urban legends is crucial for success in the war of ideas. The State Department maintains a public “Identifying Misinformation” website, in English and Arabic, devoted to countering false stories that appear in extremist and other web sources. The site focuses on dis-information likely to end up in the mainstream media. Embassies have used information from this site to counter disinformation in extremist print publications in Pakistan and other countries. One article, “A Trio of Disinformers,” was the subject of a 1,100-word front-page article in an issue of the influential pan-Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat. “Identifying Misinformation” is featured on the usinfo.state.gov website, and is listed first of 17.6 million sites in a Google search for the term “misinformation.” At least 49 websites have direct links to it.

The Internet, radio, television, and video products remain powerful tools for bringing America’s foreign policy message to worldwide audiences. The State Department produces a wide array of print and electronic materials describing for foreign audiences, in their own languages, the need to counter those who have committed or wish to commit terrorist acts, as well as the achievements made in that struggle.

The State Department’s premier web page to explain U.S. counterterrorism policy is “Response to Terrorism,” created more than seven years ago and featured on usinfo.state.gov. The site is listed third out of 241 million sites in a Google search for the terms “terrorism U.S.” At least 133 websites link directly to it. In addition to featuring articles, texts, and transcripts from key policymakers, this site provides valuable links to the Electronic Journals series, the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, the designated Foreign Terrorist Organization list, and the State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism. “Response to Terrorism” is located on the Internet at: http://usinfo.state.gov/is/international_security/terrorism.html.

Support for and understanding of the United States go hand-in-hand with strengthening and empowering the voices most credible to speak out in favor of tolerance and rule of law to counter the violent extremists’ message of hate and terror. One of public diplomacy’s greatest assets is the American people. Empowerment of individuals and groups--from all walks of life--is a key aspect of the Depart-ment’s public diplomacy efforts.

As we actively prosecute the struggle of ideas, we need to recognize that this will require a long-term effort spanning years and generations. For that reason, we are placing increased emphasis on programs directed at younger audiences, including undergraduate and, in select cases, high school students.

The U.S. Government’s assistance programs, administered through USAID, the Middle East Partnership Initiative, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and other U.S. entities, advance U.S. interests in this area directly through programs to increase access to education, improve health care and empower people to build better lives. Civic engagement is an important component. Assistance programs to strengthen and professionalize independent media and civic society contribute to opening the “marketplace of ideas,” as well as support development and reform across the board.

Through the $66 million in FY 2006 supplemental funds for civil society development, broadcasting, and exchange efforts related to Iran, we have dramatically increased our ability to speak directly to the Iranian people and Diaspora. This supports efforts to clarify U.S. policy objectives to the Iranian people and to increase pressure on the Iranian regime to suspend its funding of extremist activities abroad.

Benchmarks for Measuring Success and Linking Resources to Accomplishments

In 2004, State established the Public Diplomacy Evaluation Office (PDEO). Its mandate is to evaluate all major public diplomacy and exchange programs individually as well as provide an overall strategic framework for public diplomacy assessment.

The PDEO has researched other government public diplomacy evaluation and measurement tools and it is considered one of the most advanced in terms of measuring outcomes of public diplomacy. Organizations as diverse as the Peace Corps, Department of Defense, the British Council, the World Bank, and non-profits in Italy, Japan, and the Netherlands have all consulted with the PDEO on how to measure public diplomacy activities. The measures used by the PDEO are based upon recognized social and behavioral science methodologies and include measuring changes in audience attitudes (knowledge, skills, perceptions, and understanding), behavior, and condition. Examples include:

  • Improved or increased understanding of the United States, its policies and values;
  • Initiated or implemented “positive” change within an individual’s organization--positive referring to changes that support U.S. ideals and values;
  • Institutional partnerships and linkages and on-going collaboration; and
  • Changes in editorial content in major media.

Participation in International Institutions for the Promotion of Democracy and Economic Diversification

The United States is a leading participant in many international organizations, such as the United Nations and NATO, that are important to the struggle of ideas and the War on Terror. We also play a leading role in other initiatives, such as the Forum for the Future and the Community of Democracies, which stimulate cooperation with other nations to advance the agenda of freedom. For the first time since its creation in 2000, the Community of Democracies, in response to U.S. recommendations, created regional dialogues which brought together governmental and non-governmental organization representatives from each region, including the Middle East, to discuss the particular challenges and solutions unique to their area. We will continue to seek opportunities to build on the momentum coming out of the April ministerial, particularly in support of the Forum for the Future and the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) processes.

U.S. Assistance Sufficient to Convince Allies and People in the Islamic World that the United States Is Committed to Winning This Struggle

U.S. assistance programs are intended to improve economic conditions and opportunities in developing countries around the world, thereby serving the U.S. national interest in a more prosperous and secure international community.

Our assistance can have the additional impact of demonstrating our commitment to help poorer countries or countries in special need, as we saw after the tsunami of 2004, and the Pakistan earthquake of 2005. There is, however, no set amount of money or time that we could identify as being sufficient to win the struggle of ideas.

Outreach through Broadcast Media

This section is provided by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

Broadcasting Board of Governors Initiatives: Out-reach to Foreign Muslim Audiences

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) continues to build its capacity to broadcast to Muslim populations in the Middle East and other parts of the world. In the past four years, the establishment of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) illustrates the urgency and gravity of the broadcast priorities associated with the nation’s War on Terror. Radio Sawa and Alhurra television’s 24/7 Arabic broadcasts reach audiences in 22 countries in the Middle East as well as throughout Europe.

In 2006, the BBG made further progress in implementing its broadcast strategy across the broad geographical and cultural landscape of the Middle East and beyond. A dramatic increase in the Persian language television programming of the Voice of America has been a singular accomplishment, providing four hours of original television news and information each day to the people of Iran. A 12-hour stream of programming is expected to be on line by April 2007. At the same time, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty strengthened its 24/7 Persian broadcasts via Radio Farda by adding 30 minutes of additional daily news programming, as well as creating a more substantive, interactive website that enhances our ability to communicate directly with the Iranian people.

Through the combined skills of broadcasters at MBN, VOA, RFE/RL, and Radio Free Asia, the BBG is securing a public diplomacy strategy that mirrors U.S. national security priorities and focuses on nations that may suffer from, or contribute to, the scourge of terrorism. The implementation of this strategy focuses on building BBG’s reach and impact within the Islamic world; facilitating citizen discourse; engaging the world in conversation about America; enhancing program delivery; helping audiences understand the principles of democratic societies; and employing modern communication techniques. The rigorous use of research, more frequent program review and oversight, and more compelling broadcast formats that will resonate in competitive, but critical, international markets remain crucial to this strategy. But underlying these techniques, the journalistic product and integrity remain the same. BBG broadcasters provide accurate, objective, and comprehensive news and information.

As BBG resources have shifted from areas of the world where the local media are increasingly free and robust to the Middle East and Southwest Asia, the BBG has created a new broadcast entity, MBN, and refocused the broadcasts of others. RFE/RL is now a major broadcaster to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. RFE/RL reaches audiences in the Muslim countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Azerbaijan as well as the majority Muslim populations of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and the North Caucasus. VOA has similarly reduced its broadcasts to Europe, increasing its focus on Iran, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, and other critical nations. During the past year, BBG’s broadcasters harnessed their broad journalistic resources to fully report on issues such as the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon, to provide a program perspective that is often lacking in media outlets abroad. BBG correspondents in the Unites States and around the world contribute to coverage available in 58 languages. Live, simultaneous interpretation of Presidential speeches, such as the State of the Union, and of Congressional hearings enables Muslim audiences to hear the President’s message, as well as the Democratic response.

Arabic Broadcasting. To effectively communicate with the predominantly young audiences in the Middle East, the BBG created a new concept in international broadcast-ing—Radio Sawa—a 24/7 network of stations specifically designed to reach the large segment of the Arabic-speaking population under the age of 35. Radio Sawa went on the air in March 2002, quickly attracting and sustaining a loyal audience throughout the Middle East, as new transmission sites were added throughout the region. In 2007, Radio Sawa continues to broadcast accurate, authoritative, comprehensive, and timely news about the Middle East, the U.nited States, and the world. In addition to 325 newscasts per week, Radio Sawa offers discussion and informational programs such as the popular “Sawa Chat” interactive feature and the “Free Zone,” a weekly review and discussion of democracy and freedom as they relate specifically to the Middle East. Feature programs encourage discussion of key social and political issues in a manner very different from indigenous Arab media.

Radio Sawa broadcasts on FM in Morocco (Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, Meknes, Marrakesh, Agadir and Fes), Jordan (Amman and Ajlun), the Palestinian Territories (Ramallah and Jenin), Kuwait (Kuwait City), Bahrain (Manama), Qatar (Doha), U.A.E. (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), Iraq (Baghdad, Nasiriya, Basra, Mosul, Kirkuk, Sulimaniya and Erbil), Lebanon (Beirut, North Lebanon, South Lebanon and Bekaa Valley), and Djibouti. Radio Sawa broadcasts on medium wave to Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan. However, Radio Sawa recently received permission from Sudan to expand its reach in that country and broadcast Radio Sawa on FM transmitters throughout Sudan. By broadcasting on FM, Radio Sawa increases the number of listeners who can receive objective news and information about Sudan, the Middle East, and the world.

Building on the success of Radio Sawa, the BBG launched Alhurra Television on February 14, 2004, covering 22 countries in the Middle East via the same satellites used by major indigenous Arabic channels. In the three years Alhurra has been broadcasting 24/7, the channel has provided in-depth coverage of historic events, such as elections throughout the Middle East including Iraq, the Palestinian Territories, Egypt, U.A.E., Kuwait, Bahrain, and Israel. Alhurra has been a consistent leader reporting on and analyzing new democratic trends in the Middle East. Through objective and accurate reporting, Alhurra has been an example of a free press to the region and has become a trusted source of news for its estimated 20 million weekly viewers. In 2006, Alhurra expanded its live and breaking news coverage to provide viewers with the latest news and information as it is happening.

Alhurra also gives its audience insights into life in America and the American system of government. During the U.S. electoral campaign in 2004 and the midterm elections in 2006, Alhurra provided daily in-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues that impacted the U.S. elections. Broad coverage of the U.S. elections provided an opportunity to showcase the political institutions of the United States. Alhurra also dramatically increased its live news coverage of events and speeches by President Bush, Secretary of State Rice, and members of Congress. Additionally, Alhurra has reporters that cover the White House, Congress, State Department and the Pentagon. Alhurra’s current affairs programs also highlight the U.S. Inside Washington takes viewers behind the scenes of the political process in Washington with guests such as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, and Representatives Howard Berman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Tom Lantos, and Peter Hoekstra. The network also produced a documentary series on American culture and values, and Americans, which proved to be a popular program with audiences and the Arabic press.

Alhurra is also producing programs to provide a forum for discussion on sensitive issues such as human rights and the rights of women. Current affairs programs like Alhurra’s Equality continue to be unique in the region’s media, due to the limitations imposed by the countries that finance regional television networks. Hosted by Saudi journalist Nadine Al-Bdair, the program discusses the rights of women and tackles subjects such as young girls being forced into marriage, the right of women to drive and the rights of women in Islam. There has been incredible feedback on this program and others, some praising the courageousness of this program and others condemning Alhurra for discussing these topics. In 2006, Alhurra also launched Eye on Democracy focusing on democratic efforts throughout the Middle East and human rights abuses in the region.

Throughout its three-year history, Alhurra has provided a forum for discussion of important topics by a wide variety of experts including the all-important voices of moderation. Alhurra’s talk shows, roundtables, and documentaries have routinely tackled vital topics that are taboo on many other stations in the region, including the struggle for human rights, the position of women in Arab society, religious freedom, freedom of the press, and freedom of expression. Radio Sawa and Alhurra Television continue to grow in popularity and credibility and now reach a total unduplicated audience of 35 million adults 15 and older according to international research firms such as ACNielsen and Ipsos. The surveys show that, despite high levels of anti-American sentiment throughout the region, both Alhurra and Radio Sawa are regarded as credible sources of news and information by their audiences.

Iraq, Alhurra Iraq , a special television stream containing more concentrated news and information to and about Iraq, began broadcasting in April 2004. Through satellite and terrestrial broadcasting in Iraq, Alhurra has gained a foothold in one of the most competitive TV marketplaces in the world. Alhurra’s goal is to help its viewers make educated and informed decisions about political, social, and economic events affecting their lives. To this end, during the historic elections in Iraq, Alhurra produced and broadcast the first televised electoral debate in Iraq’s history, featuring six candidates representing the major political parties. This historic debate brought about a candid discussion among the candidates and provided a forum for the viewers to be able to compare and contrast each of the parties’ candidates.

RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq continues to provide the Iraqi people with breaking news and in-depth coverage of developments in Iraq and the Middle East. RFI appeals to a wide spectrum of listeners in Iraq, covering the most significant political issues in the country through its extensive network of stringers reporting through its Baghdad bureau. During 2006, the editors in Prague continued to develop thematic programming focused on democracy-building, and an enhanced website has shown strong growth topping more than 170,000 page views in December. A December 2005 survey showed listening rates for RFI at a weekly level of 21.6 percent.

Radio Free Iraq provided extensive coverage of President Bush’s trip to the Middle East in November 2006, and aired a special broadcast on President Bush’s talks in Jordan with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The program included reports from RFI correspondents in Amman on the President’s joint press conference with al-Maliki, with lengthy excerpts of statements by the two leaders, analysis and reactions within Iraq.

Throughout December, RFI devoted substantial airtime to the report of the Iraq Study Group. Coverage focused on the report’s content, analysis by experts, and local and international reactions to its findings. RFI presented the positions of Iraqi national and regional leaders, and statements by leaders in the United States, Britain, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. RFI correspondents interviewed political analysts, commentators and advisers to politicians in Baghdad, Damascus, Tel Aviv, Washington, Arbil, and Kut, airing a range of views and responses.

Weekly programs such as “Human Rights in Iraq” provided a forum for extensive coverage of the trial of Saddam Hussein, in addition to the daily coverage of the trial when it was in session. On November 5, RFI broke into regular programming to bring a live report with the verdict, followed by a special half-hour program of live reactions from five Iraqi cities--Baghdad, Tikrit, Mosul, Amara, and Basra--and statements from President Bush and Iraqi government officials. The same format was used the day of the execution.

Arabic In Europe. In August 2006, Alhurra Europe was launched to bring together the best programs of Alhurra and Alhurra-Iraq to the Arabic-speaking population in Europe. Alhurra Europe can be seen on the Hotbird satellite system that reaches all of Europe.

Kurdish. Broadcasting four hours of daily radio programming, VOA’s Kurdish Service remains highly popular. According to a 2006 survey conducted by InterMedia Research, VOA’s Kurdish Service scored a 31 percent audience share among the Kurds of Iraq. The survey stated: “In fact, no radio station ranks higher in terms of reliability,” and added: “VOA occupies a unique position among Iraqi Kurds as it is the only major international broadcaster offering programs in the Kurdish language.” VOA Kurdish focuses on the Iraqi scene through a network of stringers, with special programs and call-in shows devoted to combating extremism inside the country and the surrounding region. Special coverage highlighted the debate among Kurds on the role of Islam in the regional and national constitutions of Iraq. In interviews with VOA Kurdish, moderate Kurdish-speaking clerics tried to calm the passions raised by the Pope’s comments on Islam. The Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions and its support for extremist groups in Iraq and in the Middle East received particular coverage in the form of interviews and panel discussions.

Iran. Broadcasting to Iran remains a key BBG priority. Pursuant to increased funding, VOA Persian television to Iran essentially doubled its broadcast hours over 2005 levels by June 2006, and expanded fourfold by October 2006. This programming has been met in Iran with open arms.

VOA’s current television lineup includes: NewsTalk, a discussion program with a panel of experts who examine the day’s headlines; News and Views, VOA Persian’s flagship program featuring live news coverage of the latest headlines from Iran and the world; Roundtable, a call-in and discussion program on politics and current affairs; and Late Edition, a daily nightly wrap-up of the day’s news, which is targeted to a younger audience. Programming on human rights, democratic governance, freedom of speech, the rights of women and ethnic minorities, the issue of nuclear energy vs. nuclear weapon development, and news and analysis are constant features of our programming.

This year, Persian television featured an impressive array of prominent guests including Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs James Jeffrey; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi; journalist Akbar Gandji, recently released from jail; Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel; and many U.S. senators and representatives. VOA TV has also covered Senate and House hearings on Iran. In the near future, the Service will launch a series on 28 years after the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the impact it has had on that country and the region.

Other program examples include: an interview with Ted Koppel about his documentary, “Iran—the Most Dangerous Nation,” which explored the generation gap in Iran between aging clerics and the 70 percent of the population below the age of 30; an interview with former CIA Director James Woolsey at the American Foreign Policy Council conference, “Understanding the Iranian Threat”; coverage of testimony by General John Abizaid, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and Coordinator for Iraq David Satterfield, and CIA Director Michael Hayden before the Senate Armed Services Committee; live broadcast, with simultaneous translation into Persian, of President Bush’s January 11 address to the nation about increasing the number of troops in Iraq; commentaries from Iraqi government officials welcoming President Bush’s new strategy for their country; U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s statement that the UN backs any genuine efforts to improve security for Iraqis and to stabilize the country; and commentaries from Capitol Hill on the President’s new Iraq strategy.

VOA devotes significant effort to hard-hitting topics on the role of religion in society, including Iranian regime’s use or abuse of Islam to solidify its control of power, as well as to justify the oppression of women and limit free speech, free association and freedom of religion. These stories generate massive email response and other feedback from Iran, as well as from Persian-speaking populations in Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon.

In 2006, Radio Farda, a joint service of RFE/RL and VOA, continued to broadcast to Iran 24 hours a day, with a goal of providing Iran’s predominantly young population news and information. As Radio Farda has matured, and as funding has supported the addition of larger blocks of news and information, it has done so in its tradition as a “surrogate” broadcaster, presenting news about the country to which it broadcasts. Current broadcasts include over eight hours of news and information programming daily, with popular Persian and western music drawing in the younger audience. Radio Farda finds direct sources of information from within Iran in spite of the challenging environment for journalism.

Radio Farda reaches significant audiences in Iran, in spite of Iran’s consistent jamming. Listening remained stable at 13.5 percent—the highest weekly reach rate of any international broadcaster, and more than double that of BBC’s Persian service. Among its key target group, youth aged 18-29, Farda’s weekly reach was 28.7 percent. Utilizing new resources provided by the U.S. Congress, Radio Farda has augmented its website to expand breadth of content—more stories to read, more images to view, and more opportunities to comment on news and information. December 2006 was the first full month of operations for the revamped Farda site, which showed a million-page increase in usage over the previous month.

The Internet will become increasingly important in the lives of Iranians seeking objective news and information about Iran and the world. Radio Farda’s new site also brings a new level of interactivity to Radio Farda. This includes the “Most Popular and Most Emailed Stories” and “Farda Club”—for moderated discussions and blogs, providing immediate feedback from users to Radio Farda and other users. During the first 30 minutes that the site was live, about 500 visitors viewed a story on a protest at the Amir Kabir University.

Farda also provided thorough news coverage and analysis of the December 15, 2006, Assembly of Experts and municipal elections held throughout Iran, widely considered a setback for conservative forces aligned with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In addition to pre-election analysis and hour-by-hour coverage of the voting from correspondents in all provinces on Election Day, Radio Farda broadcast comments from both Iranian party leaders and international experts on Iran.

Radio Farda provides Iranians with both breaking news and updates on social and political movements and unrest in their country, including such issues as the strikes by Iranian workers. Farda aired comments from student leaders, who proclaimed their solidarity with striking workers, as well as an exclusive eyewitness account from an Iranian trade union official of the surprise arrest of union leader Mansour Osanlou in Tehran. Radio Farda has provided ongoing coverage of ethnic unrest among the Azeri and Kurdish population of Iran.

In its human rights reporting, Radio Farda covered government attacks against women, including the Tehran police dispersing a gathering to mark International Women’s Day by beating the assembled women. On December 11, 2006, within minutes of receiving word that students at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University were heckling President Ahmadinejad during a speech he was giving, Radio Farda reported the news to its listeners around the country.

Pakistan. Since VOA introduced a new, youth-oriented, 12/7 radio station called Radio Aap ki Dunyaa (Your World) in 2004, the station has continued to attract a growing number of listeners with its contemporary format that includes news, information, roundtable discussions, call-in shows, interviews, features, and music. Research indicates that Radio Aap ki Dunyaa’s audience has doubled since its debut. The programs target Pakistani listeners between the ages of 15 and 39—which account for some 60 million of Pakistan’s 150 million residents—as well as millions more potential listeners in India, the Gulf, and the Diaspora. To increase Radio Aap ki Dunyaa’s reach, VOA introduced a bilingual web page that offers live audio streaming of news and entertainment programming.

Stories of interest to VOA’s Muslim audience are a central part of the Urdu Service’s programming on radio, the Web, and television. The Service provided detailed coverage of the 2006 U.S. mid-term elections, with a particular focus on the perspectives of American Muslims, both Republican and Democratic. VOA followed the campaign and successful election of Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim member of Congress. The Urdu Service also covered the observations by American Muslims of Raman, the month of fasting, with daily television features, including special packages on iftar (breaking of the fast) at the White House, and on the participation of Karen Hughes, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, in Washington-area celebrations of Eid, the last day of Ramadan and the most important holy day in Islam. A five-part interfaith discussion underscored freedom of religion in the United States.

VOA’s Urdu Service entered the television market in November 2005 with a 30-minute program, “Beyond the Headlines,” a news magazine featuring current affairs, discussions of issues behind the news, and feature stories illustrating shared values between Pakistanis and Americans. The show airs every weekday during prime time on GEO, Pakistan’s most widely watched satellite TV channel. The program includes in-depth reports from VOA’s Islamabad bureau on Pakistani politics and cultural issues; hard-hitting interviews with newsmakers, policy experts, diplomats and journalists; and stories examining the similarities between life in Pakistan and the United States, including Pakistani-American life and its contribution to both cultures. “Beyond the Headlines” newsmaker interviews have generated widespread coverage in the Pakistani press. According to GEO-TV’s market research, “Beyond the Headlines” is the most widely watched program in Pakistan during the 7:30 to 8:00 p.m. local time slot.

Afghanistan. Since 9/11, the BBG increased radio broadcasting to Afghanistan pursuant to the Radio Free Afghanistan Act. Together RFE/RL and VOA provide a 24-hour daily radio service in the Dari and Pashto languages that has a vast audience reach in Afghanistan. In addition, VOA provides a one hour daily program of branded TV news and cultural features to state-owned Kabul TV.

An InterMedia survey in September 2006 found RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan to have the highest weekly reach of any communications medium in Afghanistan, including domestic radio and TV, at 58.0 percent. Afghanistan is the only country in the RFE/RL broadcast region where a U.S. government-funded broadcaster is the dominant media. With its wide audience and high level of public trust, Radio Free Afghanistan is a key media outlet in Afghanistan for both U.S. and Afghan officials. For example, during the last year, Radio Free Afghanistan covered President Bush’s March 1 visit to Afghanistan, the surprise first stop his tour of South Asia. Radio Free Afghanistan provided a simultaneous translation of his joint press conference with President Karzai after their meeting at the presidential palace in Kabul. On June 28, U.S. Secretary of State Rice’s exclusive interview to Radio Free Afghanistan during her visit to Kabul assured the Afghan people that “the American people are committed to Afghanistan’s future…”

The Service provides reports from Washington, Prague, and Kabul, exclusive interviews and roundtables, and ongoing coverage of the efforts by Coalition Forces to subdue the insurgency. During June, Radio Free Afghanistan reporters in the Kandahar and Helmand provinces went out with Afghan and Coalition Forces in southern Afghanistan to report on the launch of the second phase of Operation Mountain Thrust, the largest counterinsurgency operation in the country since the Taliban regime was toppled in 2001.

An example of Radio Free Afghanistan’s thought-provoking programming was its comprehensive coverage of the apostasy case of Abdul Rahman, from his arrest in mid-March for his conversion to Christianity, to his release March 28 and request for asylum in Italy. Correspondents in Kabul interviewed Ministry of Justice and Afghan Supreme Court officials about the charges and the specific laws on apostasy. Radio Free Afghanistan aired statements from Afghan judicial officials, reactions from ordinary Afghans, and from leaders around the world including President Bush and Pope Benedict XVI. Radio Free Afghanistan’s weekly live call-in show March 30 was dedicated to the Rahman case, inviting listeners to exchange views on religious tolerance.

Human rights programming provides interviews with senior U.S. officials, and features Afghan citizens struggling with everyday issues, such as an interview with 14-year-old Zohra Amiri, a student who was criticized for attending a music academy for women sponsored by the United Nations and the European Union because of prohibitions under Islamic law for women to play music. On October 12, Radio Free Afghanistan for the first time broadcast a call-in show conducted in three languages: Dari, Pashto, and English, featuring Mark Laity, the senior spokesman for NATO/ISAF in Afghanistan, as a guest in the Kabul bureau.

VOA shares the 24 hour radio broadcast clock with RFE/RL, providing up to the minute news and information to large Afghan audiences. In addition, VOA has also launched new television and radio programming to engage broad Afghan audiences and to focus on the Pashto-speaking people in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. In September, VOA launched “TV Ashna”, a Saturday through Thursday 60-minute TV news program (30 minutes each in Dari and Pashto) broadcast directly to viewers nationwide via satellite and its affiliate Radio and TV Afghanistan (RTA). This coverage now complements VOA’s 12 hours of extensive radio programming to the country. TV and Radio Ashna feature regular segments on American Muslims and Civil Rights, Islam in America, and Islam and Democracy through the segment’s interviews and daily live call-in programs. Ashna provided extensive coverage of the first Muslim Member of Congress being sworn into office, using the Koran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Highlights of Ashna’s information programming in 2006 included:

  • An exclusive interview with General Richard Myers, former General Chief of Staff, in which he said NATO and Coalition Forces will respond to any attack across the border of Pakistan only when they are under attack;
  • An interview with General David Richards, Commander of ISAF forces in Afghanistan in Kabul, who said that NATO and Afghan forces are preparing themselves for anticipated Spring attacks by the Taliban, and described efforts by NATO and the PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) to help the Afghan people rebuild their country;
  • A profile of Zinedine Zidane, the world champion soccer star for the French national team, and his return to Algeria for the first time in 20 years to be honored by President Bouteflika; and
  • Interviews with both the Imam and Chairman of the Mustafa Center in Virginia, and the president of the Afghan Academy in Virginia, regarding the freedom of practicing Islam in America.

The Pakistan/Afghanistan Border Region. In August, VOA introduced Radio Deewa (Light), a new broadcast stream aimed at the 40 million Pashto-speaking people living in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. This three hour daily program offers local, regional, and international news as well as features on Islam in America, including interviews with prominent Muslim leaders. VOA Pashto Deewa Radio features a daily segment called “Islam in America,” and recently had live reports from Eid Celebrations by Muslims in America. Additionally, Deewa Radio focuses on the Islamic world through its daily call-in shows.

Deewa has interviewed dozens of Muslims of South Asian origin residing in America and has aired profiles of Islamic Centers and Mosques in its programming (i.e., the Islamic Center in Washington DC, the Mustafa Masjid in Virginia, and the Mustafa Mosque in New York). During the month of Ramadan, Deewa aired daily interviews with Muslims in America, from Washington, D.C., New York, the Carolinas and Texas. These interviews tackle the topic of freedom of religion in America, the observance of fasting, and attendance at area mosques for late night prayers and ceremonies.

Last month Radio Deewa had four call-in shows during Eid celebrations in America and its reporters reported live from area mosques on Eid Prayers. The Service also regularly interviews American Pashtuns, both men and women of every walk of life, to talk about their experiences of practicing their religion and culture in the United States. A call-in show on “Islamic Mysticism” featured a prominent mystic scholar, Tahir Bukhari, from the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan responding to questions posed by more than a dozen callers from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Diaspora.

The Service regularly interviews the Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Afghan officials, and Pakistani federal and state cabinet ministers and religious and tribal leaders on political and social issues.

Turkey. In recognition of media listening habits in Turkey, VOA’s Turkish Service is moving to devote more of its existing resources to TV and the Internet. In 2006, VOA Turkish expanded its TV affiliation in Turkey by launching two weekly live broadcasts on TGRT News TV network, a 24-hour nationwide news network with a weekly audience share of over 30 percent of Turkey’s estimated 25 million regular viewers. A 15-minute wrap of the latest developments in news and current affairs, VOA-TGRT Live is broadcast at 9:00 p.m. local time in Turkey on Tuesdays and Fridays. In addition, VOA Turkish Service produces a weekly 30-minute news and magazine program that is aired on TGRT News network 9:30 p.m. local time on Sundays. Managers of TGRT News TV are pleased with this cooperation and have indicated that they would like to increase the VOA-TGRT Live broadcasts to five days per week.

VOA Turkish radio broadcasts include two news shows (Mon-Fri) on NTV-FM, Turkey’s largest FM news network. Discussions are underway with another Turkish network, TGRT-FM, to carry the 30-minute evening radio show. VOA has also been working to attract more users to the VOA Turkish website. The average number of monthly visitors to the VOA Turkish site has tripled this year to almost 65,000/month. VOA Turkish is also one of the first VOA languages to offer text versions of top news stories for use on web-enabled handheld devices such as cell phones and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants). This service was launched in June 2006.

VOA Turkish Service summarized the U.S. State Depart-ment’s 2006 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom and reported on the reactions from Turkish officials and experts. In an exclusive interview to VOA in July 2006, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul responded to questions about issues of religious tolerance in Turkey and shared his views on the so-called “clash of civilizations.” The Service aired original radio and TV reports on how U.S. Muslims celebrated the month of Ramadan and other Muslim holidays last year. In a series of reports and interviews during Pope Benedict’s highly sensationalized visit to Turkey in November 2006, Turkish Service focused on issues related to “the current lack of dialogue between Christianity and Islam.” Those interviewed included Andrew Duff, member of British Parliament and Joost Lagendijk, Dutch member of the European Parliament and co-chairman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee.

Indonesia. VOA expanded its reach to Indonesia’s more than 200 million Muslims in 2006 by launching six news and information programs for Indonesia’s top three TV networks. VOA also peppered the TV market with a dozen or more special series on subjects ranging from illegal arms sales by Indonesians to the diverse faces of Islam in America and how Americans celebrate the fasting month of Ramadan. VOA is now seen on five national TV networks and 16 regional TV stations. In late 2006, VOA conducted a five-week promotional campaign on Indonesian TV. The one-minute “VOA World News Quiz” spots aired several times a day on the top four national stations and attracted over 450,000 text and email quiz entries. Additionally, more than 200 radio stations now carry one or more of VOA’s program offerings, including the youth-oriented “VOA Direct Connection” and “VOA Headline News.” This year also saw greater VOA outreach to Indonesian youth. Three times a day the popular youth station, Prambors, airs “VOA Minute”, a rapid-fire segment of breaking news and information of interest to youth. As a result of this growth in TV and radio, 7.9 million Indonesians now tune in to VOA regularly, making VOA the number one international broadcaster in Indonesia.

With more and more Indonesians jumping into digital communications, VOA has begun providing a range of information services including a dynamic webpage, a weekly electronic newsletter and daily email news bulletins direct to cell phones.

Finally, VOA’s presence on the ground inside Indonesia solidified and grew in 2006, with its Jakarta news bureau becoming a valuable resource for coordinating VOA’s local TV and radio news coverage and for developing new programs, especially for television.

Uzbekistan and Central Asia. VOA Uzbek reaches Muslim audiences in Uzbekistan, the most populous Muslim country in Central Asia, with a total population of 27 million. VOA broadcasts are carried on short wave, medium wave from Tajikistan, and two FM frequencies in Osh and Jalalabad, Kyrgyzstan. Both reach a key area of Uzbekistan, the Ferghana Valley, a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism. VOA’s daily 30-minute broadcasts feature high profile interviews with various U.S. and international sources discussing critical issues, such as the War on Terror and the future of U.S. relations with Uzbekistan. Interviews with Members of the U.S. Congress and key policymakers, bring U.S. policy and debate alive for listeners. Pegged to the State Department’s annual report on religious freedom, VOA Uzbek aired two series on Islam in Central Asia and women’s rights. When Uzbek-speaking Muslims living in the United States observed their religious holidays, VOA Uzbek covered their stories as examples of tolerance in the American way of life. On television, VOA continues to produce a weekly 30-minute feature magazine called Exploring America, which is being placed on a TV satellite network reaching Uzbek-speakers in Afghanistan and the rest of Central Asia, and on two local stations in the Uzbek-speaking area of Osh, home to Uzbek and Kyrgyz Muslims.

RFE/RL ’s programming to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan continued despite various forms of harassment and even repression against its correspondents and editors. In Turkmenistan, an RFE/RL correspondent died while in prison. The recent death of President Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan may provide an opportunity for RFE/RL to register its in-country correspondents, and eventually open its first bureau in the country if there is a political realignment in Turkmeni-stan. In Uzbekistan, RFE/RL’s bureau remains closed by Uzbek government order. The service continues to provide news coverage and democracy promotion under harsh conditions reminiscent of the Soviet era. In Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL has been able to work with Kyrgyz National Television (KTR) to produce and air local television news programming.

