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30 April 1999

USIS Washington File

30 April 1999


(State Department issues annual terrorism report) (2640)

Washington -- The State Department, in its annual report on "Patterns
of Global Terrorism," has designated seven nations -- Cuba, Iran,
Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria -- as state sponsors of
international terrorism.

U.S. policy is "to pressure these states to cease their support by
applying a broad range of sanctions, both unilateral and multilateral.
International cooperation is essential in making these sanctions
work," according to the report, which was released April 30.

Following is the text of the section of the report entitled "Overview
of State-Sponsored Terrorism":

(begin text)

Terrorist attacks sponsored by states have declined in recent years
but remain a serious threat. With state sponsorship a terrorist group
often receives safehaven, money, weapons, training, logistic support,
or use of diplomatic facilities. Some of the most violent terrorist
attacks on record would not have been possible without such

Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria are the seven
governments that the US Secretary of State has designated as state
sponsors of international terrorism. US policy is to pressure these
states to cease their support by applying a broad range of sanctions,
both unilateral and multilateral. International cooperation is
essential in making these sanctions work, and more needs to be done in
this area.

Cuba has reduced significantly its support to leftist revolutionaries
in Latin America and elsewhere, but it maintains close ties to other
state sponsors of terrorism and leftist insurgent groups and continues
to provide safehaven to a number of international terrorists.

Iran continues to plan and conduct terrorist attacks, including the
assassination of dissidents abroad. It supports a variety of groups
that use terrorism to pursue their goals -- including several that
oppose the Middle East peace process -- by providing varying degrees
of money, training, safehaven, and weapons.

Iraq provides safehaven to terrorist and rejectionist groups and
continues its efforts to rebuild its intelligence network, which it
used previously to support international terrorism. The leader of the
Abu Nidal organization may have relocated to Baghdad in late 1998.

Libya continues to harbor two Libyan intelligence operatives charged
in the United States and Scotland for the bombing in 1988 of Pan Am
Flight 103. Libya's action defies UN Security Council resolutions
requiring Tripoli to surrender them for trial and®MDDN¯ ®MDNM¯ ignores
a US-UK offer to prosecute them before, a Scottish court sitting in
the Netherlands. Libya also harbors six suspects in the bombing of UTA
flight 772 in 1989, although French authorities agreed to try the six
in absentia®MDIN¯.®MDNM¯®MDDN¯,®MDIN¯ ®MDNM¯ Several Middle Eastern
terrorist groups continue to receive support from Libya, including the
PIJ and the PFLP-GC. There is no evidence of Libyan involvement in
recent acts of international terrorism, however.

Although North Korea has not been linked definitively to any act of
international terrorism since 1987, it continues to provide safehaven
to terrorists who hijacked a Japanese airliner to North Korea in 1970.

Sudan provides safehaven to some of the world's most violent terrorist
groups, including Usama Bin Ladin's al-Qaida, Lebanese Hizballah, the
PIJ, the ANO, and HAMAS. The Sudanese Government also refuses to
comply with UN Security Council demands that it hand over for trial
three fugitives linked to the assassination attempt in 1995 against
Egyptian President Mubarak in Ethiopia.

There is no evidence of direct Syrian involvement in acts of
international terrorism since 1986, but Syria continues to provide
sanctuary and support for a number of terrorist groups that seek to
disrupt the Middle East peace process.


Cuba no longer actively supports armed struggle in Latin America or
elsewhere. Previously, the Castro regime provided significant levels
of funding, military training, arms, and guidance to various
revolutionary groups across the globe. Since the collapse of the
Soviet Union in 1991, Havana has been forced to reduce dramatically
its support to leftist revolutionaries.

Cuba, nonetheless, continues to maintain close ties to other state
sponsors of terrorism and leftist insurgent groups in Latin America.
For instance, Colombia's two main terrorist groups, the FARC and the
ELN, maintain representatives in Cuba. Moreover, Havana continues to
provide safehaven to a number of international terrorists and US
terrorist fugitives.


Iran in 1998 continued to be involved in the planning and execution of
terrorist acts. Tehran apparently conducted fewer antidissident
assassinations abroad in 1998 than in 1997. Tehran continued, however,
to support a variety of groups that use terrorism to pursue their
goals. Despite Iranian public statements condemning certain terrorist
acts or expressing sympathy for Kenyan and Tanzanian victims of the
August 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam,
Iranian support for terrorism remains in place.

