Saturday, April 29, 2006

State Departmnt report card out on US CT

New counter-terrorism progress report out

New report released on counter-terrorism efforts of the USA; which lead to success in some areas including here in the Philippines according to the report just released.

• “In the Philippines, authorities have regained control of the island of Basilan and, increasingly, the island of Jolo, both areas of operation for Abu Sayaff and Jemiah Islamiya.”

I am kind of questioning the lead sentence of the press release- which seems to say the US has downsized terror groups in smaller, leaner, and meaner groups. Not the thing you might want to “high-lithe” but it is a truthful statement.

link to the report is below as well.



U.S. Counterterrorism Coordinator Crumpton Announces New Report

Country Reports on Terrorism 2005 finds terror groups smaller, more sophisticated

By David I. McKeeby
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Thanks to the successes of the U.S.-led multinational counterterrorism effort, terror organizations are now smaller and more sophisticated, and more challenging than ever to bring to justice, says Ambassador Henry Crumpton, coordinator of the State Department’s counterterrorism office.

An annual report developed jointly by the State Department and the National Counterterrorism Center, Country Reports on Terrorism 2005 is produced to provide Congress information on progress in the fight against al-Qaida and the 41 other identified terrorist groups active in the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia, Crumpton told journalists in an April 28 press briefing announcing the release.

Among the broader trends identified in the report, Crumpton said that terrorist groups are forming smaller, harder-to-detect cells; becoming more technologically sophisticated, particularly in their use of the Internet; and are building closer links with international criminal networks. He also said many terrorist groups continue to focus their efforts in Iraq to provoke sectarian violence and derail democracy, making continued international support of the Iraqi government essential.


Military force alone cannot defeat terrorism, Crumpton said. “We must fight the enemy with precise, calibrated force to buy space and time to transform the environment and the conditions which terrorists exploit.”

He said the report emphasizes the need for a multilevel strategy “utilizing all the instruments of statecraft” to counter violent extremism and disrupt terrorist networks globally; using regional partnerships to deny terrorists safe haven; and improving security by using development assistance programs to help countries build institutions that support the rule of law and address political and economic injustices.

“This is not just the right thing to do; it also enhances our partners' capacity to resist the terrorist threat and address conditions that terrorists exploit,” Crumpton said.

The report finds that al-Qaida’s core leadership no longer has effective global command and control of its networks, Crumpton said. Confined to an increasingly smaller territory along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Crumpton says that al-Qaida’s senior leaders increasingly are frustrated by their lack of control and “desperate to claim Iraq as their own,” resorting to propaganda to demonstrate their continuing influence by inspiring terrorist attacks.

“Al-Qaida and its affiliates are attacking what they fear the most, the development of a global civic society -- a society characterized by global networks of liberal institutions, free speech, democratic organizations, free-market forces, and law,” Crumpton said.

Although international cooperation has succeeded in denying them safe haven in Iraq and elsewhere, the ambassador said, “We must maintain unrelenting pressure against al-Qaida -- we know they aim to attack the U.S. homeland and seek to match or surpass the terror of 9/11.”


Crumpton said that the report features regional overviews and reports on the terrorist situation in individual countries, marking not only the progress made but also the challenges remaining.

Among the examples of success he cited:

• In Colombia, local police forces have returned to all 1,098 municipalities throughout the country. They successfully have demobilized 23,000 paramilitary fighters, and are making progress in their fight against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC).

• In the Philippines, authorities have regained control of the island of Basilan and, increasingly, the island of Jolo, both areas of operation for Abu Sayaff and Jemiah Islamiya.

• In Indonesia, leaders launched a broad counterterrorism campaign that has gained momentum, featuring new legislation, successful prosecution of terrorist operatives and an emphasis on moderate religious theology to blunt radicalization.

• In Saudi Arabia, the government is taking steps to counter radicalization, opened a Financial Investigation Unit and has captured or killed the top 26 senior al-Qaida operatives inside their country.

The report also identifies several countries that the United States considers state sponsors of terrorism. Most significant among them is Iran, which Crumpton called, “the premier state sponsor of terrorism, provid[ing] a national safe haven for its own operatives and members of al-Qaida and Hezbollah.” (See related article.)

Iran’s ongoing vocal support of terrorist attacks against other countries, combined with its failure to disclose the true extent of its nuclear program to the international community also raise the continuing concern that it may facilitate future terrorist attacks utilizing weapons of mass destruction, Crumpton said.

The full text of the new report is available on the State Department Web site.

For more information, see Response to Terrorism.

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