Azerbaijan. According to a March 2006 InterMedia national survey in Azerbaijan, VOA Azerbaijani had emerged as the leading international broadcaster in Azerbaijan with an audience share of 34 percent. In addition to TV and radio offerings, VOA Azerbaijani maintains two web sites, one in Farsi to reach the large Azeri-speaking minority in Iran (estimated at 15 million). Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov was interviewed exclusively for TV by the VOA Azerbaijani Service in September 2006. Among other issues, he commented on “tensions between Muslims and followers of other faiths throughout the world.” In November 2006, when an article published in an Azerbaijani newspaper was seen as denigrating Islam, leading Muslim clerics in neighboring Iran issued a religious order calling for the killing of its author. VOA’s Azerbaijani Service interviewed several religious experts as well as men and women on the street both in Azerbaijan and Iran to get their reactions. This issue, and the U.S. State Department’s Annual Report on Religious Freedom, were discussed in two separate live radio call-in shows produced by VOA’s Azerbaijani Service.

RFE/RL’s Azerbaijan service drew a 7.6 percent audience on radio only in 2006 maintaining its status as the lead international radio broadcaster in the country. RFE/RL lived through the same setbacks in local delivery of programming as VOA during the past year. Programming remains a mix of newscasts and democracy programming on political issues and civil society such as: human rights, media rights, minorities, judicial rights, religion and elections. Social issues of health care, pensions, public welfare, unemployment and drugs are increasingly a component of the programming. The service, working in concert with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service, provided comprehensive coverage of intensified negotiations over a settlement to the longstanding dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh including on-the-scene coverage of summits in Rambouillet, France in February, and Brussels, Belgium in November.

Africa. VOA reaches a large percentage of the almost 250 million Muslims in Sub-Saharan Africa. One in every five Muslims in the world lives in Africa, and one-third of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is Muslim. VOA Hausa reaches 51 percent of the Hausa-speaking Muslim population in Nigeria (about 20 million), and about 65 percent of the Muslim population in Niger.

VOA’s broadcasts serve an important role in easing tensions and presenting the facts about local, international, and U.S.-based news stories. For example, when Danish cartoons depicting Muhammed generated protests throughout the Muslim world, including many countries in Africa, VOA was able to provide needed perspective to the story. The Africa Division covered this major story from every angle, while giving special attention to the African reaction. In Nigeria, the northern city of Maiduguri was the scene of rioting. Muslims attacked Christians and burned churches and shops owned by Christians. The services contacted Muslim, Christian and civic leaders as well as politicians, journalists and ordinary people in Africa, in the United States and in other parts of the world to ensure that listeners could evaluate the situation fairly.

Northern Nigeria. A VOA Africa Division program targeting Hausa speaking Muslims in northern Nigeria, “Political Crossfire” (Tsaka Mai Wuya), has been praised by ordinary listeners and many Muslim political leaders. In this lively program with listener participation, politicians representing different points of view discuss the hottest political issues of the day. In a ceremony in late June of 2006, many citizens, leading media outlets, leaders of several political parties, and the Nigerian Vice-President participated in a ceremony where a national Nigerian NGO with 2.5 million members, Friends of Nigeria, presented an award to “Political Crossfire,” the first award of its kind. The leader of Friends of Nigeria called VOA Hausa “a watchdog of democracy in Nigeria.”

Amharic. On December 28, 2006, the Horn of Africa Service added an additional half-hour morning radio news program in Amharic to cover the crisis in the predominantly Muslim country of Somalia. The program, whose centerpiece is an integrated newscast with correspondent reports and actualities, is broadcast on shortwave in the target area Monday through Friday. The program is heard in the region at 6:00 a.m. local time, with a repeat at 7:00 a.m. local time. The new program supplements the regular evening programs in Amharic, Afan Oromo and Tigrigna, which also give extensive coverage to Somalia-related news. VOA Amharic attracts an audience of 18 percent of the adult population of Ethiopia on a weekly basis.

New VOA Somali Broadcast. VOA is scheduled to begin a new half-hour, seven day a week Somali broadcast on Monday, February 12. The new program will be heard at 7:00 PM local time and again at 8:00 PM on shortwave, medium wave, and on FM through local affiliates. The program will follow fast changing news developments in Somalia and the sub-region; it will also include interviews with Horn newsmakers, U.S. policymakers and experts, interviews with the Somali Diaspora, analysis and cultural features and music. The re-launched VOA Somali-language programming to the Horn of Africa will aim to reach millions of Somali speakers in predominantly Muslim Somalia, Djibouti and in the greater Horn of Africa and will target listeners, ages 17 to 35.

Bangladesh. Bangladesh, with a population of over 140 million, has one of the largest Muslim populations in the world. VOA Bangla TV & Radio produced features regarding Muslim youth, Islamic Centers, Eid festivals and Ramadan. Interviews were aired with Nobel Peace Prize Winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Richard Boucher, Congressman Joseph Crowley (D) from New York, U.S. Ambassador in Bangladesh Patricia Butenis, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Morshed Khan, Home Minister Lutfuzzaman Babar, and Bangladesh Ambassador in Washington Shamsher M. Choudhury.

India. With Muslims numbering over 145 million, India has the second largest Muslim population, after Indonesia. VOA Hindi TV and radio programming reaches them. Whether it is a discussion about the Iraq war, the situation in Afghanistan, the nuclear ambitions of Iran, the recent India-Pakistan peace initiatives, the situation in Kashmir, or the Bombay Blats of 7/11, the Hindi Service covers issues of interest to the Muslim world. In 2006, VOA Hindi offered exclusive TV interviews with U.S. UnderSecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher, dozens of U.S. senators and representatives, and Muslim leaders, scholars, and experts regarding India’s relations with Iran, Pakistan, and the United States.

Bosnia and Herzegovina. VOA broadcasts to Bosnia and Herzegovina include programming targeted to the 49 percent of the population that are Bosnian Muslims. Bosnian Service has a 15-minute daily live radio show; a half hour daily live television show (news and current affairs); a 4-minute daily satellite television feed; and a variety of short programs aired by the best rated Bosnian television station, BHT1. Programs are also aired by 15 television and 15 radio affiliate stations throughout Bosnia, and are available via satellite.

The Service has been at the forefront of promoting reconciliation between the three ethnic groups in Bosnia, still widely divided, even twelve years after the signing of the Dayton Agreement, which ended the war. VOA’s news and current affairs programs are tailored to address concerns of the Muslim population in Bosnia, providing exclusive interviews with religious leaders in Bosnia. Interviews such as those with the Grand Mufti of Bosnia Mustafa Ceric; Catholic Cardinal Vinko Puljic; Orthodox Metropolitan Nikolai Dabrobosanski; and Bosnian Jewish Community leader Jacob Finci, were aimed toward promoting inter-religious dialogue, and healing the wounds of war.

The Service continues to address the problem of terrorism, beginning with the allegations of a serious threat posed by foreign Islamic militants in Bosnia after the Bosnian war was over. Interviews with Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council; Juan Zarate, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism; Bosnian Americans Bajram ef. Mulic and Senad Agic; and Lorenzo Vidino with the Investigative Project have focused on the problem of terrorism in Europe. Recently Grand Mufti Ceric gave an exclusive interview to VOA Bosnian on his initiative for a new Islamic Declaration which would condemn Wahabism and its violent influence on Bosnian Muslim Community.

China, Radio Free Asia provides service to Muslim audiences through its Uigher language service launched in December 1998. It is the only international radio service providing impartial news and information to the Uighur Muslim population in Western China in the Uigher language. The Xinjiang Uigher Autonomous Region (XUAR) comprises roughly one-sixth of China’s territory and an estimated 10 million Uigher speakers. Like Tibetans, the Turkic Uighers have faced extreme repression from the Chinese government since the People’s Republic took control of their home territory. In recent years, Beijing has stepped up their control over Uighers, using the War on Terror to justify harsh crackdowns on religious practice and political and social dissent.

Consistent with RFA’s mandate, the Uigher service acts as a substitute for indigenous media reporting on local events in the region. The service, broadcasting two hours daily seven days a week, breaks many stories that go unreported by China’s state-run media or foreign news organizations including programs on Sino-Central Asia, Sino-Russia, Sino-America relationship, democratic development in Central Asia, Uigher history, culture, literature, language, arts, human rights, corruption in the communist leadership system, the environment, AIDS and other health issues, as well as Internet control in China.

RFA provides a forum for a variety of opinions and voices from within the XUAR. Programming includes: breaking news, analysis, in-depth reporting, interviews, commentary, a hotline call-in show, weekly news review, and feature stories. A listener call-in hotline airs five days per week, allowing callers a platform to discuss current events in the region.

RFA’s Uigher service Web site, launched in September 2004, provides continuously updated news in all three writing systems used to convey the Uigher language—Arabic, Latin, and Cyrillic. RFA’s site is the only non-Chinese Uigher news Web site and the only Unicode Uigher news Web site. The site streams the daily RFA broadcast in Uigher and offers ongoing coverage of events in the XUAR in text, image and video. The archived audio files can be retrieved on a special page or downloaded via podcast. RSS feeds are also available, making it possible for people to automatically update their news readers or Web pages with RFA news content.

RFA continues to be confronted with unrelenting jamming of broadcasts and blocking of its Web site. Research conducted between June 2005 and August 2006 shows that fear is the main tool used to prevent Uigher people from accessing RFA, whether on air or online. RFA’s confronts Chinese censorship by broadcasting on multiple short-wave frequencies and by regularly e-mailing instructions on accessing the banned www.rfa.org through proxy Web servers. Despite Chinese censorship and the dangers involved, research indicates that Uigher listeners and Web users consider RFA a lifeline in a hostile media environ-ment—a station offering unique content worth taking risks to access.

Transmission. Since September 11, 2001, the BBG has transformed its transmission capabilities, continuing its move from a shortwave environment to one that uses AM, FM, satellite, and Internet capabilities to reach its audience. By bolstering transmission capabilities to the Muslim world, BBG has improved opportunities to deliver news and information clearly, reliably, and effectively. New transmission capabilities have been added, and assets reallocated from regions of lesser geopolitical importance and from technologies of declining effectiveness.

The BBG has worked to ensure that we deliver programming to in the media that are most effective in reaching local populations. Recent transmission enhancements include: the delivery of Persian television broadcasts to Iran through two satellites; transmission of Alhurra Europe on a new satellite channel widely viewable throughout Europe; the launch of two additional Alhurra TV transmitters in Iraq (Mosul and Al Hillah) bringing to four the total number of BBG-funded TV transmitters in that country; the construction of a new medium wave antenna in Tajikistan that is increasing the strength of VOA’s Aap ki Dunyaa radio programs to Pakistan. In addition, a number of new FM transmitters became operational in 2006. Subsequent to an agreement with Sudan, we hope to establish FM radio transmitting stations in Khartoum and up to 11 other locations in Sudan.

The BBG is currently supporting the construction of three high power medium wave radio transmitters that should come on the air in the next year: one for Pashtun programming in Afghanistan, one for Radio Farda programs to Iran, and one for Aap ki Dunyaa programs to Pakistan. VOA’s launch of www.voamobile.com provides an innovative service that offers news content on a mobile phone or Internet-enabled handheld device in ten languages including English, Persian, Turkish, and Indonesian.

U.S. international broadcasting must meet and serve U.S. national security priorities, and must also meet the needs and technological capabilities of the audiences and regions to which we broadcast.

Presenting the U.S. Point of View through Indigenous Broadcast Media

At the Department of State, the Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Broadcast Services uses television and video products as strategic tools for bringing America’s foreign policy message to Middle East and worldwide audiences. A state-of-the-art digital broadcast television facility enables the Department to deliver messages instantly, using the same technology as professional broadcast television networks. Public Affairs facilitates live and taped interviews with the Secretary of State and other State Department principals to all the major Arab networks such as Middle East Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Al Arabiya, Al Iraqiya, Abu Dhabi TV, Dubai Television, Arab Radio and Television Network (ART), Al Hurra, Kuwait TV, Egyptian TV (ETV), and Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC). This investment in people and technology was developed to give senior U.S. government officials an opportunity to engage and inform the widest audiences possible about our foreign policy and public diplomacy objectives.

Furthermore, to specifically enhance the capacity of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, the Department of State recently opened atelevision studio inside the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. This fully functioning studio allows top U.S. officials to conduct live interviews via satellite with national and international media on a range of topics related to the current situation and future of Iraq as well as America’s role in the greater Middle East.

The Department of State Near East Asia Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy Directorate’s Arab/Regional Media Outreach Program has achieved tremendous success in directly engaging Middle East media and broadcast services. Since its creation, it has recorded an ever-increasing number of interviews with Arab and regional media outlets—during 2006, 820 interviews with 1200 Arab and regional journalists/media outlets occurred, with a record 486 conducted primarily in Arabic. Networks aired many of the interviews repeatedly and the broadcasts were often picked up by other outlets or wire services.

This capacity was further enhanced by the creation of Regional Public Diplomacy Hubs in London, Brussels and Dubai, key media markets where the full-time job of spokesmen is to advocate U.S. policies on regional media, especially television.

A Rapid Response Unit (RRU) was created within the Bureau of Public Affairs to monitor and translate major world media in real-time, produce an early morning daily report on stories driving news around the world, and to craft language to explain the U.S. position on these issues. It is distributed daily worldwide, to U.S. cabinet and sub-cabinet officials, U.S. ambassadors, public affairs officers, regional combatant commanders, and others across the U.S. Government.

The Department of State directly engages foreign audiences on the Internet through the Digital Outreach Team. The Team directly engages in discussions of policy issues and related developments on websites, primarily in the Arabic language. Openly representing the Department, but using informal language, the Team seeks to ensure that the U.S. perspective is heard in cyberspace, providing a counterpoint to extremist ideological arguments and misinformation. Other interagency public diplomacy efforts targeted at countering extremist use of the internet are coordinated through the interagency Public Diplomacy Working Group, chaired by the Bureau of International Information Programs.

In the absence of a U.S. embassy, the Bureau of International Information Programs manages a Persian-language website directing policy and general information into Iran. The website supports active engagement via web chats, web casts and listservs to connect U.S. policymakers and subject-matter experts and Iranian citizens.

Another tool used to enhance communications not just within the Middle East, but with the entire world, is the use of “Echo Chamber” Messages. These messages have given U.S. ambassadors and other U.S. Government officials clear, common-sense guidance that enables them to better advocate U.S. policy on major news stories and policy issues. Additionally, these messages are provided to the Voice of America Policy Office for use in crafting editorials reflecting the views of the U.S. Government.

The Strategic Speakers Initiative (SSI)identifies, recruits, and programs prominent U.S. experts to engage foreign opinion leaders on key strategic themes such as democracy/rule of law, terrorism/security, energy/environment and trade/development. Such speakers can be deployed rapidly to focus IIP resources where the need is greatest to address the most crucial U.S. policy priorities. Strategic Speaker participants are often part of a bigger public diplomacy package that includes webchats, DVCs and other outreach. This program represents collaboration throughout the State Department.

Major Themes of Biased or False Media Coverage of the United States in Foreign Countries and the Actions Taken to Address This Type of Media Coverage.

The Department of State is taking a leading role to counter misinformation and falsehoods about the United States and its policies or intentions. For example, recent false themes about the United States in foreign media included that the United States has devised an “American Koran,” and it is pressing Muslims to adopt it, and that depleted uranium, which the United States uses in its anti-tank ammunition, has caused a massive upsurge in cancers and birth defects. Actions the Department of State has taken to address these false allegations include:

  • Launching a Department of State webpage entitled “Identifying Misinformation,” appearing in English and Arabic, provides truthful information and analysis to the public to debunk these false allegations (English-language website url: http://usinfo.state.gov/media/misinformation.html).
  • Instructing Public Affairs Officers at our Embassies around the world to use this information on the website to counter false stories in the local media.
  • Creating the position of Counter-Misinformation Officer in the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) to respond to Embassy requests regarding false stories about the United States.

Potential Incentives For and Costs Associated with Encouraging United States Broadcasters to Dub or Subtitle into Arabic and Other Relevant Languages Their News and Public Affairs Programs Broadcast in the Muslim World in Order to Present Those Programs to a Much Broader Muslim Audience Than Is Currently Reached.

The single greatest incentive for U.S. broadcasters to dub or subtitle their news and public affairs programs would be evidence that there is adequate demand for the programming among the targeted foreign publics. The Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs is working with the Bureau of Public Affairs and other elements within the Department to explore avenues to demonstrate that a potentially profitable market exists for this programming. These offices will continue to do such work, and if data emerges that indicates that this translation makes sense from a business standpoint, will present the data to broadcasters in an effort to encourage this activity.

Any Recommendations the President May Have for Additional Funding and Legislation Necessary to Achieve the Objectives of the Strategy?

The President’s budget and legislative requests for FY-2008, and supplemental request for FY-2007, include a number of authorities that would aid the strategic objectives of U.S. international broadcasting. The pending supplemental contains a request for $10 million for the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. As part of the Administration’s strategy to counter violent extremism, Alhurra television would launch a signature three-hour daily program to provide additional information about American policies, people, institutions, and perspectives to its audiences across 22 countries in the Middle East. The three-hour daily program capitalizes on Alhurra’s unique perspective in a growing market of over 200 channels, and would provide a format and information mix unavailable in the region today. The programming would focus on the news of the day, discuss compelling social issues, broadcast investigative reporting and a spectrum of information not presented in the region’s media.

The Administration’s budget and legislative requests for FY-2008 would provide ongoing support for this new Alhurra programming effort, increase Alhurra’s newscast capability to 24 hours a day (expanding from the current 16 hour capability), and allow Radio Sawa to grow as a news source in the region. The FY-2008 budget also continues VOA’s program initiative Somalia, begun in 2007, and maintains program strength in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Further, our pending legislative request to the Congress to permanently adopt the BBG’s pilot program for personal services contracting (PSC) authority—up to a ceiling of 200 PSCs at any given time—would assure the agency the flexibility to quickly meet staffing needs to respond to broadcast requirements.

Visas for Participants in U.S. Programs

According to the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, current visa processing guidelines are sufficient to meet any requirements for the issuance of appropriate visas to individuals from predominantly Muslim nations to participate in any new exchange program, as envisioned by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act of 2004.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs’ policy is to expedite all student and exchange visitor applications, with the goal of giving every student and exchange visitor applicant the opportunity to meet their program start date in the United States. This policy is in place at every embassy and consulate worldwide. In countries with a significant waiting period for a visa appointment due to high demand, this policy reduces the wait time for students and exchange visitors from weeks to mere days. In all cases requiring a separate security clearance, the average processing time is now about 25 days. Processing they can take longer, however, and applicants should allow additional time. Security clearances can be expedited when circumstances so warrant.

The most important factor in expediting visa applications is for the applicants, in conjunction with their program sponsors, to initiate their visa applications well in advance of their planned travel. Most problems in the visa process can be resolved given sufficient time. New exchange programs should be planned far enough in advance to allow the necessary time for visa processing. Candidates should be advised to obtain passports immediately; visit embassy websites for instructions on applying for U.S. visas; and ensure that they follow the instructions concerning required documents and procedures they must complete, as well as how to complete an EVAF and how to arrange an appointment as soon as all required documents are available to them.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs is prepared to work with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, or any other government and/or private sector implementing agency to facilitate the timely issuance of visas to exchange visitors.

Basic Education in Muslim Countries

The Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other United States agencies continue to support an increased focus on education in predominantly Muslim countries and those with significant Muslim populations. The ongoing U.S. approach stresses mobilizing public and private resources as partners to improve access, quality and the relevance of education, with a specific emphasis on developing civic-mindedness in young people. In many Muslim-majority countries, such as Afghanistan and Yemen, the challenge is to increase country capacity to provide universal access to primary education and literacy. Countries face increasing enrollments and low education quality in the classroom while struggling with limited budgets.

In the Middle East, USAID and the Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) are responding to these needs by promoting quality education through improved policy, teacher training, education finance/governance, and community participation. These U.S. efforts complement investments of partner countries and other donors. MEPI funding for projects in basic education totals $34.5 million (FY-2002-06).

In 2006, USAID/Asia Near East Bureau’s total education assistance for the region was approximately $365 million, of which $336 million was targeted in predominantly Muslim countries -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines (Mindanao), West Bank/Gaza, and Yemen. Out of the $336 million total, approximately $237 million goes toward basic education programs.

In 2006, USAID/Africa Bureau’s total education assistance for the region was approximately $185.4 million in DA Basic Education (includes the Africa Education Initiative, Fast Track Initiative and School Fees), of which $36.6 million benefits Muslim populations in Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda. USAID/Europe and Eurasia (E&E) Bureau implements a regional program for primary and secondary education in the Muslim-majority countries of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. The program is approximately $3.5 million per year, of which $0.58 million was FY-2006 funding.

The U.S. Strategy to Meet Challenges in Education

To promote transformational diplomacy and development, the Department of State and USAID have articulated a common Foreign Assistance Framework. In the “Investing in People” objective of this framework, education is a major element with basic education as an important sub-element. This strategy is applied to programs worldwide, including Muslim countries.

Basic Education. USAID has an Agency-wide Basic Education Strategy that targets underserved populations and promotes free universal basic education. The goal is to help learners gain the general skills and knowledge needed to function effectively in life. Basic education programs focus on three areas:

  • Increasing Access: Targeting groups that have been marginalized in the education system such as minority, rural, out-of-school youth, girls, and young adults, and those who have been impacted by conflict or disaster, thus helping ensure equitable access to education.
  • Improving Quality: Improving the quality of education is pivotal for ensuring attendance and learning outcomes of basic education. Increasing attention is placed on curriculum reform and measuring learning outcomes.
  • Improving Relevance: Education programs that develop human capacities and livelihood skills, and aim to link learning with skill development and employment opportunities, particularly in areas with high youth unemployment.

In designing and implementing basic education programs throughout the world, USAID works closely with host-country governments (national and local), non-governmental organizations, communities, and the private sector to maximize program impact and sustainability.

Working with the International Community. The U.S. Government continues to be an active member of several international bodies and activities to achieve universal basic education, including the International Working Group on Education, which originally proposed the “Education for All” (EFA) initiative begun in the late 1980s.

Coordination of the International Effort. USAID provides technical guidance to the EFA effort through the UNESCO-aligned International Institute for Educational Planning. The U.S. Director of Foreign Assistance represents the U.S. at the annual High Level Group meeting for “Education for All,” and the USAID Office of Education participates in the annual EFA Working Group meeting. In 2004, USAID served as the G-8 co-chair of the global EFA Fast Track Initiative (FTI) focused on universal primary education; the Agency has participated in all FTI meetings since its inception in 2000.

In engaging the G-8 and Muslim country governments for Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) initiatives, USAID collaborates closely with the State Department and key cooperating United States agencies, especially on literacy. At the Sea Island Summit, the G-8 launched the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) Literacy Initiative aimed at halving illiteracy rates in the region by 2015. This initiative launched a series of Literacy Working Group and Education Ministerial Dialogues in the BMENA region. Education Ministers from the BMENA region and the G-8 met in Jordan in May 2005 and in Egypt in May 2006, and confirmed their commitment to the process of cooperation under the umbrella of the Forum for the Future launched in Rabat in December 2004. Following the Egypt Ministerial, USAID took over as G-8 co-chair of the BMENA Literacy Task Force with Egypt as regional co-chair. USAID continues to collaborate closely with the State Department and the U.S. Department of Education on literacy reform. As part of the U.S. contribution to this international effort, USAID is supporting literacy assessments in the region and has developed the BMENA ‘Literacy Hub’ database of global best practices in promoting literacy. The ‘Literacy Hub’ will be transferred to the BMENA region by March 2008.

Leveraging Other Donors. Of all bilateral aid to the education sector in 2003-2004, the United States with France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom contributed 72 percent of the total, according to the EFA Global Monitoring Report for 2007. “For basic education, over two-thirds were contributed by Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.” Both the United States and the United Kingdom have the greatest focus on basic education, with over 80 percent of their resources focused on that level.

USAID coordinates closely with multilateral (e.g. World Bank and the Asian Development Bank) and other bilateral donors in each country often extending the reach of USAID programs. In Indonesia, for example, the Australian bilateral aid agency, AusAID, used USAID pilot education program as the basis for its new basic education project, using USAID’s methodology for supporting local government management of education and for promoting active learning in classrooms. Collaboration with AusAID, as well as other donors such as UNICEF, continues during implementation in the form of jointly-prepared training materials and activities in communities to avoid duplication as well as combined approaches in working with local and national officials. This coordinated approach has extended donor program coverage in Indonesia in the education sector.

In Tajikistan, USAID-developed training modules on interactive learning and teaching methods and teacher trainers support the Government of Tajikistan’s implementation of the “Education for All” Fast Track Initiative, leveraging funds of approximately $1.6 million. The USAID basic education project also complements World Bank and Asia Development Bank (ADB) projects in the area of education finance, curriculum revision, teacher training, and strengthening capacity of teacher training institutes. In Kyrgyzstan, USAID-supported independent testing organization won a World Bank tender to implement student assessments; USAID-developed teacher standards are used in revision of the teacher incentive system; and the basic education project collaborates with the ADB project by providing training for textbook authors.

Leveraging Contributions from the Private Sector and Civil Society Organizations. The U.S. Government uses its official development assistance to leverage other resources for education by developing alliances or partnerships with the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including civil society organizations. USAID’s Global Development Alliances (GDAs), also known as public-private partnerships, are tailored to country-specific needs and the private sector partners’ interests. Between the years 2000-2006, USAID received on average a greater than a three-to-one match for education alliances in the Asia Near East region.

In Western and Central Mindanao, as well as the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao in the Philippines, there are currently six GDA partnerships to increase educational opportunities for children by ensuring access to quality education; to improve the capacity of teachers, and raise math, science and English skills among elementary school beneficiaries; to increase employment opportunities and engage young leaders; and, to provide business and skills training for out-of-school youth; and, to provide opportunity for school drop-outs and out-of-school youths to rejoin formal schooling through an accreditation and equivalency mechanism. With approximately $12 million in USAID funding, an additional $42.7 million was leveraged (more than a one-to-three leverage) from private businesses, local NGOs, foundations, and national government agencies. In Indonesia, public private partnerships are being used to expand the reach of USAID activities and to respond in natural disaster situations. A partnership with BP is helping improve education quality in Papua, one of the most under-served and isolated areas of Indonesia. An alliance with ConocoPhillips is helping restore education services in communities affected by the May 2006 earthquake that struck Yogyakarta and Central Java.

In Morocco and Jordan, a USAID information technology partnership with CISCO, UNIFEM, and the Governments of Morocco and Jordan has introduced CISCO Certified Network Associate and job-readiness training to eleven Moroccan institutions (900 students, 49 percent women) and to over 600 students (all women) in Jordan. In both countries, there is a focus on job skills and placement for women. In Morocco, 900 students, more than 50 percent of whom are women, have benefited (or are still benefiting) from the CISCO Certificate programs combined with jobpreparedness training. Fifty percent of the first student cohort who completed the program found jobs within six months after graduation.

USAID’s Office of Middle East Affairs recently finalized a new GDA that will engage and support emerging youth leaders in five Middle Eastern countries Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, West Bank Gaza and Yemen. Partnering with the Ford Foundation, Save the Children International will create a youth development toolkit and link emerging young leaders to a network of youth development workers and institutions that assist young people build leadership capacity and exercise positive, moderate leadership behaviors within a community development context.

In cooperation with the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), Scholastic Inc., is providing millions of Arabic-language classroom libraries to thousands of schools in the Middle East and North Africa Scholastic’s substantive contribution allows MEPI to leverage its $12 million investment in this critical-thinking and independent reading skills development program. In another example, MEPI’s partnership with the CISCO Learning Institute, is developing on-line English language curricular materials to complement the efforts of the private sector-based World Economic Forum (WEF)—sponsored Jordan Education Initiative.

USG Coordination to Reduce Duplication and Waste. The Department of State and USAID work closely together implementing their Foreign Assistance Framework, which includes education. Through this framework and a joint Operational Plan process, State, and USAID coordinate to reduce duplication of effort and/or waste.

USAID collaborates actively with the Department of State/Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) to promote education in Muslim countries within the Near East region, with a focus on civic education. The MEPI education pillar supports education systems that enable all people, especially girls, to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in today’s economy, participate actively and effectively in the civic arena, and improve the quality of their lives and that of their families. MEPI and USAID coordinate to minimize any potential duplication of efforts and investments. A modest number of MEPI-funded education programs, notably the support for the Arab Civitas network, are implemented in conjunction with USAID. Other examples of collaboration include: support for a women’s literacy in Morocco; development of e-learning modules for civics in Jordan; and, in Yemen, pending funds availability, the design and implementation of an Internet communication and collaborative learning network for 20 high schools. (This program will end March 31, 2007; there is no additional funding for it.) MEPI is also providing funding for an Arabic version of the Global Learning Portal, a project under the auspices of the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) initiative; the Portal will provide new means for professional collaboration and benefit educators and idea leaders across the Arab world.

Training and Exchange Programs. Bridging both basic and higher education, USAID, State Department Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and MEPI coordinate in the area of providing training and exchanges for students from Muslim-majority countries to the United States. In addition to the educational value of these kinds of interventions, participants are exposed to American values, culture, and democratic institutions. Many of these programs directly benefit basic education.

In Egypt, 100 scholarships will be awarded to enhance the Ministry’s technical college instructor capacity through “Train-the-Trainer” teacher preparation programs, of which 25 will be financed by the current ECA community college scholarship program. In Pakistan, secondary school educators will attend a five-week program in the United States, focusing on mathematics, science, and classroom technology.

For younger students, there are some programs such as State Department’s English Microscholarship Access Program , which provides English classes for deserving high school students from non-elite sectors in countries with significant Muslim populations. The program, funded by MEPI in the Middle East and North Africa region, delivers language instruction in a civic education context, and helps students compete for future job and educational opportunities. It also prepares them to be considered for a U.S. exchange program. During FY-2006, U.S. embassies selected schools in 45 countries to enroll approximately 10,000 students in the program. In addition to teaching English, the program provides an American classroom experience using U.S. materials and emphasizes active learning.

The State Department’s Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES) and Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) bring high school students from Muslim countries to live with American host families and attend American public high schools for an academic year. The FLEX students also receive special training in civics and work as volunteers. Similarly, MEPI’s Student Leaders/Study of the United States Institutes provide young people with intensive training in civic engagement and leadership skills in both U.S. and regionally-based settings. The State Department’s “Leaders in Education Program” is specifically designed to bring K-12 educators and administrators from all regions of the world, including Muslim countries, to the United States to visit schools, meet with teachers, administrators, and representatives of Parent Teacher Associations and other community organizations.

The Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (TEA) provides secondary school teachers from Eurasia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia with unique opportunities to enhance their teaching skills and increase their knowledge about the United States. The participants participate in a professional teacher development program in the United States. The six-week program also includes a three-week internship at a secondary school where participants actively engage with American teachers and students. Also, the TEA program provides follow-on grants to the international teachers to purchase essential materials for their schools, to offer follow-on training for other teachers, and to conduct other activities that will build on the exchange visits.

USAID’s Training Future Leaders initiative highlights the importance of U.S.- trained scholars and their unique role in developing their nations upon returning home. USAID is carrying out an analytical study on prior USG investments. This research will inform future program design and provide a “best practices” framework for long-term training programs. Currently, field research is being done in Yemen, Egypt, Nepal, and Indonesia. This program complements ongoing efforts carried out by State/ECA and MEPI.

Funds Needed to Achieve Universal Basic Education. UNESCO estimates that $5.6 billion are needed per year to achieve “Education for All” by 2015. Globally UNESCO estimated that 103 million children were out of school in 2002/2003. For the countries in the Muslim world, this figure is estimated to be around 45 million. Estimating that it costs roughly $50 per year per child to complete basic education (6 years of schooling), it would cost $2.2 billion per year in Muslim countries as a whole to achieve universal basic education.

Efforts to Encourage Development and Implementation of a National Education Plan . In countries with predominantly Muslim populations, the effectiveness of basic education systems is at the crux of their development future and potential to moderate the influence of low growth, joblessness, lagging social services and despair. The United States encourages countries to develop and implement national education plans by offering assistance to support education reform developments and program funding once reforms have moved into the implementation phase. The United States has influenced national education plans and reform by way of pilot programs that model best practices in education. These positive experiences galvanize support for broader change and can impact the education system beyond the pilots programs’ localities. Model programs also potentially have an impact outside of targeted interventions. In Indonesia, USAID helped the provincial government of Aceh with its new long-term education strategy, developed after decades of conflict and the 2004 tsunami. This strategic plan was recently endorsed by the Government of Indonesia’s Ministry of National Education. In December 2006, the USAID basic education project in Central Asia organized a regional conference on school governance which gathered over 60 representatives from ministries of education and finance, local authorities, schools, and national and international organizations from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The participants reviewed policy guidelines on community participation in education decision making developed by the USAID project, discussed relevant national and international legal frameworks and recommended changes which will help the decision makers in the region to increase community involvement in school activities and provide input to education reform.