Tehran is reported to have conducted several assassinations outside
Iran during 1998. In June the "League of the Followers of the Sunna"
accused Iranian intelligence agents of murdering an Iranian Sunni
cleric, Shaikh Nureddin Ghuraybi, in Tajikistan. In September the
leaders of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, a virulently anti-Shia sectarian
group, accused Iran of responsibility for the murders of two of the
organization's leaders, Allama Shoaib Nadeem and Maulana Habibur
Rehman Siddiqui. In late November the National Council of Resistance
claimed that the Iranian regime had kidnapped and killed Reza Pirzadi
in Pakistan. Pirzadi was described as a warrant officer who had been
released from prison in Iran in 1996.

Members of Iran's Ministry of Security and Intelligence (MOIS) may
have conducted five mysterious murders of leading writers and
political activists in Iran. Late in the year, Tehran announced the
discovery of an operational cell within the MOIS that it alleged
operated without the knowledge of senior government officials. Tehran
reportedly arrested the cell's members.

The Iranian Government stated publicly that it would take no action to
enforce the fatwa on Salman Rushdie, a British citizen, which has been
in effect since 1989. The Iranian Government's assurance led the UK
Government to upgrade its diplomatic relations with Iran. Tehran
stated, however, that revoking the fatwa is impossible since its
author is deceased. Moreover, the Iranian Government has not required
the Fifteen Khordad Foundation to withdraw its reward for executing
the fatwa on Rushdie, and in November the Foundation increased its
offer to $2.8 million.

Iran continued to provide support to a variety of terrorist groups,
including the Lebanese Hizballah, HAMAS, and the Palestinian Islamic
Jihad, which oppose the Middle East peace process through violence.
Iran supports these groups with varying amounts of training, money,
and/or weapons.

In March, a US district court ruled that Iran should pay $247 million
to the family of Alisa Flatow, a US citizen killed in a PIJ bomb
attack in Gaza in April 1995. The court ruled that Iran was
responsible for her death because it provided funding to the PIJ,
which claimed responsibility for the act. Palestinian sources said
Iran supported the PIJ's claimed attack in Jerusalem in early November
1998, in which two suicide bombers injured some 21 persons.

Iran still provides safehaven to elements of the PKK, a Turkish
separatist group that has conducted numerous terrorist attacks in
Turkey and on Turkish targets in Europe.

Iran also provides support to North African groups. In an interview in
April 1998, former Iranian president Bani Sadr accused Tehran of
training Algerian fighters, among others.

Tehran accurately claims it also is a victim of terrorism. In 1998
several high-ranking members of the Iranian Government were attacked
and at least two were killed in attacks claimed by the terrorist group
Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). The MEK claimed responsibility for the
killing on 23 August of Asadollah Lajevardi, the former director of
Tehran's Evin Prison. It also claimed responsibility for the deaths in
June of several persons, including Haj Hassan Salehi, allegedly a
torturer at the prison, during a bombing attack on the Revolutionary
Prosecutor's Office in Tehran.

Mohsen Rafiqdust, head of the Foundation for the Oppressed and
Disabled, escaped an attack on his life on 13 September. He said
counterrevolutionary elements had embarked on efforts to make the
country insecure.

At least nine Iranian diplomatic and associated personnel died when
unknown persons invaded the Iranian Consulate in Mazar-e Sharif,
Afghanistan, in early August during the Taliban takeover of that city.
The Taliban denied responsibility for the deaths.


In 1998, Baghdad continued efforts to rebuild its intelligence
network, which it previously had used to support international
terrorism. Press reports indicated that Iraqi intelligence agents may
have been planning an attack against Radio Free Europe in Prague in
October 1998. Other press reports citing "reliable diplomatic sources"
in Amman claimed that Iraq had sent abroad for terrorist purposes
intelligence agents who pretended to be refugees and businessmen.
Iraqi oppositionists have claimed publicly that the regime intends to
silence them and have accused Baghdad of planning to assassinate Iraqi
exiles. There are various claims that the Iraqi intelligence service
was responsible for the killings of some nine persons in Amman, but we
cannot corroborate the charges.

In January 1998 an Iraqi diplomat was fired on in Amman, Jordan.
Jordanian authorities arrested five persons who subsequently confessed
responsibility. In a separate incident, eight persons -- including an
Iraqi diplomat -- were murdered in the home of an Iraqi businessman.
Jordanian authorities in April arrested several persons for this

In southern Iraq, Ayatollah Morteza Borujerdi -- a senior Shia cleric
-- was killed on 22 April. Oppositionists claimed the Iraqi Government
assassinated Borujerdi because he refused to cease leading prayers. A
second high-ranking Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali Gharavi, was killed on
18 June. The oppositionist Supreme Assembly for the Islamic Revolution
in Iraq accused Baghdad of responsibility. Both men were respected
Shia clerics of Iranian origin and their murders remain unsolved.