Closing the Digital Divide and Expanding Vocational/Business Skills . To “close the digital divide” and expand vocational/business skills, USAID, State, and other agencies implement public-private partnerships, information technology in the classroom, school-to-work and workforce training programs, improved quality of basic and secondary education programs, scholarships and exchanges.

USAID/ANE Bureau Education and Employment Alliance promotes private sector participation in Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines to enhance skills and improve education and employment opportunities among over 1 million underserved youth. In addition to local partners (profit and non-profit), corporate partners include Chevron/Unocal, GE, Ink Media, Lucent, Microsoft, Nike, and Oracle.

The State Department’s Global Connections and Exchange Program seeks to promote mutual understanding and civic education in countries with significant Muslim populations by bringing together more than 1,000 schools from 16 countries for online collaborative projects that focus on professional development, media literacy, and civic education. Teachers also develop skills needed to participate in collaborative activities with U.S. schools, and teachers and students are offered opportunities to travel to their partner schools as a way to strengthen mutual understanding and solidify virtual relationships through face-to-face meetings.

The USAID Internet Access Training Program (IATP), administered by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) since 1995, provides free internet access and training in 11 countries throughout Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Western Eurasia. From major cities to small communities, IATP encourages information sharing, network building, and collaboration among U.S. Government exchange alumni and other targeted audiences. IATP staff train alumni and other targeted audiences in the effective use of the Internet and sponsor the development of local language web sites. The centers also conduct training in basic civics, entrepreneurship, and English.

USAID and the Intel Corporation signed Memorandum of Understanding in December 2006 to broaden access and usage of information and communications technologies (ICT) in developing communities around the world. This alliance envisions collaboration and partnership in the following areas: enabling “last mile” internet connectivity and locally relevant applications; supporting ICT usage and deployment by small and medium-sized enterprises to enhance economic development opportunities; and increasing the use of ICTs to support education and health. Intel prior experience in the education sector includes software development and teacher training programs for K-12.

Countries Eligible for Assistance. USAID has education programs in Muslim-majority countries and countries with large Muslim populations, which potentially overlap those which might be targeted by the President under an International Youth Opportunity Fund [section 7114(b)]. Below is a list, though not exhaustive, of programs in the Asia Near East, Africa, Europe, and Eurasia regions.

The Asia Near East region contains several Muslim-majority countries with significant education needs. Basic education program highlights include:

In Afghanistan , because many children and youth lost years of formal schooling, students need to catch up to their appropriate grade level. USAID created an accelerated learning program, compressing two years of study into a single year through innovative teaching techniques. This program has trained around 10,500 teachers and enrolled nearly 170,000 students. More than half the students are girls. In addition, USAID has printed and distributed nationwide 48.5 million textbooks for grades 1-12. Since 2002, USAID in conjunction with the Ministry of Education has built or refurbished 622 schools, mostly in remote areas.

In Bangladesh, Sesame Street Bangladesh, known locally as Sisimpur, is USAID’s most recognized activity in the country. The program began airing in April 2005 and is the first show of its kind in Bangladesh. The half-hour television programs provide access to literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking skills for almost half of the estimated nine million three to six-year-olds in Bangladesh. This prepares them for learning success and helps to combat traditionally low achievement and high drop out rates in the lower primary grades. Secondly, USAID supports the Early Learning for School Success Program (SUCCEED) operation of 1,800 preschools which prepare preschool-aged children for school by improving reading and mat skills and expanding access to primary schools. A further aim of the program is to increase children’s confidence and to reduce high dropout rates by enriching early learning opportunities prior to formal education. The program has established 1,800 preschools across the country (600 are based in schools and 1,200 are based in homes) and trained over 1,800 preschool teachers in new interactive methodologies.

USAID/Egypt supports the Government of Egypt in sustaining improvements in learning outcomes in grades K-12. The program focuses on improving teaching and learning, increasing equitable access to education, and strengthening management and governance in seven governorates. Activities include in-service teacher training, school libraries, information technology, and some school construction in remote and densely populated areas. To date, USAID has also provided 5 million books to over 5,000 Egyptian primary schools. Over 39,000 students now have access to computer technology. USAID has built 70 new girls schools serving almost 40,000 students. USAID supported the development of the Egyptian Sesame Street, which helps over 85 percent of all children under age eight acquire early literacy and numeracy skills.

USAID works in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country. The USAID program there works with over 100 districts (25 percent of the nation), providing training and technical assistance to school officials, communities and local governments on education management and finance. This Presidential initiative also includes in-service teacher training, mentoring, and teacher resource centers to improve the quality of classroom instruction. Over 245,000 junior secondary students and out-of-school youth are learning employment-related life skills while working toward school completion or its equivalency. USAID is supporting the creation of an Indonesian Sesame Street, which will debut in 2007. Through direct assistance and dissemination of best practices, education programs are expected to reach 9,000 public and private schools, 2.5 million students, 90,000 educators and one million out-of-school youth by 2010.

In July 2003, the Government of Jordan launched a five-year, $380 million program, developed with USAID assistance, Education Reform for the Knowledge Economy (ERfKE) initiative. This initiative is one of the most ambitious education reform programs in the Arab region to date; its goal is to re-orient education policy, restructure education programs and practices, improve physical learning environments, and promote learning readiness through improved and more accessible early childhood education. USAID, in coordination with Jordan and eight other donor nations and multi-lateral organizations, will provide $80 million during this strategy period to support reform efforts through ERfKE.

USAID’s efforts under this initiative (1) assist the Government of Jordan’s early child care initiative, creating 100 public kindergartens, field-test curriculum, and develop an accreditation system; (2) develop school-to-work programs and an IT curriculum stream for high school students; (3) connect 100 ‘Discovery’schools to broadband and test e-learning modules for all subject; (4) expand youth and life skills programs to secondary schools in new underserved areas in Jordan; and, (5) construct up to 28 new schools and rehabilitate another 100 schools to create the appropriate learning environment that supports the reform efforts and accommodates the recent influx of refugees from the region.

In Pakistan , USAID supports the Government of Pakistan’s education reform strategy by: (1) strengthening education policy and planning; (2) improving the skills and performance of teachers and administrators; (3) increasing youth and adult literacy; (4) expanding public-private partnerships; and (5) providing school improvement grants and involving parents and communities in public schools. Over 9,000 parent-teacher associations received school improvement grants helping communities to build over 3,000 new classrooms, reconstruct over 1,000 more classrooms, build over 1,200 toilets, and repair another 1,000. In addition, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, USAID is constructing and furnishing 65 primary, middle, and high schools. USAID is building or restoring water and sanitation facilities at 190 girls’schools. Scholarships have been awarded to 57 women from this area to attend a one-year, pre-service teacher education program.

In the Philippines (Mindanao) , USAID education programs aim at improving education quality and access, and providing livelihood skills training for out-of-school youth. USAID and the U.S. Peace Corps jointly help improve instruction in English, science, and math by training over 21,000 elementary and secondary school teachers, as well as mobilizing over 300 Parent-Teacher Community Associations. Computer and internet education has also been introduced.

The Asia Near East regionalso contains countries with significant Muslim populations though not in the majority, such as India (second largest Muslim population in the world).

USAID/India’s pilot program introduces the formal curriculum in eleven Islamic religious schools (madrassas), complementing the Indian Government’s efforts to modernize madrassa education. The program reaches over 2,500 out-of-school youth and working children, particularly adolescent girls. A state government has decided to scale-up this model with its own resources, benefiting over 90,000 children in 1,200 madrassas by September 2008.

The sub-Saharan Africa region contains a number of important Muslim and Muslim majority countries, in which support to basic education activities and improved learning opportunities for in-school and out-of-school youth figure prominently. While USAID has been working with predominately Muslim countries and communities in the education sector in Africa from the 1960s, since the events of 9/11, the Bureau for Africa’s Office of Sustainable Development (AFR/SD) has re-evaluated the role of education and taken a more strategic approach to address the concerns of a post-9/11 society. USAID partners with Muslim communities to ensure that children in these communities are receiving the best and broadest education possible and that USAID is working collaboratively to create an enabling socio-economic environment that will ultimately lead to greater global peace, security and understanding. In support of President Bush’s $100 million East Africa Counter Terrorism Initiative (EACTI) , AFR/SD initiated programs in East Africa in 2003 that provide basic education opportunities in marginalized Muslim communities. The targeted countries include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Eritrea had been part of the original list, but eliminated during the USAID/Eritrea closeout.

AFR/SD Programs

USAID/Ethiopia implements various activities in Muslim-dominated areas particularly in Somali, Afar, and Oromia regions. The activities include: support to pre-service and in-service teacher training to improve the quality of primary education; provision of capacity building training for Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) and community members to increase parent and community involvement in school management; building the capacity of education officers to improve the planning and management of the education system; and establishment and expansion of alternative basic education centers to provide non-formal primary education to children, especially girls, and adult literacy classes for illiterate Muslim men and women.

USAID/Kenya’s basic education program, Education for Marginalized Children in Kenya (EMACK), is concentrated in the North Eastern and Coast Provinces. Both Provinces have predominantly Muslim populations and the lowest education statistics in the country. This education portfolio began in 2004 with supplemental funding specifically targeted at Muslim communities. At the end of two years the project has had a tremendous impact on enrollment and retention. Over 100,000 children have been reached in the Coast Province. Approximately 250 Early Childhood Development Centers have been supported; over 2,000 teachers were trained in child-centered teaching methods. To date, the School Infrastructure Program has successfully built 107 classroom, three dining halls, eight dormitories, and supplied 2,000 desks along with 300 bunk-beds with mattresses.

USAID/Tanzania’s program focuses on strengthening primary performance in general and secondary math and sciences over the next five years. USAID will focus basic education activities for under-served children (especially girls in Muslim and pastoral areas). The United States’ basic education initiative will provide training and materials to teachers and students, allowing thousands of Tanzanian students to receive textbooks written in Kiswahili and allowing girls to receive scholarships. United States resources will enable two programs to lay the groundwork over the next five years to: increase the number of girls receiving preschool, primary, and secondary education; improve primary and secondary skills in math and science; and provide specialized training for teachers in math, science, English, and the needs of children with disabilities.

USAID works with Muslim and pastoralist populations in geographic areas where there is little or no donor support. USAID/Tanzania will continue enhancing service delivery in Zanzibar, while adding two pilot districts (Lindi Urban and Mtwara Urban) on the southern Tanzanian mainland. Over 36,000 secondary, 64,000 primary, and 7,000 pre-primary school students will benefit from U.S. support targeting education delivery systems at local, district, and regional levels. In addition, an innovative radio instruction activity will focus on pre-primary and primary-level education. The radio instruction activity will establish 100 informal learning centers, as well as pilot radio instruction in 40 primary-school classrooms in Zanzibar. In addition, isolated communities in pastoralist areas will establish 70 Community Learning Centers providing equitable access to education for 14,000 children by FY-2008. Children will benefit from quality basic education in Kiswahili, English, math, social studies, science, and life skills.

USAID/Uganda supports Madrassa Early Childhood Development (ECD), which targets poor communities and builds on existing informal early child education at selected community mosques. Through the Madrassa Resource Centre communities are supported to establish and manage their own pre-schools by using intense community participation in pre-primary education. The education activities follow a unique structure that was exclusively designed for Madrassa for use in the Ugandan context. The project seeks to provide access to high quality, culturally relevant and affordable early childhood education and development in order to increase the chances of children from underprivileged communities to access and succeed in later formal education. To date the project has achieved the following: 15 community schools have been mobilized and are participating in the program; 13 community schools are being supported under post graduation continuous support to ensure the long-term sustainability of the pre-schools; 1,207 children are currently enrolled in the new schools and other schools supported by the ECD activity; 282 Schools Management Committee members received training on how to manage their schools; 120 ECD teachers have been trained in ECD methodologies; and 1,810 parents have been mobilized to send their children to the community schools.

Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) Programs

USAID/Mali’s basic education program focuses on supporting moderate Islamic schools (madrassas) and improving the quality of prim ary education for Mali’s predominantly Muslim population. The program reinforces the Ministry of Education’s management capacity; provides school-based and radio-based teacher training; develops interactive radio instruction for students; promotes adult literacy, and mobilizes communities to better manage and advocate for their local primary schools. In the three northern regions of the country, USAID provides scholarships for over 6,000 disadvantaged girls each year.

USAID/Senegal’s program aims at improving basic education in Koranic schools currently benefits approximately 4,800 vulnerable children living and studying in these schools. The pilot activity, funded with TSCTP ESF funds, was launched in late 2005. It supports improvements in the living, health, nutrition, and learning conditions of children in Koranic schools. It accomplishes this through the provision of hot meals; basic learning materials such as pens, books, and notebooks; and first aid kits. The program also provides training to teachers in how to effectively teach languages, math, life skills, and health education. Vocational training is also offered in the areas of carpentry, sewing, masonry, and tannery. Over the past few months, the leaders of these schools have become increasingly receptive to incorporating secular education in their curriculum and in promoting better nutrition and hygiene among their students.

AFRD/SD’s efforts through the President’s Africa Education Initiative (AEI) in Niger, Chad, and Mauritania complement the TSCTP’’s efforts to counter extremism and terrorism. In these countries, USAID has used the AEI’s Ambassador Girls’scholarship Program to improve access to quality education for girls and to engage parents and communities in the north of Mali and throughout Niger, Chad, and Mauritania.

While not part of EACTI or TSCTP, other countries have benefited from USAID’s Bureau for Africa’s efforts to reach out to Muslim populations, including Somalia, Sudan, and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa and Nigeria in the West.

USAID/East Africa has been supporting education programs in Somalia since 1994. The current education program uses radio to deliver high-quality, interactive instructional programs to marginalized children. The radio programs are currently being broadcast throughout Somalia, including in Mogadishu. The instructional radio program will target out-of-school youth and Koranic schools in Muslim communities.

USAID/Sudan efforts are focused on the Three Areas and southern Sudan and engaging in national development. USAID continues to implement programs to enhance inter-religious peace-building through improving education access. Formal and non-formal programs focus on primary and girls’ education, teacher training and institutional development—targeting out-of-school youth, women girls, returnees, and other vulnerable groups. The U.S. Government is expediting the provision of primary education and adult literacy through radio-based instruction to provide a quality standard of learning both for students and teachers. Conflict resolution, recovery, and prevention are integrated to support the peace process.

USAID/Djibouti. Since 2003, USAID has supported Djibouti’s education reform program, to (a) increase access through school rehabilitation, renovating/building water and sanitation facilities, and the provision of textbooks, equipment and kits; (b) improve quality through teacher training, development of teachers’ and school principals’ guides, provision of English Language teaching and teacher training for secondary and university levels, and construction and equipment of pedagogic resources centers, as well as improving supervision; and (c) improve community participation and increase girls’ education through the provision of scholarships to 1,000 girls and non-formal education programs for out-of-school youth, especially girls. USAID collaborates with the U.S. Embassy and the Combined Joint Task Force/Horn of Africa.

USAID/Nigeria began support to the education sector in 1999. The first three-year program focused on increasing teachers’ instructional skills in English literacy and numeracy; used interactive radio instruction; increased community/PTA involvement in schools’ management; increased child-focused classroom instructional methods; and increased local and state government skills in school-based data collection and use (this aspect evolved into the current GON National EMIS model). Some 25 percent of participating schools were Islamiyyah, the balance were public. The current program integrates health and education activities, focusing on increasing teachers’ instructional skills in English literacy and numeracy; uses interactive radio instruction; increases community/PTA involvement in schools’ management; and deals with school health and nutrition issues.

In Europe and Eurasia the dissolution of the Soviet Union, followed by creation of new independent countries in place of the former Soviet republics, and the drastic deterioration of the economic situation during the 1990s, forced many of the new governments to drastically reduce the country’s share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) allocated for the education sector. The economic downturn and the challenges of restructuring the economy and the education sector have been particularly severe in Tajiki-stan, which suffered from a five-year civil war (1992-97).

In 2003, to support the efforts of the Central Asian countries to reform the education sectors, USAID has implemented a regional education project in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. Although regional in implementation, the project allows for and takes into account the specific needs of each country and aims to utilize windows of opportunity as they arise. The Basic Education Strengthening Program (PEAKS) focuses on five major aspects of the education system: (1) in-service teacher training; (2) classroom-level learning materials and textbook development; (3) parent and community involvement in education decision making; (4) management and technical capacity at all levels of the education system; and (5) rehabilitation of school infrastructure. The program is implemented in close collaboration with the respective Ministries of Education, Ministry of Finance, teacher training institutes and other pedagogical and research institutions. USAID also facilitates donor-host country dialogue and to the extent possible collaborates with other donors to ensure complementary design and delivery of education activities.

Kyrgyzstan. After the Tulip Revolution, the country continues to hang in a tenuous balance. Strengthening the ability of the education sector to deliver quality education relevant to the needs of market-based democracy will facilitate the democratic transition and economic performance and competitiveness. USAID provides teacher training and resource development for 11 pilot schools, which in turn will serve as teacher training centers for 84 cluster schools.

The professional Development Schools (PDS) have been recognized by the Government of Kyrgyzstan as the alternative teacher training providers, a significant accomplishment in a country with a highly centralized educational system that does not readily look to alternative service providers. The Government of Kyrgyzstan also pays a salary for a PDS coordinator. From the inception of the project, 90,268 students benefited from this program and 12,062 teachers received training. In addition, USAID funds the Kyrgyz National Scholarship Test, which helps to fight corruption by enabling high school graduates to receive merit-based scholarships for higher education.

Tajikistan. Keeping momentum towards democratic reform in Tajikistan is critical, and a strong education system is an important tool to support that goal. While the basic education project initially focused on primary grades, deemed to be in the most urgent need of support, in 2005, additional resources allowed the project to expand the spectrum of interventions to cover grades 5-11 and introduce the Reading, Writing, and Critical Thinking Program. From the inception of the project, 53,105 students benefited from this program and 481 teachers received training. In addition to the regionally implemented PEAKS project, USAID is also supporting a basic education project through the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF). This project works in remote, mountainous areas where teachers seldom have access to professional development activities. As a result of teacher training improvements, teachers report increased attendance, return to school of students who stopped attending, and new motivation to study among the students. From its inception, the USAIDAKF project has benefited 5,000 students and trained 1,057 teachers.

Uzbekistan. Although USAID was forced to halt project activities in 2006 due to the deteriorating political situation, the overall project achievements to date may be noted here. Since its inception, the basic education project has benefited 102,412 students and trained 676 teachers. The success of the project is also evidenced by the fact that many of the Uzbek trainers continue to support the regional project activities in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan has taken the disturbing step of essentially eliminating upper secondary education by reducing the length of study to nine years instead of the standard ten years (under the Soviet system). In addition, the shift to the almost total reliance on the late President Niyazov’s books (Rukhnama) as the primary curriculum which emphasizes loyalty to the president and his spiritual teachings, resulted in devastating deterioration of education quality and relevance and created a vast knowledge vacuum which will affect many generations to come. Young people under the age of 15 make up nearly 35 percent of the population in Turkmenistan—the second largest percentage of youth in the Europe and Eurasia region. As a result of the President Niyazov’s education reforms, upper secondary enrollments have fallen from 67 percent to 27 percent since 1991. This means that approximately one in four students between ages of 15 and 18 are enrolled in school.

Besides a small-scale UNICEF initiative in primary and secondary education, USAID has been the only other donor involved in education. Although the Government of Turkmenistan has not formally endorsed the program, it has allowed interested schools to work with the USAID-funded project. Assistance-to-date has focused on teacher training in interactive teaching and learning methods. Up to now, 57,335 students have benefited from the project and 533 teachers received training. In FY-2006, USAID did not fund the basic education project. The change of leadership following the recent death of President Niyazov may create opportunities for broader engagement. President Berdimuhammedov announced that Turkmenistan will embark on reform to align the education system with international standards. If implemented, this may provide an opportunity for U.S. involvement in basic education reform.

Economic Reform

High unemployment and underemployment, often a result of slow economic growth, are among the most critical issues in predominantly Muslim countries. U.S. assistance programs attempt to address this issue with reforms to improve the investment climate. Such reforms could include business registration, dispute settlement, financial sector and agricultural reforms, combined with education, job training, and health programs. The United States strategy of Total Economic Engagement pursues economic reform, rule of law, and global economic integration worldwide, including countries with predominantly Muslim populations. Total Economic Engagement includes:

  • Regular bilateral discussions on these topics with host government officials, with both U.S. Embassy officials and officials from a wide range of U.S. agencies participating in these talks;
  • Formal structured dialogues, high-level Economic Dialogues, and Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Councils;
  • U.S. bilateral and multilateral assistance programs for economic reform, trade capacity building, and rule of law are managed chiefly through USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative. Programs are often complemented with technical assistance provided by specialized U.S. agencies and offices;
  • Working through our membership in such international organizations as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), World Trade Organization (WTO), and OECD (MEAN-OECD Investment); we coordinate bilateral policies and assistance strategies with these organizations and other bilateral donors to advance reform goals; and
  • Working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as Transparency International, and U.S. and foreign business associations, such as American Chambers of Commerce and Business Councils, to advance reform issues of mutual concern.

Integrating Predominantly Muslim Countries into the Global Trading System

There are a number of USG-funded programs to promote predominantly Muslim countries’ integration into the global trading system and promotion of regional trade and rule of law.

WTO Awareness and Accession

FY-2006 USAID programs with components dealing with-WTO awareness and accessionare being implemented in Afghanistan ($11,000,000), Egypt ($7,500,000), Iraq ($5,029,501), and Yemen ($100,000):

  • USAID/Afghanistan’s Strengthening Private Sector through Capacity Building goal is to establish sound economic governance within the economic ministries and agencies of the Government of Afghanistan. Activities include customs operations and administration and other related reforms supporting progress toward WTO accession.
  • USAID/Egyp’’s Assistance for Customs and Trade Facilitation Project targets all aspects of trade capacity building, including trade policy, trade facilitation, inspections, import and export procedures, trade agreements, and WTO awareness.
  • USAID/Iraq’s Trade Policy and Market Access Support—Iraq. Key objectives include assisting with the Government of Iraq’s accession to the World Trade Organization, supporting trade policy reform, and training and capacity building on trade-related matters.
  • USAID/Yemen’s Agricultural Support Project supports both Yemen’s capacity to increase its exports of traditional and non-traditional commodities, and Yemen’s WTO accession.

USAID Global Export Promotion Programs

USAID global export promotion programsin FY-2006 included Afghanistan/Pakistan ($493,000), Bangladesh ($630,000), Egypt (the $7,500,000 mentioned previously and $4,000,000), Jordan ($1,000,000), Morocco ($3,587,706 and $5,600,000), Pakistan ($2,500,000 and $240,000), and Yemen ($73,000):

  • A U.S. Interagency Working Group supporting the Presidential Initiative for Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) sponsored a study on the most feasible locations and products to be included in ROZs to be located in Afghanistan and adjacent border areas of Pakistan. Goods produced in the ROZs could enter the U.S. market duty free. The study was funded and implemented by USAID/Afghanistan, USAID/Pakistan, and USAID/ANE.
  • In Bangladesh, the Shrimp Quality Support Project focuses on improving the quality and quantity of shrimp exports by Bangladesh in socially and environmentally acceptable ways by transferring appropriate applied research to farmers.
  • USAID/Egypt’s Assistance for Customs and Trade Facilitation Project (mentioned previously).
  • USAID/Egypt’s Information Communication Technology works to establish the legal and regulatory framework necessary to strengthen e-commerce and information and communication technology; these investments are designed to support business development, trade, and investment.
  • USAID/Jordan supports the Business Development Center—Jordan, which provides assistance to firms in Jordan to help them adapt to the integration of Jordan into the global economy, and enhances their ability to export to international markets.
  • USAID’s Morocco Fast Track Trade is designed to help Moroccan companies identify U.S. business partners and provide advice on marketing, packaging, and exporting to the United States. The Project prepares export-ready Moroccan small and medium enterprises to use the U.S.—Morocco Free Trade Agreement to their best advantage.
  • USAID’s Morocco New Business Opportunities supports the U.S.—Morocco Free Trade Agreement by providing technical assistance, training, and business contacts to Moroccan manufacturing enterprises to enable them to successfully export to the United States.
  • The Pakistan Initiative for Strategic Development and Competitiveness provides technical assistance and training to increase the competitiveness of Pakistani small and medium sized enterprises. This USAID/Pakistan project works with a number of sectors, including gems, jewelry, dairy, marble, horticulture, and furniture, to improve their capacity to market and export their product. In addition, USAID’s Embroidery Value Chain in Pakistan project is linking rural female embroiderers to agents, who in turn sell their product to urban and rural export markets.

Customs Reforms

Customs reformsare supported by USAID FY-06 programs in Afghanistan ($11,000,000), Egypt ($7,500,000, mentioned previously), Iraq ($1,453,334), and Jordan ($6,437,695):

  • Afghanistan’s Customs Reform Program is imbedded in USAID’s Strengthening Private Sector through Capacity Building Project, which is designed to establish sound economic governance in economic ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Finance and Customs Service. Customs generated some $150 million in Afghan fiscal year 2004-5, surpassing the IMF revenue generation goal.
  • Customs Reform for Trade Improvements—Iraq is a USAID project to assist the government of Iraq to develop the necessary customs reforms to rebuild the economic infrastructure in Iraq. A modern customs service is essential for revenue collection and international trade management.
  • Jordan’s Customs Reform Program is embedded in USAID’s Achievement of Market Friendly Initiatives and Results (AMIR), which supports private sector development and trade capacity building.

USAID Africa Bureau Programs

Programs managed within the USAID Africa Bureau include Sub-Saharan integration into the global trading system, the driving forces of which are the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Presidential Initiative—African Global Competitiveness Initiative (AGCI). The African Global Competitiveness Initiative promotes export competitiveness and growth of African enterprises to expand trade with the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, other international trading partners, and within Africa.

Program efforts are focused on helping countries build a sound enabling environment including policies, laws and regulations governing business and trade; improving infrastructure to facilitate trade; strengthening financial services to small and medium-sized enterprises and other businesses; and developing the energy sector to meet the needs of growing African economies.

USAID Europe and Eurasia Bureau Programs

Albania . USAID’s objective in Albania is to strengthen its integration into the Euro-Atlantic community and promote its contribution to ethnic integration in the region. USAID/Albania’s programs worked with the government to improve the business climate for private sector growth and investment and to improve private sector competitiveness to meet international export requirements.

The Albanian Center for International Trade, founded in 2003, currently assists the Government of Albania to improve the quality of its trade policies. The Enterprise Development and Export Market Services Project, scheduled to run through September 2008, promotes the competitiveness of small and medium Albanian enterprises in domestic and foreign markets, and accelerates the entry of Albanian exports into global markets.

Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s program emphasizes economic growth and reform, with a focus on developing the non-oil sectors of the economy. In 2006, USAID worked to develop a well-functioning private sector to increase job creation and regional economic development.

Bosnia and Herzegovina. The program in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) supports progress towards full integration into the EU. USAID/BiH worked to integrate the energy sector into the regional European framework and supported the development and implementation of a coherent direct taxation system that is regionally competitive. USAID’s competitiveness projects promote trade and investment in agribusiness, wood processing, and tourism by improving the competitiveness of the firms, industries, and training firms to meet EU standards.

Central Asia Region. The Trade Facilitation and Investment (TFI) Project has been operating in Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic since 2001 and in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan since 2002. The project seeks to improve the trade and investment environment for small and mediumsized enterprises through the reduction of investment constraints, trade facilitation, and accession to and active participation in the WTO (Kyrgyz Republic joined in 1998).

Building on USAID’s TFI Project, the U.S. Central Asia Trade Facilitation Initiative works to foster greater regional trade through reduced transaction costs for businesses by harmonizing, strengthening, and streamlining customs functions.

The Business Environment Improvement Project (BEI) was launched for Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan in October. This program supports the streamlining of legal and regulatory processes and facilitates multi-party engagement to improve the business, trade, and legal environment. The Central Asia Infrastructure Integration Initiative, under the Regional Electricity Market Assistance Project (REMAP) helps to establish a transparent and competitive regional electricity market to increase regional electricity trade, stimulate economic growth, and provide market-based solutions for regional disputes related to hydro facilities and reservoirs.

Kazakhstan. USAID’s Trade Facilitation and Investment (TFI) Project operates five offices in Kazakhstan and was directly involved in the drafting of Kazakhstan’s Customs Code, bringing the country into greater compliance with WTO principles and agreements. TFI is also financing the training of front-line customs officers in the identification and seizure of pirated goods which will help Kazakhstan meet the standards of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and achieve removal from the Special 301 Watch List, both of which will help Kazakhstan’s accession process to the WTO. The Kazakhstan Small Business Development Project, funded in October 2006, aims to promote development of small business, resulting in an increase of sales domestically and regionally.

Kosovo. USAID’s objective in Kosovo is to strengthen its integration into the Euro-Atlantic community and promote its contribution to ethnic integration in the region. USAID’s goal is to help Kosovo make the transition from international administration to self-governance in an effective and peaceful manner. USAID provides training and expert counsel to ensure Kosovars quickly build capacity in the fiscal and economic policy sectors, private enterprise development, and energy management. One such program is the Cluster and Business Support Project, assisting businesses in the construction materials, livestock, and fruit and vegetables sectors by promoting productivity, trade and investment, identifying trade, marketing and import-substitution opportunities and providing training to meet European Union standards.

Kyrgyz Republic. USAID’s Trade Facilitation and Investment Project provides support to the WTO Department within the Kyrgyz Ministry of Economic Development and Industry & Trade (MEDIT) to increase its technical capacity in the legal and regulatory process. The Kyrgyz Agri-Enterprise Development Program works closely with the USAID Ferghana Valley Agribusiness Initiative, and provides development assistance to private agricultural-input suppliers that share the Ferghana Valley with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Tajikistan. USAID’s Trade Facilitation and Investment Project works directly with the Tajik government to prepare it to meet its WTO commitments by revising and updating the Legislative Action Plan to bring trade-related legislation into conformity with the provisions of WTO Agreements. Patent, copyright, trademark, and geographic indication legislation are revised to reach conformity with the provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of the Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. USAID’s programs support small and medium enterprise development, customs reform, and the creation of agricultural value chains. Fiscal reform projects focus on reducing regional disparities by increasing the effectiveness of local tax administration and increasing the capacity of local governments to develop and execute budgets.

Turkmenistan. USAID works to foster trade advisory services and implement International Financial Reporting Standards in Turkmenistan. In FY-06, USAID implemented its Agricultural Improvement Project to improve competitiveness and increase the rural incomes of farmers through the production of quality goods for domestic and international markets.

Uzbekistan. In FY-06 USAID assisted Uzbekistan in its WTO accession process supporting the drafting of new legislation and amending the existing legislation required, and worked to implement the reforms required for liberalizing Uzbekistan’s trade regime and increasing its participation in the global economy.

Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe

The Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe (SP) has several relevant programs related to global trade that affect parts of the region with significant Muslim populations, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo.

In December, under Stability Pact leadership, the countries of Southeastern Europe signed the amended and enlarged Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), which brings the region the benefits of freer trade, improve the climate for investment, and bolster stability by increasing economic cooperation. The SP’s Trade Working Group has encouraged the negotiation, ratification and implementation of a network of bilateral free trade agreements among the members of the Stability Pact and supports negotiation of a single regional trade agreement aimed at harmonizing the bilateral trade agreements to encompass all SP members. The U.S. supports this process by providing technical assistance to lower non-tariff barriers within the region, consistent with WTO principles.

The SP has also helped develop a common energy market between the European Union and Southeastern Europe. On October 25, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and UNMIK/Kosovo (among other Southeastern European parties) signed the Energy Community Treaty in Athens. This treaty will establish a common regulatory framework for trade in electricity and gas and facilitate financing and investment by both official donors and private investors in the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure and construction of new infrastructure.

Under Stability Pact auspices, the OECD Investment Compact for Southeastern Europe aims to improve the region’s investment conditions, by setting out commitments for policy reform, which countries need to implement in order to create a robust and sustainable market economy and to encourage increasing local and foreign direct investment. Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina (among other Southeastern Europe nations) are signatories.

Possible Actions to Promote Intraregional Trade and Rule of Law in the Region

Supporting intraregional trade and rule of law is a key aspect of U.S. policy in the Middle East and around the world.

Intraregional Trade

The President’s vision of a Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) by 2013, linking countries in the region with each other and the U.S, is the centerpiece of our effort to promote intraregional trade. Our strategy for attaining MEFTA includes:

  • Negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with countries ready for that step. The U.S. has concluded FTAs with Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain, and Oman;
  • Working with additional countries through the TIFA process to advance readiness for FTA negotiations; and
  • Assisting reform-minded Middle East countries that are not yet in the WTO accession process.

The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), MCC, and USAID Missions in the Middle East, provide support for the MEFTA initiative through a variety of programs in trade capacity building. MEPI and USAID Missions in the Middle East are supporting the WTO accession efforts of Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon. U.S. assistance programs assist FTA partners Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain, and Oman to implement their FTAs with the United States. USAID/Jordan’s Achievement of Market Friendly Initiatives and Results (AMIR), supports implementation of the FTA between the United States and Jordan. It offers support to Jordan as it liberalizes its economy and works to meet the requirements of regional and global trade opportunities. USAID/Morocco assists the government and private sector to successfully respond to the challenges and opportunities that the FTA with the United States will bring.

The Rule of Law

USAID/Egypt’s Administration of Justice Support II project promotes the rule of law by reforming and modernizing the commercial court system and improving the access to quality legal services. FY-2006 funding is $5,000,000.

USAID/Morocco’s Commercial Court Judges Training in Trademark Opposition Process promotes mandatory continuing education for judges and lawyers, including trademark opposition. This builds on the work of a previous USAID project on modernization of commercial laws and of the judiciary. The project will also cooperate with USAID funded training provided the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office regarding implementation of the system for both judges and customs officials.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)

In addition, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) provides assistance for transformational development in countries that perform well on 16 independent, transparent policy indicators in the areas of ruling justly, investing in people, and economic freedom. Besides the financial support provided by MCC programs, MCC creates an incentive for candidate countries to adopt legal, policy, regulatory, and institutional reforms related to the MCC selection criteria. Such reforms will contribute to countries’ efforts to reduce poverty and increase economic growth.

Summary of MCC Activities in Predominantly Muslim Countries:

Compact-Eligible Countries. Based on their good performance on the 16 policy indicators mentioned above, Compact-Eligible countries are invited to apply for substantial grants from MCC for programs that they design and implement through a “Compact.”

Mali. Mali signed a five-year, $460.8 million Compact with MCC in November. Its Compact aims to reduce rural poverty and help achieve national food security through a sustainable increase in the economic performance of the agricultural sector. The Compact also intends to spur economic growth and reduce poverty by increasing the competitiveness of light industry and increasing the value-added of exports and tourism. The Compact’s objectives will be met through investments aimed to increase farmers’ incomes, enhance agricultural supply chains, reduce transport costs and create a platform for industrial production. The Compact focuses on key infrastructure investments that capitalize on two of Mali’s major assets, the Bamako-Senou International Airport, gateway for regional and international trade, and the Niger River, a source of water for irrigated agriculture.

Jordan. In November, MCC’s Board of Directors selected Jordan as eligible to apply for Compact funding. Jordan is currently preparing a proposal for submission to MCC. Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso submitted a Compact proposal to MCC in October. It aims to promote economic growth in the rural sector by fostering land tenure security; investing in irrigation and watershed management infrastructure for agricultural purposes; constructing national roads, feeder roads, and market infrastructure; and improving existing agro-industrial supply chains.

Morocco. Morocco submitted its Compact proposal to MCC in August. The proposal focuses on relieving constraints to growth in the agriculture, fishing, artisan, and small enterprise finance sectors.

Threshold Programs are designed to assist countries that have demonstrated significant commitment to improving their performance on MCC selection criteria, but do not yet pass more than half the indicators in each of the three selection categories of ruling justly, investing in people, and encouraging economic freedom. A Threshold Program provides financial assistance to help improve a low score on at least one of MCC’s policy indicators.

Albania. Reducing corruption is the primary focus of the $13.8 million Albanian program. Albania is receiving assistance from MCC to fund three programs designed to reform tax administration, public procurement and business administration. The program anticipates reducing the extensive red tape and below-board payments needed to start a business while increasing the national tax base.

Burkina Faso. The $12.9 million program is a pilot program that seeks to improve performance on girls’ primary education completion rates. Specific interventions include the construction of 132 “girl-friendly” schools, teacher training, providing take-home dry rations to girls who maintain a 90 percent school attendance rate, and providing literacy training for mothers. Burkina Faso is now eligible for Compact assistance.

Indonesia. The $55 million program with Indonesia seeks to immunize at least 80 percent of children under the age of one for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis and 90 percent of all children for measles. The Threshold Program also has a component aimed at curbing public corruption by reforming the judiciary.

Jordan. The $25 million Jordanian program aims to strengthen democratic institutions by supporting Jordan’s efforts to broaden public participation in the political and electoral process, increasing government transparency and accountability, and enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of customs administration. The Threshold Program is a part of Jordan’s reform efforts focused on improvements in public administration, civil liberties, infrastructure, and the economy. Jordan has now become eligible for Compact assistance.

Kyrgyz Republic. Selected as eligible for the Threshold Program in FY-2006 and reselected in FY-2007, the Kyrgyz Republic has requested MCC funding to improve performance on MCC indicators in the Ruling Justly category. The Kyrgyz Republic submitted a Threshold Country Plan to MCC, which is currently under review.

Yemen. In February 2007, the Republic of Yemen was reinstated into the Threshold Program. The MCC Board of Directors found that the Yemeni government worked aggressively and demonstrably to address the country’s performance on the MCC selection criteria. Yemen may now apply for a Threshold Program agreement.

The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)

In 2006, the State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) provided tangible support to reformers in the region so democracy could spread, education could thrive, economies could grow, and women could be empowered. Working in 16 countries and the Palestinian territories, MEPI invested in programs ranging from trade technical assistance to commercial code reform to a network for Arab businesswomen. Examples of MEPI’s work with reformers include the following:

  • Provided technical and other assistance in support of successfully completed free trade agreements with the Bahrain and Oman.
  • Expanded trade capacity of Arab countries with training and technical assistance; a number of Gulf countries are drafting new customs codes and updating agricultural import/export standards.
  • Provided entrepreneurial training for more than 300 participants, almost half of them women, from 16 Middle Eastern and North African countries, with 35 alumni going on to start or expand businesses. At least 500 new jobs have been created following their participation in MEPI programs.
  • Extended credit and services to small- and mediumsized businesses through peer consultation and training for regional banks and financial organizations.
  • Established self-sustaining Junior Achievement chapters in 12 countries throughout the Middle East, with more than 10,000 students participating. Created public-private partnerships that assisted in the sustainability of Junior Achievement chapters.
  • Expanded commercial and legal reform efforts in the Gulf by working to update legal curricula at law schools in Qatar and Oman, update commercial codes to meet international standards in Bahrain and Oman, and provide continuing education programs for the judiciary.
  • Established business network hubs in six countries, focusing on training, professional development, and information sharing on laws, business opportunities, skills, and the global economy.

FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS

Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) aliases cited are consistent with and drawn from the Specially Designated Nationals list maintained by the Department of Treasury. The full list can be found at the following website: http://www.treasury.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/sdn/sdnlist.txt.

Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)

a.k.a. Arab Revolutionary Brigades; Arab Revolutionary Council; Black September; Fatah Revolutionary Council; Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims

Description

The ANO international terrorist organization was founded by Sabri al-Banna (a.k.a. Abu Nidal) after splitting from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1974. The group’s previous known structure consisted of various functional committees, including political, military, and financial. In August 2002, Abu Nidal died in Baghdad; the new leadership of the organization remains unclear.

Activities

The ANO has carried out terrorist attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring almost 900 persons; however, the group has not staged a major attack against Western targets since the late 1980s. Major attacks included the Rome and Vienna airports in 1985, the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi in 1986, and the City of Poros day-excursion ship attack in Greece in 1988.

The ANO is suspected of assassinating PLO deputy chief Abu Iyad and PLO security Chief Abu Hul in Tunis in 1991. The ANO was responsible for the December 1985 simultaneous Rome and Vienna airport attacks in which 12 people died, including five American citizens.

Strength

Current strength and operational status are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Although former and possibly current ANO associates may be in Iraq and Lebanon, the group is largely considered inactive.

External Aid

The ANO received considerable support, including safe haven, training, logistical assistance, and funding from Iraq, Libya, and Syria (until 1987). The ANO’s current access to resources is unclear, but it is likely severely impacted by the decline in state support.

Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)

a.k.a. Al Harakat al Islamiyya

Description

The ASG is a violent Muslim terrorist group operating in the southern Philippines. Some ASG leaders allegedly fought in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion and are students and proponents of radical Islamic teachings. The group split from the much larger Moro National Liberation Front in the early 1990s under the leadership of Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, who was killed in a clash with Philippine police in December 1998. His younger brother, Khadaffy Janjalani, replaced him as the nominal leader of the group. In September 2006, Janjalani was killed in a gun battle with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Radullah Sahiron is assumed to be the new ASG leader.

Activities

The ASG engages in kidnappings for ransom, bombings, beheadings, assassinations, and extortion. The group’s stated goal is to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, areas in the southern Philippines heavily populated by Muslims, but the ASG primarily has used terror for financial profit. Recent bombings may herald a return to a more radical, politicized agenda, at least among certain factions. In August 2006, the Armed Forces of the Philippines began “Operation Ultimatum,” a sustained campaign that has disrupted ASG forces in safe havens on Jolo Island in the Sulu archipelago, and resulted in the killing of ASG leader Khadafy Janjalani in September 2006.

The group’s first large-scale action was a raid on the town of Ipil in Mindanao in April 1995. In April 2000, an ASG faction kidnapped 21 persons, including ten Western tourists, from a resort in Malaysia. In May 2001, the ASG kidnapped three U.S. citizens and 17 Filipinos from a tourist resort in Palawan, Philippines. Several of the hostages, including U.S. citizen Guillermo Sobero, were murdered. A Philippine military hostage rescue operation in June 2002 freed U.S. hostage Gracia Burnham, but her husband Martin Burnham and Filipina Deborah Yap were killed. U.S. and Philippine authorities blame the ASG for exploding a bomb near a Philippine military base in Zamboanga in October 2002 that killed a U.S. serviceman. In February 2004, Khadaffy Janjalani’s faction bombed SuperFerry 14 in Manila Bay, killing 132. In March 2004, Philippine authorities arrested an ASG cell whose bombing targets included the U.S. Embassy in Manila. The ASG also claimed responsibility for the 2005 Valentine’s Day bombings in Manila, Davao City, and General Santos City, which killed eight and injured more than 150.

Strength

ASG is estimated to have 200 to 500 members.

Location/Area of Operation

The ASG was founded in Basilan Province and operates primarily in the provinces of the Sulu Archipelago, namely Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. The group also operates on the Zamboanga peninsula, and members occasionally travel to Manila. In mid-2003, the group started operating in Mindanao’s city of Cotobato and on the provincial coast of Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao. The ASG was expelled from Mindanao proper by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in mid-2005. The group expanded its operational reach to Malaysia in 2000 with the abduction of foreigners from a tourist resort there.

External Aid

The ASG is funded through acts of ransom and extortion, and receives funding from both regional terrorist groups such as Jemaah Islamiya (JI), which is based mainly in Indonesia, and Middle Eastern Islamic extremists.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (al-Aqsa)

a.k.a. al-Aqsa Martyrs Battalion; Fatah Tanzim

Description

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades consists of localized cells of Palestinian militants loyal to the secular-nationalist Fatah movement. Al-Aqsa emerged at the outset of the 2000 Palestinian al-Aqsa Intifadah, splitting from the Fatah party to attack Israeli military targets and settlers with the aim of driving Israel from the West Bank and Gaza Strip and establishing a Palestinian state. Al-Aqsa has no central leadership; the cells operate with autonomy, although they remained ideologically loyal to Palestinian Authority (PA) President and Fatah party head Yassir Arafat until his death in 2004.

Activities

Al-Aqsa initially focused on small arms attacks against Israeli military personnel and settlers in the West Bank. In 2002, the group began to conduct suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. After a March 2002 bombing, the U.S. State Department designated Al-Aqsa a foreign terrorist organization. Al-Aqsa suspended most anti-Israel attacks as part of the broader unilateral Palestinian cease-fire agreement during 2004 but resumed them following HAMAS’s electoral victory in January 2006. Al-Aqsa members have continued anti-Israeli as well as intra-Palestinian violence and contribute to the overall chaotic security environment inside the Palestinian territories. Al-Aqsa has not targeted U.S. interests as a policy, although its anti-Israeli attacks have killed some dual U.S.-Israel citizens.

Strength

Current strength is unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Al-Aqsa operates mainly in the West Bank but has conducted attacks inside Israel and the Gaza Strip. The group has members in refugee camps in southern Lebanon and overseas, although it has not demonstrated transnational capability.

External Aid

Iran has exploited Al-Aqsa’s lack of leadership and funds by providing aid and exerting influence over the organization.

Ansar al-Sunna (AS)

a.k.a. Ansar al-Islam; Ansar Al-Sunna Army; Devotees of Islam; Followers of Islam in Kurdistan; Helpers of Islam; Jaish Ansar Al-Sunna; Jund Al-Islam; Kurdish Taliban; Kurdistan Supporters of Islam; Partisans of Islam; Soldiers of God; Soldiers of Islam; Supporters of Islam in Kurdistan

Description

Ansar al-Sunna (AS) is a Salafi terrorist group whose goals include expelling the U.S.- led Coalition from Iraq and establishing an independent Islamic Iraqi state. This amorphous group has changed its name several times over the years and was last known as Ansar al-Islam. AS announced its creation in 2003 by posting a statement to the Internet calling all extremists in Iraq to unite under the new name. The bid to become a jihadist umbrella organization failed, but the name AS stuck. AS has ties to the al-Qaida central leadership and al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI); it has a competitive relationship with AQI, and did not join the AQI-dominated “Islamic State of Iraq.” Some members of AS trained in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan, and the group provided safe haven to al-Qaida fighters before Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Since OIF, AS has become the second-most prominent group engaged in anti-Coalition attacks in Iraq behind AQI and has maintained a strong propaganda campaign.

Activities

AS continues to conduct attacks against a wide range of targets including Coalition Forces, the Iraqi government and security forces, and Kurdish and Shia figures. AS has claimed responsibility for many high profile attacks, including the simultaneous suicide bombings of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan Democratic Party offices in Irbil in February 2004, the bombing of the U.S. military dining facility in Mosul in December 2004, and numerous kidnappings, executions, and assassinations.

Strength

Precise numbers are unknown, but AS is the second largest Sunni jihadist group in Iraq, behind AQI.

Location/Area of Operation

Primarily central, western, and northern Iraq.

External Aid

AS receives assistance from a loose network of associates in Europe and the Middle East.

Armed Islamic Group (GIA)

a.k.a. Al-Jama’ah al-Islamiyah al-Musallah; Groupement Islamique Arme

Description

An Islamic extremist group, the GIA aims to overthrow the Algerian regime and replace it with a fundamentalist Islamic state. The GIA began its violent activity in 1992 after the military government suspended legislative elections in anticipation of an overwhelming victory by the Islamic Salvation Front, the largest Islamic opposition party.

Activities

The GIA has engaged in attacks against civilians and government workers. The GIA began conducting a terrorist campaign of civilian massacres in 1992, sometimes wiping out entire villages and killing tens of thousands of Algerians, thus alienating itself from the Algerian populace in the process. Since announcing its campaign against foreigners living in Algeria in 1992, the GIA killed more than 100 expatriate men and women, mostly Europeans, in the country. Many of the GIA’s members have joined other Islamist groups or have been killed or captured by the Algerian government. The government’s September 2005 reconciliation program led to an increase in the number of GIA terrorist suspects who surrendered to security forces. The GIA’s most recent significant attacks occurred in August 2001.

Strength

Precise numbers are unknown, but probably fewer than 100.

Location/Area of Operation

Algeria, the Sahel, and Europe.

External Aid

The GIA has members in Europe that provide funding but mostly the group engages in criminal activity to finance activities and raise funds.

Asbat al-Ansar

a.k.a. League of the Followers; Partisans’ League

Description

Asbat al-Ansar, the League of the Followers or Partisans’ League, is a Lebanon-based Sunni extremist group composed primarily of Palestinians with links to Usama bin Ladin’s al-Qaida organization and other Sunni extremist groups. Asbat is well positioned to play an important role should al-Qaidaattempt to expand further its terrorist operations to Lebanon. The group follows an extremist interpretation of Islam that justifies violence against civilian targets to achieve political ends. Some of the group’s goals include overthrowing the Lebanese government and thwarting perceived anti-Islamic and pro-Western influences in the country.

Activities

Asbat al-Ansar maintains close ties with the al-Qaida network, and had a “front-line” command post relatively close to Israel’s border in the Ain al-Hilwah (Palestinian) refugee camp. In early to mid-March, Lebanese authorities arrested several members of the group. Some were Palestinians, some were Lebanese. Members of this group were believed by some to have been responsible for a Katyusha rocket attack on the Galilee (Israel) in December 2005. On April 3, 2006, a video was posted to an Islamic website claiming that five members of Asbat al-Ansar were killed fighting in Iraq; the date of death was not provided. Asbat al-Ansar members have been involved in fighting Coalition Forces in Iraq since at least 2005 and several members of the group have been killed in anti-Coalition operations. Since it first emerged in the early 1990s, Asbat al-Ansar has carried out multiple terrorist attacks in Lebanon; in the mid-1990s the group assassinated Lebanese religious leaders and bombed nightclubs, theaters, and liquor stores. It was involved in clashes in northern Lebanon in December 1999, and carried out a rocket-propelled grenade attack on the Russian Embassy in Beirut in January 2000. Asbat al-Ansar’s leader, Ahmad Abd al-Karim al-Sa’di a.k.a. Abu Muhjin, remains at large despite being sentenced to death in absentia for the 1994 murder of a Muslim cleric. In September 2004, operatives with links to the group were believed to be involved in a planned terrorist operation targeting the Italian Embassy, the Ukrainian Consulate General, and Lebanese government offices. In October 2004, Mahir al-Sa’di, a member of Asbat al-Ansar, was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for plotting to assassinate then U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Satterfield in 2000. Al-Sa’di was working in cooperation with Abu Muhammad al-Masri, the head of al-Qaida at the ′Ayn al-Hilwah refugee camp, where fighting has occurred between Asbat al-Ansar and Fatah elements.

Strength

The group commands about 300 fighters in Lebanon.

Location/Area of Operation

The group’s primary base of operations is the ′Ayn al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in southern Lebanon.

External Aid

Probably receives money through international Sunni extremist networks.

Aum Shinrikyo (Aum)

a.k.a. A.I.C. Comprehensive Research Institute; A.I.C. Sogo Kenkyusho; Aleph; Aum Supreme Truth

Description

Shoko Asahara established Aum in 1987, and the cult received legal status as a religious entity in 1989. At first, Aum aimed to take over Japan and then the world, but over time it began to emphasize the imminence of the end of the world. Asahara predicted 1996, and 1999 to 2003, as likely dates and said that the United States would initiate Armageddon by starting World War III with Japan. The Japanese government revoked its recognition of Aum as a religious organization following Aum’s deadly sarin gas attack in Tokyo in March 1995. In 1997, however, a government panel decided not to invoke the Operations Control Law against the group that would have outlawed it. A 1999 law authorized the Japanese government to maintain police surveillance over the group because of concerns that Aum might launch future terrorist attacks. Under the leadership of Fumihiro Joyu, the chief of Aum’s once thriving Moscow operation, Aum changed its name to Aleph in January 2000 and tried to distance itself from the violent and apocalyptic teachings of its founder. In late 2003, however, Joyu stepped down under pressure from members who wanted to return fully to the worship of Asahara. A growing divide between members supporting Joyu and those who remain loyal to Asahara is splitting the cult into factions. In 2006, Joyu officially split from Aleph over recognizing Shoko Asahara as the sole authority.

Activities

In March 1995, Aum members simultaneously released the chemical nerve agent sarin on several Tokyo subway trains, killing 12 persons and causing up to 6,000 to seek medical treatment. Subsequent investigations by the Japanese government revealed the group was responsible for other mysterious chemical incidents in Japan in 1994, including a sarin gas attack on a residential neighborhood in Matsumoto that killed seven and hospitalized approximately 500. The group’s attempts to conduct attacks using biological agents were unsuccessful. Japanese police arrested Asahara in May 1995, and in February 2004 authorities sentenced him in to death for his role in the 1995 attacks. In September 2006, Asahara lost his final appeal against the death penalty.

Since 1997, the cult has recruited new members, engaged in commercial enterprises, and acquired property, although it scaled back these activities significantly in 2001 in response to a public outcry. In July 2001, Russian authorities arrested a group of Russian Aum followers who had planned to set off bombs near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo as part of an operation to free Asahara from jail and smuggle him to Russia.

Strength

Aum’s current membership in Japan is estimated to be about 1,650 persons. At the time of the Tokyo subway attack, the group claimed to have as many as 40,000 members worldwide, including 9,000 in Japan and 30,000 members in Russia.

Location/Area of Operation

Aum’s principal membership is located in Japan, while a residual branch comprising about 300 followers lives in Russia.

External Aid

None.

Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)

a.k.a. Askatasuna; Batasuna; Ekin; Epanastatiki Pirines; Euskal Herritarrok; Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna; Herri Batasuna; Jarrai-Haika-Segi; K.A.S.; Popular Revolutionary Struggle; XAKI

Description

ETA was founded in 1959 with the aim of establishing an independent homeland based on Marxist principles encompassing the Spanish Basque provinces of Vizcaya, Guipuzcoa, and Alava, as well as the autonomous region of Navarra and the southwestern French territories of Labourd, Basse-Navarre, and Soule. Spain and the European Union both have listed ETA as a terrorist organization, and in 2002 the Spanish parliament banned the political party Batasuna, ETA’s political wing, charging its members with providing material support to the terrorist group. In 2004, Spain and France formed a joint counterterrorism and judicial unit to combat ETA and Islamic terrorist groups. During 2005 and 2006, police in both countries together arrested around 100 individuals associated with ETA, dismantled several of the group’s cells, and dealt a significant blow to its operational capability. Spanish and French prisons are estimated to hold a total of more than 500 ETA members.

In March 2006, ETA announced that it would implement a “permanent” cease-fire. On December 30, ETA exploded a massive car-bomb that destroyed much of the covered parking garage outside the new Terminal 4 of Madrid’s Barajas International Airport and effectively broke its nine-month “permanent cease-fire.” Two individuals killed in the blast became ETA’s first fatalities in more than three years. The Government of Spain suspended talks with ETA, and government officials subsequently said political negotiations with the group had ended.

Activities

ETA primarily conducts bombings and assassinations; targets are typically Spanish government officials, security and military forces, politicians, and judicial figures, but the group also has targeted journalists and tourist areas. The group is responsible for killing more than 800 and injuring thousands more since it began its lethal attacks in the late 1960s. Security service scrutiny and a public outcry after the Islamic extremist train bombings in Madrid in March 2004, have limited ETA’s capability and willingness to inflict casualties. ETA conducted no fatal attacks in 2005, but did mount more than 30 low-level bombings, most preceded by a warning call, that caused minor injuries and property damage.

In February 2005, ETA detonated a car bomb in Madrid at a convention center where Spanish King Juan Carlos and then Mexican President Vicente Fox were scheduled to appear, wounding more than 20 people. In June 2005, ETA launched grenades at the airport that serves the city of Zaragoza, shutting down the airport but causing no damage or injuries. ETA also detonated an explosive device at a stadium constructed as part of Madrid’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games; there were no injuries in that attack. Just days before its March 2006 cease-fire announcement, ETA claimed responsibility for a spate of roadside blasts in northern Spain that caused no injuries. Its late 2006 attack at Madrid’s airport is the group’s first fatal attack since March 2003. ETA finances its activities primarily through bribery and extortion.

Strength

Not precisely known, but believed to number in the low hundreds.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates primarily in the Basque autonomous regions of northern Spain and southwestern France, but also has attacked Spanish and French interests elsewhere.

External Aid

Has received training at various times in the past in Libya, Lebanon, and Nicaragua. Some ETA members allegedly fled to Cuba and Mexico, while others reside in South America. ETA members have operated and been arrested in other European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.

Communist Party of Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA)

a.k.a. Communist Party of the Philippines; CPP; New People’s Army; NPA

Description

The military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the NPA is a Maoist group formed in March 1969 with the aim of overthrowing the government through protracted guerrilla warfare. Jose Maria Sison, the chairman of the CPP’s Central Committee and the NPA’s founder, reportedly directs CPP and NPA activity from the Netherlands, where he lives in self-imposed exile. Luis Jalandoni, a fellow Central Committee member and director of the CPP’s overt political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), also lives in the Netherlands and has become a Dutch citizen. Although primarily a rural-based guerrilla group, the NPA has an active urban infrastructure to support its terrorist activities and at times uses city-based assassination squads.

Activities

The NPA primarily targets Philippine security forces, government officials, local infrastructure, and businesses that refuse to pay extortion, or “revolutionary taxes.” The NPA extorts politicians running for office in NPA-influenced areas, charging them for “campaign permits.” The group opposes any U.S. military presence in the Philippines and in the past has attacked U.S. military interests; it killed several U.S. service personnel before the U.S. base closures in 1992. The NPA claimed responsibility for the assassination of two congressmen, from Quezon in May 2001 and Cagayan in June 2001, among other killings. Periodic peace talks with the Philippine government stalled after these incidents. In December 2005, the NPA publicly expressed its intent to target U.S. personnel if they were discovered in NPA operating areas.

Strength

Estimated at less than 9,000, a number significantly lower than its peak strength of approximately 25,000 in the 1980s.

Location/Area of Operations

Operates in rural Luzon, Visayas, and parts of northern and eastern Mindanao. Has cells in Manila and other metropolitan centers.

External Aid

Unknown.

Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)

a.k.a. Continuity Army Council; Continuity IRA; Republican Sinn Fein

Description

CIRA is a terrorist splinter group formed in 1994 as the clandestine armed wing of Republican Sinn Fein, which split from Sinn Fein in 1986. “Continuity” refers to the group’s belief that it is carrying on the original Irish Republican Army’s (IRA) goal of forcing the British out of Northern Ireland. CIRA’s aliases, Continuity Army Council and Republican Sinn Fein, are included in its FTO designation. CIRA cooperates with the larger Real IRA (RIRA).

Activities

CIRA has been active in Belfast and the border areas of Northern Ireland, where it has carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, extortion, and robberies. On occasion, it has provided advance warning to police of its attacks. Targets have included the British military, Northern Ireland security forces, and Loyalist paramilitary groups.

CIRA did not join the Provisional IRA in the September 2005 decommissioning and remains capable of effective, if sporadic, terrorist attacks. In late 2006 CIRA members issued a list of up to 20 individuals they were targeting for paramilitary attacks, several of whom were wounded in subsequent shootings.

Strength

Membership is small, with possibly fewer than 50 hard-core activists. Police counterterrorist operations have reduced the group’s strength, but CIRA continues to recruit, train, and plan operations.

Location/Area of Operation

Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Does not have an established presence in Great Britain.

External Aid

Suspected of receiving funds and arms from sympathizers in the United States. May have acquired arms and mate-riel from the Balkans in cooperation with the Real IRA.

Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG)

a.k.a. Al-Gama’at; Egyptian al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya; Islamic Gama’at (IG); Islamic Group

Description

The IG, Egypt’s largest militant group, has been active since the late 1970s and is a loosely organized network, whose primary goal is to overthrow the Egyptian government and replace it with an Islamic state. It has an external wing with supporters in several countries. The group’s issuance of a cease-fire in 1997 led to a split into two factions: one, led by Mustafa Hamza, supported the cease-fire; the other, led by Rifa’i Taha Musa, called for a return to armed operations. The IG issued another ceasefire in March 1999, but its spiritual leader, Shaykh Umar Abd al-Rahman, sentenced to life in prison in January 1996 for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and incarcerated in the United States, rescinded his support for the cease-fire in June 2000. IG has not conducted an attack inside Egypt since the 1997 Luxor attack, which killed 58 tourists, four Egyptians, and wounded dozens more. In February 1998, a senior member signed Usama bin Ladin’s fatwa calling for attacks against the United States.

In early 2001, Taha Musa published a book in which he attempted to justify terrorist attacks that would cause mass casualties. Taha Musa disappeared several months thereafter, and there is no information as to his current whereabouts. In March 2002, members of the group’s historic leadership in Egypt declared use of violence misguided and renounced its future use, prompting denunciations by much of the leadership abroad. The Egyptian government continues to release IG members from prison; approximately 900 were released in 2003, and most of the 700 persons released in 2004 at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan were IG members. Ayman al-Zawahiri announced in August 2006 that IG had merged with al-Qaida, but the group quickly denied this claim.

Activities

IG conducted armed attacks against Egyptian security and other government officials, Coptic Christians, and Egyptian opponents of Islamic extremism before the 1997 cease-fire; after the cease-fire, the faction led by Taha Musa launched attacks on tourists in Egypt, most notably the 1997 Luxor attack. IG claimed responsibility for the June 1995 assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Strength

Unknown. At its peak IG probably commanded several thousand hard-core members and a like number of sympathizers. The 1999 cease-fire, security crackdowns following the 1997 attack in Luxor, and post-September 11 security efforts, have probably resulted in a substantial decrease in the group’s numbers.

Location/Area of Operation

IG Operates mainly in the Al-Minya, Asyut, Qina, and Sohaj Governorates of southern Egypt. It also appears to have support in Cairo, Alexandria, and other urban locations, particularly among unemployed graduates and students. The IG has an external presence, including in the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Yemen, and in various locations in Europe.

External Aid

Unknown. Usama Bin Ladin and Afghan militant groups support the organization. IG also may obtain some funding through various Islamic non-governmental organizations.

The Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS)

a.k.a. Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya; Izz al-Din al Qassam Battalions; Izz al-Din al Qassam Brigades; Students of Ayyash; Students of the Engineer; Yahya Ayyash Units

Description

HAMAS, which includes military and political wings, was formed at the onset of the first Palestinian uprising or Intifadah in late 1987, as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The armed element, called the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, conducts anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings against civilian targets inside Israel. Social-political elements engage in “Dawa” or ministry activities, which include running charities and schools, fund-raising and political activities. A Shura council based in Damascus, Syria, sets overall policy. Since winning Palestinian Authority (PA) elections in 2006, HAMAS has taken control of significant PA ministries, including the Ministry of Interior. HAMAS formed an expanded, overt militia called the Executive Force, subordinate to the Ministry.

Activities

Prior to 2005, HAMAS conducted numerous anti-Israeli attacks including suicide bombings, rocket attacks, IED attacks, and shootings. The group curtailed terrorist attacks in February 2005 after agreeing to a temporary period of calm brokered by the PA, and ceased most violence after winning control of the PA legislature and cabinet in 2006.

After HAMAS staged a June 25 attack on IDF soldiers near Kerem Shalom that resulted in two deaths and the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit, Israel took steps that severely limited the operation of the Rafah crossing. HAMAS maintained and expanded its military capabilities during this time. HAMAS has not directly targeted U.S. interests, although the group makes little or no effort to avoid targets frequented by foreigners.

Strength

HAMAS probably has several hundred members in its armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, along with its reported 6,000-man Executive Force and tens of thousands of supporters and sympathizers.

Location/Area of Operation

HAMAS has an operational presence in every major city within the Palestinian territories and has focused its anti-Israeli attacks on targets in those territories and Israel. The group retains a cadre of leaders and facilitators that conduct diplomatic, fundraising, and arms smuggling activities in Lebanon, Syria, and other states.

External Aid

Receives some funding, weapons and training from Iran. Also receives donations from Palestinian expatriates around the world and private benefactors in Arab states. Some fundraising and propaganda activity takes place in Western Europe and North America.

Harakat ul-Mujahedin (HUM)

a.k.a. Al-Faran; Al-Hadid; Al-Hadith; Harakat ul-Ansar; Harakat ul-Mujahideen; HUA; Jamiat ul-Ansar (JUA)

Description

HUM, an Islamic militant group based in Pakistan, is politically aligned with the radical political party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam’s Fazlur Rehman faction (JUI-F), and operates primarily in Kashmir. Reportedly under pressure from the Government of Pakistan, HUM’s long time leader Fazlur Rehman Khalil stepped down and, in January 2005, was replaced by Dr. Badr Munir as the head of HUM. Khalil has been linked to Usama bin Ladin, and his signature was found on Bin Ladin’s fatwa in February 1998 calling for attacks on U.S. and Western interests.

HUM operated terrorist training camps in eastern Afghanistan until Coalition air strikes destroyed them in autumn 2001. Khalil was detained by Pakistani authorities in mid-2004 and subsequently released in late December. In 2003, HUM began using the name Jamiat ul-Ansar (JUA). Pakistan banned JUA in November 2003.

Activities

HUM has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir. It is linked to the Kashmiri militant group al-Faran that kidnapped five Western tourists in Kashmir in July 1995; one was killed in August, and the other four reportedly were killed in December of the same year. HUM was responsible for the hijacking of an Indian airliner in December 1999 that resulted in the release of Masood Azhar, an important leader in the former Harakat ul-Ansar who was imprisoned by India in 1994 and founded Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) after his release. Ahmed Omar Sheik also was released in 1999, and was later convicted of the abduction and murder in 2002 of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.

Strength

HUM has several hundred armed supporters located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and India’s southern Kashmir and Doda regions and in the Kashmir valley. Supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris, but also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war. HUM uses light and heavy machine guns, assault rifles, mortars, explosives, and rockets. In 2000, HUM lost a significant share of its membership in defections to the JEM.