Iraq continues to provide safehaven to a variety of Palestinian
rejectionist groups, including the Abu Nidal organization, the Arab
Liberation Front (ALF), and the former head of the now-defunct 15 May
Organization, Abu Ibrahim, who masterminded several bombings of US
aircraft. In December press reports indicated that Abu Nidal had
relocated to Iraq and may be receiving medical treatment. Abu Nidal's
move to Baghdad -- if true -- would increase the prospect that Saddam
may call on the ANO to conduct anti-US attacks. Iraq also provides
bases, weapons, and protection to the MEK, a terrorist group that
opposes the current Iranian regime.


Despite a joint US-UK offer to prosecute the two Libyans charged with
the bombing in 1988 of Pan Am Flight 103 before a Scottish court
sitting in the Netherlands, Libya remained unwilling to meet the
demands of UN Security Council resolutions 731, 748, 883, and 1192.
These measures call upon Libyan leader Qadhafi to cease all support to
terrorism, turn over the two indicted Pan Am 103 suspects for trial,
and cooperate in the investigation. (On 5 April 1999, Libya turned
over the two suspects, 'Abd al Basit al-Megrahi and Lamin Kalifah
Fhima, for prosecution in the Netherlands under Scottish law.)

French officials in January completed their investigation into the
bombing in 1989 of UTA Flight 772. The French officials believe that
the Libyan intelligence service was responsible and named Qadhafi's
brother-in-law, Muhammad Sanusi, as the attack's mastermind. (Six
Libyan suspects, all intelligence officers, were tried in absentia by
a French court in March 1999, The suspects were convicted on 8 March

Libya remains the primary suspect in several other past terrorist
operations, including the La Belle discotheque bombing in Berlin in
1986, which killed two US servicemen, one Turkish civilian, and
wounded more than 200. The trial in Germany of five defendants in the
case, who are accused of "an act of assassination commissioned by the
Libyan state," began in November 1997 and continued through 1998.

Despite ongoing sanctions against Libya for its sponsorship of
terrorism, Tripoli in 1998 continued to harass and intimidate
expatriate dissidents. Moreover, Qadhafi continued publicly and
privately to support Palestinian terrorist groups, including the PIJ
and the PFLP-GC. Libya has not been implicated in any international
terrorist act for several years, however.

North Korea

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has not been linked solidly
to the planning or execution of an international terrorist attack
since 1987, when a KAL airliner was bombed in flight. North Korea
continues to provide safehaven to members of the Japanese Communist
League-Red Army Faction who participated in the hijacking of a
Japanese Airlines flight to North Korea in 1970. In March, P'yongyang
allowed members of the Japanese Diet to visit some of the hijackers.


Sudan continued to serve as a meeting place, safehaven, and training
hub for a number of international terrorist groups, particularly Usama
Bin Ladin's al-Qaida organization. The Sudanese Government also
condoned many of Iran's objectionable activities, such as funding
terrorist and radical Islamic groups operating and transiting Sudan.

Sudan still has not complied fully with UN Security Council
Resolutions 1044, 1054, and 1070, passed in 1996, despite the regime's
efforts to distance itself publicly from terrorism. The UNSC demands
that Sudan end all support to terrorists. It also requires Khartoum to
hand over three Egyptian al-Gama'at fugitives linked to the
assassination attempt in 1995 against Egyptian President Mubarak in
Ethiopia. Sudanese officials continue to deny that they are harboring
the three suspects and that they had a role in the attack.

Khartoum continues to provide safehaven to members of several of the
world's most violent terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hizballah,
the PIJ, the ANO, and HAMAS. Khartoum also supports regional Islamic
and non-Islamic opposition and insurgent groups in Ethiopia, Eritrea,
Uganda, and Tunisia.

Sudanese support to terrorists includes provision of paramilitary
training, money, religious indoctrination, travel documents, safe
passage, and refuge. Most of the organizations in Sudan maintain
offices or other types of representation.