Location/Area of Operation

Based in Muzaffarabad, Rawalpindi, and several other towns in Pakistan, HUM conducts insurgent and terrorist operations primarily in Kashmir, but members have also been found operating in Afghanistan. HUM trains its militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

External Aid

Collects donations from wealthy and grassroots donors in Pakistan, Kashmir, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf and Islamic states. HUM’s financial collection methods also include soliciting donations in magazine ads and pamphlets. The sources and amount of HUM’s military funding are unknown. Its overt fundraising in Pakistan has been constrained since the government clampdown there on extremist groups and the freezing of terrorist assets.

Hizballah

(Common alternate spellings: Hezbollah, Hizbullah, Hizb‵allah) a.k.a. Party of God; Islamic Jihad

Description

Formed in 1982 in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, this Lebanese-based radical Shia group takes its ideological inspiration from the Iranian revolution and the teachings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. The group follows the religious guidance of Khomeini’s successor, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Hizballah is closely allied with Iran and often acts at its behest, but it also can and does act independently. Although Hizballah does not share the Syrian regime’s secular orientation, the group has been a strong ally in helping Syria advance its political objectives in the region. The Majlis al-Shura, or Consultative Council, is the group’s highest governing body and has been led by Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah since 1992.

Hizballah remains the most technically capable terrorist group in the world. It has strong influence in Lebanon’s Shia community, which comprises about one-third of Lebanon’s population. The Lebanese government still recognizes Hizballah as a legitimate “resistance group” and political party. Hizballah maintains offices in Beirut and elsewhere in the country, has official liaison officers to the security services, claims 14 elected officials in the 128-seat Lebanese National Assembly and was represented in the Cabinet for the first time, by the Minister of Water and Electricity Mohammed Fneish, until his resignation, along with other Shia ministers on November 11, 2006. Hizballah has largely withdrawn its military presence from southern Lebanon in accordance with UNSCR 1701, although likely maintains weapons caches in southern Lebanon and justifies its continued arms status by claiming to act in defense of Lebanon against acts of Israeli aggression, such as regular Israeli overflights of Lebanese airspace. Hizballah alleges that Israel has not withdrawn completely from Lebanese territory because, in Hizballah’s view, the Shebaa Farms and other areas belong to Lebanon. Hizballah supports a variety of violent anti-Western groups, including Palestinian terrorist organizations. This support includes the covert provision of weapons, explosives, training, funding, and guidance, as well as overt political support.

Activities

In 2006, Hizballah launched a number of attacks on Israel, including the May 28 and July 12 attack, which resulted in the capture and kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. Hizballah continued to call for the destruction of Israel and provided support to select Palestinian groups to augment their capacity to conduct attacks against Israel. Since at least 2004, Hizballah has provided training and logistics to select Iraqi Shia militants, including for the construction and use of shaped charge IEDs, which Hizballah developed against Israeli forces in southern Lebanon during the late 1990s and which can penetrate heavily armored vehicles. Hizballah is known to have been involved in numerous anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli terrorist attacks, and prior to September 11, 2001, was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist group; its terrorist attacks have included the suicide truck bombings of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 and the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut in 1984.

Four members of Hizballah, Imad Mughniyah, Hasan Izzal-Din, Mohammed Hamadei, and Ali Atwa, are on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists for the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, during which a U.S. Navy diver was murdered. Elements of the group were responsible for the kidnapping, detention, and murder of Americans and other Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980s. Hizballah also has been implicated in the attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992 and the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires in 1994.

The U.S. Government has indicted a member of Lebanese Hizballah for his participation in the June 1996 truck bomb attack of the U.S. Air Force dormitory at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. In 2000, Hizballah operatives captured three Israeli soldiers in the Sheba’a Farms area and kidnapped an Israeli non-combatant.

Strength

Thousands of supporters, several thousand members, and a few hundred terrorist operatives.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the Beka’a Valley, and southern Lebanon. Has established cells in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and Asia.

External Aid

Receives training, weapons, and explosives, as well as political, diplomatic, and organizational aid, from Iran, and diplomatic, political, and logistical support from Syria. Hizballah also receives funding from religious donations, and profits from legal and illegal businesses.

Islamic Jihad Union (IJU)

a.k.a. Al-Djihad al-Islami; Dzhamaat Modzhakhedov; Islamic Jihad Group of Uzbekistan; Jama’at al-Jihad; Jamiat al-Jihad al-Islami; Jamiyat; The Jamaat Mujahedin; The Kazakh Jama’at; The Libyan Society

Description

The IJU is an extremist organization which splintered from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. They oppose secular rule in Uzbekistan and seek to replace it with a government based on Islamic law.

Activities

The IJU issued a statement in May 2004 fully supporting the armed attacks on Uzbek police and military personnel in Andijon, Uzbekistan, and called for the overthrow of the Uzbekistani regime. The group first conducted attacks in March-April 2004 targeting a popular bazaar and police at several roadway checkpoints. These attacks killed approximately 47 people, including 33 terrorists, some of whom were suicide bombers. The IJU’s claim of responsibility, which was posted to multiple militant Islamic websites, denounced the leadership of Uzbekistan. These attacks marked the first use of suicide bombers in Central Asia. In July 2004, the group struck again with near-simultaneous suicide bombings of the U.S. and Israeli Embassies and the Uzbekistani Prosecutor General’s office in Tashkent. The IJU again claimed responsibility via an Islamic website and stated that martyrdom operations by the group would continue. The statement also indicated that the attacks were done in support of IJU’s Palestinian, Iraqi, and Afghan brothers in the global insurgency. The date of the July attack corresponded with the trial of individuals arrested for their alleged participation in the March-April attacks.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Militants are scattered throughout Central Asia and probably parts of South Asia.

External Aid

Unknown.

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)

Description

The IMU is a group of Islamic militants from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states. The IMU’s goal is to overthrow Uzbekistani President Islam Karimov and establishing an Islamic state in Uzbekistan. The IMU is affiliated with al-Qaida and, under the leadership of Tohir Yoldashev, has embraced Usama bin Ladin’s ideology.

Activities

Since Operation Enduring Freedom, the IMU has been predominantly occupied with attacks on U.S. and Coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. Although it is difficult to differentiate between IMU and Islamic Jihad Union members, Pakistani security forces continue to arrest probable IMU operatives in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

The IMU was active in terrorist operations in Central Asia. Tajikistan arrested several IMU members in 2005. In November 2004, the IMU was blamed for an explosion in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh that killed one police officer and one terrorist. In May 2003, Kyrgyz security forces disrupted an IMU cell that was seeking to bomb the U.S. Embassy and a nearby hotel in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The IMU was also responsible for explosions in Bishkek in December 2002 and Osh in May 2003 that killed eight people. The IMU primarily targeted Uzbekistani interests before October 2001, and is believed to have been responsible for several explosions in Tashkent in February 1999. IMU militants took foreigners hostage in Kyrgyzstan for two consecutive years: in August 1999, IMU militants took four Japanese geologists and eight Kyrgyz soldiers hostage, and in August 2000, they took four U.S. mountain climbers hostage.

Strength

Approximately 500 members.

Location/Area of Operation

IMU militants are scattered throughout South Asia, Central Asia, and Iran. Their area of operation includes Afghanistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

External Aid

The IMU receives support from a large Uzbek diaspora, Islamic extremist groups and patrons in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia.

Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM)

a.k.a. Army of Mohammed; Jaish-i-Mohammed; Khudamul Islam; Khuddam-ul-Islam; Kuddam e Islami; Mohammed’s Army; Tehrik ul-Furqaan

Description

Jaish-e-Mohammed is an Islamic extremist group based in Pakistan founded by Masood Azhar, a former senior leader of Harakat ul-Ansar, upon his release from prison in India in early 2000. The group’s aim is to unite Kashmir with Pakistan, and it has openly declared war against the United States. It is politically aligned with the radical political party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam’s Fazlur Rehman faction (JUI-F). Pakistan outlawed JEM in 2002. By 2003, JEM had splintered into Khuddam ul-Islam (KUI), headed by Azhar, and Jamaat ul-Furqan (JUF), led by Abdul Jabbar, who was released from Pakistani custody in August 2004 after being detained for suspected involvement in the December 2003 assassination attempts against President Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan banned KUI and JUF in November 2003.

Activities

Jaish-e-Mohammed continues to operate openly in parts of Pakistan despite President Musharraf’s 2002 ban on its activities. The group is well-funded, and is said to have tens of thousands of followers who support attacks against Indian targets, the Pakistani government, and sectarian minorities. Since Masood Azhar’s 2000 release from Indian custody in exchange for 155 hijacked Indian Airlines hostages, JEM has conducted many fatal terrorist attacks in the area. JEM continues to claim responsibility for several suicide car bombings in Kashmir, including a suicide attack on the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly building in Srinagar in October 2001 that killed more than 30.

The Indian government has publicly implicated the JEM, along with Lashkar e-Tayyiba, for the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament that killed nine and injured 18. Pakistani authorities suspect that JEM members may have been involved in the 2002 anti-Christian attacks in Islamabad, Murree, and Taxila that killed two Americans.

In December 2003, Pakistan implicated elements of JEM in the two assassination attempts against President Musharraf. In July 2004, Pakistani authorities arrested a JEM member wanted in connection with the 2002 abduction and murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. In 2006, JEM claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, including the killing of several Indian police officials in the Indian-administered Kashmir capital of Srinagar.

Strength

JEM has at least several hundred armed supporters, including a large cadre of former HUM members, located in Pakistan, in India’s southern Kashmir and Doda regions, and in the Kashmir Valley. Supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris, but also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war. The group uses light and heavy machine guns, assault rifles, mortars, improvised explosive devices, and rocket-propelled grenades.

Location/Area of Operation

Pakistan and Kashmir. Until autumn 2001, JEM maintained training camps in Afghanistan.

External Aid

Most of JEM’s cadre and material resources have been drawn from the Pakistani militant groups Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI) and the Harakat ul-Mujahedin (HUM). In anticipation of asset seizures by the Pakistani government, JEM withdrew funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate, and production of consumer goods. In addition, JEM collects funds through donation requests in magazines and pamphlets, and al-Qaida is suspected of providing funding.

Jemaah Islamiya (JI)

Description

The Southeast Asia-based Jemaah Islamiya (JI) is a terrorist group that seeks the establishment of an Islamic caliphate spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, southern Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, and the southern Philippines. More than 300 JI operatives, including operations chief Hambali, have been captured since 2002. Several are no longer incarcerated, however, including JI emir Abu Bakar Bashir who was released from prison in 2006 after serving a 25-month sentence for his involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings. The death of top JI bombmaker Azahari bin Husin in November 2005, and further arrests of several close associates of senior JI operative Noordin Mat Top in 2006 likely disrupted JI’s anti-Western attacks- that occurred annually from 2002-2005.

Activities

The group’s most recent high-profile attack occurred in Bali on October 1, 2005 and left 26 persons dead. Other major JI attacks include the September 2004 bombing outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, the August 2003 bombing of the J. W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, and the October 2002 Bali bombing. The 2002 Bali attack, which killed more than 200, remains one of the deadliest terrorist attacks since 9/11. In December 2001, Singaporean authorities uncovered a JI plot to attack the U.S. and Israeli Embassies and British and Australian diplomatic buildings in Singapore. JI is also responsible for the coordinated bombings of numerous Christian churches in Indonesia in December 2000 and was involved in the bombings of several targets in Manila the same month.

Strength

Exact numbers currently are unknown. Estimates of total JI members vary from the hundreds to one thousand.

Location/Area of Operation

JI is based in Indonesia and believed to have cells in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

External Aid

Investigations indicate that JI is fully capable of its own fundraising, although it also receives financial, ideological, and logistical support from Middle Eastern contacts, and non-governmental organizations.

Al-Jihad (AJ)

Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ); Egyptian al-Jihad; New Jihad; The Jihad Group

Description

This Egyptian Islamic extremist group merged with Usama Bin Ladin’s al-Qaida organization in 2001. Usama Bin Ladin’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was the former head of AJ. Active since the 1970s, AJ’s primary goal has been the overthrow of the Egyptian government and the establishment of an Islamic state. The group’s targets, historically, have been high-level Egyptian government officials as well as U.S. and Israeli interests in Egypt and abroad. Regular Egyptian crackdowns on extremists have greatly reduced AJ capabilities in Egypt.

Activities

The original AJ was responsible for the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. It claimed responsibility for the attempted assassinations in 1993 of Interior Minister Hassan al-Alfi and Prime Minister Atef Sedky. AJ has not conducted an attack inside Egypt since 1993 and has never successfully targeted foreign tourists there. The group was responsible for the Egyptian Embassy bombing in Islamabad in 1995 and a disrupted plot against the U.S. Embassy in Albania in 1998.

Strength

Believed to have several hundred hard-core members inside and outside of Egypt.

Location/Area of Operation

Most AJ members today are outside Egypt in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, the United Kingdom, and Yemen. AJ activities have been centered outside Egypt for several years under the auspices of al-Qaida.

External Aid

Since 1998 AJ has received most of its funding from al-Qaida; these close ties culminated in the eventual merger of the groups in June 2001. Some funding may come from various Islamic non-governmental organizations, cover businesses, and criminal acts.

Kahane Chai (Kach)

a.k.a. American Friends of the United Yeshiva; American Friends of Yeshivat Rav Meir; Committee for the Safety of the Roads; Dikuy Bogdim; DOV; Forefront of the Idea; Friends of the Jewish Idea Yeshiva; Jewish Idea Yeshiva; Jewish Legion; Judea Police; Judean Congress; Kach; Kahane; Kahane Lives; Kahane Tzadak; Kahane.org; Kahanetzadak.com; Kfar Tapuah Fund; Koach; Meir’s Youth; New Kach Movement; Newkach.org; No’ar Meir; Repression of Traitors; State of Judea; Sword of David; The Committee Against Racism and Discrimination (CARD); The Hatikva Jewish Identity Center;The International Kahane Movement; The Jewish Idea Yeshiva; The Judean Legion; The Judean Voice; The Gomemiyut Movement; The Rabbi Meir David Kahane Memorial Fund; The Voice of Judea; The Way of the Torah; The Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea; Yeshivat Harav Meir

Description

Kach’s stated goal is to restore the biblical state of Israel. Kach was founded by radical Israeli-American rabbi Meir Kahane. Its offshoot Kahane Chai, (translation: “Kahane Lives”) was founded by Meir Kahane’s son Binyamin following his father’s 1990 assassination in the United States. Both Kach and Kahane Chai were declared terrorist organizations in 1994 by the Israeli Cabinet under its 1948 Terrorism Law. This designation followed the groups’statements in support of Dr. Baruch Goldstein’s attack in February 1994 on the Ibrahimi Mosque (Goldstein was affiliated with Kach) and their verbal attacks on the Israeli government. Palestinian gunmen killed Binyamin Kahane and his wife in a drive-by shooting in December 2000 in the West Bank.

Activities

Kach has harassed and threatened Arabs, Palestinians, and Israeli government officials, and has vowed revenge for the death of Binyamin Kahane and his wife. Kach is suspected of involvement in a number of low-level attacks since the start of the al-Aqsa intifada in 2000.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Israel and West Bank settlements, particularly Qiryat Arba’ in Hebron.

External Aid

Receives support from sympathizers in the United States and Europe.

Kongra-Gel (KGK/PKK)

(Despite name changes, the group is still most commonly referred to as the PKK; for the purposes of this report we refer to the group as Kongra-Gel/PKK or KGK/PKK.) a.k.a. Kurdish Freedom Hawks (TAK); Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK); Freedom and Democracy Congress of Kurdistan (KADEK); Halu Mesru Savunma Kuvveti (HSK); Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress; Kurdistan People’s Congress (KHK); Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan; People’s Congress of Kurdistan; The People’s Defense Force.

Description

The KGK/PKK was founded by Abdullah Ocalan in 1974 as a Marxist-Leninist separatist organization. The group, composed primarily of Turkish Kurds, launched a campaign of violence in 1984. The KGK/PKK aspired to establish an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey, but in recent years has spoken more often about cultural or linguistic rights. In the early 1990s, the KGK/PKK moved beyond rural-based insurgent activities to include urban terrorism. In the 1990s south-eastern Anatolia was the scene of significant violence; some estimates place casualties at approximately 30,000 persons. Following his capture in 1999, Ocalan announced a “peace initiative,” ordering members to refrain from violence and requesting dialogue with Ankara on Kurdish issues. Ocalan’s death-sentence was commuted to life-imprisonment; he remains the symbolic leader of the group. The group foreswore violence until June 2004, when the group’s hard-line militant wing took control and renounced the self-imposed cease-fire of the previous five years. Striking over the border from bases within Iraq the KGK/PKK engaged in terrorist attacks in eastern and western Turkey.

Activities

Primary targets have been Turkish government security forces, local Turkish officials, and villagers who oppose the organization in Turkey. The group conducted attacks on Turkish diplomatic and commercial facilities in West European cities in 1993 and again in spring 1995. In an attempt to damage Turkey’s tourist industry, the KGK/PKK bombed tourist sites and hotels and kidnapped foreign tourists in the early-to-mid-1990s. Turkish authorities have confirmed or suspect that the group is responsible for dozens of bombings since 2004 in western Turkey, particularly in Istanbul and increasingly in resort areas on the western coast where foreign tourists, among others, have been killed. There have also been dozens of military clashes between Turkish security forces and KGK/PKK militants.

Strength

Approximately 4,000 to 5,000; 3,000 to 3,500 are currently located in northern Iraq.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates primarily in Turkey, Iraq, Europe, and the Middle East.

External Aid

Kongra-Gel/PKK has historically received safe haven and modest aid from Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Since 1999, Syria and Iran have cooperated with Turkey against the PKK, in a limited fashion. The KGK/PKK funds raise in Europe.

Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LT)

a.k.a. Al Mansooreen; Al Mansoorian; Army of the Pure; Army of the Pure and Righteous; Army of the Righteous; Jamaat ud-Dawa and Al Monsooreen; Lashkar e-Toiba; Lashkar-i-Taiba; Paasban-e-Ahle-Hadis; Paasban-e-Kashmir; Paasban-i-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Kashmir

Description

LT began as the militant wing of the Islamic extremist organization Markaz Dawa ul-Irshad (MDI), which was formed in the mid-1980s. MDI changed its name to Jamaat ul-Dawa (JUD) in 2001, probably in an effort to avoid Pakistan government restrictions. LT, which is not connected to any political party, is led by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and is one of the three largest and best-trained groups fighting in Kashmir against India. The Pakistani government banned the group and froze its assets in January 2002. Elements of LT and Jaish-e-Muhammad combined with other groups to mount attacks as “The Save Kashmir Movement.”

Activities

LT has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Jammu and Kashmir since 1993. LT claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in 2001, including an attack in January on Srinagar airport that killed five Indians; an attack on a police station in Srinagar that killed at least eight officers and wounded several others; and an attack in April against Indian border security forces that left at least four dead. The Indian government publicly implicated LT, along with JEM, for the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament building, although concrete evidence is lacking. LT is also suspected of involvement in May 2002 attack on an Indian Army base in Kaluchak that left 36 dead. India blamed LT for an October 2005 attack in New Delhi and a December 2005 Bangalore attack. Senior al-Qaida lieutenant Abu Zubaydah was captured at an LT safe house in Faisalabad in March 2002, which suggested that some members were facilitating the movement of al-Qaida members in Pakistan. Government of India officials hold LT responsible for the July 11, 2006 train attack in Mumbai.

Strength

LT has several thousand members in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, in the southern Jammu and Kashmir and Doda regions, and in the Kashmir Valley. Almost all LT members are Pakistanis from madrassas across Pakistan or Afghan veterans of the Afghan wars. The group uses assault rifles, light and heavy machine guns, mortars, explosives, and rocket-propelled grenades.

Location/Area of Operation

Based in Muridke (near Lahore) and Muzaffarabad.

External Aid

Collects donations from the Pakistani expatriate communities in the Middle East and United Kingdom, Islamic NGOs, and Pakistani and other Kashmiri business people. LT also maintains a website under the name Jamaat ud-Daawa through which it solicits funds and provides information on the group’s activities. The precise amount of LT funding is unknown.

Lashkar i Jhangvi (LJ)

a.k.a. Lashkar e Jhangvi; Lashkari-i-Jhangvi

Description

Lashkar i Jhangvi (LJ) is the militant offshoot of the Sunni Deobandi sectarian group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan. LJ focuses primarily on anti-Shia attacks and was banned by Pakistani President Musharraf in August 2001 as part of an effort to rein in sectarian violence. Many of its members then sought refuge in Afghanistan with the Taliban, with whom they had existing ties. After the collapse of the Taliban, LJ members became active in aiding other terrorists with safe houses, false identities, and protection in Pakistani cities, including Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi. In January 2003, the United States added LJ to the list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

Activities

LJ specializes in armed attacks and bombings and has admitted responsibility for numerous killings of Shia religious and community leaders in Pakistan. In January 1999, the group attempted to assassinate former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shabaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab Province. Pakistani authorities have publicly linked LJ members to the 2002 abduction and murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. Media reports linked LJ to attacks on Christian targets in Pakistan, including a March 2002 grenade assault on the Protestant International Church in Islamabad that killed two U.S. citizens, but no formal charges were filed against the group. Pakistani authorities believe LJ was responsible for the July 2003 bombing of a Shiite mosque in Quetta, Pakistan. Authorities also implicated LJ in several sectarian incidents in 2004, including the May and June bombings of two Shiite mosques in Karachi that killed more than 40 people. In May 2006, Pakistani police arrested two LJ militants suspected of involvement in the April bombing outside the U.S. Consulate in Karachi that killed one U.S. official; investigations are ongoing. In late 2006, Pakistani security agencies arrested eight suspects allegedly involved in the October blast at the Ayub Park in Rawalpindi and in planting anti-tank rockets at several locations in Islamabad. The Pakistani Interior Minister claimed these suspects have links to LJ and al-Qaida.

Strength

Probably fewer than 100.

Location/Area of Operation

LJ is active primarily in Punjab and Karachi. Some members travel between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

External Aid

Unknown.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

a.k.a. Ellalan Force; The Tamil Tigers

Description

Founded in 1976, LTTEis the most powerful Tamil secessionist group in Sri Lanka. LTTE wants to establish an independent Tamil state in the island’s north and east. It began its insurgency against the Sri Lankan government in 1983 and has relied on a guerrilla strategy that includes the use of terrorist tactics. LTTE nominally hasobserved a cease-fire agreement with the Sri Lankan government since 2002. The United States designated LTTE as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in October 1997.

Activities

LTTE has integrated a battlefield insurgent strategy with a terrorist program that targets key personnel in the countryside and senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders in Colombo and other urban centers. It also has conducted a sustained campaign targeting rival Tamil groups and figures, and assassinated the head of government of two countries: Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India in 1991 and President Premadasa of Sri Lanka in 1993. LTTE is most notorious for the Black Tigers, its cadre of suicide bombers. Political assassinations and bombings were commonplace tactics prior to the cease-fire and have increased again since mid-2005. Fighting between LTTE and the Sri Lanka government escalated in 2006.

Strength

Exact strength is unknown, but LTTE is estimated to have 8,000 to 10,000 armed combatants in Sri Lanka, with a core of 3,000 to 6,000 trained fighters.LTTE also has a significant overseas support structure for fundraising, weapons procurement, and propaganda activities.

Location/Area of Operations

Headquartered in northern Sri Lanka, LTTE controls portions of the northern and eastern coastal areas of Sri Lanka, where it has set up a comprehensive administrative structure, but also has conducted operations throughout the island. LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has established an extensive network of checkpoints and informants to keep track of any outsiders who enter the group’s area of control.

External Aid

LTTE’s overt organizations support Tamil separatism by lobbying foreign governments and the United Nations. LTTE also uses its international contacts and the large Tamil Diaspora in North America, Europe, and Asia to procure weapons, communications, funding, and other needed supplies.

Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)

Description

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) emerged in the early 1990s among Libyans who had fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan and the Qadhafi regime in Libya. The LIFG declared Libyan President Muammar Qadhafi un-Islamic and pledged to overthrow him. Some members maintain a strictly anti-Qadhafi focus and organize against Libyan government interests, but others, such as Abu al-Faraj al-Libi, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2005, are aligned with Usama bin Ladin and believed to be part of al-Qaida’s leadership structure or active in the international terrorist network. The United States designated the LIFG a Foreign Terrorist Organization in December 2004.

Activities

Libyans associated with the LIFG are part of the broader international terrorist movement. Spanish media in August 2005 linked Ziyad Hashem, an alleged member of the LIFG’s media committee, as well as the imprisoned amir Abdullah al-Sadeq, with the Tunisian Islamist Serhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, the suspected ringleader in the 2004 Madrid attacks. The LIFG is one of the groups believed to have planned the Casablanca suicide bombings in May 2003. The LIFG continues to target Libyan interests, and attempted to assassinate Qadhafi a total of four times; the last attempt was in 1998. The LIFG engaged Libyan security forces in armed clashes during the 1990s.

Strength

Probably has several hundred active members or supporters.

Location/Area of Operation

Since the late 1990s many members have fled to various Asian, Arabian Gulf, African, and European countries, particularly the United Kingdom. It is likely that LIFG maintains a clandestine presence in Libya.

External Aid

Unknown. The LIFG has used Islamic charitable organizations as cover for raising and transferring money and documents.

Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM)

a.k.a. Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain

Description

The Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) is a clandestine transnational terrorist group currently centered in the Moroccan diaspora communities of Western Europe. Its goals include establishing an Islamic state in Morocco and supporting al-Qaida’s war against the West by assisting in the assimilation of al-Qaida operatives into Moroccan and then European society. The group appears to have emerged in the 1990s and is comprised of Moroccan recruits who trained in armed camps in Afghanistan, including some who fought in the Soviet Afghan war. GICM members interact with other North African extremists, particularly in Europe. In November 2002, the United States designated the GICM for asset freeze under EO 13224 following the group’s submission to the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee. The United States designated GICM as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 11, 2005.

Activities

The GICM carried out its first attack in Casablanca, Morocco on May 16, 2003, and GICM members were responsible for the Madrid attack. Moroccans associated with the GICM are part of the broader international terrorist movement; GICM members have been implicated in the recruitment network of individuals for Iraq, and at least one GICM member has carried out a suicide attack against Coalition Forces in Iraq.

Strength

Much of the GICM’s leadership in Morocco and Europe have been killed, imprisoned, or are awaiting trial. Alleged leader Mohamed al-Guerbouzi has been convicted in absentia by the Moroccan government for his role in the Casablanca attacks but remains free in exile in the United Kingdom.

Location/Area of Operation

Morocco, Western Europe, Afghanistan, and Canada.

External Aid

The GICM is involved heavily in narcotics trafficking in North Africa and Europe to fund their operations. Moroccan security officials believe money from drug trafficking largely financed the 2003 Casablanca attacks. The Madrid attacks were financed mainly by the narcotics trafficking of Moroccan jihadist Jamal Ahmidan.

Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK)

a.k.a. MKO; Mujahedin-e Khalq; Muslim Iranian Students’society; National Council of Resistance; National Council of Resistance (NCR); Organization of the People’s Holy Warriors of Iran; The National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA); The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI); National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI); Sazeman-e Mujahedin-e Khalq-e Iran

Description

The MEK advocates the violent overthrow of the Iranian regime and was responsible for the assassination of several U.S. military personnel and civilians in the 1970’s. MEK leadership and members across the world maintain the capacity and will to commit terrorist acts in Europe, the Middle East, the United State, Canada, and beyond.

The MEK emerged in the 1960s as one of the more violent political movements opposed to the Pahlavi dynasty and its close relationship with the United States. MEK ideology has gone through several iterations and blends elements of Marxism, Islam, and feminism. Following its participation in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the group rapidly fell out of favor with the Iranian people. The new Iranian government under Supreme Leader Khomeini systematically arrested and targeted many MEK members, causing most MEK leadership to flee to Europe. In 1986, MEK leaders and operatives were evicted from France and provided a safe haven in Iraq by Saddam Hussein.

The group has planned and executed terrorist operations against the Iranian regime for nearly three decades from its European and Iraqi bases of operations. Additionally, it has expanded its fundraising base, further developed its paramilitary skills, and aggressively worked to expand its European ranks. In addition to its terrorist credentials, the MEK has also displayed cult-like characteristics. Upon entry into the group, new members are indoctrinated in MEK ideology and revisionist Iranian history. Members are also required to undertake a vow of “eternal divorce” and participate in weekly “ideological cleansings.” Additionally, children are reportedly separated from parents at a young age. MEK leader Maryam Rajavi has established a “cult of personality.” She claims to emulate the Prophet Muhammad and is viewed by members as the “Iranian President in exile.”

Activities

The group’s worldwide campaign against the Iranian government uses propaganda and terrorism to achieve its objectives and has been supported by reprehensible regimes, including that of Saddam Hussein. During the 1970s, the MEK assassinated several U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians working on defense projects in Tehran and supported the violent takeover in 1979 of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Despite U.S. efforts, MEK members have never been brought to justice for the group’s role in these illegal acts.

In 1981, MEK leadership attempted to overthrow the newly installed Islamic regime; Iranian security forces subsequently initiated a crackdown on the group. The MEK instigated a bombing campaign, including an attack against the head office of the Islamic Republic Party and the Prime Minister’s office, which killed some 70 high-ranking Iranian officials, including Chief Justice Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, President Mohammad-Ali Rajaei, and Prime Minister Mohammad-Javad Bahonar. These attacks resulted in a popular uprising against the MEK and an expanded Iranian government crackdown which forced MEK leaders to flee to France. For five years, the MEK continued to wage its terrorist campaign from its Paris headquarters. Expelled by France in 1986, MEK leaders turned to Saddam Hussein’s regime for basing, financial support, and training. Near the end of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, Baghdad armed the MEK with heavy military equipment and deployed thousands of MEK fighters in suicidal, mass wave attacks against Iranian forces.

The MEK’s relationship with the former Iraqi regime continued through the 1990s. In 1991, the group reportedly assisted in the Iraqi Republican Guard’s bloody crackdown on Iraqi Shia and Kurds who rose up against Saddam Hussein’s regime; press reports cite MEK leader Maryam Rajavi encouraging MEK members to “take the Kurds under your tanks.” In April 1992, the MEK conducted near-simultaneous attacks on Iranian embassies and installations in 13 countries, demonstrating the group’s ability to mount large-scale operations overseas. In April 1999, the MEK targeted key Iranian military officers and assassinated the deputy chief of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff, Brigadier General Ali Sayyaad Shirazi.

In April 2000, the MEK attempted to assassinate the commander of the Nasr Headquarters, Tehran’s interagency board responsible for coordinating policies on Iraq. The pace of anti-Iranian operations increased during “Operation Great Bahman” in February 2000, when the group launched a dozen attacks against Iran. One of those attacks included a mortar attack against a major Iranian leadership complex in Tehran that housed the offices of the Supreme Leader and the President. In 2000 and 2001, the MEK was involved in regular mortar attacks and hit-andrun raids against Iranian military and law enforcement personnel, as well as government buildings near the Iran-Iraq border. Also in 2001, the FBI arrested seven Iranians in the United States who funneled $400,000 to an MEK-affiliated organization in the UAE which used the funds to purchase weapons. Following an initial Coalition bombardment of the MEK’s facilities in Iraq at the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom, MEK leadership negotiated a cease-fire with Coalition Forces and voluntarily surrendered their heavy-arms to Coalition control. Since 2003, roughly 3,400 MEK members have been encamped at Ashraf in Iraq, under the supervision of Coalition Forces.

In 2003, French authorities arrested 160 MEK members at operational bases they believed the MEK was using to coordinate financing and planning for terrorist attacks. Upon the arrest of MEK leader Maryam Rajavi, MEK members took to Paris’streets and engaged in self-immolation. French authorities eventually released Rajavi. Although currently in hiding, Rajavi has made appearances via video-satellite to “motivate” MEK-sponsored conferences across the globe.

According to evidence which became available after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the MEK received millions of dollars in Oil-for-Food program subsidies from Saddam Hussein from 1999 through 2003, which supported planning and executing future terrorist attacks. In addition to discovering 13 lists of recipients of such vouchers on which the MEK appeared, evidence linking the MEK to the former Iraqi regime includes lists, as well as video footage of Saddam Hussein handing over suitcases of money to known MEK leaders, and video of MEK operatives receiving training from the Iraqi military.

Strength

Estimates place MEK’s worldwide membership in the several thousands, with large pockets in Paris and other major European capitals. In Iraq, roughly 3,400 MEK members are gathered under Coalition supervision at Camp Ashraf, the MEK’s main compound north of Baghdad, where they have been designated as “protected persons” under Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This status does not affect the group’s members outside of Camp Ashraf or the MEK’s designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. As a condition of the 2003 cease-fire agreement, the MEK relinquished more than 2,000 tanks; armored personnel carriers; and heavy artillery. A significant number of MEK personnel have voluntarily left Ashraf, and an additional several hundred MEK defectors have been voluntarily repatriated to Iran. Many MEK leaders and operatives, however, remain at large, and the number of at-large MEK operatives who received weapons and bomb-making instruction from Saddam Hussein’s regime remains a source of significant concern.

Location/Area of Operation

In the 1980s, the MEK’s leaders were forced by Iranian security forces to flee to France. Following France’s recognition of the Iranian regime in 1986, the group’s leadership was forced out of France and took up residence in Iraq. The MEK maintains its main headquarters in Paris and has concentrations of members across Europe, in addition to the large concentration of MEK located at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The MEK’s global support structure remains in place with associates and supporters scattered throughout Europe and North America. Operations target Iranian regime elements across the globe, including in Europe and Iran. MEK’s political arm, the NCRI, has a global support network with active lobbying and propaganda efforts in major Western capitals. NCRI also has a well-developed media communications strategy.

External Aid

Before Operation Iraqi Freedom began in 2003; the MEK received all of its military assistance and most of its financial support from Saddam Hussein. The fall of Saddam’s regime has led MEK to increasingly rely on front organizations to solicit contributions from expatriate Iranian communities.

National Liberation Army (ELN)

a.k.a. Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional

Description

The ELN is a Colombian Marxist insurgent group formed in 1965 by urban intellectuals inspired by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. It is primarily rural-based, although it possesses several urban units. In December 2005, the ELN began preliminary talks with the Colombian government in Cuba, but had not yet agreed to begin a formal peace process.

Activities

ELN conducts kidnapping, hijacking, bombing, and extortion. It has minimal conventional military capability. The group conducts kidnappings for ransom, often targeting foreign employees of large corporations, especially in the petroleum industry. ELN derives some revenue from taxation of the illegal narcotics industry, and its involvement may be increasing. It assaults energy infrastructure and has inflicted major damage on pipelines and the electrical distribution network but has lost much of its capacity to carry out attacks in the past few years.

Strength

Approximately 3,000 armed combatants and an unknown number of active supporters.

Location/Area of Operation

Mostly in rural and mountainous areas of northern, northeastern, and southwestern Colombia, and Venezuelan border regions.

External Aid

Cuba provides some medical care and political consultation.

Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)

a.k.a. PLF-Abu Abbas Faction

Description

In the late 1970s the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) splintered from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), and later split into pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions. The pro-PLO faction was led by Muhammad Zaydan (a.k.a. Abu Abbas) and was based in Baghdad prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Activities

Abbas’s group was responsible for the 1985 attack on the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and the murder of U.S. citizen Leon Klinghoffer. In 1993, the PLF officially renounced terrorism when it acknowledged the Oslo accords, although it was suspected of supporting terrorism against Israel by other Palestinian groups into the 1990s.

In April 2004, Abu Abbas died of natural causes while in U.S. custody in Iraq. Current leadership and membership of the relatively small PLF appears to be based in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Based in Iraq from 1990 until 2003, the group currently is based in Lebanon.

External Aid

Unknown.

Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ)

a.k.a. Islamic Jihad of Palestine; PIJ-Shaqaqi Faction; PIJ-Shallah Faction; Al-Quds Brigades

Description

Formed by militant Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the 1970s, Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is committed to the creation of an Islamic state in all of historic Palestine and the destruction of Israel through attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets.

Activities

PIJ terrorists have conducted numerous attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings against Israeli civilian and military targets. In 2006, the group conducted two suicide bombings and launched numerous homemade rockets from the Gaza Strip into neighboring Israeli towns.

PIJ continues to plan and direct attacks against Israelis both inside Israel and in the Palestinian territories. Although U.S. citizens have died in PIJ mounted attacks, the group has not directly targeted U.S. interests.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Primarily Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. The group’s central leadership resides in Syria. Other leadership elements reside in Lebanon and official representatives are scattered throughout the Middle East.

External Aid

Receives financial assistance primarily from Iran. Syria provides the group with safe haven.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)

Description

Formerly a part of the PLO, the Marxist-Leninist PFLP was founded by George Habash when it broke away from the Arab Nationalist Movement in 1967. The PFLP does not view the Palestinian struggle as religious, seeing it instead as a broader revolution against Western imperialism. The group earned a reputation for spectacular international attacks in the 1960s and 1970s, including airline hijackings that killed at least 20 U.S. citizens.

Activities

The PFLP has stepped up its operational activity since the start of the current intifada, highlighted by at least two suicide bombings since 2003, multiple joint operations with other Palestinian terrorist groups, and the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001, to avenge Israel’s killing of the PFLP Secretary General earlier that year.

In March 2006, the PFLP’s current Secretary General, Ahmed Sa’adat, who had been imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority for his involvement in the Ze’evi assassination, was seized from the Jericho prison compound by Israeli forces and is now awaiting trial.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

External Aid

Receives safe haven and some logistical assistance from Syria.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLPGC)

Description

The PFLP-GC split from the PFLP in 1968, claiming it wanted to focus more on fighting and less on politics. Originally, the group was violently opposed to the Arafat-led PLO. Ahmad Jibril, a former captain in the Syrian Army, whose son Jihad was killed by a car bomb in May 2002, has led the PFLP-GC since its founding. The PFLP-GC is closely tied to both Syria and Iran.

Activities

The PFLP-GC carried out dozens of attacks in Europe and the Middle East during the 1970s and 1980s. The organization was known for cross-border terrorist attacks into Israel using unusual means, such as hot-air balloons and motorized hang gliders. The group’s primary focus now is on guerrilla operations in southern Lebanon, training members of other Palestinian terrorist groups, and weapons smuggling. The PFLP-GC maintains an armed presence in several refugee camps and military bases throughout Lebanon.

Strength

Several hundred.

Location/Area of Operation

Headquartered in Damascus with bases in Lebanon.

External Aid

Receives logistical and military support from Syria and financial support from Iran.

Al-Qaida

a.k.a. International Front for Fighting Jews and Crusaders; Islamic Army; Islamic Army for the Liberation of Holy Sites; Islamic Salvation Foundation; The Base; The Group for the Preservation of the Holy Sites; The Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places; The World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders; Usama bin Ladin Network; Usama bin Ladin Organization; Qaidat al-Jihad

Description

Al-Qaida was established by Usama bin Ladin in 1988 with Arabs who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. The group helped finance, recruit, transport, and train Sunni Islamic extremists for the Afghan resistance. Al-Qaida’s goal is uniting Muslims to fight the United States and its allies, overthrowing regimes it deems “non-Islamic,” and expelling Westerners and non-Muslims from Muslim countries. Its ultimate goal is the establishment of a pan-Islamic caliphate throughout the world. Al-Qaida leaders issued a statement in February 1998 under the banner of “The World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders” saying it was the duty of all Muslims to kill U.S. citizens, civilian and military, and their allies everywhere. Al-Qaida merged with al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad) in June 2001, renaming itself “Qaidat al-Jihad.”

Activities

Even as al-Qaida’s top leaders continue to plot and direct terror attacks worldwide, terrorists affiliated with al-Qaida but not necessarily controlled by bin Ladin have increasingly carried out high-profile attacks. Over the past four years, al-Qaida, its affiliates, and those inspired by the group were also involved in anti-U.S. and anti-Coalition attacks in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, including suicide bombings and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices. In 2006, al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continued major efforts to attack the West and its interests. For example, in mid-August, U.K. and U.S. authorities foiled a plot to blow up as many as ten aircraft. Al-Qaida may have been complicit in the plot but the group has made no public statement claiming its involvement. Additionally, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the February 24, 2006, attack on the Abqaiq petroleum processing facility, the largest such facility in the world, in Saudi Arabia. The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) officially merged with al-Qaida in September 2006, subsequently changed its name to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and attacked a U.S. contractor bus in December 2006 in greater Algiers, marking its first attack against a U.S. entity.

Bin Ladin’s deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed responsibility on behalf of al-Qaida for multiple attacks in 2005 against the London public transportation system. The extent of senior leadership involvement in planning the July 2005 attacks is unclear, however, some suspects in the attacks included homegrown United Kingdom-based extremists who were inspired by al-Qaida.

In 2003 and 2004, Saudi-based al-Qaida operatives and associated extremists launched more than a dozen attacks, killing at least 90 people, including 14 Americans in Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida may have been connected to the suicide bombers and planners of the November 2003 attacks in Istanbul that targeted two synagogues, the British Consulate, and the HSBC Bank, and resulted in the deaths of more than 60 people. Pakistani President Musharraf blames al-Qaida for two attempts on his life in December 2003.

In October 2002, al-Qaida directed a suicide attack on the French tanker MV Limburg off the coast of Yemen that killed one and injured four. The group also carried out the November 2002 suicide bombing of a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, which killed 15. Al-Qaida probably provided financing for the October 2002 Bali bombings by Jemaah Islamiya that killed more than 200.

On September 11, 2001, 19 al-Qaida members hijacked and crashed four U.S. commercial jets -- two into the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon near Washington, DC, and a fourth into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania -- leaving nearly 3,000 individuals dead or missing.

In October 2000, al-Qaida conducted a suicide attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, with an explosive-laden boat, killing 17 U.S. Navy sailors and injuring 39. Al-Qaida also carried out the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam killing at least 301 individuals and injuring more than 5,000 others. Al-Qaida and its supporters claim to have shot down U.S. helicopters and killed U.S. servicemen in Somalia in 1993, and to have conducted three bombings that targeted U.S. troops in Aden in December 1992.

Strength

Al-Qaida’s organizational strength is difficult to determine in the aftermath of extensive counterterrorist efforts since 9/11. The arrests and deaths of mid-level and senior al-Qaida operatives have disrupted some communication, financial, and facilitation nodes and disrupted some terrorist plots. Additionally, supporters and associates worldwide who are inspired by the group’s ideology may be operating without direction from al-Qaida’s central leadership; it is impossible to estimate their numbers. Al-Qaida also serves as a focal point of inspiration for a worldwide network that is comprised of many Sunni Islamic extremist groups, including some members of the Gama’at al-Islamiyya, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Group, Lashkar i Jhangvi, Harakat ul-Mujahedin, Ansar al-Sunnah, the Taliban, Jemaah Islamiya, and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

Location/Area of Operation

Al-Qaida’s worldwide networks are augmented by ties to local Sunni extremists. The group was based in Afghanistan until Coalition Forces removed the Taliban from power in late 2001. While the largest concentration of senior al-Qaida members now reside in Pakistan, the network incorporates members of al-Qaida in Iraq and other associates throughout the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and Central Asia who continue working to carry out future attacks against U.S. and Western interests.

External Aid

Al-Qaida primarily depends on donations from like-minded supporters and individuals who believe that their money is supporting a humanitarian or other cause. Some funds are diverted from Islamic charitable organizations. Additionally, parts of the organization raise funds through criminal activities; for example, al-Qaida in Iraq raises funds through hostage-taking for ransom, and members in Europe have engaged in credit card fraud. U.S. and international efforts to block al-Qaida funding have hampered the group’s ability to raise money.

Al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI)

a.k.a. Al-Qaida Group of Jihad in Iraq; Al-Qaida Group of Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers; Al-Qaida in Mesopotamia; Al-Qaida in the Land of the Two Rivers; Al-Qaida of Jihad in Iraq; Al-Qaida of Jihad Organization in the Land of The Two Rivers; Al-Qaida of the Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers; Al-Tawhid; Jam’at al-Tawhid Wa’al-Jihad; Tanzeem Qaidat al Jihad/Bilad al Raafidaini; Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn; The Monotheism and Jihad Group; The Organization Base of Jihad/Country of the Two Rivers; The Organization of al-Jihad’s Base in Iraq; The Organization of al-Jihad’s Base in the Land of the Two Rivers; The Organization of al-Jihad’s Base of Operations in Iraq; The Organization of al-Jihad’s Base of Operations in the Land of the Two Rivers; The Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers

Description

In an attempt to unify Sunni jihadists in Iraq, in January 2006, al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) created the Mujahidin Shura Council (MSC), an umbrella organization meant to encompass the various Sunni jihadist groups in Iraq. AQI claimed its attacks under the MSC until mid-October, when Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s successor, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, took the first step toward al-Qaida’s goal of establishing a caliphate in the region by declaring the “Islamic State of Iraq” (ISI), under which AQI now claims its attacks.

On June 7, 2006, AQI leader Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike. Following his death, the MSC announced Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, also known at Abu Ayyub al-Masri, as Zarqawi’s successor. Abu Ayyub promptly issued a statement pledging to continue what Zarqawi had started, and AQI has continued its strategy of targeting Coalition Forces and Shi’a civilians in an attempt to foment sectarian strife. Although Coalition and Iraqi security force operations also have cost AQI dozens of lieutenants and high-ranking network members, overall violence in Iraq is at a higher level than it was while Zarqawi was alive.

Activities

In August 2003, Zarqawi’s group carried out a major terrorist attack in Iraq when it bombed the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad, followed 12 days later by a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attack against the UN Headquarters in Baghdad that killed 23, including the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. That same month the group conducted a VBIED attack against Shia worship-pers outside the Imam Ali Mosque in al Najaf, killing 85, including the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). The group kept up its attack pace throughout 2003, striking numerous Iraqi, Coalition, and relief agency targets such as the Red Cross. Zarqawi’s group conducted VBIED attacks against U.S. military personnel and Iraqi infrastructure throughout 2004, including suicide attacks inside the Green Zone perimeter in Baghdad. The group successfully penetrated the Green Zone in the October 2004 bombing of a popular café and market. It also claimed responsibility for the videotaped execution by beheading of Americans Nicholas Berg (May 8, 2004), Jack Armstrong (September 20, 2004), and Jack Hensley (September 21, 2004). AQI was likely involved in other hostage incidents as well. In 2005, AQI largely focused on conducting multiple high-profile, coordinated suicide attacks. AQI claimed numerous attacks primarily aimed against civilians, the Iraqi government, and security forces, such as the coordinated attacks against polling sites during the January elections and the coordinated VBIED attacks outside the Sheraton and Palestine hotels in Baghdad on October 24. The group also continued assassinations against Shia leaders and Shia militia--Jaysh al-Mahdi and Badr Corps.

AQI increased its external operations in 2005 by claiming credit for three attacks: suicide bomber attacks against hotels in Amman on November 9; a rocket attack against U.S. Navy ships in the port of Aqaba in August, which resulted in limited damage in Jordan and in Eilat, Israel; and the firing of several rockets into Israel from Lebanon in December. In August 2005, an AQI operative was arrested in Turkey while planning an operation targeting Israeli cruise ships. Prior to 2005, AQI planned and conducted limited attacks in Jordan, including the assassination of USAID official Laurence Foley in 2002. In October 2006, AQI declared the ISI would become a platform from which AQI would launch jihad throughout the world. Following the announcement, AQI members marched through cities they considered to be part of their new state as a show of force. AQI attack claims, which the group released under the auspices of the Mujahidin Shura Council and now the ISI, increased in 2006.

Strength

Precise numbers are unknown, but AQI is the largest terrorist group in Iraq.

Location/Area of Operation

AQI’s operations are predominately Iraq-based, but the group maintains an extensive logistical network throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Iran, South Asia, and Europe.

External Aid

AQI probably receives funds from donors in the Middle East and Europe, local sympathizers in Iraq, a variety of businesses and criminal activities, and other international extremists throughout the world. In many cases, AQI’s donors are probably motivated by support for terrorism rather than affiliation with any specific terrorist group.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

[Formerly Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC)] a.k.a. Le Groupe Salafiste pour la Predication et le Combat; Salafist Group for Call and Combat

Description

The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) officially merged with al-Qaida in September 2006, and subsequently changed its name to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). GSPC members abandoned the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) over disagreements about leadership and tactics, but retained the mission of overthrowing the Algerian Government and installing an Islamic regime. AQIM/GSPC is the most effective and largest armed group inside Algeria. In contrast to the GIA, it has pledged to avoid civilian attacks inside Algeria.

Activities

AQIM/GSPC attacked a U.S. contractor bus in December 2006 in greater Algiers. In Zawahiri’s September 11 speech announcing the GSPC’s merger with al-Qaida, Zawahiri called on it to be “a bone in the throat of the American and French crusaders” and to sow fear “in the heart of the traitors and apostate sons of France.” AQIM/GSPC continues to conduct operations aimed at government and military targets, primarily in rural areas, although civilians are sometimes killed. AQIM/GSPC executed simultaneous attacks on October 30 on two police stations just east of Algiers, killing three civilians, wounding 14 police officers, and causing substantial damage to both facilities. In 2005, the GSPC claimed responsibility for an attack on a remote Mauritanian military outpost, killing 15, while indicating a shift in its strategy toward a more global war beyond Algerian borders.

Police in France, Italy and Spain arrested several Algerians suspected of providing support to AQIM/GSPC, and French officials announced that the AQIM/GSPC had issued an Internet call-to-action against France, declaring France “public enemy number one.” The Government of Algeria scored major counterterrorism successes against AQIM/GSPC in 2004, killing AQIM/GSPC leader Nabil Sahraoui and separately taking custody of Abderazak al-Para, who led a AQIM/GSPC faction that held 32 European tourists hostage in 2003.

Strength

Several hundred fighters with an unknown number of facilitators outside Algeria.

Location/Area of Operation

Algeria, the Sahel, Canada, and Western Europe.

External Aid

Algerian expatriates and AQIM/GSPC members abroad, many residing in Western Europe, provide financial and logistical support. AQIM/GSPC members also engage in criminal activity.

Real IRA (RIRA)

a.k.a. 32 County Sovereignty Committee; 32 County Sovereignty Movement; Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association; Real Irish Republican Army; Real Oglaigh Na Heireann

Description

Like the Continuity IRA, RIRA did not participate in the September 2005 weapons decommissioning. RIRA was formed in 1997 as the clandestine armed wing of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, a “political pressure group” dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and unifying Ireland. RIRA also seeks to disrupt the Northern Ireland peace process. The 32 County Sovereignty Movement opposed Sinn Fein’s adoption in September 1997 of the Mitchell principles of democracy and non-violence; it also opposed the amendment in December 1999 of Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution that laid claim to Northern Ireland. Despite internal rifts and calls by some jailed members, including the group’s founder Michael “Mickey” McKevitt, for a cease-fire and disbandment, RIRA has pledged additional violence and continues to conduct attacks.

Activities

Many RIRA members are former Provisional Irish Republican Army members who left that organization after it renewed its cease-fire in 1997. These members brought a wealth of experience in terrorist tactics and bomb-making to RIRA. Targets have included civilians (most notoriously in the Omagh bombing in August 1998), British security forces, police in Northern Ireland, and local Protestant communities. RIRA’s most recent fatal attack was in August 2002 at a London army base, killing a construction worker.

The organization wants to improve its intelligence-gathering ability, engineering capacity, and access to weaponry; it also trains members in the use of guns and explosives. RIRA continues to attract new members, and its senior members are committed to launching attacks on security forces. Three suspected RIRA members that engaged in cigarette smuggling were arrested in Spain in 2006.

Strength

The number of activists may have fallen to less than 100. The organization may receive limited support from IRA hardliners and Republican sympathizers dissatisfied with the IRA’s continuing cease-fire and with Sinn Fein’s involvement in the peace process. Approximately 40 RIRA members are in Irish jails.

Location/Area of Operation

Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and the Irish Republic.

External Aid

Suspected of receiving funds from sympathizers in the United States and of attempting to buy weapons from U.S. gun dealers. RIRA also is reported to have purchased sophisticated weapons from the Balkans.

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)

a.k.a. Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia

Description

The FARC is Latin America’s oldest, largest, most capable, and best-equipped insurgency. It began in the early sixties as an outgrowth of the Liberal Party-based peasant self-defense leagues, but took on Marxist ideology, although it only nominally fights in support of Marxist goals today. The FARC is governed by a general secretariat led by long-time leader Manuel Marulanda (a.k.a. “Tirofijo”) and six others, including senior military commander Jorge Briceno (a.k.a. “Mono Jojoy”). The FARC is organized along military lines and includes some specialized urban fighting units.

A Colombian military offensive targeting FARC fighters in their former safe haven in southern Colombia has experienced some success, with several FARC mid-level leaders killed or captured. France, Spain, and Switzerland formed an international commission in November 2005 to aid the Colombian government and the FARC with humanitarian exchange negotiations, which are currently stalled.

Activities

FARC has carried out bombings, murder, mortar attacks, kidnapping, extortion, and hijacking, as well as guerrilla and conventional military action against Colombian political, military, and economic targets. In February 2003, when a U.S. plane crashed in a FARC-held area, the FARC murdered a U.S. citizen and a Colombian; it continues to hold hostage the three other U.S. citizens that were on the plane. Foreign citizens often are targets of abductions that FARC carries out in pursuit of ransom and political leverage. The FARC has well-documented ties to the full range of narcotics trafficking activities, including taxation, cultivation, and distribution.

Strength

Approximately 15,000 combatants and several thousand more supporters, mostly in rural areas.

Location/Area of Operation

Primarily in Colombia with some activities such as extortion, kidnapping, weapons sourcing, logistics, and R&R in neighboring countries.

External Aid

Cuba and Venezuela provide some medical care, safe haven, and political consultation. The FARC often uses the Colombia/Venezuela and Colombia/Ecuador border areas for cross-border incursions and Venezuelan and Ecuadorian territory as a safe haven, although the degree of government acquiescence is not clear and seems to vary.

Revolutionary Nuclei (RN)

a.k.a. Revolutionary Cells

Description

Revolutionary Nuclei (RN) emerged from a broad range of anti-establishment and anti-U.S./NATO/EU leftist groups active in Greece between 1995 and 1998. The group is believed to be the successor to or offshoot of Greece’s most prolific terrorist group, Revolutionary People’s Struggle (ELA), which has not claimed an attack since January 1995. Indeed, RN appeared to fill the void left by ELA, particularly as lesser groups faded from the scene. RN’s few communiqués show strong similarities in rhetoric, tone, and theme to ELA proclamations. RN has not claimed an attack since November 2000, nor has it announced its disbandment.

Activities

Since it began operations in January 1995, the group has claimed responsibility for some two dozen arson attacks and low-level bombings against a range of U.S., Greek, and other European targets in Greece. In its most infamous and lethal attack to date, the group claimed responsibility for a bomb it detonated at the Intercontinental Hotel in April 1999 that resulted in the death of a Greek woman and injury of a Greek man. RN’s modus operandi includes warning calls of impending attacks, attacks targeting property instead of individuals, use of rudimentary timing devices, and strikes during the late evening to early morning hours. RN may have been responsible for two attacks in July 2003 against a U.S. insurance company and a local bank in Athens. RN’s last confirmed attacks against U.S. interests in Greece came in November 2000, with two separate bombings against the Athens offices of Citigroup and the studio of a Greek-American sculptor. Greek targets have included judicial and other government office buildings, private vehicles, and the offices of Greek firms involved in NATO-related defense contracts in Greece. Similarly, the group has attacked European interests in Athens.

Strength

Group membership is believed to be small, probably drawing from the Greek militant leftist or anarchist milieu.

Location/Area of Operation

Primary area of operation is in the Athens, Greece metropolitan area.

External Aid

Unknown but believed to be self-sustaining.

Revolutionaray Organization 17 November (17N)

a.k.a. Epanastatiki Organosi 17 Noemvri; 17 November

Description

17 November (17N) is a radical leftist group established in 1975 and named for the student uprising in Greece in November 1973 that protested the ruling military junta. 17N is an anti-Greek establishment, anti-United States, anti-Turkey, and anti-NATO group that seeks the ouster of U.S. bases from Greece, the removal of Turkish military forces from Cyprus, and the severing of Greece’s ties to NATO and the European Union (EU).

Activities

Initial attacks were assassinations of senior U.S. officials and Greek public figures. Five U.S. Embassy employees have been murdered since 17N began its terrorist activities in 1975. The group began using bombings in the 1980s. In 1990, 17N expanded its targets to include Turkish diplomats, EU facilities, and foreign firms investing in Greece, and added improvised rocket attacks to its methods. The group supported itself largely through bank robberies. A failed 17N bombing attempt in June 2002 at the port of Piraeus in Athens, coupled with robust detective work, led to the arrest of 19 members, the first 17N operatives ever arrested, including a key leader of the organization. In December 2003, a Greek court convicted 15 members, five of whom were given multiple life terms. Four other alleged members were acquitted for lack of evidence. In December 2005, against the backdrop of a sympathetic press, a group appeals trial opened for the 15 convicted members and two of the previously acquitted members. The appeals trial essentially represents a new trial for the convicts because new evidence and facts can be introduced under Greek law. Moreover, convicted 17N terrorist Nikos Papanastasiou was released from prison in July 2006 on medical grounds. Papanastasiou was the third convicted 17N terrorist to be granted early release from prison for health reasons, following Konstantinos Telios and Pavlos Serifis in 2005.

Strength

Unknown but presumed to be small.

Location/Area of Operation

Athens, Greece.

External Aid

Unknown.

Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)

a.k.a. Dev Sol; Dev Sol Armed Revolutionary Units; Dev Sol Silahli Devrimci Birlikleri; Dev Sol SDB; Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi; Devrimci Sol; Revolutionary Left

Description

This group originally formed in 1978 as Devrimci Sol, or Dev Sol, a splinter faction of Dev Genc (Revolutionary Youth). It was renamed in 1994 after factional infighting. “Party” refers to the group’s political activities, while “Front” is a reference to the group’s militant operations. The group espouses a Marxist-Leninist ideology and is vehemently anti-U.S., anti-NATO, and anti-Turkish establishment. Its goals are the establishment of a socialist state and the abolition of F-type prisons, which contain one- to three-man prison cells. DHKP/C finances its activities chiefly through donations and extortion.

Activities

Since the late 1980s, the group has targeted primarily current and retired Turkish security and military officials. It began a new campaign against foreign interests in 1990, which included attacks against U.S. military and diplomatic personnel and facilities. To protest perceived U.S. imperialism during the Gulf War, Dev Sol assassinated two U.S. military contractors, wounded an Air Force officer, and bombed more than 20 U.S. and NATO military, commercial, and cultural facilities. In its first significant terrorist act as DHKP/C in 1996, the group assassinated a prominent Turkish businessman and two others. DHKP/C added suicide bombings to its repertoire in 2001, with successful attacks against Turkish police in January and September. Since the end of 2001, DHKP/C has typically used improvised explosive devices against official Turkish targets and soft U.S. targets of opportunity; attacks against U.S. targets beginning in 2003 probably came in response to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Operations and arrests against the group have weakened its capabilities.

Strength

Probably several dozen terrorist operatives inside Turkey, with a large support network throughout Europe.

Location/Area of Operation

Turkey, primarily Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Adana. Raises funds in Europe.

External Aid

Widely believed to have training facilities or offices in Lebanon and Syria.

Shining Path (SL)

a.k.a. Sendero Luminoso; Ejercito Guerrillero Popular (People’s Guerrilla Army); Ejercito Popular de Liberacion (People’s Liberation Army); Partido Comunista del Peru (Communist Party of Peru); Partido Comunista del Peru en el Sendero Luminoso de Jose Carlos Mariategui (Communist Party of Peru on the Shining Path of Jose Carlos Mariategui); Socorro Popular del Peru (People’s Aid of Peru)

Description

Former university professor Abimael Guzman formed SL in Peru in the late 1960s, and his teachings created the foundation of SL’s militant Maoist doctrine. In the 1980s, SL became one of the most ruthless terrorist groups in the Western Hemisphere. Approximately 35,000 persons have died since Shining Path took up arms in 1980.

The Peruvian government made dramatic gains against SL during the 1990s, but recent SL attacks against Peruvian counternarcotics police and kidnappings of counter-narcotics NGO workers underscore the continuing threat SL poses, as well as the group’s increasing ties to narcotrafficking. SL’s stated goal is to destroy existing Peruvian institutions and replace them with a communist peasant revolutionary regime. It also opposes any influence by foreign governments. In response to SL’s bloody attacks in late 2005, Peruvian authorities have stepped up counterterrorism efforts against the group. More recently, SL members have attempted to influence the local populace through indoctrination versus violence.

Activities

SL has conducted indiscriminate bombing campaigns, ambushes, and selective assassinations. Its increased drug ties have raised operating revenue.

Strength

Unknown but estimated to be some 300 armed militants.

Location/Area of Operation

Peru, with most activity in rural areas, specifically the Huallaga Valley, the Ene River, and the Apurimac Valley of central Peru.

External Aid

None.

United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)

a.k.a. Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia

Description

The AUC, commonly referred to as the paramilitaries, is an umbrella group formed in April 1997 to organize loosely affiliated illegal paramilitary groups that emerged to retaliate against leftist guerillas fighting the Colombian government and the landed establishment. The AUC increasingly discarded its counter-guerilla activities, electing instead to involve itself in the illegal drug trade. Recently, as the result of a large demobilization process, most of the AUC’s centralized military structure has been dismantled, all the top paramilitary chiefs have stepped down, and the majority of the chiefs are being held in a maximum security facility. More than 31,000 paramilitary members demobilized bloc by bloc from 2003 to 2006. Colombia now faces criminal gangs formed by demobilized paramilitaries and other individuals, as well as a few paramilitary groups that refused to disarm. Unlike the AUC, the new criminal groups make little claim to fighting guerrillas and are more clearly criminal enterprises focused primarily on drug trafficking, other lucrative illicit activity, and controlling local politics. They are not part of the AUC.

Activities

Paramilitary operations vary from assassinating suspected insurgent supporters to engaging guerrilla combat units. As much as 70 percent of the paramilitary operational costs are financed with drug-related earnings, with the rest coming from “donations” from sponsors. These groups generally avoid actions against U.S. personnel or interests. Paramilitary operations are reduced as a result of the demobilization of all AUC groups, although some individuals appear to be violating the commitments they made when they demobilized. Colombia’s homicide rate is at its lowest level in 18 years, in part because of the cease-fire agreement and demobilization. Other violence indicators such as kidnapping and terror attacks have also decreased significantly.

Strength

The Colombian government has stated that the AUC no longer exists. An estimated 3,000 former members have re-engaged in criminal activities.

Location/Areas of Operation

Paramilitary forces were strongest in northwest Colombia in Antioquia, Cordoba, Sucre, Atlantico, Magdelena, Cesar, La Guajira, and Bolivar Departments, with affiliate groups in the coffee region, Valle del Cauca, and Meta Department.

External Aid

None.

OTHER GROUPS OF CONCERN

The following groups of concern have not been designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations under 8 USC Section 1189, although many have been designated under other U.S. Government counterterrorism authorities.

Al-Badhr Mujahedin (al-Badr)

Description

The al-Badhr Mujahedin split from Hizbul-Mujahedin (HM) in 1998. It traces its origins to 1971, when a group named al-Badr attacked Bengalis in East Pakistan. The group later operated as part of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-I Islami (HIG) in Afghanistan and, from 1990, as a unit of HM in Kashmir. The group was relatively inactive until 2000. Since then, it has increasingly claimed responsibility for attacks against Indian military targets. Since the late 1990s, al-Badhr leader Bakht Zamin repeatedly has expressed his support for Usama bin Ladin and the Taliban, and in 2002 declared jihad against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Activities

The organization has conducted a number of operations against Indian military targets in Jammu and Kashmir. Since late 2001, al-Badhr members have reportedly targeted Coalition Forces in Afghanistan.

Strength

Perhaps several hundred.

Location/Area of Operation

Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

External Aid

Unknown.

Al-Ittihad al-Islami (AIAI)

Description

AIAI, a Somali extremist group that was formed in the 1980s and reached its peak in the early 1990s, failed to obtain its objective of establishing a Salafist emirate in Somalia and steadily declined following the downfall of the Siad Barre regime in 1991 and Somalia’s subsequent collapse into anarchy. AIAI was not internally cohesive, lacked central leadership, and suffered divisions between factions. AIAI was militarily defeated by Ethiopian forces in 1997. In recent years, the existence of a coherent entity operating as AIAI has become difficult to prove. After the downfall of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts in late 2006, AIAI has re-emerged. Former elements of AIAI continue to pursue a variety of agendas ranging from social services and education to insurgency activities in the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia. Some sheikhs formerly associated with AIAI espouse a fundamentalist version of Islam, with particular emphasis on a strict adherence to Sharia (Islamic law), a view often at odds with Somalis’ emphasis on clan identity. A small group of former AIAI members embrace global jihad and support al-Qaida members in East Africa. 1267 al-Qaida/Taliban/Usama bin Laden Sanctions Committee has listed AIAI for its associations with al-Qaida.

Activities

Individuals formerly associated with AIAI may have been responsible for several kidnappings and murders of relief workers in Somalia and Somaliland since 2003 and in the late 1990s. Prior to its destruction in 1997, factions of AIAI also may have been responsible for a series of bomb attacks in public places in Addis Ababa in 1996 and 1997. Most AIAI factions in recent years have concentrated on broadening their religious base, renewed an emphasis on building businesses, and undertaken “hearts and minds” actions, such as sponsoring orphanages and schools and providing security that uses an Islamic legal structure in the areas where it is active.

Strength

The actual membership strength is unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Primarily in Somalia, with a presence in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, Kenya, and possibly Djibouti.