In August the United States accused Sudan of involvement in chemical
weapons development. On 20 August the United States conducted military
strikes against the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, which
was associated with Usama Bin Ladin's terrorist network and believed
to be involved in the manufacture of chemical weapons, to prevent an
anti-US attack, Sudan has denied that the plant was involved in
chemical weapons production and vigorously has protested the US


There is no evidence that Syrian officials have engaged directly in
planning or executing international terrorist attacks since 1986.
Syria, nonetheless, continues to provide safehaven and support to
several terrorist groups, allowing some to maintain training camps or
other facilities on Syrian territory. Ahmad Jibril's Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and the Palestine Islamic
Jihad, for example, have their headquarters in Damascus. In addition,
Syria grants a wide variety of terrorist groups®MDIN¯
®MDNM¯-®MDIN¯-®MDNM¯ including HAMAS, the PFLP-GC, and the PIJ-basing
privileges or refuge in areas of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley under Syrian

In response to Turkish pressure, Damascus took several important steps
against the Kurdistan Workers' Party in October. PKK leader Abdallah
Ocalan departed Syria, and Damascus forced many PKK members to
relocate to northern Iraq. It is unclear whether Damascus has made a
long-term commitment to sever its ties to the PKK.

Although Damascus claims to be committed to the Middle East peace
process, it has not acted to stop anti-Israeli attacks by Hizballah
and Palestinian rejectionist groups in southern Lebanon. Syria allowed
-- but did not participate in -- a meeting of Palestinian rejectionist
groups in Damascus in December to reaffirm their public opposition to
the peace process. Syria also assists the resupply of rejectionist
groups operating in Lebanon via Damascus. Nonetheless, the Syrian
Government continues to restrain the international activities of some
groups and to participate in a multinational monitoring group to
prevent attacks against civilian targets in southern Lebanon and
northern Israel.

A complete copy of the 1998 report on "Patterns of Global Terrorism"
is now available on the State Department's Internet website

(end text)

Source: 30 April 1999 TEXT: ALBRIGHT STATEMENT ON STATE DEPARTMENT'S TERRORISM REPORT (Notes it shows fewer incidents but more deaths in 1998) (710) Washington -- The State Department's report on global terrorism in 1998 shows that there were fewer reported incidents than in any year since 1971, but that a record number of people were killed in those attacks, Secretary of State Albright observed in a statement issued April 30. Following is the text of the secretary's statement. (begin text) Today, we are releasing the State Department's annual report on Patterns of Global Terrorism. Its significance is heightened this year by our memory of the bombing last August of U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. We continue to grieve for those, American and African, who were killed or injured by those criminal acts. And we are determined to do all we can to deter, and diminish the consequences, of any future attacks. This year's report reflects two trends, one encouraging, one very disturbing. Fewer international terrorist incidents were reported in 1998 than in any year since 1971. But more people were killed in the attacks that did occur than in any year on record. This shows that we have done much to make it harder for terrorists to operate. And that we must do more because terrorists now have access to technology that is incredibly destructive. The list of state sponsors of terror has not changed from last year's report. Governments on the list that would like to see their names removed know exactly what they must do: stop planning, financing and supporting terrorist acts, and stop sheltering or interfering with the apprehension and prosecution of those who commit them. State-sponsored terrorism remains a grave problem, but direct government involvement in committing such acts continues to decline. Credit belongs to the sustained pressure applied by the Reagan, Bush and Clinton Administrations and by our allies and friends overseas. Unfortunately, this progress has been countered by the rise of terrorist groups that are less directly dependent on states. Some have broad geographical reach, and have found ways to support themselves through criminal enterprises such as drug smuggling, kidnapping and extortion. Our response has been to launch a full court press against terror. This means we do all we can to put pressure on terrorists all the time, not just when they are about to strike. In cooperation with other governments, we go after terrorist finances, shut down illegal activities, restrict travel, disrupt training, break up support cells and bring suspects to justice. In our efforts, we use a wide range of foreign policy tools, from military force when necessary, to vigorous diplomacy, the negotiation of treaties, the enforcement of laws, the sharing of information, the offering of rewards, the development of new technology and the improvement of our security. Examples in 1998 included two Presidential Directives, issued in May, to coordinate efforts to prevent and respond to unconventional attacks, and to shield our information and transportation facilities. Working with Congress, we are striving to upgrade the protection of our diplomatic posts. And I have made it clear to all both here in the United States and at our embassies overseas that security is everybody's responsibility, around the clock, every day. Finally, the combination of diplomacy and tough law enforcement has helped us to apprehend a number of suspects in the Kenya and Tanzania bombings. We will not rest until all who are responsible are held accountable. Earlier this month, those indicted in the decade-old Pan Am 103 bombing were turned over for trial. As our determination in that case reflects, our memory is long and there is no statute of limitations on our persistence. In closing, I want to stress that the battle against terror is a multi-year, multi-agency, multi-national enterprise. It is world-wide and long-term. I commend the State Department's acting Counter-terrorism Coordinator Mike Sheehan, and his team, for their help in orchestrating our full court press. And to our many partners around Washington, throughout America and across the globe, I say thank you. We appreciate your past and current efforts. And we look forward to your future assistance, which we will need. (end text)