External Aid

Receives funds from Middle East financiers and Somali diaspora communities in Europe, North America, and the Arabian Peninsula.

Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB)

Description

The ABB, the breakaway urban hit squad of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army, was formed in the mid-1980s. The ABB was added to the Terrorist Exclusion List in December 2001.

Activities

Responsible for more than 100 murders, including the murder in 1989 of U.S. Army Col. James Rowe in the Philippines. In March 1997, the group announced it had formed an alliance with another armed group, the Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA).

In March 2000, the group claimed credit for a rifle grenade attack against the Department of Energy building in Manila and strafed Shell Oil offices in the central Philippines to protest rising oil prices. The group has not been active/conducted attacks in recent years.

Strength

Unknown, but believed to number below 500.

Location/Area of Operation

The largest RPA/ABB groups are on the Philippine islands of Luzon, Negros, and the Visayas.

External Aid

Unknown.

Anti-Imperialist Territorial Nuclei for the Construction of the Communist Combatant Party (NTA-PCC)

a.k.a. Anti-Imperialist Territorial Units

Description

The NTA-PCC is a clandestine leftist extremist group that first appeared in Italy’s Friuli region in 1995. It adopted the class struggle ideology of the Red Brigades of the 1970s and 1980s, and a similar logo--an encircled five-point star--for its declarations. It seeks the formation of an “anti-imperialist fighting front” with other Italian leftist terrorist groups, including Revolutionary Proletarian Initiative Nuclei and the New Red Brigades. The group opposes what it perceives as U.S. and NATO imperialism, and condemns Italy’s foreign and labor policies. In a leaflet dated January 2002, NTA-PCC identified experts in four Italian government sectors--federalism, privatizations, justice reform, and jobs and pensions--as potential targets.

Activities

To date, NTA-PCC has conducted attacks only against property. During the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999, NTA-PCC members threw gasoline bombs at the Venice and Rome headquarters of the then-ruling party, Democrats of the Left. NTA-PCC claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in September 2000 against the Central European Initiative office in Trieste and a bomb attack in August 2001 against the Venice Tribunal building. In January 2002, police thwarted an attempt by four NTA-PCC members to enter the Rivolto military air base. In 2003, NTA-PCC claimed responsibility for the arson attacks against three vehicles belonging to U.S. troops serving at the Ederle and Aviano bases in Italy. There has been no reported activity by the group since the arrest in January 2004 of NTA-PCC’s founder and leader.

Strength

Accounts vary from one to approximately 20 members.

Location/Area of Operation

Primarily northeastern Italy and U.S. military installations in northern Italy.

External Aid

None evident.

Cambodian Freedom Fighters (CFF)

a.k.a. Cholana; Kangtoap Serei Cheat; Kampouchea

Description

The Cambodian Freedom Fighters (CFF) emerged in November 1998 in the wake of political violence that saw many influential Cambodian leaders flee and the Cambodian People’s Party assume power. With an avowed aim of overthrowing the government, the U.S.-based group is led by a Cambodian-American, a former member of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party. The CFF’s membership reportedly includes Cambodian-Americans based in Thailand and the United States, and former soldiers from the Khmer Rouge, Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and various political factions.

Activities

Alleged CFF leader Chhun Yasith was arrested in June in the United States on charges of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, conspiracy to damage or destroy property in a foreign country, and engaging in a military expedition against a nation with which the United States is at peace. If convicted, Yasith faces life imprisonment without parole for each of the charges. Meanwhile, a Cambodian court in October dropped charges against five alleged CFF members arrested in April 2004 in connection with a bombing at a ferry, which slightly injured three persons. In 2003, the Cambodian government arrested seven CFF members who were reportedly planning an unspecified terrorist attack in southwestern Cambodia. Cambodian courts in February and March 2002 prosecuted 38 CFF members suspected of staging an attack in Cambodia in 2000. The courts convicted 19 members, including one U.S. citizen, of “terrorism” and/or “membership in an armed group,” and sentenced them to terms of five years to life imprisonment. A Cambodian court later judged that the three-year sentences of six other members were too light and decided in December 2005 to extend them to 6 to 10 years. The group had claimed responsibility for an attack in late November 2000 on several government installations that killed at least eight persons and wounded more than a dozen. In April 1999, five CFF members also were arrested for plotting to blow up a fuel depot outside Phnom Penh with anti-tank weapons.

Strength

Exact strength is unknown, but totals probably never have exceeded 100 armed fighters.

Location/Area of Operation

Northeastern Cambodia near the Thai border, and the United States.

External Aid

U.S.-based leadership collects funds from the Cambodian-American community.

Communist Party of India (Maoist)

a.k.a. Maoist Communist Center of India (MCCI) and People’s War (PW)

Description

The Indian groups known as the Maoist Communist Center of India and People’s War (a.k.a. People’s War Group) joined in September 2004 to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist), or CPI (Maoist). The MCCI was originally formed in the early 1970s, while People’s War (PW) was founded in 1975. Both groups are referred to as Naxalites, after the West Bengal village where a revolutionary radical Left movement originated in 1967. The new organization continues to employ violence to achieve its goals of peasant revolution, abolition of class hierarchies, and expansion of Maoist-controlled “liberated zones,” eventually leading to the creation of an independent “Maoist” state.

The CPI (Maoist) reportedly has a significant cadre of women. Important leaders include Ganapati (the PW leader from Andhra Pradesh), Pramod Mishra, Uma Shankar, and P.N.G. (alias Nathuni Mistry, arrested by Jhark-hand police in 2002).

Activities

Prior to its consolidation with the PW, the MCCI ran a virtual parallel government in remote areas, where it collected a “tax” from villagers and, in turn, provided infrastructure improvements such as building hospitals, schools, and irrigation projects. It ran a parallel court system wherein allegedly corrupt block development officials and landlords—frequent MCCI targets—were punished by amputation and even death. People’s War conducted a low-intensity insurgency that included attempted political assassination, theft of weapons from police stations, kidnapping police officers, assaulting civilians, extorting money from construction firms, and vandalizing the property of multinational corporations. Together the two groups were reportedly responsible for the deaths of up to 170 civilians and police a year. The group conducted two major attacks in 2005. In June, some 500 members attacked a village in Uttar Pradesh, killing several local policemen, destroying buildings, and seizing weapons. In November, an estimated 300 members attacked a prison in Bihar, killing two people, freeing more than 300 inmates, and abducting 30 landowners belonging to a group opposed to the Naxalites.

Strength

Although difficult to assess with any accuracy, media reports and local authorities suggest the CPI’s (Maoist) membership may be as high as 31,000, including both hard-core militants and dedicated sympathizers.

Location/Area of Operation

The CPI (Maoist), which is believed to be enlarging the scope of its influence, operates in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and parts of West Bengal. It also has a presence on the Bihar-Nepal border.

External Aid

The CPI (Maoist) has loose links to other Maoist groups in the region, including the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), but does not appear dependent on outside sources of support. The MCCI was a founding member of the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA).

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN/M)

Description

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) insurgency grew out of the radicalization and fragmentation of left-wing parties following Nepal’s transition to democracy in 1990. The United People’s Front, a coalition of left-wing parties, participated in the elections of 1991, but the Maoist wing failed to win the required minimum number of votes, leading to its exclusion from voter lists in the elections of 1994 and prompting the group to launch the insurgency in 1996. The CPN/M’s ultimate objective is the overthrow of the Nepalese government and the establishment of a Maoist state. On October 31, 2003, the United States designated Nepal’s Maoists under E.O. 13224 for terrorist activity.

Activities

The Maoists have used traditional guerrilla warfare tactics and engage in murder, torture, arson, sabotage, extortion, child conscription, kidnapping, bombings, and assassinations to intimidate and coerce the populace. In 2002, Maoists claimed responsibility for assassinating two Nepalese U.S. Embassy guards, citing anti-Maoist spying, and in a press statement threatened foreign embassies, including the U.S. Mission, to deter foreign support for the Nepalese government.

Maoists are suspected in the September 2004 bombing at the American Cultural Center in Kathmandu. The attack, which caused no injuries and only minor damage, marked the first time the Maoists had damaged U.S. Government property. The Maoists entered into peace talks with the government in 2001 and 2003, but negotiations failed after a few months. In 2005, the group announced a unilateral cease-fire in September, and entered into an alliance with the seven-party alliance of opposition political parties in November.

Strength

Approximately several thousand full-time members.

Location/Area of Operation

Operations are conducted throughout Nepal. Press reports indicate some Nepalese Maoist leaders reside in India.

External Aid

None.

Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)

a.k.a. Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR); FAR/Interahamwe

Description

In 2001, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) supplanted the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR), the armed branch of the Party for the Liberation of Rwanda (PALIR). ALIR was formed from the merger of the Armed Forces of Rwanda (FAR), the army of the ethnic Hutu-dominated Rwandan regime that orchestrated the genocide of over 500,000 Tutsis and regime opponents in 1994, and Interahamwe, the civilian militia force that carried out much of the killing. This occurred after the two groups were forced from Rwanda into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, then Zaire) that year. Though directly tied to those who organized and carried out the genocide, identified ALIR/FDLR leaders are not thought to have played a role in the killing. They have worked to build bridges to other opponents of the Kigali regime, including ethnic Tutsis.

Activities

ALIR sought to topple Rwanda’s Tutsi-dominated government, reinstitute Hutu domination, and, possibly, complete the genocide. In 1996, a message--allegedly from the ALIR--threatened to kill the U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda and other U.S. citizens. In 1999, ALIR guerrillas critical of U.S.-UK support for the Rwandan regime kidnapped and killed eight foreign tourists, including two U.S. citizens, in a game park on the DRC-Uganda border. Three suspects in the attack are in U.S. custody awaiting trial. In the 1998-2002 Congolese war, the ALIR/FDLR was allied with Kinshasa against the Rwandan invaders. ALIR/FDLR’s political wing mainly has sought to topple the Kigali regime via an alliance with Tutsi regime opponents. It established the ADRN Igihango alliance in 2002, but this has not resonated politically in Rwanda. In March 2005, FDLR representatives announced a willingness to cease military actions and return to Rwanda. FDLR denounced the genocide, committed to a political struggle rather than a military one, and indicated it would voluntarily demobilize and repatriate. No large-scale FDLR repatriation to Rwanda has occurred, however, owing to FDLR concerns about security and the “political space” it would be allowed in Rwanda.

Strength

Exact strength is unknown, but an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 FDLR guerrillas operate in the eastern DRC close to the Rwandan border. In 2003, the United Nations, with Rwandan assistance, repatriated close to 1,500 FDLR combatants from the DRC. A senior FDLR military commander returned to Rwanda in November 2003 and has been working with Kigali to encourage the return of his comrades.

Location/Area of Operation

Mostly in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

External Aid

The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo provided training, arms, and supplies to ALIR forces to combat Rwandan armed forces that invaded the DRC in 1998. Kinshasa halted that support in 2002, though allegations persist of continued support from several local Congolese warlords and militias, including the Mai Mai.

East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM)

Description

The East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is a small Islamic extremist group linked to al- Qaida and the international jihadist movement. It is the most militant of the ethnic Uighur separatist groups pursuing an independent “Eastern Turkistan,” an area that would include Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Western China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. On September 12, 2002, the group was designated under E.O. 13224 for its terrorist activity. ETIM is also listed by the UN 1267 al-Qaida/Taliban/Usama bin Laden Sanctions Committee for its associations with al-Qaida.

Activities

ETIM militants fought alongside al-Qaida and Taliban forces in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. In October 2003, Pakistani soldiers killed ETIM leader Hassan Makhsum during raids on al-Qaida-associated compounds in western Pakistan. U.S. and Chinese government information suggests that ETIM is responsible for various terrorist acts inside and outside China. In May 2002, two ETIM members were deported to China from Kyrgyzstan for plotting to attack the U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan as well as other U.S. interests abroad.

Strength

Unknown. Only a small minority of ethnic Uighurs supports the Xinjiang independence movement or the formation of an independent Eastern Turkistan.

Location/Area of Operation

Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan.

External Aid

ETIM has received training and financial assistance from al-Qaida.

First of October Antifascist Resistance Group (GRAPO)

Grupo de Resistencia Anti-Fascista Primero de Octubre

Description

GRAPO was formed in 1975 as the armed wing of the illegal Communist Party of Spain during the Franco era. It advocates the overthrow of the Spanish government and its replacement with a Marxist-Leninist regime. GRAPO is vehemently anti-American, seeks the removal of all U.S. military forces from Spanish territory, and has conducted and attempted several attacks against U.S. targets since 1977. The group issued a communiqué following the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, expressing its satisfaction that “symbols of imperialist power” were decimated and affirming that “the war” has only just begun. Spanish authorities believed they had nearly eradicated GRAPO, but a joint Spanish, French, and Italian police operation in October 2005 that resulted in the arrest of two GRAPO members led observers to speculate that the group may be reconstituting itself. GRAPO in a November 2006 internal publication announced that it was trying to find new members and resources but admitted it was having difficulty reorganizing because of sporadic arrests that continued well into 2006. The group was designated under E.O. 13224 in December 2001.

Activities

GRAPO suffered setbacks in 2004, with several members and sympathizers arrested and sentences upheld or handed down in the appellate case for GRAPO militants arrested in Paris in 2000. Press reports indicate that as of mid-2006, about 30 people connected with the terrorist group were in prison. The group’s operations traditionally have been designed to cause material damage and gain publicity rather than inflict casualties, but the terrorists have conducted lethal bombings and close-range assassinations; GRAPO has killed more than 90 persons and injured more than 200 since its formation. GRAPO claimed responsibility for the murder in Zaragoza on 6 February 2006 of a Spanish businesswoman. Members of the group also have been charged with engaging in extortion and for carrying out a series of bank robberies in recent years.

Strength

Fewer than two-dozen activists remain. Police have made periodic large-scale arrests of GRAPO members, crippling the organization and forcing it into lengthy rebuilding periods. In 2002, Spanish and French authorities arrested 22 suspected members, including some of the group’s reconstituted leadership. More members have been arrested in the past three years.

Location/Area of Operation

Spain.

External Aid

None.

Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami (HUJI)

a.k.a Movement of Islamic Holy War

Description

HUJI, a Sunni extremist group that follows the Deobandi tradition of Islam, was founded in 1980 in Afghanistan to fight in the jihad against the Soviets. It also is affiliated with the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam’s Fazlur Rehman faction (JUI-F) of the extremist religious party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI). The group, led by Qari Saifullah Akhtar and chief commander Amin Rabbani, is made up primarily of Pakistanis and foreign Islamists who are fighting for the liberation of Jammu and Kashmir and its accession to Pakistan.

Activities

The group has conducted a number of operations against Indian military targets in Jammu and Kashmir. It is linked to the Kashmiri militant group al-Faran that kidnapped five Western tourists in Jammu and Kashmir in July 1995; one was killed in August 1995, and the other four reportedly were killed in December of the same year.

Strength

Exact numbers are unknown, but there may be several hundred members in Kashmir.

Location/Area of Operation

Pakistan and Kashmir. Trained members in Afghanistan until fall of 2001.

External Aid

Specific sources of external aid are unknown.

Harakat-ul-Jihad-I-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B)

Description

The goal of HUJI-B is to establish Islamic rule in Bangladesh. Bangladeshi veterans of the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan are the group’s core membership. HUJI-B has connections to the Pakistani militant groups Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami (HUJI) and Harakat ul-Mujahedin (HUM), which advocate similar objectives in Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir. The leaders of HUJI-B and HUM both signed the February 1998 fatwa sponsored by Usama bin Ladin that declared American civilians to be legitimate targets for attack.

Activities

HUJI-B was accused of stabbing a senior Bangladeshi journalist in November 2000 for making a documentary on the plight of Hindus in Bangladesh. HUJI-B and its detained leader, Mufti Hannan, are suspected in the assassination attempt in July 2000 of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Strength

Unknown. Some estimates of HUJI-B cadre strength suggest several thousand members.

Location/Area of Operation

The group operates in Bangladesh.

External Aid

HUJI-B funding comes from a variety of sources. Several international Islamic NGOs, including the South African-based Servants of Suffering Humanity, may have funneled money to Bangladeshi militant groups, including HUJI-B. HUJI-B also can draw funding from militant madrassa leaders and teachers in Bangladesh.

Hizb-I Islami Gulbuddin (HIG)

Description

Gulbuddin Hikmatyar founded Hizb-I Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) as a faction of the Hizb-I Islami party in 1977, and it was one of the major mujahedin groups in the jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Hikmatyar has long-established links with Usama bin Ladin. In the early 1990s, Hikmatyar ran several terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and was a pioneer in sending mercenary fighters to other Islamic conflicts. Hikmatyar offered to shelter bin Ladin after the latter fled Sudan in 1996 and has consistently offered public support for him since the 9/11 attacks.

Hikmatyar has issued regular statements on the need for Afghans to reject the international community’s presence in their country. In 2005, he responded to protests against Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammad with a new call for the expulsion of international troops from Afghanistan.

Activities

HIG has staged small attacks in its attempt to force the international community to withdraw from Afghanistan, overthrow the Afghan government, and establish an Islamic state. U.S. troops have encountered regular violence in Konar, the area of Afghanistan in which HIG is most active, which has occasionally led to U.S. casualties, and it is likely that HIG is responsible for at least some of this violence.

Strength

Unknown, but possibly could have hundreds of veteran fighters on which to call.

Location/Area of Operation

Eastern Afghanistan, particularly Konar and Nurestan Provinces, and adjacent areas of Pakistan’s tribal areas.

External Aid

Unknown.

Hizbul-Mujahedin (HM)

Description

Hizbul-Mujahedin (HM) is the largest Kashmiri militant group, and was founded in 1989. It officially supports the liberation of Jammu and Kashmir and its accession to Pakistan, although some members favor independence. The group is the militant wing of Pakistan’s largest Islamic political party, the Jamaat-i-Islami, and targets Indian security forces and politicians in Jammu and Kashmir. It reportedly operated in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s and trained with the Afghan Hizb-I Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) in Afghanistan until the Taliban takeover. The group, led by Syed Salahuddin, is composed primarily of ethnic Kashmiris.

Activities

HM has conducted a number of operations against Indian military targets in Jammu and Kashmir. The group also occasionally strikes at civilian targets, but has not engaged in terrorist acts outside India. HM claimed responsibility for numerous attacks within Kashmir in 2006.

Strength

Exact numbers are unknown, but estimates range from several hundred to possibly as many as 1,000 members.

Location/Area of Operation

Jammu, Kashmir, and Pakistan.

External Aid

Specific sources of external aid are unknown.

Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)

Description

The INLA is a terrorist group formed in 1975 as the military wing of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), which split from the Official IRA (OIRA) because of OIRA’s cease-fire in 1972. The group’s primary aim is to end British rule in Northern Ireland, force British troops out of the province, and unite Ireland’s 32 counties into a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary state.

It is responsible for some of the most notorious killings of “The Troubles,” including the bombing of a Ballykelly pub that killed 17 people in 1982. Bloody internal feuding has repeatedly torn the INLA. The INLA announced a cease-fire in August 1998 but continues to carry out occasional attacks and punishment beatings.

Activities

The INLA has been active in Belfast and the border areas of Northern Ireland, where it has conducted bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, extortion, and robberies. It is also involved in drug trafficking. On occasion, it has provided advance warning to police of its attacks. Targets include the British military, Northern Ireland security forces, and Loyalist paramilitary groups.

The INLA did not join the IRA’s September 2005 weapons decommissioning, but continues to observe a cease-fire because, in the words of its leadership in 2003, a return to armed struggle is “not a viable option at this time.” However, the group continues to recruit members and was responsible for a 2005 arson attack against the home of a local official.

Strength

Unclear, but probably fewer than 50 hardcore activists. Police counterterrorist operations and internal feuding have reduced the group’s strength and capabilities.

Location/Area of Operation

Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Does not have a significant established presence on the UK mainland.

External Aid

Suspected in the past of receiving funds and arms from sympathizers in the United States.

Irish Republican Army (IRA)

a.k.a. Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA); the Provos

Description

Formed in 1969 as the clandestine armed wing of the political movement Sinn Fein, the IRA is devoted both to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and to unifying Ireland. The IRA conducted attacks until its cease-fire in 1997 and agreed to disarm as part of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, which established the basis for peace in Northern Ireland.

Dissension within the IRA over support for the Northern Ireland peace process resulted in the formation of two more radical splinter groups: Continuity IRA (CIRA) in 1995, and the Real IRA (RIRA) in 1997. The IRA, sometimes referred to as the PIRA to distinguish it from RIRA and CIRA, is organized into small, tightly-knit cells under the leadership of the Army Council.

Activities

Traditional IRA activities have included bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, punishment beatings, extortion, smuggling, and robberies. Before the cease-fire in 1997, the group had conducted bombing campaigns on various targets in Northern Ireland and Great Britain, including senior British government officials, civilians, police, and British military targets. In August 2002, three suspected IRA members were arrested in Colombia on charges of helping the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) improve its explosives capabilities; the men subsequently escaped from prison and appeared in Ireland in 2005. Irish police have questioned the men but have filed no charges. Colombia has requested their extradition, which is unlikely, since Ireland has no extradition treaty with Colombia. In July 2005, a spokesperson for the IRA made a statement calling for an end to all forms of IRA illegal activity. This statement was confirmed in September 2005 by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning’s announcement that the IRA had met its commitments to put all arms beyond use. The Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) also reported that since the September decommissioning the IRA has shown no evidence of training and recruiting terrorists or an intent to return to violence. There have been indications of IRA members using violence in 2006; however, the IMC reports that these incidents were not sanctioned by IRA leadership. The IRA has yet to abandon its extensive criminal activities, which reportedly provide the IRA and the political party Sinn Fein with millions of dollars each year.

Strength

Several hundred members and several thousand sympathizers, despite the defection of some members to RIRA and CIRA.

Local/Area of Operation

Northern Ireland, Irish Republic, Great Britain, and Europe.

External Aid

In the past, the IRA has received aid from a variety of groups and countries, and considerable training and arms from Libya and the PLO. It is suspected of receiving funds, arms, and other terrorist-related materiel from sympathizers in the United States. In addition to the apparent contact with the FARC, similarities in operations suggest the IRA has links to the ETA.

Islamic Army of Aden (IAA)

a.k.a. Aden-Abyan Islamic Army (AAIA)

Description

The Islamic Army of Aden (IAA) emerged publicly in mid-1998 when the group released a series of communiqués that expressed support for Usama bin Ladin and called for the overthrow of the Yemeni government and for operations against U.S. and other Western interests in Yemen. IAA was first designated under E.O. 13224 in September 2001.

Activities

The IAA, a group with established connections to al-Qaida and whose membership includes veteran fighters from the Soviet-Afghan war, in the past has engaged in small-scale operations such as bombings, kidnappings, and small arms attacks to further its agenda. In June 2003, the group reportedly was behind an attack against a medical convoy in the Abyan Governorate. Yemeni authorities responded with a raid on a suspected IAA facility that killed several individuals and captured others, including Khalid al-Nabi al-Yazidi, the group’s leader. The IAA’s previous involvement in terrorist attacks includes the throwing of a grenade into the British Embassy compound in Sanaa in October 2000. In 2001, Yemeni authorities found an IAA member and three associates responsible for that attack. In December 1998, the group kidnapped 16 British, American, and Australian tourists near Mudiyah in southern Yemen.

The group’s involvement in a 2003 attack against the medical convoy and reports that its leader was released from prison in October 2003 suggest that the IAA, or at least elements of the group, may remain active. However, Yemeni officials previously have claimed that IAA is operationally defunct, and the group has not claimed any attacks since 2003.

Strength

Not known.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates in the southern governorates of Yemen, primarily Aden and Abyan.

External Aid

Not known.

Islamic Great Eastern Raiders-Front (IBDA-C)

Description

The Islamic Great Eastern Raiders-Front (IBDA-C) is a Sunni Salafist group that supports Islamic rule in Turkey, is sympathetic to al-Qaida, and believes that Turkey’s present secular leadership is “illegal.” It has been known to cooperate with various opposition elements in Turkey in attempts to destabilize the country’s political structure. The group supports the establishment of a “pure Islamic” state to replace the present “corrupt” Turkish regime that is cooperating with the West. Its primary goal is the establishment of the Federative Islamic State, a goal backed by armed terrorist attacks primarily against civilian targets. It has been active since the mid-1970s.

Activities

IBDA-C has engaged in activities that minimize personal risk, such as bombings, throwing Molotov cocktails, and sabotage. The group has announced its actions and targets in publications to its members, who are free to launch independent attacks. IBDA-C typically has attacked civilian targets, including churches, charities, minority-affiliated targets, television transmitters, newspapers, pro-secular journalists, Ataturk statues, taverns, banks, clubs, and tobacco shops. One of IBDA-C’s more renowned attacks was the killing of 37 people in a firebomb attack in July 1993 on a hotel in Sivas. In May 2004, Turkish police indicted seven members of the group for the assassination of retired Colonel Ihsan Guven, including the alleged leader of the “Dost” (Friend) sect, and his wife. Turkish police believe that IBDA-C has also claimed responsibility for attacks carried out by other groups in order to elevate its image. Turkish government crackdowns continued into 2006. In a May operation, the government arrested 18 members.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Turkey.

External Aid

Unknown

Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade (IIPB)

Description

The IIPB is a terrorist group affiliated with the Chechen separatist movement demanding a single Islamic state in the North Caucasus. In 1998 Chechen extremist leader Shamil Basayev established the IIPB, consisting of Chechens, Arabs, and other foreign fighters, which he led with Saudi-born mujahedin leader Ibn al-Khattab until the latter’s death in March 2002. In July 2006, Basayev himself was killed by Russian forces. The IIPB was one of three groups affiliated with Chechen guerrillas that seized Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater and took more than 700 hostages in October 2002. While this group has not been identified by the mujahedin media as conducting attacks since its designation three years ago, those Arab mujahedin still operating in Chechnya now fall under the command of Abu Hafs al-Urduni, who assumed the IIPB leadership in April 2004 after the death of Khattab’s successor, Abu al-Walid. IIPB was designated under E.O. 13224 in February 2003 and listed by the UN al-Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Committee for its associations with al-Qaida.

Activities

The IIPB has engaged in terrorist and guerilla operations against Russian forces, pro-Russian Chechen forces, and Chechen non-combatants.

Strength

At its peak, up to 400 fighters, including as many as 100 Arabs and other foreign fighters, but almost certainly has suffered significant attrition.

Location/Area of Operation

Primarily in Russia and adjacent areas of the North Caucasus, particularly in the mountainous south of Chechnya, with major logistical activities in Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.

External Aid

The IIPB and its Arab leaders appear to be a primary conduit for Islamic funding of the Chechen guerrillas, in part through links to al-Qaida-related financiers on the Arabian Peninsula.

Jamaatul-Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB)

Description

JMB is a Bangladeshi Islamic extremist group dedicated to the use of violence to achieve its objective of a state based on Islamic law. JMB, which emerged in the late 1990s, has been associated with several bombings during the past several years. The Bangladeshi government banned the group in February 2005.

Activities

On August 17, 2005, JMB claimed responsibility for nearly 500 simultaneous explosions throughout Bangladesh. Subsequent bombings, possibly involving suicide bombers, targeted judges, police, government offices, traditional folk festivals and cultural groups, and local non-governmental organizations. The Bangladeshi government has captured several of the group’s most important leaders.

Strength

Estimates range as high as 11,000.

Location/Area of Operation

Bangladesh.

External Aid

JMB probably also receives some support from persons of Bangladeshi origin living in Europe and the Middle East.

Jamiat ul-Mujahedin (JUM)

Description

The JUM is a small pro-Pakistan militant group formed in Jammu and Kashmir in 1990 that seeks to unite Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan. Followers are mostly Kashmiris, but the group includes some Pakistanis.

Activities

Has conducted a number of operations against Indian military and political targets in Jammu and Kashmir, including two grenade attacks in 2004.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Jammu, Kashmir, and Pakistan.

External Aid

Unknown.

Japanese Red Army (JRA)

a.k.a. Anti-Imperialist International Brigade (AIIB)

Description

The JRA is an international terrorist group formed around 1970 after breaking away from the Japanese Communist League--Red Army Faction. The JRA’s historical goal has been to overthrow the Japanese government and monarchy and to help foment world revolution. The JRA’s leader, Fusako Shigenobu, claimed that the forefront of the battle against international imperialism was in Palestine, and in the early 1970s she led her small group to the Middle East. After her arrest in November 2000, Shigenobu announced she intended to pursue her goals using a legitimate political party rather than revolutionary violence, and the group apparently disbanded in April 2001.

Activities

During the 1970s, the JRA carried out a series of attacks around the world, including the 1972 massacre at Lod Airport in Israel, two Japanese airliner hijackings, an attempted takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and the 1974 seizure of the French Embassy in The Hague, in which the ambassador was among the hostages. During the late 1980s, the JRA began to single out American targets and used car bombs and rockets in attempted attacks on U.S. Embassies in Jakarta, Rome, and Madrid. In April 1988, JRA operative Yu Kikumura was arrested with explosives on the New Jersey Turnpike, apparently planning an attack to coincide with the bombing of a USO club in Naples, a suspected JRA operation that killed five, including a U.S. servicewoman. Kikimura was convicted of the charges and is serving a lengthy prison sentence in the United States. JRA operative Tsutomu Shirosaki, captured in 1996, is also jailed in the United States. In 2000, Lebanon deported four members it arrested in 1997 to Japan, but granted a fifth operative, Kozo Okamoto, political asylum. Longtime leader Shigenobu was arrested in November 2000 and faced charges of terrorism and passport fraud. In February 2006, Shingenobu was sentenced to 20 years in prison for coordinating the 1974 French embassy siege. Four JRA members remain in North Korea following their involvement in an airline hijacking in 1970; five of their family members returned to Japan in 2004.

Strength

At its peak, the group claimed to have 30 to 40 members.

Location/Area of Operation

Possibly in Asia.

External Aid

Unknown.

Kumpulan Mujahedin Malaysia (KMM)

a.k.a. Kumpulan Militan Malaysia

Description

Kumpulan Mujahedin Malaysia (KMM) favors the overthrow of the Malaysian government and the creation of an Islamic state comprising Malaysia, Indonesia, and the southern Philippines (and Southern Thailand). Malaysian authorities believe an extremist wing of the KMM has engaged in terrorist acts and has close ties to the regional terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiya (JI). Key JI leaders, including the group’s spiritual head, Abu Bakar Bashir, and JI operational leader Hambali, reportedly had great influence over KMM members. The Government of Singapore asserts that a Singaporean JI member assisted the KMM in buying a boat to support jihad activities in Indonesia.

Activities

Malaysia continues to hold a number of KMM members under the Internal Security Act for activities deemed threatening to Malaysia’s national security, including planning to wage jihad, possession of weaponry, bombings, robberies, the murder of a former state assembly member, and planning attacks on foreigners, including U.S. citizens. A number of those detained also are believed to be members of Jemaah Islamiya. Several of the arrested KMM militants reportedly have undergone military training in Afghanistan, and some fought with the Afghan mujahedin during the war against the former Soviet Union. Some members allegedly have ties to Islamic extremist organizations in Indonesia and the Philippines. One alleged KMM member was sentenced to 10 years in prison for unlawful possession of firearms, explosives, and ammunition; eight other alleged members in detention since 2001 were later released in July and November 2004; three others were freed in November 2005.

In March 2004, alleged KMM leader Nik Adli Nik Abdul Aziz and other suspected KMM members went on a hunger strike as part of an unsuccessful bid for freedom, but the Malaysian court in September 2004 rejected their applications for a writ of habeas corpus. In September 2005, detention orders for Aziz and eight other alleged KMM members were extended for another two years. The Malaysian government is confident that the arrests of KMM leaders have crippled the organization and rendered it incapable of engaging in militant activities. In May 2004, Malaysian officials denied Thailand’s charge that the KMM was involved in the Muslim separatist movement in southern Thailand.

Strength

KMM’s current membership is unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

The KMM is reported to have networks in the Malaysian states of Perak, Johor, Kedah, Selangor, Terengganu, and Kelantan. They also operate in Kuala Lumpur. The KMM has ties to radical Indonesian Islamic groups.

External Aid

Largely unknown, probably self-financing.

Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

Description

The LRA, founded in 1987, succeeded the ethnic Acholi-dominated Holy Spirit Movement and other insurgent groups. LRA leader Joseph Kony has called for the overthrow of the Ugandan government and its replacement with a regime run on the basis of the Ten Commandments. More frequently, however, he has spoken of the liberation and honor of the Acholi people, whom he sees as oppressed by the “foreign” government of Ugandan President Museveni. Kony is the LRA’s undisputed leader. He claims to have supernatural powers and to receive messages from spirits, which he uses to formulate the LRA’s strategy.

Activities

Since the early 1990s, the LRA has kidnapped some 20,000 Ugandan children, mostly ethnic Acholi, to replenish its ranks. Kony despises Acholi elders for having given up the fight against Museveni and relies on abducted children who can be brutally indoctrinated to fight for the LRA. The LRA kidnaps children and adult civilians to become soldiers, porters, and “wives” for LRA leaders. The LRA prefers to attack camps for internally displaced persons and other civilian targets, avoiding direct engagement with the Ugandan military. The LRA stepped up its activities from 2002 to 2004 after the Ugandan army, with the Sudanese government’s permission, attacked LRA positions inside Sudan. By late 2003, the number of internally displaced persons had doubled to 1.4 million, and the LRA had pushed deep into non-Acholi areas where it had never previously operated. During 2004, a combination of military pressure, offers of amnesty, and several rounds of negotiation markedly degraded LRA capabilities due to death, desertion, and defection of senior commanders. In October 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Kony and four other top LRA leaders. Since February 2006, the Government of Southern Sudan has been holding peace talks between the LRA and the Ugandan government.

Strength

Estimated at 500 to 700 fighters.

Location/Area of Operation

Northern Uganda, southern Sudan, and northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo.

External Aid

Although the LRA has been supported by the Government of Sudan in the past, the Sudanese now appear to be cooperating with the Government of Uganda in a campaign to eliminate LRA sanctuaries in Sudan.

Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF)

Description

An extreme Loyalist group formed in 1996 as a faction of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), the LVF did not emerge publicly until 1997. It is composed largely of UVF hardliners who have sought to prevent a political settlement with Irish nationalists in Northern Ireland by attacking Catholic politicians, civilians, and Protestant politicians who endorse the Northern Ireland peace process. LVF occasionally uses the Red Hand Defenders as a cover name for its actions but has also called for the group’s disbandment. In October 2001, the British government ruled the LVF had broken the cease-fire it declared in 1998 after linking the group to the murder of a journalist. According to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, the LVF decommissioned a small amount of weapons in December 1998, but it has not repeated this gesture. The LVF was designated under E.O. 13224 in December 2001.

Activities

The group conducts bombings, kidnappings, and close-quarter shooting attacks. It finances its activities with drug money and other criminal activities. LVF attacks have been particularly vicious; the group has murdered numerous Catholic civilians with no political or paramilitary affiliations, including an 18-year-old Catholic girl in July 1997 because she had a Protestant boyfriend. LVF terrorists also have conducted successful attacks against Irish targets in Irish border towns. From 2000 to August 2005, the LVF engaged in a violent feud with other Loyal-ists, which left several men dead. In October 2005, the group said that it would stand down its “military units,” but the Independent Monitoring Commission has no evidence of the LVF disbanding.

Strength

Small, perhaps dozens of active members.

Location/Area of Operation

Northern Ireland and Ireland.

External Aid

None.

New Red Brigades/Communist Combatant Party (BR/PCC)

a.k.a. Brigate Rosse/Partito Comunista Combattente

Description

This Marxist-Leninist group is a successor to the Red Brigades, active in the 1970s and 1980s. In addition to ideology, both groups share the same symbol, a five-pointed star inside a circle. The group is opposed to Italy’s foreign and labor policies and to NATO.

Activities

In 2003, Italian authorities captured at least seven members of the BR/PCC, dealing the terrorist group a severe blow to its operational effectiveness, and the group continued to suffer setbacks in 2005 and 2006, with its leadership in prison, key suspects convicted and sentenced, and additional arrests made. In June 2005, a Rome court sentenced five BR/PCC members to life in prison for the 2002 assassination of Labor Ministry external adviser Marco Biagi. One month later, three of the five also were found guilty of the assassination of Labor Ministry external adviser Massimo D’Antona in 1999, again incurring a life sentence. An additional nine BR/PCC suspects were sentenced to between four and nine years, and some convicted members provided valuable information to Italian authorities, leading to additional arrests. In December 2005, an Italian judge refused to pardon Adriano Sofri, leader of Continuous Struggle (Lotta Continua), a precursor movement to the Red Brigades, whose life sentence was suspended for health reasons. Italian authorities in early December 2006 arrested Fabio Matteini, suspected of trying to recruit new members in an effort to revive the group. The BR/PCC in recent years has financed its activities in part through armed robberies.

Strength

Fewer than 20.

Location/Area of Operation

Italy.

External Aid

Has obtained weapons from abroad.

People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD)

a.k.a. Muslims Against Global Oppression; Muslims Against Illegitimate Leaders

Description

People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD) and its ally Qibla (an Islamic fundamentalist group that favors political Islam and takes an anti-U.S. and anti-Israel stance), view the South African government as a threat to Islamic values. The two groups work to promote a greater political voice for South African Muslims. PAGAD has used front names such as Muslims Against Global Oppression and Muslims Against Illegitimate Leaders when launching anti-Western protests and campaigns.

Activities

PAGAD formed in November 1995 as a vigilante group in reaction to crime in some neighborhoods of Cape Town. In September 1996, a change in the group’s leadership resulted in a change in the group’s goal, and it began to support violent jihad to establish an Islamic state.

Between 1996 and 2000, PAGAD conducted a total of 189 bomb attacks, including nine bombings in the western Cape that caused serious injuries. PAGAD’s targets included South African authorities, moderate Muslims, synagogues, gay nightclubs, tourist attractions, and Western-associated restaurants. PAGAD is believed to have masterminded the bombing on August 1998 of the Cape Town Planet Hollywood and the 2000 attack on a New York Bagel restaurant in Cape Town.

Since 2001, PAGAD’s violent activities have been severely curtailed by law enforcement and prosecutorial efforts against leading members of the organization. Qibla leadership has organized demonstrations against visiting U.S. dignitaries and other protests, but the extent of PAGAD’s involvement is uncertain.

Strength

Early estimates were several hundred members. Current operational strength is unknown, but probably vastly diminished.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates mainly in the Cape Town area.

External Aid

May have ties to international Islamic extremists.

Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM)

Description

The RSM is a Philippines-based Islamic extremist group comprising Christian converts to Islam, many of whom had embraced extremist Islamic ideology while working in the Middle East. RSM promotes the use of violence and terrorism against Philippine Christians and Westerners with the aim of turning the Philippines into an Islamic state. The group is named after Rajah Solaiman, the last indigenous Muslim ruler of Manila before Spanish rule began in the 16 century.

Activities

The RSM has assisted with the terrorist plots of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Manila and other areas in the northern Philippines. It was involved in ASG’s bombing of SuperFerry 14 in February 2004, and the February 2005 Valentine’s Day bombings, according to Philippine security officials.

In 2005 the RSM suffered several major setbacks when in March, Philippine security forces seized more than 1,300 pounds of explosives from an RSM safe house in metropolitan Manila, and in October, Philippine intelligence agents arrested RSM leader Ahmad Santos in Zamboanga City and charged him with plotting to bomb high profile targets, including the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Two months later, Philippine security forces arrested another RSM leader in Zamboanga City. Philippine officials subsequently claimed that debriefing captives helped them thwart an alleged RSM plot to conduct attacks in Manila during the Christmas 2005 holiday season. In late 2006, another RSM leader, Feliciano de los Reyes was arrested.

Strength

The exact number of members in the RSM is unknown, but the group likely has fewer than 50 members.

Location/Area of Operation

The RSM operates throughout the Philippines and maintains a significant presence in metropolitan Manila. Some RSM operatives trained alongside members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and other militants in the southern Philippines.

External Aid

The Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiya have provided training, funds, and operational assistance to the RSM. Some Middle East-based non-governmental organizations and other sympathizers also may provide funds to the RSM.

Red Hand Defenders (RHD)

Description

The RHD is a terrorist group formed in 1998 and composed largely of Protestant hardliners from Loyalist groups observing a cease-fire. RHD seeks to prevent a political settlement with Irish nationalists by attacking Catholic civilian interests in Northern Ireland. In January 2002, the group announced all staff at Catholic schools in Belfast and Catholic postal workers were legitimate targets. Despite calls in February 2002 by the Ulster Defense Association (UDA), Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), and Loyal-ist Volunteer Force (LVF) to announce its disbandment, RHD continued to make threats and issue claims of responsibility. RHD is a cover name often used by elements of the banned UDA and LVF. RHD was designated under E.O. 13224 in December 2001.

Activities

In early 2003, the RHD claimed responsibility for killing two UDA members as a result of what is described as Loyalist internecine warfare. It also claimed responsibility for a bomb that was left in the offices of Republican Sinn Fein in West Belfast, although the device was defused and no one was injured. In recent years, the group has carried out numerous pipe bombings and arson attacks against “soft” civilian targets such as homes, churches, and private businesses. In January 2002, the group bombed the home of a prison official in North Belfast. Twice in 2002 the group claimed responsibility for attacks--the murder of a Catholic postman and a Catholic teenager--that were later claimed by the UDA-UFF, further blurring distinctions between the groups. In 2001, RHD claimed responsibility for killing five persons.

Strength

Up to 20 members, some of whom have experience in terrorist tactics and bombmaking. Police arrested one member in June 2001 for making a hoax bomb threat.

Location/Area of Operation

Northern Ireland.

External Aid

None.

Revolutionary Proletarian Initiative Nuclei (NIPR)

Description

The NIPR is a clandestine leftist extremist group that appeared in Rome in 2000. It adopted the logo of the Red Brigades of the 1970s and 1980s, an encircled five point star, for its declarations. NIPR opposes Italy’s foreign and labor policies. The group has targeted property interests rather than personnel in its attacks.

Activities

The NIPR has not claimed responsibility for any attacks since an April 2001 bomb attack on a building housing a U.S.-Italian relations association and an international affairs institute in Rome’s historic center. The NIPR claimed to have carried out a bombing in May 2000 in Rome at an oversight committee facility for implementation of the law on strikes in public services.

Strength

Fewer than 20 members.

Location/Area of Operation

Mainly in Rome, Milan, Lazio, and Tuscany.

External Aid

None evident.

Revolutionary Struggle (RS)

Description

RS is a radical leftist group that is anti-Greek establishment and ideologically aligns itself with the Revolutionary Organization 17 November.

Activities

RS is widely regarded as the most dangerous indigenous Greek terrorist group still active and has been linked to attacks against Americans. RS first became known when the group conducted a bombing in 2003 against the courthouse where trials of alleged 17 November members were occurring. In 2004, the group detonated four improvised explosive devices at a police station in Athens. These two attacks were notable for their apparent attempts to target and kill first responders, the first time a Greek terrorist group had used this tactic. RS claimed responsibility for a large explosion in December 2005 in Constitution Square in the center of Athens, apparently targeting the Ministry of National Economy, injuring three and badly damaging the facade of a post office and other buildings. The group claimed responsibility for a bomb explosion in May 2006, near the residence of former Minister of Public Order Giorgos Voulgarakis. The remotely detonated bomb was placed next to a school along the minister’s usual route to work and exploded just minutes before he was due to pass. The explosion wrecked several cars but caused no injuries. RS also claimed responsibility for a rocket-propelled-grenade (RPG) attack against the U.S. Embassy on January 12, 2007. The attack occurred early in the morning when few Embassy personnel were working and there were no injuries, but the RPG damaged a room at the front of the Embassy.

Strength

Likely less than 50 members.

Location/Area of Operation

Athens, Greece.

External Aid

Unknown.

Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSRSBCM)

Description

Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSRSBCM), led by Chechen extremist Shamil Basayev, uses terrorism as part of an effort to secure an independent Muslim state in the North Caucasus. Basayev claimed the group was responsible for the Beslan school hostage crisis of September 2004, which culminated in the deaths of about 330 people; simultaneous suicide bombings aboard two Russian civilian airliners in August 2004; and a third suicide bombing outside a Moscow subway that same month. The group has not mounted a terrorist attack since the Beslan operation. The RSRSBCM, whose name translates into English as “Requirements for Getting into Paradise,” was not known to Western observers before October 2002, when it participated in the seizure of the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow. The group was designated under E.O. 13224 in February 2003. The group’s viability is in question since its leader Shamil Basayev was killed by Russian forces in July 2006.

Activities

RSRSBCM has primarily engaged in terrorist and guerilla operations against Russian forces, pro-Russian Chechen forces, and Russian and Chechen non-combatants.

Strength

Probably no more than 50 fighters at any given time.

Location/Area of Operation

Primarily Russia.

External Aid

May receive some external assistance from foreign mujahedin.

Sipah-I-Sahaba/Pakistan (SSP)

a.k.a. Millat-I-Islami Pakistan

Description

The Sipah-I-Sahaba/Pakistan (SSP) is a Sunni sectarian group that follows the Deobandi school. Violently anti-Shia, the SSP emerged in central Punjab in the mid-1980s as a response to the Iranian revolution. Pakistani President Musharraf banned the SSP in January 2002. In August 2002, the SSP renamed itself Millat-i-Islami Pakistan, and Musharraf re-banned the group in November 2003. The SSP also has operated as a political party, winning seats in Pakistan’s National Assembly.

Activities

The group’s activities range from organizing political rallies calling for Shia to be declared non-Muslims to assassinating prominent Shia leaders. The group was responsible for attacks on Shia worshippers in May 2004, when at least 50 people were killed.

Strength

The SSP may have approximately 3,000 to 6,000 trained activists who carry out various kinds of sectarian activities.

Location/Area of Operation

The SSP has influence in all four provinces of Pakistan. It is considered to be one of the most powerful sectarian groups in the country.

External Aid

The SSP reportedly receives significant funding from Saudi Arabia and wealthy private donors in Pakistan. Funds also are acquired from other sources, including other Sunni extremist groups, madrassas, and contributions by political groups.

Special Purpose Islamic Regiment (SPIR)

Description

The SPIR is one of three Chechen-affiliated terrorist groups that furnished personnel to carry out the seizure of the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow in October 2002. The SPIR has had at least seven commanders since it was founded in the late 1990s. Movsar Barayev, who led and was killed during the theater standoff, was the first publicly identified leader. The group continues to conduct guerrilla operations in Chechnya under its current leader, Amir Aslan, whose true identity is not known. SPIR was designated under E.O. 13224 in February 2003. In 2006, SPIR continued to target official Russian targets and Chechen elements it believe to be sympathetic to Russia.

Activities

SPIR has primarily engaged in guerrilla operations against Russian forces. Has also been involved in various hostage and ransom operations, including the execution of ethnic Chechens who have cooperated with Russian authorities.

Strength

Probably no more than 100 fighters at any given time.

Location/Area of Operation

Primarily Russia.

External Aid

May receive some external assistance from foreign mujahedin.

Al-Tawhid w’al Jihad (TWJ)

a.k.a. Tawhid Islamic Brigades; al-Tawhid Wa al-Jihad; Monotheism and Jihad Organization

Description

The TWJ is an Egypt-based Islamic extremist group motivated by Cairo’s harsh treatment of the Bedouin community and difficult economic conditions in the Sinai. This group is comprised of radicalized Sinai Bedouin, criminals, and smugglers who use their knowledge of the rugged Sinai terrain and their compartmented cell structure to attack Western and Israeli tourist targets.

Activities

The TWJ has conducted bombings and suicide attacks, such as attacks at Taba in October 2004, Sharm ash Shaykh in July 2005, Dhahab in April 2006, and against the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in August 2005 and April 2006.

Strength

Unknown. Egyptian security services have killed or captured many high-ranking TWJ members during the past two years.

Location/Area of Operation

Sinai, Gaza.

External Aid

Unknown.

Tunisian Combatant Group (TCG)

a.k.a. Jama’a Combattante Tunisienne

Description

The Tunisian Combatant Group (TCG), also known as the Jama’a Combattante Tunisienne, seeks to establish an Islamic regime in Tunisia and has targeted U.S. and Western interests. The group is an offshoot of the banned Tunisian Islamist movement, an-Nahda. Founded around 2000 by Tarek Maaroufi and Saifallah Ben Hassine, the TCG has drawn members from the Tunisian diaspora in Europe and elsewhere. It has lost some of its leadership, but may still exist, particularly in Western Europe. Belgian authorities arrested Maaroufi in late 2001 and sentenced him to six years in prison in 2003 for his role in the assassination of anti-Taliban commander Ahmed Shah Massoud two days before 9/11. The TCG was designated under E.O. 13224 in October 2002. Historically, the group has been associated with al-Qaida as well. Members also have ties to other North African extremist groups. The TCG was designated for sanctions under UNSCR 1333 in December 2000.

Activities

Tunisians associated with the TCG are part of the support network of the broader international terrorist movement. According to European press reports, TCG members or affiliates in the past have engaged in trafficking falsified documents and recruiting for terror training camps in Afghanistan. Some TCG associates were suspected of planning an attack against the United States, Algerian, and Tunisian diplomatic missions in Rome in April 2001. Some members reportedly maintain ties to the Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat.

Strength

Unknown.

Location/Area of Operation

Western Europe and Afghanistan.

External Aid

Unknown.

Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA)

Description

MRTA is a traditional Marxist-Leninist revolutionary movement formed in 1983 from remnants of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left, a Peruvian insurgent group active in the 1960s. It aims to establish a Marxist regime and to rid Peru of all imperialist elements, primarily U.S. and Japanese influence. Peru’s counterterrorist program has diminished the group’s ability to conduct terrorist attacks, and the MRTA has suffered from infighting, the imprisonment or deaths of senior leaders, and the loss of leftist support.

Activities

MRTA previously conducted bombings, kidnappings, ambushes, and assassinations, but recent activity has fallen drastically. In December 1996, 14 MRTA members occupied the Japanese Ambassador’s residence in Lima and held 72 hostages for more than four months. Peruvian forces stormed the residence in April 1997, rescuing all but one of the remaining hostages and killing all 14 group members, including the remaining leaders. The group has not conducted a significant terrorist operation since and appears more focused on obtaining the release of imprisoned MRTA members, although there are reports of low-level rebuilding efforts.

Strength

Believed to be no more than 100 members, consisting largely of young fighters who lack leadership skills and experience.

Location/Area of Operation

Peru, with supporters throughout Latin America and Western Europe. Many exiled members live in Bolivia.

External Aid

None.

Tehrik Nefaz-I-Shariat Muhammad (TNSM)

Description

Maulawi Sufi Muhammed (now imprisoned) established TNSM in May 1989 in the former Malakand District of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan with the goal of instituting strict Islamic law in the region because they believe the government failed to institute Sharia law in the NWFP. The group held massive rallies in 1994 and effectively shut down the Malakand District. The uprising ended after the Pakistani government agreed to implement Sharia law in the Malakand District. Islamabad banned the group in 2002 in response to TNSM’s deployment of fighters to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban. Since Sufi Muhammad’s arrest in early 2002, the leadership of the group has been in flux. Both Maulawi Faqir Muhammad and Maulawi Fazlullah-Sufi Muhammad’s son-in-law-have been mentioned as possible leaders of the group. Faqir Muhammad in November 2006 publicly pledged to continue the jihad in Afghanistan under Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

Activities

TNSM is a party to 2006 peace negotiations with Pakistan. Prior to the peace negotiations, the Pakistani government released nine prisoners associated with TNSM, to include Faqir Muhammad’s brother and two senior clerics. On October 28, 2006, TNSM staged an anti-U.S. rally and vowed to continue to support the Taliban but agreed not to shelter foreigners. On October 30, 2006, a madrassa suspected of hosting a terrorist training camp was destroyed in a counterterrorism operation and Pakistani forces killed Maulana Liaqat, the madrassa’s director and deputy for the group. At a protest rally following the operation, Faqir Muhammad declared he would continue to wage jihad, but he renewed his pledge to abide by the peace accords and not attack the Pakistani government. Faqir also denied reports that al-Qaida deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was present at the madrassa. Press reports alleged TNSM was responsible for a suicide bombing on November 8 that killed 35 soldiers in Dargai, Pakistan, although the group did not claim responsibility. Pakistan security agencies have reopened investigations on members following this attack. Newspaper announcements requested certain members to appear in court and face charges filed against them under anti-terrorism laws.

Strength

Exact numbers are unknown; however, TNSM has recruited very high numbers of fighters in the past (in the thousands) and has also held demonstrations attended by several thousand people.

Location/Area of Operation

Eastern Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan—particularly Bajaur Agency and Malakand District.

External Aid

TNSM was founded to pursue the implementation of Sharia in the NWFP and stongly supports the Taliban. The group has also been linked to al-Qaida, especially through Faqir Muhammad who has stated that he would welcome Ayman al-Zawahiri and Usama Bin Ladin if they were to come to his area.

Turkish Hizballah

Description

Turkish Hizballah is a Kurdish Sunni Islamic terrorist organization that arose in the early 1980s in response to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)’s secularist approach of establishing an independent Kurdistan. Turkish Hizballah spent its first 10 years fighting the PKK, accusing the group of atrocities against Muslims in southeastern Turkey, where Turkish Hizballah seeks to establish an independent Islamic state.

Activities

Beginning in the mid-1990s, Turkish Hizballah, which is unrelated to Lebanese Hizballah, expanded its target base and modus operandi from killing PKK militants to conducting low-level bombings against liquor stores, bordellos, and other establishments the organization considered “anti-Islamic.” In January 2000, Turkish security forces killed Huseyin Velioglu, the leader of Turkish Hizballah, in a shootout at a safe house in Istanbul.

The incident sparked a year-long series of counterterrorist operations against the group that resulted in the detention of some 2,000 individuals; authorities arrested several hundred of them on criminal charges. At the same time, police recovered nearly 70 bodies of Turkish and Kurdish businessmen and journalists whom Turkish Hizballah had tortured and brutally murdered during the mid-to-late 1990s. The group began targeting official Turkish interests in January 2001, when its operatives assassinated the Diyarbakir police chief in the group’s most sophisticated operation to date. Turkish Hizballah has not conducted a major operation since 2001, and probably is focusing at present on recruitment, fundraising, and reorganization.

Strength

Possibly a few hundred members and several thousand supporters.

Location/Area of Operation

Primarily the Diyarbakir region of southeastern Turkey.

External Aid

It is widely believed that Turkey’s security apparatus originally backed Turkish Hizballah to help the Turkish government combat the PKK. Alternative views are that the Turkish government ignored Turkish Hizballah activities because its primary targets were PKK members and supporters, or that the government simply had to prioritize scarce resources and was unable to wage war on both groups simultaneously. Allegations of collusion have never been laid to rest, and the Government of Turkey continues to issue denials. Turkish Hizballah also is suspected of having ties with Iran, although there is not sufficient evidence to establish a link.

Ulster Defense Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters (UDA/UFF)

Description

The Ulster Defense Association (UDA), the largest Loyal-ist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland, was formed in 1971 as an umbrella organization for Loyalist paramilitary groups such as the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF). Today, the UFF constitutes almost the entire UDA membership. The UDA/UFF declared a series of cease-fires between 1994 and 1998. In September 2001, the UDA/UFF’s Inner Council withdrew its support for Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement. The following month, after a series of murders, bombings, and street violence, the British government ruled the UDA/UFF’s cease-fire defunct. The dissolution of the organization’’s political wing, the Ulster Democratic Party, soon followed. In January 2002, however, the UDA created the Ulster Political Research Group to serve in a similar capacity. In October 2006, a splinter group of the UDA, calling itself Beyond Conflict, publicly announced its mission to assist former UDA members to disengage from the conflict and develop dialogue with local neighborhoods. Designated under E.O. 13224 in December 2001.

Activities

The UDA/UFF has evolved into a criminal organization deeply involved in drug trafficking and other moneymaking criminal activities through six largely independent “brigades.” It also has been involved in murder, shootings, arson, assaults, and exiling. According to the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), “the UDA has the capacity to launch serious, if crude, attacks.”

Some UDA activities of a sectarian nature directed at the Catholic community are aimed at so-called “soft” targets, and often have taken place at the interface between the Protestant and Catholic communities, especially in Belfast.

Strength

Estimates vary from 2,000 to 5,000 members, with several hundred active in paramilitary operations.

Location/Area of Operation

Northern Ireland.

External Aid

Probably obtains weapons from abroad.

Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)

Description

The UVF is a Loyalist terrorist group formed in 1966 to oppose liberal reforms in Northern Ireland that members feared would lead to unification of Ireland. The group adopted the name of an earlier organization formed in 1912 to combat Home Rule for Ireland. The UVF’s goal is to maintain Northern Ireland’s status as part of the United Kingdom; to that end, it has killed some 550 persons since 1966. The UVF and its offshoots have been responsible for some of the most vicious attacks of “The Troubles”, including horrific sectarian killings like those perpetrated in the 1970s by the UVF-affiliated “Shankill Butchers.” In October 1994, the Combined Loyalist Military Command, which included the UVF, declared a cease-fire, and the UVF’s political wing, the Progressive Unionist Party, has played an active role in the peace process. Despite the cease-fire, the organization has been involved in a series of bloody feuds with other Loyalist paramilitary organizations, although the UVF is considering a stand-down similar to that of the Irish Republican Army. The Red Hand Defenders is linked to the UVF.

Activities

The UVF has been active in Belfast and the border areas of Northern Ireland, where it has carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, extortion, and robberies. UVF members have been linked to recent racial attacks on minorities; however, the UVF leadership reportedly did not authorize these assaults. On occasion, it has provided advance warning to police of its attacks. Targets include nationalist civilians, Republican paramilitary groups, and, on occasion, rival Loyalist paramilitary groups. The UVF is a relatively disciplined organization with a centralized command. The Independent Monitoring Commission has said that UVF members were responsible for the attempted murder in 2006 of Mark Haddock, a former UVF member turned police informant, and main suspect in the 1997 murder of Raymond McCord. Additionally, UVF members are suspected of murdering one individual and attempting to murder another, but the IMC assesses these actions were not sanctioned by UVF leadership.

Strength

Unclear, but probably several hundred supporters, with a smaller number of hard-core activists. Police counterterrorist operations and internal feuding have reduced the group’s strength and capabilities.

Location/Area of Operation

Northern Ireland. Some support on the UK mainland.

External Aid

Suspected in the past of receiving funds and arms from sympathizers overseas.

United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA)

Description

Northeast India’s most prominent insurgent group, ULFA, an ethnic secessionist organization in the Indian state of Assam, which borders Bangladesh and Bhutan, was founded in 1979 at Rang Ghar, during anti-foreigner agitation organized by the state’s powerful students’ union. The group’s objective is an independent Assam. ULFA enjoyed widespread support in upper Assam in its initial years, especially from 1985 to 1992. ULFA’s kidnappings, killings, and extortion led New Delhi to ban the group and start a military offensive against it in 1990, which forced it to go underground. ULFA began to lose popularity in the late 1990s after it increasingly targeted civilians, including a prominent NGO activist. It lost further support for its anti-Indian stand during the 1999 Kargil conflict. In recent years, the group has been in decline, losing popular support and suffering from aggressive counterinsurgency operations by Indian security forces.

The Royal Bhutan Army’s attack on ULFA camps in Bhutan in 2003, and the suspension of operations by Bodo tribal insurgent groups in Assam, also contributed to the group’s decline. Despite the ban on the group, New Delhi held official talks with ULFA’s representative Peace Consultative Group in October 2005, which apparently have had little effect on dampening ULFA’s operations against business and government targets in 2006.

Activities

ULFA trains, finances, and equips its cadres for a “liberation struggle”, while extortion helps finance military training and weapons purchases. ULFA conducts hit-and-run operations on security forces in Assam, selective assassinations, and explosions in public places. During the 1980s and 1990s, ULFA undertook a series of abductions and murders, particularly of businessmen. In 2000, ULFA assassinated an Assam state minister. In 2003, ULFA killed more than 60 “outsiders” in Assam, mainly residents of the bordering state of Bihar. Some important ULFA functionaries surrendered in Assam, but incidents of violence continue, although of a lesser magnitude than in the past. In 2004, ULFA started targeting civilians and killed some 14 people in August that year.

Strength

ULFA’s earlier strength of more than 3,000 dropped following the December 2003 attack on its camps in Bhutan. Total cadre strength now is estimated at several hundred, plus supporters providing safe houses and logistical and intelligence assistance.

Location/Area of Operation

ULFA is active in the state of Assam, and members transit and periodically conduct operations in parts of the neighboring states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Nagaland. All ULFA camps in Bhutan are reportedly demolished.

External Aid

ULFA reportedly procures and trades in arms with other Northeast Indian groups.

LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENTS AND KEY TERMS

Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 is submitted in compliance with Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f (the “Act”), which requires the Department of State to provide Congress a full and complete annual report on terrorism for those countries and groups meeting the criteria of the Act. Statutory excerpts relating to the terms used in this report and a discussion of the interpretation and application of those terms in this report are included below.

Excerpts and Summary of Key Statutory Terms

Section 2656f(a) of Title 22 of the United States Code states as follows:

(a)… The Secretary of State shall transmit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, by April 30 of each year, a full and complete report providing -

(1) (A) detailed assessments with respect to each foreign country -

(i) in which acts of international terrorism occurred which were, in the opinion of the Secretary, of major significance;

(ii) about which the Congress was notified during the preceding five years pursuant to Section 2405(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979; and

(iii) which the Secretary determines should be the subject of such report; and

(B) detailed assessments with respect to each foreign country whose territory is being used as a sanctuary for terrorist organizations;

(2) all relevant information about the activities during the preceding year of any terrorist group, and any umbrella group under which such terrorist group falls, known to be responsible for the kidnapping or death of an American citizen during the preceding five years, any terrorist group known to have obtained or developed, or to have attempted to obtain or develop, weapons of mass destruction, any terrorist group known to be financed by countries about which Congress was notified during the preceding year pursuant to section 2405(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979, any group designated by the Secretary as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189), and any other known international terrorist group which the Secretary determines should be the subject of such report;

(3) with respect to each foreign country from which the United States Government has sought cooperation during the previous five years in the investigation or prosecution of an act of international terrorism against United States citizens or interests, information on-

(A) the extent to which the government of the foreign country is cooperating with the United States Government in apprehending, convicting, and punishing the individual or individuals responsible for the act; and

(B) the extent to which the government of the foreign country is cooperating in preventing further acts of terrorism against United States citizens in the foreign country; and

(4) with respect to each foreign country from which the United States Government has sought cooperation during the previous five years in the prevention of an act of international terrorism against such citizens or interests, the information described in paragraph (3)(B).

Section 2656f(d) of Title 22 of the United States Code defines certain key terms used in Section 2656f(a) as follows:

(1) the term “international terrorism” means terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country;

(2) the term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents; and

(3) the term “terrorist group” means any group practicing, or which has significant subgroups which practice, international terrorism.

The “7120 Report.” Section 2656f(b) requires the Department of State, to the extent feasible, to provide Congress an update of the information contained in the report required to be transmitted to Congress under Section 7120(b) of the 9/11 Commission Implementation Act of 2004 (also known as the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004). The 7120 Report forms a part of the annual Country Reports on Terrorism but was provided under separate cover in 2004 and 2005. In Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, we have integrated the terrorist sanctuary reporting required under Sections 2656f(a)(1)(B) and (b)(2), with the information required under Section 7120(b).

Interpretation and Application of Key Terms. For purposes of this report, the terms “international terrorism,” “terrorism,” and “terrorist group” have the definitions assigned to them in 22 USC. 2656f(d). The term “non-combatant,” which is referred to but not defined in 22 USC. 2656f(d)(2), is interpreted to mean, in addition to civilians, military personnel (whether or not armed or on duty) who are not deployed in a war zone or a war-like setting.

It should be noted that 22 USC 2656f(d) is one of many U.S. statutes and international legal instruments that concern terrorism and acts of violence, many of which use definitions for terrorism and related terms that are different from those used in this report. The interpretation and application of defined and related terms concerning terrorism in this report is therefore specific to the statutory and other requirements of the report, and is not intended to express the views of the U.S. government on how these terms should be interpreted or applied for any other purpose. Accordingly, there is not necessarily any correlation between the interpretation of terms such as “non-combatant” for purposes of this report and the meanings ascribed to similar terms pursuant to the law of war (which encapsulates the obligations of states and individuals with respect to their activities in situations of armed conflict).

Statistical Information. Pursuant to 22 USC § 2656f(b), this report must contain “to the extent practicable, complete statistical information on the number of individuals, including United States citizens and dual nationals, killed, injured, or kidnapped by each terrorist group during the preceding calendar year.” This requirement is satisfied through the inclusion of a statistical annex to the report that sets out statistical information provided by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). The statistical annex includes a discussion of the methodology employed by NCTC in compiling the relevant data.

This report does not contain statistical information specifically concerning combatants. The focus of the terrorism report, as is clear from the definition of terrorism, is on violence against noncombatant targets. Further, it would not be practicable to provide such statistics, as the government does not maintain—and would have great difficulty main-taining—statistics that distinguish between incidents against combatants by terrorist groups and by others, including insurgents, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Contextual Reporting. Adverse mention in this report of individual members of any political, social, ethnic, religious, or national population is not meant to imply that all members of that population are terrorists. Indeed, terrorists rarely represent anything other than a tiny fraction of such larger populations. It is terrorist groups--and their actions--that are the focus of this report.

Furthermore, terrorist acts are part of a larger phenomenon of violence inspired by a cause, and at times the line between the two can become difficult to draw. This report includes some discretionary information in an effort to relate terrorist events to the larger context in which they occur, and to give a feel for the conflicts that spawn violence. Thus, this report will discuss terrorist acts as well as other violent incidents that are not necessarily international terrorism and therefore are not subject to the statutory reporting requirement.